Transforming Grief Blog

Rising out of Despair

Dark, murky, lonely, hopeless, disconnected from God/Spirit/Light, I feel heavy and helpless like I’m drowning and it takes too much effort to swim to the surface. I sink further and further, into the darkness, into despair. Perhaps I will just stay in the darkness, underwater, where it is peaceful and calm. Where I can be still and my heart can rest and heal from this recent early miscarriage.

I muster the courage and strength to do this writing. I know in my heart, I am not alone. I can reach out to a friend who is familiar with loss. I begin to feel lighter the more I write and am present with my experience. Perhaps I needed to allow myself to go into the darkness, and fully immerse myself with it, before I could begin to rise up into the light.

As I write, I see the yellow rose on my altar, the pedals fully open, extended, reaching up. I see hope in its unfolding. I hope for hope. I don’t want to remain bitter because one of my most cherished dreams continues to go unrealized.

Then I feel it…a spark in my heart, a small flame is lit. There is light! […]

Saying YES to Life after Loss

Relegated to the couch once again, bundled up in a blanket, not only was I in physical pain, but I was angry. It had been more than three weeks since I had gotten sick with the flu around the time of my father’s and brother’s anniversaries of their deaths (see previous post about anniversary reactions). Now, because of a lingering cough, I had fractured a rib. Why is this happening to me? When am I going to feel better?

I longed to be outdoors enjoying the sunshine and longer spring days. All around people were celebrating life. Music played, young folks walked down the street dressed in flip flops, bathing suits and shorts, headed for the beach, while I was stuck inside feeling sorry for myself.

Prior to this illness I had been feeling really good about the progress I had made with my health and with strengthening my immune system. For several months, I had received acupuncture and hadn’t gotten sick. Further, I had been involved in a business training program and had experienced increased prosperity. Now, my business was crumbling and my doubts were growing. Would I ever be able to sustain my health and energy long enough […]

By |June 22nd, 2012|Acceptance, Grief and Loss|

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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 […]

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 […]

Emerging From a Cocoon

Discouraged, I thought, “I wish I could afford to go to therapy.” The grief over my last miscarriage and my pet’s illnesses weighed heavy on me. Further, for the past nine years, I had experienced one early pregnancy loss after another. Tired of leaning on my husband and friends for support, I largely dealt with my grief on my own.

Within days of crying out to the Universe for help, I received an auspicious e-mail in my inbox announcing…”A New Mourning: Healing after Pregnancy Loss Therapy Group offered at NO COST.” I was astounded! Soon after, more offers for free healing were made…a massage given by an energy worker who specializes in grief and loss; a healing session with an intuitive friend who channels and does body work; three healing sessions with a Reiki master and Re-connective healer; a Watsu water therapy session.

Once I made the commitment to heal my grief, the doors opened and I was supported in ways I could have never imagined. But, not only did I need to be willing to reach out for support, I also needed to be willing to receive it. When I met with each healer, I consciously said to myself, “Open […]