Decide to Heal, Again and Again and Again

When one is grieving it sometimes feels as though there are no options. Certainly much of the language that comes to mind and that we hear reinforces the belief that we are doomed to feel this pain forever.

What if that’s not true?

Let’s break it down a bit. The past is over and done, there is no doubt about that fact. While we cannot use a time-machine to go back and change an event, we can use change our feelings about the past by making deliberate choices. That is empowering.

Something I hear quite often is ‘I’ll never get over this pain, I’ll hurt like this for the rest of my life.’

However, we do have choice about our future. Understanding that we have choice about how we move forward is also incredibly empowering. But here’s the thing, we have to make that choice. Deliberately.

That’s right, making the choice to feel better is where healing begins. A powerful reason this matters is that each thought we think, each word we speak reinforces truth within our subconscious. We are literally programming ourselves to suffer or to heal, which do you prefer?

You’ve likely heard that what we focus on expands? Think about a common experience most of us relate to. Perhaps you’ve bought a blue Volkswagen Beetle. The car is new to you and you’re quite excited. Suddenly, it seems that just about anywhere you drive; you see similar cars, though you really didn’t notice them before. The only thing that’s changed is your focus.

In a similar way, when we are convinced that we must suffer deeply for an endless amount of time, we seem to be bombarded with messages that reinforce that belief.

On the other hand, if we decide today that we are open to healing, we are quite likely to notice moments that we feel better. The decision to be open to healing, to notice and appreciate progress reinforces our progress. This is power in action.

Does making this decision mean that the pain of grief will pass in that moment? Nope, it doesn’t work like that. However, making the decision to be aware that we have choice reminds us that we have some control. As we make the choice again and again and again to be aware of moments that feel better, we will notice more and more often that we are feeling better.

I encourage you to consistently apply this choice to your present moment. Remind yourself that your future is looking better and better.

Now, let’s circle back to the event which brought you this grief to begin with. Whether you are grieving a death, an ended relationship, financial loss, etc. I would encourage you to consider re-framing the event in your thoughts and language.

Decide, very deliberately decide how you prefer to think about this event, what story you are telling yourself and others. It matters.

This is not about lying, not at all; it is about shifting our focus. For instance, if I were to tell you about my son Mike, you can be assured that it’s not going to be all about his suicide death at 23 years old. Rather, you’ll hear how he made a bizarre quacking sound when he coughed for years; you’ll know that he loved knock-knock jokes and brewing his own beer and wine.

Now all of these things are part of the same story. I’m not about to deny my son’s death or the heartbreak that brought on. However, that is not where I focus; it’s not what I think about the most. My focus, my attention was then, is now and always will be on the extraordinary human that was in my life for 23 years. I decided on December 18, 2010 to make the choice to tell the story of Mike in the way that most accurately reflects my heart and his life. And the choice has been empowering.

Today, I encourage you to decide, to make the choice to heal. Remind yourself when you open your eyes, that you are making this powerful choice. Remind yourself when you shed tears that they are healing tears. Remind yourself all day long, that the hard work of grieving is bringing you healing with each and every breath. Decide to heal.

Namaste,
Sandy

 

 

Do Your Best and let that be Enough

We hear about self care, and most of us really would like to take good care of ourselves. Having said that, when we are overwhelmed with grief, we are often quick to be harsh and judgmental about ourselves. Both in our words and our thoughts.

What I would like to suggest is that we take a step back and look at the situation as though the situation was about someone else.

Would we be critical of a man who was unshaven and had stains on his shirt if we knew that he had just lost his wife?

Would we speak harshly to the woman who didn’t use her turn signal if we had a way of knowing that she had just been fired from a job that she desperately needs?

Would we be short-tempered and unkind to the child who is unfocused and belligerent, if we knew that they were being bullied and were afraid to go to school?

Or would we instead offer a bit of empathy, compassion and understanding?

Is there any reason at all, why you are not deserving of that same tender consideration?

That my friends is where self-care begins. By offering ourselves the grace and kindness that we would offer to a loved one or a stranger. Because when life happens, we do the best we can. It may not be perfect, but it is perfectly human.

I encourage you to face a mirror for this next step. Looking at the person who is looking back at you, consider your own situation in this very moment. I ask you to notice all that you are dealing with right now. Perhaps insomnia is your nightly companion, overwhelm, concern about finances or other family members. Put it all in.

Take a nice looooooong, deeeeeeep breath. And looking at that person in the mirror, send him or her as much love and compassion as you would that child who is filled with fear. In fact, looking deep into those eyes looking back at you, see the small child inside who longs for reassurance and a kind word.

Allow yourself to feel that love on the deepest levels possible. And it’s okay if you tear up. It’s a very natural, normal and human reaction to having your innermost thoughts, hopes, fears and emotions witnessed. Keep sending that love.

Allow that feeling of warmth and caring to wrap itself around you like a warm blanket. You are loved. You always have been loved. And you always will be.

This is the perfect time to call to mind some of the blessings in your life. Big or small, they all matter.

Some things to consider, do you have a safe place to live? Do you have a companion, animal or human that makes your heart melt? Do the squirrels scampering about outdoors make you smile? What comes to mind for you?

The good things in our lives, and that is truly anything that is going right, are the things I encourage you to focus on and offer deep gratitude. It’s like a balm to the soul. Frankly, if we are able to come up with something, almost anything for which we are truly grateful, our mood lifts and we find it easier to be kind to that person in the mirror.

Please remember, you really are not intended to be perfect. On the other hand, being your authentic self is perfectly human and more than enough.

Namaste,
Sandy

How can I Support Someone Grieving?

That’s a really good question, and I’m so glad that you asked. (wink)

When someone’s heart has been broken, we want to help. It’s human nature and let’s face it, you are a really good human! The problem is that we don’t know what to say or what to do. How would we? We have not supported this friend through this experience before, we’re all new at this and doing the best that we can.

– Show up. Call, text, email, drop a card in the mail. Let the one you care about know that you care. Grief doesn’t heal or go away after a few days. Keep reminding them that you care, that they matter.

– Please be patient. Shock often sets in almost immediately and can last days, weeks or even months. For some, it means that focus takes a walk and memory seems to be on an extended vacation. The one grieving may not be able to process what she is reading or hearing and may need to have things repeated, more than once. He may not remember what you told him a few moments ago. Please, take a deep breath and remember this is someone you care about.

– What do we hear or say? Just call me if you need anything. And we mean it, we really do. But can I let you in on a secret? The one who is experiencing grief may be too overwhelmed to make that call even if they are able to focus enough to determine what they actually need.  This was certainly true for me. What I did find helpful were very specific offers. So here are a few suggestions to give you an idea.

– Ask if you can mow the grass.
– Call and say that you are going to the store for milk and eggs, ask if they have a meal for supper or would they like some tea.
– Headed out for a walk? Invite the one you care about to join you.
– Offer to take the dog for a walk or the children to the park. Ask if they would prefer to join you or have a bit of quiet time.

I think you get the idea. Specifics make it easier for the one who is experiencing grief to focus for a moment and discern what they want or need.

– Say their name! Say the name of the one that is missed. Tell a story about them, something that touched your heart or made you smile. Ask the one who is grieving to share a bit more. This is a gift that will always be cherished.

– Be the back-up. When a day or event is coming up that you expect may be difficult, offer to be their reinforcement. If there is an event coming up and your loved one is considering attending, let them know that you will be there for them. Shoulder to shoulder, it matters. Talk ahead of time about what sort of signal they can give you to let you know they need to have a break or even to leave. In short, be their safety net.

– Take a deep breath if the person you are supporting is unkind or short-tempered with you. Count to 3, or 5 or 137 before responding. What does your heart tell you they intend to convey to you? This does not mean that it’s necessary for you to be a doormat! As gently as possible, in a calm and quiet tone, respond from your heart. Kindness always matters.

– Notice language. If in doubt, ask. When my son died, I realized how many people were terrified of the word suicide. Because the word is so strongly stigmatized some would whisper or avoid saying the word. For me, that was not a concern, but it might be for others. Terminology can land quite painfully for some, please be sensitive. Again, thinking about losing my son to suicide, some would use the phrase ‘committed suicide’ this never bothered me at all. But I do know and care about folks who are deeply offended by that phrase. Notice, be aware and if in doubt, simply ask what is okay.

You are going to make mistakes. Forgive yourself. The one you are supporting is going to make mistakes. Forgive them. Remember that we are all doing the best we can and let that be enough. What matters most is that you care enough to let the person grieving know that they matter to someone. That they are loved. Bless you, for sharing your heart.

Namaste,
Sandy

Healing Support for Suicide Loss

This group is for adults who have lost someone to suicide.

Meeting with others who have experienced suicide grief is powerful. Spending this time together provides a safe, respectful space to truly acknowledge your feelings and experiences… and to begin healing.

You are not alone! Sandy and many others have walked this path, and continue to do so. Healing can and does happen. It’s a very natural part of this journey, made much easier with the support of others.

Join with Sandy, to walk that path, through grief, into healing.

Questions? Contact Sandy
E: Serenity@SandyWalden.com
_______________________________

June 4, July 2, August 6, September 3
7-8:30 PM
CATHE Center – Gray House
Free of charge

Grief – Life is Changed, but Still Beautiful

Somehow I doubt that any of us would choose to be walking the path through grief and into healing. Still, life happens. More correctly, I should say that death happens. And there we are, smack dab in the middle of that path. Knowing that no matter how much we might want to, it’s simply impossible to take steps back to the time that the one we love was with us. And so we must move forward.

Today I was looking at one of my very favorite pieces of jewelry. A gift from my son Mike, quite a long time after he moved to The Other Side. It’s a fun story and I’ll be sure to share it with you another time. For now, I ask you to notice the necklace that I’m wearing in the picture. That’s the one! It’s not an expensive piece of jewelry, but because it is something tangible from one of my sons, it’s very precious to me. Each and every time I wear it, I feel as though Mike is smiling.

As I said, today I was looking at the necklace. I noticed that the color was changing and despite my efforts to clean it, there was no discernable improvement. So, off I went to the jewelry in downtown Burlington. The kind man behind the counter took a look at it and then smiled at me. He certainly knew that it wasn’t a piece of ‘fine jewelry’ by most standards but after a few words he realized it was something I prized very highly.

After a few moments of friendly chit-chat, he told the original color and shine simply could not be restored. This was a piece made of copper with a thin coat of plating. That plating was wearing off and could not be replaced. At first, I was disappointed, feeling a sense of loss. But then he said something that was just what I needed to hear. He said that in time, most likely a very short time because I wear this necklace quite a lot, all of the silver colored plating will be gone and it will be beautiful with the copper showing. He called it evolution. I loved that!

As I left the store I thought about how well this symbolizes our journey. The necklace has been something I prized as a tangible connection to my boy. It doesn’t look the same as it did several years ago – but the looks are all that is changed. The necklace is still a connection of love. It always was. It always will be.

And so we continue to take our steps, walking this path. No, it doesn’t look quite the same as it did when I took those first steps. It’s not what I expected so many years ago before I even imagined what grieving or healing might be like. It’s changing, but then again, so am I. It’s okay to notice, acknowledge and even to celebrate those changes because they are healthy and they are mine.

As I write this post, I find that I am really quite pleased with the look of that special necklace now. Like me, it’s lost some of its original shine. It’s now a much more interesting piece, as some color is wearing off and new ones are showing up, I feel as though it is really deep resilience that is showing through. A new sort of beautiful and I am so grateful.

Namaste,
Sandy

Grief – What IS Grief?


What is grief? Grief is the feeling that we experience when we have a loss. Deep sorrow and hurt. It may be accompanied by shock, lack of focus, loss of energy, feelings of overwhelm. We quite naturally think about feelings of grief when we experience loss of a loved one to death. It’s important to be aware that many other experiences in our lives can bring on the feeling of grief.

  • Divorce
  • Loss of job/career
  • Loss of home
  • End of friendship or other caring relationship
  • Saying goodbye to a beloved pet
  • Financial or economic loss

There are of course many other experiences which can bring about feelings of grief, I think you get the idea.

All of these experiences matter and deserve our attention. At some point in our lives, we are all likely to experience grief in one form or another. While grief due to loss can deeply hurt, it is absolutely possible to grieve or mourn in safe healthy ways which support your healing.

This is important, so I’m going to repeat it.

Feeling deep sorrow and pain after loss results in grief, but that grief CAN evolve, transition and heal. You do not need to feel deep pain every day, all day long for the rest of your life. Healing is possible. And I believe that healing is quite natural.

As I focus on coaching clients through grief, I am particularly focused on those who are grieving the death of a loved one. Grief is NOT a life sentence. Our relationship with our loved one can continue, in a new way to be sure, but it does not need to end with that last breath.

I’ve heard it said many times that we don’t get over a loss. I simply disagree, I believe it is possible. I believe that I have healed from several losses. Each and every one of these people remains in my heart today and always will. However, I no longer feel the deep pain when I think of them. Today I feel love and appreciation for having them in my life.

This didn’t happen in the blink of an eye, but it did happen. And I am deeply grateful.

Are you ready to transition your relationship with the one you have lost? Are you ready to begin healing your pain and grief?

I’m ready when you are. Let’s begin today.

Namaste,
Sandy

 

 

The Acorn Journal: Messages from The Other Side, One Acorn at a Time…

Hello, my friends,

Today’s message is incredibly personal. I’m sharing because this is something that I imagine all of us have dealt with or will deal with at some point in our lives. At the very least, it’s probably a point of curiosity and discussion. I’m talking about communication of some sort with someone who has died.

No, I’m not asking you to set aside your belief’s whatever they may be. I am simply asking you to consider having an open mind. To consider that perhaps, just perhaps someone who has left the planet earth is as close to us as our own heartbeats. Because I believe this is true.

My youngest son died seven years ago. Such a hard thing for me to wrap my head around, even now. I remember so very clearly having conversations with people almost immediately, about feeling confident that Mike was still around, in a very different way of course.

So, I guess it shouldn’t have surprised me when we began finding acorns at our lake home. It soon became very clear that these acorns were in fact, messages from Mike. I began keeping a journal of these occurrences and my thoughts and feelings when they were discovered. I needed to be sure that I wasn’t imagining things.

Time went on and these experiences have continued. This was both an intensely personal experience and something that I wanted to share with the world. When the time was right. Well, it feels as though the time is right and so  ‘The Acorn Journal: Messages of Connection from The Other Side, One Acorn at a Time’ has now been published and is available on Amazon.

This is my story and yes, it continues. Because life does not end when we take our last breath, it simply transforms. I hope that reading my story reminds you that those you love are with you. Always. I hope that you share your own story of connection with me. I would love to hear it.

Namaste,
Sandy

 

 

 

Prosperity Blessing

This was sent to me by a friend. It’s now saved on my Desktop and the first thing that I read when I open my computer. It feels very good, and so I wanted to share with you.

Namaste,
Sandy


A Prosperity Blessing

May you be blessed with an amazingly abundant day today!

May the clouds break and the heavens pour down upon you more joy, more love, more laughter and more money than you could have ever dreamed of.

May the sunshine its golden light of prosperity through every cell of your extraordinary body.

May you be cleansed today of any resistance or feelings of unworthiness that you may still be holding onto.

May your false illusions of doubt, fear, and scarcity gently fall away like soft white feathers on a gentle breeze.

May you be willing, simply willing to allow the Universe to shower you with miracles today.

May the Angels wrap you in their shining wings of opulence.

May the fairies deliver you to their pot of gold at the end of a majestic rainbow.

May your eyes shine with the glorious truth of who you really are and may that truth uplift others in your presence to their own inner knowing.

May your ears hear the sound of perfection ringing in your soul. May you taste the deliciousness of every precious bite of life as your day unfolds moment by moment with amazing grace, heartfelt love and a bounty of magnificent money.

As this day ends, may you slumber wrapped in an exquisite blanket of enduring peace and profound gratitude.

And may the last words you speak today be Thank You.

~Anonymous author

Are You Listening?

We all have guidance. Some call it intuition, others say it is our angels, guides or higher self. Of course, there are those who say it is our subconscious. Perhaps all of these things come into play, but what I want to know is this;  are you listening to that guidance?

Perfect example. I can be a wee bit hard-headed. I’m working on it but facts remain facts. Last week I got in the car and headed into town with the intention of getting new eyeglasses. As I drove, something kept telling me to check in my wallet to be sure that my prescription was there. But I resisted. Actually, I did more than resist. It was as though there was an internal argument going on.

Guidance – Check the wallet, you will not find the prescription.

Me – I don’t need to check, where else would I have put it?

Guidance – Sigh, just check. Pleeeeeeeease. Otherwise, you will find yourself at the location and no prescription will be found. Hint, you might want to look in your computer case though…

Me – Nope. I don’t need to. Although I feel twinges about this and I sort of want to give in and check that wallet, I can’t think where else the prescription might be. Besides, I would need to turn around! That’s not gonna happen. I’m going to stick to my first intention.

Guidance – Okay, have it your way. But the prescription is not in your wallet. Might be in your computer case, but who am I to tell you?

As you have no doubt cleverly discerned by now, I got to the desk and after completely emptying out my wallet on the desktop, realized the prescription was not there. So, I got back into my car and began going home.

You guessed it, when I got in I found myself checking my computer case. Where of course, I immediately found the prescription.

Guidance – See, I told you so!

Yes, it seems that my inner voice is a bit of a smart Aleck at times. On the other hand, I absolutely had it coming.

Are you listening to your guidance? Those nudges that suggest you turn left rather than right. That fleeting thought that hints at calling someone. That imperceptible something, often indefinable that propels you to say or do something that you might not have otherwise. This is guidance.

We all have access. Most of us are quite aware that there is something helping us to make decisions. When we choose to ignore this guidance, we are often able to see how we might have benefited from making other choices.

Each and every time we do listen, we reinforce our connection, our trust. We further develop a relationship that benefits us.

So, do you want to be the person standing that the desk searching for your eyeglass prescription? Or, would you like to take a few deep breaths and consider that maybe, just maybe, there is guidance coming to you that is helpful? It’s really up to you.

Namaste,
Sandy

 

 

 

 

Are you Judging Your Bloom?

I spent some time walking around the gardens this morning. The early spring flowers are showing off their color and it’s fabulous.

When planted, many of these flowers were the smallest cuttings, some were planted as seeds or bulbs. Often so small as to be barely there.

They began to grow, nurtured by the sun, soil and rain. In the beginning, some may have said they didn’t have much to add to the garden. They needed time to mature. But they had promise, they existed and their presence was enough.

As time has gone on, each began to display their own unique beauty. The greenery that was shaped and colored differently from other plants. Even their short-lived blooms change from day to day. They are evolving as they mature.

It made me wonder if these plants ever doubted themselves… did they compare themselves to their more mature neighbors and find themselves lacking in some way? Were they ‘less than’ because they were still growing into their own magnificence?

As they bloom today, are they able to recognize and acknowledge the contribution they make to the gardens? Because each of these plants makes the gardens more complete.

A daffodil cannot be a lungwort, nor should it try! The phlox that is beginning to break ground has no need to compete with Asian iris, each has its own gifts that does not need to be compared to those of its neighbors.

None of these plants are ‘fakers’ or ‘impostors’ just because they are different than the other plants.  Each has it’s placed in the garden and is valued greatly for what it brings.

So, on this blooming day in spring. it’s my hope that you smile and acknowledge that you are really quite perfect just as you are.

Namaste,
Sandy