Grief and Loss

Anniversary Reactions; a Part of the Grieving Process

At a distance we noticed a hawk flying. In the next moment, it headed straight towards us and circled over head. Smiling, I knew that Kyle was with us as we celebrated the 13-year anniversary of his death. We made a ritual of hiking to his tree, a small oak ling; we planted in his honor, a year after he passed. I hadn’t been there in three years, so was happy to see how the tree had filled out and was big enough to provide shade for me and my family, protecting us from the scorching sun.

The next morning, the day of his actual anniversary, I placed a picture of him as a baby along with a fresh yellow rose from my garden on my altar and meditated. Immediately, I felt his loving, spiritual presence. Tears flowed as I was overcome with intense love, gratitude and joy. I recognized how integral his life and death, his journey, had been to my own. His death helped me to awaken spiritually and sent me on my own journey of healing and transformation which led me to doing work I love, helping others to heal and transform their lives. It seems that […]

Allowing Grief; Awakening New Possibilities

Where two rivers joined, I spotted a large dead Ponderosa pine which had fallen down a steep ravine on its side, half of its trunk submerged in the water. Carefully navigating my way down the ravine, I felt excited….This was the first day of my vacation and the tree was the perfect place for me to relax and meditate. As I lay down with my back fully supported by the trunk of the tree and my body soaking up the warmth of the sun, I dangled my feet in the water. The snow melt from the mountains was fresh and the water was freezing. I promptly removed them!

Surrounded by tall pine trees, their needles glistened in the sun, the sound of rushing water soothed my soul. Taking in the beauty all around me, my heart opened and tears welled up in my eyes. I witnessed the abundance, perfection, and grace in nature. The river flowed naturally without hesitation. Even though there were boulders and tree stumps in its path, it conformed and flowed around and over them, but never stopped. It crossed each obstacle with ease. There was no efforting, trying or resisting. It was simply and naturally BEING […]

Tools for Transforming Depression

If you find yourself feeling unmotivated, lacking energy for life, grumpy or irritable, you may be depressed. Depression is typically caused by suppressed anger, at the root of which is the feeling of powerlessness. When we give our power away, our creative life force energy becomes stifled and “depressed” and we are no longer in the flow of manifesting abundance. We are unable to be receptive to creative solutions and new possibilities. Imagine a dam, and how it blocks the flow of water. This is what happens to our energy when we suppress our anger. When not allowed to flow, not only do we experience depression, but physical symptoms as well like illness or pain.

The following is a step-by-step process to assist you in transforming depression and reclaiming your power so you can engage more fully in life:

Acknowledge your anger. Give it a voice by writing about it. What does it have to say? Start by writing, “What I am most angry about is…” Write non-stop for ten minutes without lifting your pen. If you have trouble identifying your […]

6 Keys to Re-Awaken Hope after Loss

While in the grieving process, it may feel as though hope has abandoned you. Depressed, you question your purpose for living. You ask, “Why did this happen? What is the point of it all?” You may have lost hope for living your dreams or don’t even know what they are anymore. Perhaps your loved one was an integral part of living the life you had always imagined. Uninspired, you go through the motions of your daily life without feeling truly alive.

The following are helpful keys to re-awaken hope when you no longer feel jazzed about life.

Have the Courage to Heal. Our society encourages us to move on quickly and get over it. We are taught that crying is a sign of weakness when in fact it takes great courage and inner strength to face grief head on, acknowledge it, and process through it. As you summon the courage to face your grief, remember you don’t have to do it alone and reach out for support. Processing through it, you […]

Creating Room for Grief

The grieving process is natural. Similar to the cycles of the seasons or the ebb and flood of the tides…it is not linear and straightforward, but it comes and goes. At times, we may feel good about life…inspired, energized and in our passion. At others, we may feel sad, fatigued and depressed. Each of these seasons requires something different from us.

          For example, if we are grieving, we may need to draw our energy inward and spend more time resting and focusing on self care. We may have less energy to give and create. Like the winter season, this is a good time to restore our energy for when the spring arrives, allowing the seeds of new life to germinate in the dark soil.

          A couple of weeks before Christmas I found myself feeling blue, heavy-hearted and moody. I was surprised to tune into my body and find hidden grief, sitting under the surface, waiting to be acknowledged. The previous month, I had felt energized and inspired about my business and life, so when grief surfaced, I was resistant at first. There is too much to do to prepare for Christmas. I don’t have time to be sad. Plus, […]

How to Cope with Grief during the Holidays

The holidays can be challenging enough with all of the busyness of the season, but if you’ve experienced a major loss such as the death of a loved one, this time of year can be extremely difficult. Family gatherings where your loved one is not present can leave a huge void. Past memories of times spent together can stir up sadness. You may even experience anxiety, depression and trouble sleeping. Further, you may feel the pressure to get into the spirit of the season even though your heart is not into it.

During this time, it is quite normal for unresolved grief to surface. Therefore, it is important to have coping strategies to help you deal with it. The following are pointers to assist you:

Create new traditions and experiences. Recognize that the holidays won’t be the same if you try to keep everything as it was. For example, you might want to take a vacation somewhere new instead of following your normal holiday routine.
Engage in a holiday ritual. For example, set a place for your loved one at the dinner […]

By |December 12th, 2011|Grief and Loss, Transformation|

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Ocean Magic – A Celebration of Life

“Life is a celebration of awakenings, of new beginnings, and wonderful surprises that enlighten the soul.” – Cielo

The sun felt warm on my skin. It was mid-morning late in October and I was wearing shorts and a t-shirt while walking my elderly dog, Rennie. Smiling, my heart was full of gratitude for the beautiful day.

I peered down the street towards the beach, only three blocks away, and wondered why there were sailboat masts bobbing up and down so close to shore. Earlier, I had read in the newspaper about the humpback whales feeding just outside the harbor. I wondered if the boats were there to see the whales. Excited, my pace quickened as I headed straight to the beach, away from our usual route, dragging Rennie by the leash.

Approaching the beach, I saw hundreds of pelicans and seagulls circling in the air, some diving for fish, creating huge white splashes of water. There were also dozens of kayaks, paddle boards, sail boats and motor boats floating as if gathered for a party. They must be watching the whales, I thought.

Then, a sleek black hump surfaced in the water, white spray shooting straight up into the air. Close by, another […]

By |November 7th, 2011|Grief and Loss, Transformation|

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Grief Counseling Services Now in Santa Cruz!

If you’ve experienced a major loss in your life such as the death of a loved one or pet, a divorce, illness, miscarriage or job lay-off, it is normal to go through a grieving process. Unfortunately, society today does not honor the mourning process and encourages us to “get over it”. Many of us feel we have to quickly move on with our lives. If we repress our grief, though, it can cause all sorts of problems such as anxiety, depression, physical illness and a general feeling of dissatisfaction. If we express our grief on the other hand, we will experience more joy, vitality and purpose in our lives. Here are some suggestions to help you express your grief:

1. Feel your feelings. Meditate and journal every day to get in touch with your painful feelings. Start writing using the prompt, “What I really lost is…” Write for ten minutes without stopping. Then, sit and meditate for ten minutes. Continue to write as new thoughts, feelings and insights surface.

2. Engage in activities that keep you in the present moment. Move your body through exercise. Engage in hobbies such as painting or gardening. Spend time in nature to help you feel […]

A Year in Transition

“Discovering your Groove and creating a luscious life is all about allowing for Grace through your next transition.” – Shann Vander Leek

The sun was an orange ball of fire in the sky as it sank lower over the horizon. I reached the end of the jetty and sat on a large rock to witness its final dip into the ocean. Dolphins surfaced only yards away as they fished for their evening meal. Two sea otters playfully floated on their backs in the harbor entrance where kayaks, fishing boats, outrigger canoes and sail boats entered and exited the marina. My heart filled with gladness and delight as I thought, I am finally home!

It had been an entire year since I first had the revelation…I need to move back to California, to be close to my family. My husband, John, and I had developed a wonderful life in Colorado over the past five years. Further, the cost of living in the Bay Area was much higher and the population more dense. We wondered how we could maintain the laid-back lifestyle we had grown accustomed to and if we would have to compromise our values to live there.

In mid-May, I drove […]

By |September 29th, 2011|Grief and Loss, Personal growth|

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Dive into Life!

Sobbing, I exclaimed, “I finally have my life back!”

Sitting on a catamaran on a beach at Mission Bay in San Diego last week, my step-mom, sister, her boyfriend and I took time out to celebrate my brother, Kyle’s life on the anniversary of his death. He had been gone for twelve years now. We talked about what his life might be like if Cystic Fibrosis hadn’t ended it at the early age of fifteen. Would he be married? What type of work would he be doing? What type of person would he be?

As we reminisced, we also spoke out loud what we would want to say to him as if he were sitting right there with us. My response was, “Thank you! You have helped me get my life back.” Since Kyle’s passing, I had often felt his presence in helping me open doors, bringing about opportunities for my business and life. I especially felt he played a huge part in bringing me all of the amazing healing opportunities over the past several months.

A year ago, a medium channeled Kyle for me during a healing session. She shared, “I see him bouncing you on a high board. He wants […]