The Heavy Coat of Suicide Grief

Written on August 20, 2016 at 9:53 am, by Sandy Walden

 

A very wise woman I once knew described the grief associated with losing someone to suicide as a heavy coat. It went something like this.

Imagine walking along on path on a bright sunny day. Wearing the lightest of clothing, each step is easy. You feel strong, nimble.

Now imagine if someone just dropped a great big, soaking wet coat onto your shoulders. The coat covers you from head to foot. The hood hangs over your face and obscures your view almost entirely.  The sleeves are so long and heavy that it’s difficult to even lift your arms.  Each time you try to take a step you find yourself tripping because this coat is so big and heavy.

This coat of suicide grief is overwhelmingly large, oppressive and just so very heavy. Along with the weight that most experience when losing one they love, there are additional weights in the pockets of this coat of grief. Making the grief even heavier.

There is the stigma. So much painful stigma associated with suicide and the loss of a loved one to suicide. It’s not unusual for those who have lost someone to be worried about sharing the cause of death with others. There is frequently shame, guilt and blame attached. Additional weights in the pockets. Adding to the weight of this coat of suicide grief.

New suicide grief can feel very much like this coat of grief. For some, it is not only too heavy to walk well, but it can be almost impossible to sit or even consider standing.

Still, the coat is not one that can be removed by simply unbuttoning and shrugging off of your shoulders. Instead, each person who wears this coat of suicide grief must understand that this is now a part of their reality.

Safe, healthy grieving takes work! And yes, it absolutely is exhausting. One of the many reasons why so often one who is grieving simply feels worn out. That coat of suicide grief is enormously heavy.

Over time, and with safe, healthy ways to express this grief, that coat can become lighter. It helps to begin considering those weights in the pockets. Is it really reasonable to accept and hold on to stigma? Who does that benefit? Letting go of that stigma, refusing to own it lightens the coat enormously. This is much easier for some than others. A process.

Each of these weights is a burden. Is guilt really fair or reasonable? Is blame helpful in any way? On and on, one at a time. As each of the weights is taken out and examined the coat begins to feel a bit lighter. Not as heavily saturated. And something else is happening at the same time. The person wearing the coat is becoming stronger. Again, a little at a time.

Over time, with work and hopefully with strong support from others, something rather miraculous begins to happen. Healing. It can be so subtle at first that it’s not recognized. The one experiencing this deep grief may shift their focus from the manner and moment that their loved one died to the lives that they shared together. The memories of smiles, hugs, and joy.

And slowly, the one who is wearing this coat of suicide grief is able to sit up. Stand up. Take steps and walk. Even to run.

Some say that they will wear the coat of grief their entire lives. Perhaps that is so, or not. For each person who has worn the coat of suicide grief the experience is unique,  very individual.

Many are eventually able to take to coat off. It may be folded and put on a shelf, perhaps it is worn from time to time. But it no longer drags them to the ground all of the time.

Once again, the one walking the path is able to move forward. Rejoining life.

Namaste,

Sandy

 

What if…We Really Listened?

Written on March 23, 2016 at 10:41 am, by Sandy Walden

Political season is here in the United States. These days it feels particularly vicious. One person calling the other names, each trying to demonize the other. As I’ve watched, read and tried to listen, it seems to me that I’m not having much opportunity to really get to know what these people really believe or intend to bring about if they are elected.

It occurs to me that while this sort of thing is incredibly obvious in the political arena, it happens in our everyday lives as well.

What would it be like to sit down with someone, perhaps a friend or even a complete stranger? And as they share, we really listened? What if we heard the words they were speaking, watched their body language, felt their energy? What if this communication were not about judging what was being shared – but coming to understand the experiences, thoughts, and feelings of the other person?

What if you knew you would not be attacked or belittled for having an opinion that is different from someone else? What if you trusted that the person you were speaking with actually cared about how you feel? What if you knew they were interested in why you think the way you do? What if it mattered just because you matter?

If you knew that someone you were sitting down with was hearing your heart; endeavoring to understand what you are thinking and feeling, would it change your desire and willingness to share?

Would bonds form or be reinforced if we knew that others were listening not with the intention of showing us how foolish or wrong we are, or even to agree that we are rather brilliant? But rather listening to come to know us better. What if we set aside the judgment and instead intended to understand one another? What if we invited empathy into the conversation? What if we discover and relish that this is the basis for true connection.

What if…just for today, we really listened?

Namaste,                                                                                                                                                                                          Sandy

 

 

 

What if…I Embrace and Even Nurture My Ego?

Written on August 18, 2015 at 2:11 pm, by Sandy Walden

Again and again, when I read or listen to people that I greatly respect. Folks who are quite magnificent teachers. Leaders in the New Age world, it seems that the ego is a problem.

Now I don’t mean that ego is referred to as an itty bitty problem, something like having an irritating pebble in your shoe. Nope! Ego is often referred to as a great big problem. As though it’s a huge steel door that is standing between me and my goal of becoming an evolved spiritual being. In other words, the ego has simply got to go.

Oh my, this is beyond distressing to me. In fact, the very thought of tamping down, stomping out, eliminating my ego makes me want to push back with both hands. Both feet and then I feel a strong urge to lean forward and push back with the top of my noggin’ as well.

Stomp out my ego? Unh-uh! I don’t wanna, I’m not gonna. And nobody can make me. Whoops. Maybe that is the three-year-old that seems to have a very vibrant life within me expressing herself. Just the same, the grown-up me thinks that she is absolutely right. And here’s why.

If we are spiritual beings having a human experience, and I believe that in fact, that is true, then having a healthy ego is quite necessary. It’s a vital part of us as human beings. Our healthy ego is what keeps us standing upright when doubt surrounds us. It’s what propels us forward when obstacles keep showing up in our path. A healthy ego is what allows us to be kind in the face of cruelty, compassionate in times of pain and courageous in times of great fear.

Now I’m not for one moment suggesting that we should overfeed our ego, to do so may be to create a monster. Nope, nope, nope.  An oversized ego makes for an arrogant and often uncaring human. This leads to incredible selfishness, almost an inability to consider or think about others or to care about them as they simply are not as important as our great big hairy monster ego.

On the other hand, an ego that is starved leads to true poverty of confidence and self-esteem. If the ego is not nurtured and cared for then we come to believe that we don’t matter at all. We may tell ourselves and even others, that everyone else’s needs are more important. That we really don’t matter very much. This can mean that we not only tolerate being ignored and even shoved aside, but it can also lead us to believe that we deserve to be abused in some way. This starving of the ego seems like a very bad idea.

Balance. There’s that word that I love so much. To my way of thinking our ego needs to be treated with firm kindness. Maintained with gentle, loving thoughts and words. This is balanced by compassionate honesty so that the ego does not become the aforementioned monster.

Having this balance; which can admittedly become a tricky thing to maintain, is really a very important part of the human experience. Perhaps this learning to find and maintain balance is one more lesson that our spirit is learning by having this human experience.

Ahhhhhh, balance. It’s a desire, a goal, an intention. As humans we often fall short of our goals, that’s okay. That too is part of our experience. Each time we fall short in some way we have the opportunity to look back, reflect, learn, fine-tune ourselves. And then we do better.

My ego is part of me. I fully expect to embrace and nurture my ego because this is part of my very human experience. I invite those that I trust to let me know if I’m over-feeding or starving my ego. I happen to have some pretty honest friends who are quite happy to help out with this task. I’m a lucky gal because the simple truth is that I don’t always see this for myself. This too is part of my human experience.

Namaste,                                                                                                                                                                                          Sandy

 

 

 

Reiki Level One – Class

Written on June 14, 2015 at 8:57 am, by Sandy Walden

Are you ready to welcome the gentle energy of Reiki into your life?

Reiki is all about releasing that which no longer serves us and welcoming balance into our lives. This is very gentle, but don’t let that fool you – it’s quite powerful. In fact it can be life changing.

Serenity is offering a class for Level One Students

Friday, June 19th                                                                                                                        10a – 3p                                                                                                                                   Oxford, WI

Participants are always welcome to share their own thoughts, beliefs and experiences and expectations about Reiki. We will discuss the history and philosophy of Reiki, all in an interactive, safe environment. The Reiki class experience includes learning about traditional Reiki hand positions as well as discussion about trusting your own Reiki intuition. Each class member will give and receive a full Reiki session.

Each will be attuned to Reiki. You will receive your own Reiki manual and of course a certificate of completion for Reiki Level 1.

To register for this class, please contact Sandy via email:  Serenity@SandyWalden.com

I look forward to sharing this Reiki energy with you.

Namaste,                                                                                                                                                                                         Sandy

 

 

 

 

 

 

How Connection Heals

Written on February 25, 2014 at 11:00 am, by Sandy Walden

LegacyConnect members sum up what they do as follows: “grief support groups & expert advice on coping with loss, writing condolences, attending funerals, mourning death and celebrating life.” A sense of community and connection with others is perhaps the most important tool for healing that survivors can find. Getting advice from experts in related fields is something we all long for from the very beginning, but becoming a part of a community in which we can interact and share both pain and healing is something that is priceless, especially to “celebrating life.”

Celebrating life, whether I realized it or not, was something I did naturally, even at the beginning of my mourning for my husband. Reaching out to connect with others was another instinctive healing urge that guided me back toward life and hope. I had always heard this was possible, but I also realized – in 2007 – that I had never encountered this kind of darkness before.

If you think about it, we all learn from others. We start at the beginning of life, and this is one task that never ends. Learning and sharing are as old as mankind, yet we have not learned everything yet. Some things cannot be passed by information alone. Some things have to be experienced. I believe that each person who enters this world leaves a special and unique message that no one else can deliver. I think each person who loses a dearly loved child, partner, sibling, other family member or friend can provide comfort to others that is uniquely his or her own. In this way, we are all adding to the body of knowledge in the universe.

It may be that when we have completed our time on earth – no matter what age that time comes – we are ready to move forward. Our message has been delivered; our impact on the world has been made. For people who love us, there is never a good time to lose us. I cannot ask for more time with my husband in exchange for a date when I must let him go – again. That is something I cannot give. I would never willingly let him go.

Or would I? We two used to talk about things like that in deep conversations that ran long into the night. I suppose everyone has that kind of conversation at some point. How do we want to face the end of life? What are the best decisions regarding the care of our children? Should the one who is left remarry? Are there certain people we should consult for advice if the unthinkable happens?

We had it all planned…except that nothing happened the way we thought it would. Personally, I was sure we would take our lasts breaths together in our sleep one night, passing from one peaceful existence to another wrapped in the arms of each other. We would be well into our ninety’s, and our children would say, “This is how they would have wanted to go because they loved each other so. This is the way is was supposed to be.”

I did not plan for my daughter to walk alone toward her handsome bridegroom. I did not realize my husband’s recounting of his dream in which I wore a yellow dress would be his last. I did not think of holding his grandson in my arms for the first time without his arms around me.

Yet, I celebrate his life every day. I understand the path he took had more to do with saving me than saving him. I look forward to holding that child, who will be so much a part of him. My husband was so much more than the way he died.

When my daughter smiles or my grandson laughs, when I see in a beautiful spring day all the echos of days my husband and I shared that were good, I know I can never return to those innocent days in which I could just read about loss without knowing something else deep in my heart. But I also know, I will share the joy he brought to my life and the way he made the world around him better.

I will tell the stories he used to tell and share stories about the things he did and said. I will sit in a sandbox or push a swing and pass the love he gave me on to someone else who, in turn, will one day talk about the grandfather he never met as if he knew him.

Note: For more information about LegacyConnect, visit www.connect.legacy.com.

Jan McDaniel
www.lostandfoundrebuilding.weebly.comAlliance of Hope for Suicide Survivors:
Forum Moderator
Stewards Program Manager

Blog columnist
http://www.allianceofhope.org/blog_/jan-mcdaniel/

Are You Using All the Tools in Your Toolbox?

Written on January 28, 2013 at 4:08 pm, by Sandy Walden

Recently I’ve become aware that although it is second nature for me to coach others through difficult times, to stop what I am doing and send Reiki to anyone who needs it or to create a hypnosis recording that will help someone through a difficulty; I have not been using these tools to address my own issues.

Okay, so I’m reminded once again that I’m pretty much a normal human being. I have ups and downs just like everybody. And sometimes I forget that I have very useful tools to help me move through these difficulties.

How about you? What do you do when someone reaches out to you with a particular worry or need? What tools or resources do you have that you utilize for their benefit? When the shoe is on the other foot, do you find it easy to call upon these same resources to address your needs? If so, terrific! If not, how can you change that situation?

A very wise woman that I know talks often about establishing a circle of support. This is so very important for all of us. This circle is crucial in times of extreme need, however, it’s very valuable to remember that this circle of support is there as time goes on and our needs change. Perhaps the people in your circle change to accommodate the shift in your life, which makes sense to me. Contacting these people, knowing that they will respect my story and treat it as confidential is very powerful for me. They make sharing safe. One tool in my box is this circle of support.

I’ve got other tools that I can utilize; prayer, exercise, laughter, writing, Reiki, hypnosis, coaching, reading, etc.

What tools do you have in your toolbox? Are you remembering to open that box up when you have needs? Perhaps you are more able to utilize a particular tool with the assistance of a friend, clergy member or counselor. If that’s the case, I urge you to pick up the phone and reach out to others, trusting them to embrace you with the same sort of love and compassion that you offer.

I really like the toolbox analogy. Feels constructive, reminds me that I am more powerful than I sometimes remember. I wonder what’s in your toolbox…

Namaste,

Sandy

 

 

 

Reiki Class – Level 2

Written on November 14, 2012 at 11:00 am, by Sandy Walden

Are you ready to move to the next level? When you move on to Reiki level 2 you increase your vibration, increasing your flow of Reiki energy. As always, this class is very relaxed and interactive. You are encouraged to share your experiences and ask questions. Discussion is strongly encouraged as we all have unique experiences and learn from one another.

I’m very fortunate in that I am able to welcome my good friend and trusted colleague Helen Mork to co-teach this Reiki class. Making it even more interesting and giving greater variety of experience.

Reiki Class – Level 2

Sunday, November 18th
9:00am to 2:00pm
$150.00
Oxford, WI

http://www.sandywalden.com/reiki/reiki-classes.php

To register for this class either visit the link above, give me a jingle at  (414) 378-8764 or drop me a line via email at: Serneity@SandyWalden.com

Remember, this is your Reiki journey. Are you ready to take the next step?

Namaste,

Sandy

Reiki Healing Circle in Oxford, Wisconsin

Written on November 13, 2012 at 4:02 pm, by Sandy Walden

Reiki healing circles are a most wonderful, healing activity. Ahhhhhhhhh  

This months Reiki healing circle will be held Wednesday November 14th at Sky Blue Dreams.

Sky Blue Dreams
136 Ormsby St. (Hwy 82)
Oxford, WI 53952

Time: 9-10:30am

Fee: Donations welcome

What happens at a Reiki Healing Circle gathering? Well, it’s really very simple. Anyone who would like to receive Reiki healing, or would like to request Reiki healing for themselves, another or even would like to send Reiki healing to an event joins us. We share the name and or the event or circumstances for which we are requesting Reiki energy. And then we simply spend time in quiet meditation, sending and receiving the gentle healing of Reiki energy.

That’s all there is to a Reiki Healing Circle. Don’t let the simplicity fool you! The energy is profound. Reiki is defined as Universal Life Force Energy. It heals on all levels; physical, mental, emotional and spiritual. That which you are ready to release is released so that you can embrace the positive Reiki healing. Reiki balances your energy.

If you would like to be remembered during our monthly Reiki Healing Circle and cannot attend, send me an email and I will be sure that you are part of the Reiki Healing Circle from a distance. If you would like to receive the Reiki energy and are free to attend, I look forward to seeing you there.

Namaste,

Sandy

Basics of Crystal Healing

Written on October 23, 2012 at 8:38 am, by Sandy Walden

Beyond Dreams Wellness Spa, LLC
2100 Church St, East Troy, Wisconsin 53120

Basics of Crystal Healing Class

Saturday October 27th 1:00PM-5:00PM

Taught by certified Crystal Healer Ashley Leavy.

The classes taught by Ashley Leavy are ceu obtainable with NCBTMB. Anyone is welcome and for massage therapists looking for credit classes this would be a great class to attend! Please register by calling Beyond Dreams Wellness Spa, LLC, email at beyonddreams64@gmail.com , or by the contact us page on this website.

Register within 5 days of class date. Here is a link to Ashley’s webpage to find out more information about the class

http://www.crystalhealer1.com/apps/calendar/showEvent?calID=4841108&eventID=195816303&next=showMonth%3fcalID%3d4841108%26year%3d2012%26month%3d9

Reiki Level 1

Written on September 30, 2012 at 6:26 pm, by Sandy Walden

Learning Reiki affords you the opportunity to experience this gentle self-care anytime, anyplace. You will also be able to offer Reiki to loved ones, including your pets.

This powerful energy healing modality offers you balance so that you are able to release stress and heal yourself; mind, body and soul. Relax, calm and heal…ahhhhh, feels so good!

Students in this class will benefit from having two teachers. Helen Mork and Sandy Walden. Both are Master/Teachers; however each has their own unique Reiki journey and unique experiences.

This class is very interactive. Your thoughts, experiences and questions are not only welcome, they are strongly encouraged.

This class provides:
• History and Philosophy of Usui Reiki
• Overview of the Chakra system
• Attunement to Reiki
• Basic hand positions for Reiki treatment
• Practice self-healing as well offering Reiki to another

This class provides the attunement to begin the flow of Reiki energy. Training manual and certification of completion will be provided.

When – Sunday, October 21, 2012
Time – 8am – 1pm
Where – Sky Blue Dreams, Oxford, Wisconsin
Fee – $150. Per student

To reserve your space, contact Helen Mork 608-697-2975.

We look forward to meeting you at the class.

Namaste,
Helen and Sandy