Transforming Grief Blog

Learning to Value Myself

Happy New Year! I love this time of year. The days are getting longer. The busyness of the holidays is behind us. I feel alive with new possibilities and am inspired to create anew.

As part of my process in getting clear about what I intend to create in 2018, I took time out to review my growth over the past year. What did I learn in 2017? What did I appreciate about myself? How did I heal and transform? Instead of focusing on my outward accomplishments, I decided to focus on my inner journey. I feel inspired to share the highlights with you as this review process was fortifying and empowering. It helped me to anchor in the changes, and set intentions for continued growth.

One of the greatest areas of growth for me this year was learning to value myself more. My nature is to be a peace keeper (I am a 9 on the Enneagram). I tend to lose myself in my relationships and prioritize other’s needs before my own.  My pattern has been to play small and not take up too much space. Consciously choosing to break this pattern has been a process.

I took a step to break […]

Dolphin Encounters: A Celebration of Life

For my 50th birthday in February, I decided to gift myself by following one of my long-held dreams…to swim with the dolphins.

I don’t recall when this dream originated. It may have formed while sailing for six-months in the South Pacific in 1998. The crew and I had several encounters with dolphins swimming at the bow of our 46-foot sailboat. During our first ocean passage, sailing from Fiji, I felt excited, but also quite nervous. Even though I grew up sailing, I had never been away from the sight of land. As we sailed west towards the crimson sunset, dolphins joined us at the bow of the boat, as if to provide a personal escort for us out to sea. Their presence elicited feelings of deep joy and comfort and my nervousness subsided. Even though the swells were large, I knew we would be safe. The dolphins signaled a good omen.

Four years later, while sailing with friends from Dana Point to Catalina Island in California, a pod of dolphins greeted us. I laid down on the bow of the boat and dangled my arm overboard hoping to touch one of these magnificent creatures. I didn’t make physical contact, but I […]

By |March 28th, 2017|Living Fully, Transformation|

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Coming Alive After Loss

After eating breakfast at the Aquarius restaurant at the Dream Inn, which overlooks the ocean, boardwalk and Wharf in Santa Cruz, my boyfriend Mark and I decided to stroll on the Wharf where “Woodies on the Wharf” was taking place, a car convention featuring more than 200 stylish, pre-1952 “wood-bodied” cars, known as “Woodies”. Walking hand-in-hand we admired these classic cars which have been restored by their caring passionate owners.

Each car was unique with varying colors, designs, interior upholsteries and decorative ornaments. A few had the doll “Woody” from the movie Toy Story sitting on the dash or the hood of the car. Some had surf boards on roof racks. The varnished wood was gorgeous and the paint jobs exquisite.  The cars appeared shiny, polished impeccably. I wanted to rub my hands all over them to feel their smoothness on my skin. I barely touched them, though, so as not to leave even a finger print on these perfect works of art.

My senses were fully alive after a morning of passionate love making with Mark and a deep, lively conversation over breakfast about possibility, transformation and the nature of existence. Not only was I moved by the beauty of […]

The Other Side of Grief: Awakening New Possibilities for Living

A lot has happened in my life since my last post, including the dissolution of my 18-year marriage, letting go of my home and most of my possessions, and moving eight times (I am still not settled). The grieving process of “emptying out” as my therapist called it was intense and at times unbearable. Sometimes it felt like the pain would never end. The article below, The Other Side of Grief, offers a brief glimpse into my process and some of the tools that helped me to transform my life.

Star-shaped diamonds dance on the surface of the ocean, creating a path of light across the azure waves in front of me to the brilliant warm sun. On either side of the path white spray shoots up from the blow holes of Humpback whales. Sitting atop the cliffs at Eselan, in Big Sur, my eyes scan the ocean in anticipation of the next shiny black mammoth to surface. In my line of sight, orange monarch butterflies flitter around, sometimes ten at a time. I am entranced by their lightness and beauty as they float through the clear blue sky. Awe-struck, I think, “My life is so amazing. How does it […]

Reflections on Grief and Joy

A three-quarter moon glowed pinkish-peach from the rising sun’s reflection on its shadowy surface, as it made its decent towards the horizon. Alone, I stood on the beach taking in the luminescent beauty of the moon, and the glimmering platinum ocean. The early morning light created a symphony of colors as the blue from the sky peaked through the fog, creating a metallic bluish-silver color.

The sand was smooth without foot prints, except for the occasional spiky claw print of a seagull. Bundled up with a scarf, hat and jacket on, I walked slowly from one length of the beach to the other, about half a mile, stopping occasionally to take in the quickly changing scenery and watching as the waves gently rolled and crashed. Their sound soothed my broken heart.

It had been eight months since I had separated from John, after being married for 17-years. Despite the separation being my idea, I was devastated that we hadn’t been able to resolve our differences. The grief was unbearable at times, especially since it was compounded by the loss of my dog and letting go of my dream of having a baby. Now, I was also letting go of my life […]

Creative Expression – My New Year’s Theme

Every year on New Year’s, John and I have a tradition of sitting down to review our personal and professional accomplishments from the previous year, and set our intentions for the year to come. We include our financial goals, as well as, our ideas for exploring Santa Cruz and having fun. I love this process and the opportunity to start anew. Typically, New Year’s is my favorite holiday.

This year was different. I woke up yesterday feeling tired and depressed. When we sat down to review our accomplishments, I had difficulty remembering what I did “right”. Instead, all I could think about was the financial mess I had created by investing in my business and going into debt. How was I going to pay rent? Buy groceries? I felt angry with myself for not meeting my goals and intentions from the previous year around growing my business. After all, I had attended seven business training conferences and now had all of the tools. But, nothing had changed. I was in the same place as I was last year…stuck and frustrated.

Instead of creating specific or lofty intentions like having my next book published by the end of the year. (This was […]

Quantum Leap Healing through Community

Are you someone who has experienced loss? Do you find yourself grieving alone or suppressing your feelings altogether? If so, you may be afraid of burdening friends and family with your grief. Or, perhaps you feel like no one understands what you are going through, so you hide your deepest thoughts and feelings of loss.

Nearly two years ago, I found myself feeling stuck, depressed and very alone in my grief related to not being able to have a baby. I had been through an eight-year cycle of hope, despair and loss during which most of my grieving I did alone. Finally, I joined a pregnancy loss support group with five other women, which catapulted my grieving process in three short months to an entirely new level.

Not only did I feel witnessed, supported and acknowledged for my loss, but I got in touch with and expressed some deep anger I didn’t even realize was there. The group acted as a safe container for me to explore all of my feelings. During the final session, a member shared with me, “You look lighter.” The burden of my grief had been lifted and I felt more joy.

Today, I have more vitality […]

Grieving: A Catalyst for Spiritual Awakening

The grieving process can be a powerful catalyst for our spiritual awakening. When we experience loss, such as the death of a loved one, we long for the connection we once had. We long for what was that isn’t anymore. In our longing, we are invited to surrender and let go of control of how we think life should have turned out. We are invited into a deeper relationship with the Divine as we let go and trust the great mystery of life.

Over the past ten years, I have desired to have a baby but have experienced one early miscarriage after another, with no medical explanation. Each month I become pregnant, I get excited and think, maybe this time! Then, my period comes and I experience grief and despair only to ride the cycle again the following month.

The more I allow myself to express my grief and anger, ALL of my feelings, the more energy I have. My vital life force is allowed to flow and move…to create new life. Thus, my journey through infertility and grief has opened me to new possibilities for living a fertile life. Not only have I birthed a greater version of myself…a stronger, […]

Unleashing the Genius Within

John and I attended a concert at a local jazz venue in Santa Cruz, CA on Monday night. The band was Acoustic Alchemy…a couple of English men on acoustic guitar, a drummer, bass player and keyboardist. We had heard them once before in Big Bear Lake, CA at an outdoor venue and fell in love with their passion and musical genius. This venue put us up close and personal, only three rows back from the stage.

Sitting closest to the keyboard player, I witnessed his hands dance along the keyboard. Each finger found its perfect place on key and in tune with the rest of the band. His body bobbed up and down to the beat of the music. At times he appeared to be making love to the keyboard. His energy was so present and intense, as his fingers gently tapped each key. At others, he appeared to be attacking it with fierceness and passion. The drummer and bass player smiled frequently and acknowledged each other with a nod of the head. Both exuded joy and clearly loved what they were creating. The lead guitar players were brilliant musicians. The man sitting next to me suggested they were the […]

By |July 5th, 2012|Living Fully|

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Don’t Hold Back! Re-engage in Life after the Initial Grieving Ends

By Karen Mehringer

Locked into my seat on the Double Shot ride at the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk, I grabbed tightly onto the handle bars and turned my head towards my husband, John, for assurance. We were facing the beach where kids played soccer and volleyball in the sand. Umbrellas, the colors of the rainbow, were set one right next to the other. Sailboats cruised around near the wharf. It was a gorgeous sunny warm day. As the ride pulled us straight up 125 feet into the air and then quickly dropped us, leaving my stomach in the ethers, I screamed at the top of my lungs. It shot us up and down one more time before coming to a gentle stop. Laughing, I stumbled off the ride and exclaimed, “That was a blast!” I felt like a kid again.

The grieving process takes a tremendous amount of energy. Initially, it is normal to withdraw from engaging in life in order to conserve our energy so we can heal. Perhaps we no longer feel like attending social functions and prefer to spend time alone or with close friends and family. We may find ourselves going to bed earlier than normal, watching […]