living fully

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 […]

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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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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The Cosmic Shakeup

Have you ever had a day when everything went “wrong”? Perhaps your computer crashed or you locked your keys in the car. You feel like things are “off” but you can’t quite put your finger on it.  You wrinkle your brow, shrug your shoulders and say, “That’s strange? I wonder what it could mean. Is the Universe trying to tell me something?”

Recently, I came down with the flu…fever, cough, sore throat. The fever subsided but this nasty cough and sore throat have persisted. I finally took the time to be still and ask, “Is there a message in this for me?” The obvious answer was…YES! Since the throat chakra has to do with creative expression and communication, I suspected the Universe was trying to tell me that I needed to focus more on my writing and to express more from my heart and soul. The words I hear now as I write this are, “Don’t hold back!” I have been playing it safe recently with my writing and not showing up for it as often as my heart and soul would like. This illness is a clear message and indicator for me to get out of my own way […]

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 […]

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, […]

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 […]