The Blurt Factor

I wrote this waaaaaaaay back on February 5, 2011. It was around 7 weeks after the death of my son. I’m sharing it with you now, more than 8 years later because I think that these experiences are more common than we might imagine.

If you are someone that is grieving, it’s my hope that this will assure you that if you ‘blurt’ you are not alone. When grief is new and fresh, our brain simply does not operate in quite the same way as it does typically. Please be gentle and forgiving of yourself.

If you are supporting someone who is grieving, please be patient and aware that they are doing the best they can. Often with less grace than they would prefer, but it is their best at the moment.

February 5, 2011

I’ve been calling it the ‘blurt factor’. At times it seems so strange to me that the death of my son has not caused the planet to stop spinning. I’m sometimes puzzled that when I turn on the radio, pick up a newspaper or switch on the television that there is not wall to wall news about Mike dying. Perhaps similar to what we see and hear when there is the death of someone like Princess Diana or President Kennedy.

Mike died on December 17, 2010. I returned to work on January 3rd. I’m self-employed so that made it somewhat easier. I can and do postpone or cancel appointments when those feelings overwhelm me.

And yet, on the phone with a treasured client a few hours ago, I found myself telling her that my son had died last month and that the cause of death was suicide. Because of the nature of my business, many of my clients including this one know quite a lot about my personal life.  I use examples from my own experiences all the time to help them to move forward in a positive manner. Still, this particular client has moved to another state, she had no way of knowing this had happened and the phone call was not ‘about me’. Hence what I call The Blurt. There was no reason to share this with her, it did not benefit her in any way to know. At least not then and not in that way. Many, if not all of my clients do know because they see one another and also because I have had to cancel or postpone appointments when I’ve had a particularly emotional day. Ugh!!! This was only a moment or two of the one-hour conversation and of course, I apologized profusely. On the phone as well as in follow up communication. I don’t like that I am doing this – this blurting.

As with many of you, this is new territory for me. Part of my brain detaches often and observes with fascination the process that is unfolding. The day before my son died a client contacted me and asked if she could simply come and share for a while with me on Friday. She had lost two people that she cared about to suicide in the previous weeks. These people were unknown to one another but she was feeling overwhelmed and simply needed to share. So, we spent over 3 hours in my office. As we talked I realized that it seemed to me that survivors rarely ‘get over’ suicide. The day I spent with her and with another client who was sharing deep concerns and worries about one of his sons is the day my son died. Another fact that seems to hang around that part of my brain that is simply keeping notes and is not as emotional.

When I experience something life-changing, one of the ways I cope is to read, read, read. So, after losing Mike I began reading websites and books about grief. I was horror-stricken when I read a book that told me that I should expect to curl up in a fetal position and want to die myself. Of course, that’s not literally what the book said, but that is what I took from it at the time. Talk about selective reading! I know that is the experience of many people and I feel horrible that is so, but it’s not been my experience. At least not yet and I pray that it never will be. It sometimes feels to me that I’m not moving through this the way I’m supposed to. But I don’t know just how I am supposed to. What are the rules, the guidelines?

I remember the morning after the officers left our home telling us about the death of our son. My husband and I were sitting together, numb. I kept thinking and even saying ‘I don’t know what to do, say or think next. There must be directions somewhere.’ I think that’s what I look for when I read, directions. There isn’t a manual that I can find so I’m stumbling through doing the best that I can and I think I’m doing okay. Still, there’s the blurt.

I think what bothers me most about the blurt is that it hurts so many people and that feels unnecessary and cruel. It occurs to me that for me at least it’s the verbal equivalent to wearing mourning colors, an armband that signifies that you’ve suffered a loss or a wreath on the door indicating to all that you may be in a fragile state of some sort. While I absolutely do not consider myself fragile, I know that I am changed. Just what that change will look like down the road, I don’t know as yet, I guess I’ll find out as time goes on. For the moment that change brings the frequent blurt, the frequent memory lapses, occasional issues with focus and thankfully diminishing problems with sleep. As sleep returns, I suspect and hope that some of these other issues will dissipate to some extent as well.

I often find myself laughing and enjoying the many pleasures in my life and I am so grateful for the blessing that while I experience profound sadness I have not experienced depression. Still, the tears surprise me often, many times without warning. The last several days were incredibly rough, but today feels pretty darned good and I’m enthusiastic about teaching a class tomorrow followed by watching the Superbowl.

I suspect that blurting is sort of my way of announcing that I’ve changed in a fundamental way. People can see that I’m short, they can see that I’m aging but they can’t see that I’m emotionally wounded. Maybe that’s what the blurt is, a way of sharing and in a small way re-balancing my world. I have always shared my excitement about my family with clients when one is coming home, has something to celebrate, etc, so I suppose that in some way this is continuing to share. For some reason, it’s important for me to assure them that while Mike is gone from my physical life, he’s not gone from my heart or mind. And that I absolutely know he’s near whenever I need him.

Perhaps the blurt will diminish or even go away. Time will tell. At any rate, It’s my intention that by expressing myself here, by sharing this strange bit of behavior (at least new and strange to me) that I will be more aware and able to release the need. Again, time will tell.

Namaste,
Sandy

 

Grief and Healing. What do the Words Mean to You?

I only speak one verbal language, English of the American variety. The truth is that I looooove words! I find language, the nuances, the various ways that we use words to express a variety of meanings to be absolutely fascinating.

Something that I realize more and more is that phrases and words may not mean the same thing to you and me. While I find some words or phrases to be helpful others may find them hurtful. The reverse is also true.

For example, the phrase ‘You never get over it.’ I’ve been assured by more than one rather brilliant professional with all of the appropriate letters after their names that assures me they are licensed counselors, that phrase is true. Hands down, no discussion, it’s true for everyone who is experiencing grief due to death.

Each time I explained that I find the phrase absolutely terrifying! For me, it feels as though I am being told that I will suffer, hurt and never laugh again and that neither will anyone of those I love who have also experienced grief.  Ever. It feels final. A bit like being shackled and tossed to the back of a dark cave. As I said, a horrible feeling – for me.

At the same time, I realize full well that many are comforted by that phrase as they are reminded that it’s perfectly natural to have difficult moments, hours or even days long after the one they love has died.

The same phrase, but very different responses.

I often read websites or books that tell us what to say and what not to say to someone we are endeavoring to support through grief. As I read those books and those websites, I greatly appreciate the kind assistance that is offered. At the same time, again and again, I find myself wanting to suggest that those are not hard and fast rules. What feels good today may be painful tomorrow… or not.

* Forgiveness
* Healing
* Life after death

To offer just a few. I know how each feels for me, what the meaning is for me. At the same time, I am very aware that they may land differently for you.

I offer this thought, or perhaps a suggested exercise. When you are speaking about your own grief or with someone about theirs, ask how these phrases and words feel to them. Discuss what feels helpful for you and be open to hearing what is true for them in their own experience.

Yes, we share a common language. But the most helpful conversations are when we feel welcome and supported to understand one another.

Namaste,
Sandy

 

Healing – It can be Messy Stuff

When I think about grief, particularly as it’s associated with the death of someone we love; I find that it’s really easy for me to think of it as a static thing, maybe a closet of sorts. Something that simply exists as the result of a loss. This makes sense because we experience pain and sorrow when we lose someone to death.

This line of thinking causes a shift within my being. Grief goes from being static, which to me can be overwhelming, to something that is fluid. This means that it can move, shift and evolve. Even typing that out, I feel lightness within my being.

I was thinking about this recently. Hubby and I were out walking one early evening. As I admired the beautiful yards and watched the kids playing outdoors, I completely forgot to watch my feet and where they were being placed on the sidewalk. As a consequence, my face met that sidewalk and no, the result wasn’t pretty. My sunglasses broke and cut my forehead. Lots of blood, which seemed to really impress the little boy who lived there. He was pretty adorable.

A short trip to the local Urgent Care got the cut glued up in no time and I was quickly on the road to healing.

Here’s the thing, healing didn’t mean that the wound immediately went away. Nope, instead, my face swelled pretty impressively. I got headaches with too much movement for a few days which caused me to sleep more than usual and to rest. Which my body needed for effective healing.

No, grieving and healing are not always pretty. I think of the tears I’ve shed as a result of grief and the truth is that it was loud, snotty and possibly a wee bit horrifying for anyone who might see me. I’m not a pretty crier, I would not be filmed for a dramatic role in a movie. Messy indeed, but it gets the job done.

Sometimes we are less than kind to those who are trying to support us. Or we misunderstand what someone is trying to express. It can take time and work to sort this out, but it’s worth it.

Grieving and healing are messy. Plain and simple. We may become fatigued, we may be cranky, we may have needs that we have difficulty explaining. All natural, normal, human parts of this process.

I like to think of it as a messy closet. Imagine having a closet jam-packed with thoughts, feelings, and experiences. We can think of this closet as grief. That static something that I referred to earlier. It can take an enormous amount of courage to open that closet door, but it’s a very important first step.

One by one, taking items out of that closet. There may be experiences, emotions, memories scattered all about, but that’s just fine. It’s part of the process.

For a moment, or however long you need, hold them each. Feeling and acknowledging each and every one allows them to begin to release their charge. We then can decide if they go back into the closet or if it’s time to let them go. No right or wrong, simply progress. If we decide to hold on to them, we may well find that they are a bit lighter, they don’t take up as much space in our closet. The extra space is now occupied by a wee bit of healing.

Yes, healing is a messy business. No doubt about it. This line of thinking causes a shift within my being as it reminds me that it’s okay to grieve I the way that’s right for me. Grief shifts from being static, which to me can be overwhelming, to something that is fluid. This means that it can move and evolve. This is where healing happens.

Namaste,
Sandy

 

 

 

 

Losing Mike – Celebrating Mike

If you’ve read my blog before, you know that it’s often very personal. Today is the most intensely personal blog I’ve ever shared. Still, I feel that I have to share before I can move forward in any meaningful way.

Tuesday, June 2, 1987, was one of the most amazing days of my life. At 6 am we welcomed Mike, our third and youngest son to our family. To say we were complete may be an understatement.

Fast forward, 23 years. At some point on Friday, December 17, 2010, the world stopped spinning, perhaps even wobbled, as Mike took his own life.

A very real part of me was stunned in the days after losing Mike. After all, when someone of great importance to the world dies, we usually see it on the television day in and day out. We hear it on the radio and read it in our newspapers. Headlines like ‘A Nation Mourns’ or ‘The World Says Goodbye’. It was incredibly strange not to see or hear that the lives of every person on the planet had been changed; because I feel sure that it had.

Moving forward is the only option left to any of us who knew and loved Mike. Be assured, to know Mike was to know laughter, enormous hugs, endless debates, and great fun. To have Mike in your life was to know a special sort of love.

We will never know for sure why Mike felt it necessary to end his life. He didn’t leave a note or an explanation of any sort. Family, friends, and acquaintances were all shocked. Mike suffered from Addison’s disease and we have come to believe that it affected him much more than any of us were ever aware. We may be right or it’s entirely possible that we are simply grasping at an answer that allows us to move forward. The simple fact is that we will never know for sure.

I have found that there is no gentle way of telling others that my son has died. Clearly, everyone who knew Mike was affected. The loss is no more or less profound for any of us; it simply is different for each of us. We all knew and loved Mike in different ways. While we grieve and find our own way through the mourning, I find that it’s necessary for me to celebrate every moment of the 23 years that Mike breathed life on this planet.

It’s very meaningful to me that while family and friends stormed the house offering hugs, condolences and of course never-ending food; they also came armed with stories. Mikey-isms for lack of a better term. We have gone through more tissue than I ever imagined possible as we have cried oceans of tears. But in the past 8 weeks, there has also been more laughter shared that I could have imagined possible.  Mike not only was much loved, but it’s also clear that all who knew him felt loved as well.

Memories of being pregnant with Mike have been resurfacing lately. I’m short and he was one big baby! At the end of my pregnancy, many of my maternity clothes didn’t fit, so it was no surprise to welcome this 9-pound wonder into our lives when he finally joined us.  Mike was a content, happy baby and that is pretty much the way he lived his entire life.

Our other sons were 3 1/2 and not quite 2 years old when Mike was born. Mike changed all of our worlds. While most babies wake up crying, by the time he was a few months old we knew Mike was awake because we would hear babbling or even laughing. Are you getting the picture?

As he grew, Mike spent much of his time laughing, chattering or simply expressing joy and contentment in various ways. When the boys were small they spent most of their time together. It seems that our elder sons would frequently ask me to find a way to quiet Mike. He would simply wander around humming or singing under his breath. Happy and content. Needless to say, I never did quiet Mike, it was so much fun to see and hear someone so happy.

As the boys grew, they remained close in many ways although they were and are strongly individual and independent. Mike loved to tease his brothers about being taller than either of them and often stood on his toes, even in cowboy boots to accentuate the height difference. Still, his brothers were always protective of Mike, standing up for him whenever the occasion called for it. Mike simply took it as his due. When either of them would tease him about being the baby and being a bit spoiled, he would grin and say ‘Yep!’. Quite the interesting crowd, my boys.

Mike loved playing music. Learning to play the violin when he was a little boy, he bought himself another violin just a few years ago. He played and collected guitars for a while, beginning with the base guitar. And let me tell you, he was pretty good. We thought he had sold or given away all of his guitars, but learned after he died that he still played with a small group of his friends almost every week. Surprise.

Brewing beer, making wine, pickling eggs and hunting. So many things that Mike liked to do and that he shared with family or friends.

We absolutely know that Mike realized completely how deeply he was loved and valued by all. I also believe that each and every person in Mike’s life knew that Mike loved them as well. He shared those feelings with hugs, grins, and jokes. Laughing easily and frequently. That’s who Mike was, a joyful, loving young man.

Why? Well, it’s my personal belief that we are born to learn and to teach lessons. For our souls to have human experiences. When those lessons or experiences are complete, I believe that is when we leave this life. It may be by way of natural causes, illness, accident or as in Mike’s case, by suicide. It’s entirely possible that my view may change as time passes, but this has always been my belief.

Mike was not a push-over. He stood strong and loud for things he believed in, enjoying the debate and arguing until he was sure you had to have accepted his point of view. Stubborn at times, especially when it came to talking about politics or spirituality. He was also open to hearing your point of view and would then share with great eloquence all of his reasons why you were wrong.

Classic country music was his favorite, pretty unusual for a young man his age. But we shared favorites and some of my favorite memories are recent shows we had seen together. We saw Charlie Daniels and had so much fun going to see one of Mike’s all-time favorites, George Jones. He invited me to go with him because he said no one else he knew would get why he wanted so much to see him perform. It was just flat out fun.

The last week with Mike gave no hints that he planned to go. Leaving for work early each morning and arriving home in the late afternoon. We learned later that he hadn’t gone into work at all that week, but we simply didn’t know. The evenings were spent cooking, eating, laughing and watching television. In short, no indication that anything was amiss. Again, leaving us with questions, but truly with no regrets.

I have realized how incredibly blessed I continue to be. Our daughter in law and sons each continues to be amazing. I know that each is suffering and moving through this grief in their own way as they each knew Mike in their very own special way. Each has memories that are private and some that they share. My husband is remarkable. He frequently talks about the fun he had with Mike, cooking and planning meals. How he used to sit at his computer in the living room around the time Mike was expected home so that he could serve the meal soon after Mike arrived. Hubby loved that and so did Mike.

When I share the news of the loss with others there are so many reactions, none of which are wrong of course. Some people move in for a hug, some recoil as though physically assaulted. It’s not personal at all, it’s simply the way they react and momentarily cope with the shock of losing someone so young and in such an unexpected way.

I refuse to acknowledge or accept any stigma that others may attach to suicide. In the past, I thought that it was an incredibly selfish act. I ask forgiveness of anyone with whom I ever shared that belief. I no longer hold that belief at all. You see, Mike was one of the least selfish people I’ve ever known. He hated to inconvenience anyone, always thanking others for doing anything for him and apologizing if he felt they had to go out of their way for him. In fact, he used to thank me for giving him shots when he was sick.  Not the behavior of a selfish person.

I have come to believe that suicide was simply the illness that ended Mike’s earthly existence. I don’t believe that he wanted to die. It was clear and remains clear to me that Mike truly enjoyed life. Still, there was something that was simply too much for him to bear and so death must have felt like the only alternative. Or, perhaps it was simply his time. I just don’t know and I have come to accept that until I too cross to The Other Side, I will not know.

There’s no blame, no anger, no recriminations. Simply lots of love, feelings of being blessed to have had him for the time that we did and profound sadness that he’s no longer here to share our days.

I’m not at all sure how to wrap up this one. I could go on and on – yes, even more than I have already! I guess I’ll simply offer my gratitude for having this remarkable person in my life for 23 years. I’m grateful to have the love and support of an amazing husband, incredible sons, fabulous daughter-in-law and more terrific family and friends than I can begin to acknowledge here.

I would ask you not to worry about any of us. If you knew Mike, a lovely acknowledgment or tribute to him would be to smile and laugh. Watch a crummy old science-fiction movie and enjoy it. Laugh out loud when you hear a joke and hug someone just because you feel like it. Mike would like that, it would make him smile, and Mike smiling was a very good thing

Namaste,
Sandy

What if…?

This is one of my favorite questions. What if? It can be paralyzing if we stop there, but if we take it a few steps further this little question can also be a wonderful way to open our mind and heart to new, exciting possibilities.

Sometimes when we are faced with an opportunity or a challenge we start the questioning in our mind. What if I’m not welcome? What if they don’t like me? What if I make a fool of myself?

Those are all valid questions and in many circumstances, they are very real possibilities. My response when I’m working with life coaching clients is to take this scenario a bit further.

Okay, so you go to an event and you are not immediately welcomed? What then? Do you have to stand there alone or is there something you can do about it? Well, of course, there is something we can do about it; we can be uncomfortable and lonely, we can even leave, or we can begin to introduce ourselves to others. This can be far easier said than done, so we may roleplay a bit, helping the person to find an easy way to introduce themselves to that first person. Putting a smile on your face and greeting the first person will immediately allow you to feel just a bit better.

What if you actually enjoy the experience? Oh wow! I know a young man who was very shy, almost painfully so. He made up his mind that he wanted to meet new people, so he put himself into situations where the only way he could talk to anyone was if it was someone new. He went places by himself. Smiled and offered his hand in greeting. This young man now loves to go places where he is a total stranger. He collects new friends like I collect shoes. What if you tried to do the same?

What if you didn’t enjoy the experience? What would happen to you then? It’s a possibility, isn’t it? So, I ask you to consider that in your mind, how does it make you feel and where is the feeling located? Would it ruin your day? Does that have to be the outcome? Would you be able to learn from the experience and take it as an important life lesson? What if the lesson helped you to realize that others are possibly unsure when they attend an event? The result could be that you take it upon yourself to welcome new people, which will often make you the most deeply appreciated person in the room. Hmmm, not so negative at all now, in fact, it sounds pretty darned good, if that’s what you want. What if, what if, what if?

What if your dream of great wealth came true tomorrow? Sounds fabulous, doesn’t it? What would happen then? Some people immediately begin to imagine the opportunities they would have to change their lives and the lives of those they care about. Other people immediately begin to worry about the taxes and the new bills they would accumulate by overspending. So, take each of these scenarios a few steps further. How would you change lives? How would that make you feel and how would you begin? Worried about all of this? What precisely are you worried about? What steps can you take to know that you would be responsible? Oh yes, that’s right! We are in charge of our own destiny here, none of these things needs to happen. Taxes and bills can easily be managed by being responsible or engaging the assistance of someone who is honorable and trustworthy to guide us. Then what, that negative feeling or fear is greatly diminished, now we can see the possibilities of¬¨‚Ć how we can change our lives for the better.

When we ask this question I like to remember and to remind others that it’s all about moving through the immediate feeling. Instead of answering the initial what if and stopping, take it another step or two or even fifteen. Ask yourself; are any of these scenarios written in stone? Do I have the power to change them, if so how? Remembering that we have the ability to tweak and change our lives with a thought, a feeling or a smile is very empowering.

What if you allow yourself to enjoy this question? What if you allow yourself to clearly see many possibilities and then realize that there is no pre-destined outcome. What if?

Wishing you an exciting week, knowing that when you ask what if, you are asking to see alternatives and opportunities for yourself so that you can move forward in a manner which serves you best.  After all, you always deserve the best, which is what I always wish for you.

Namaste,

Sandy

Life Changes

We’re dating. By ‘we’ I mean my husband of 27 years and of course me. John decided a few months ago that he wanted to make some major changes. I had no idea what was in store for us.

John has always been incredibly conservative. Watching every penny, worrying about every event, predicting all possible outcomes and then sort of holding his breath to see if his predictions would come true. These qualities may sound dull as you read them, but the truth is that they’ve made him a terrific husband and devoted father. We’ve always known that John had all eventualities covered. The boys and I have always felt entirely secure regarding finances and knew that John was totally and completely devoted to us all.

Apparently, John has now decided to do a 180! The man is changing right before my eyes, and it’s not only surprising it’s a ton of fun.

He came home one day and told me that we were signed up for ballroom dancing lessons. Okay…sounds like fun to me. Then he told me the date of the first class. It was actually last Friday when I was co-hosting a retreat. No worries, he went by himself. Anyone who knows my husband knows that this was totally and completely out of character. He’s always been quiet and reserved. Apparently, he’s getting over it. He went to the class on his own, danced by himself and asked the very pretty young woman who is one of the instructors to dance with him. John spent all of the days between that first class and last week doing the rumba around the house. I suspect he held off somewhat at the firehouse as I didn’t get any calls. But it’s been terrific watching him have so much fun.

He’s signed us up for cheese tasting classes, checking the movie listings and even planned a cruise for January. Why do I tell you all of this? Because I have to tell someone! Alright, that’s part of it, I am incredibly proud of the way he is embracing change. But most of all, it’s to point out that we can make any changes that we truly want, at any time in our lives.

First of all, we have to want to change. We don’t have to know exactly what we want our lives to look like, but an idea certainly helps. For instance, John didn’t know that he was going to become someone who wanted to go places as frequently as he now does. He’s always been a homebody. But, he did decide that it was time to embrace a more light-hearted approach to life. He made the decision that he would find ways to get out from time to time with his amazing wife (that’s me) and that he would enjoy what life offers, knowing and trusting that his hard work and diligence has laid a good foundation. He’s not become frivolous by any means, but he is having more fun than ever.

How can this happen? First and foremost John knew he wanted his life to start looking a bit different. He was tired of worrying. Tired of pinching pennies. So, he worked with a holistic life coach and Reiki master (yoo hoo, me again) to develop some practical and easy methods. He started re-framing his comments and statements to be more positive. Instead of focusing on events in his life or in the news that were upsetting or negative, he acknowledged them, discussed them with his life coach or others, but then he worked on letting them go if there was no way for him to change them. That’s huge! His personality is such that it was important for him to talk about things that bother him, that’s fine. But now, he tries not to end on a negative note. Instead, he tries to see a lesson or a potential positive outcome.

Another of the things John has done is to stop berating himself for mistakes made in the past. After all, what’s done is done. We can look at the past, we can learn from it, but we have absolutely no ability to change it. I’m proud of him for beginning to accept that the past is done and to forgive mistakes made by himself and others. Again, a big step.

Probably the biggest change in John is that he is focusing on the amazing life he has led and intends to go on living. He frequently brings up the fun we had raising our three sons. He speaks with pride about their accomplishments, no matter how small. Reminiscing about camping trips and time spent being active in Boy Scouts. He’s excited when he talks about them visiting us or a vacation to see any of them. In short, this man has become hopeful and silly excited about his future. Hooray!

I often speak to my clients, whether Reiki clients or coaching clients about re-framing their speech to see a positive viewpoint. It truly changes the way we feel and think. Affirmations are a powerful tool that we can use as well. Writing and talking to ourselves about the positive changes we are bringing about in our own lives. These things are sometimes overlooked or forgotten because they are so very simple. But they work. It’s pretty much that simple.

So, I’d like to applaud John for the life changes he’s made. I know it hasn’t been all that easy for him. He’s a 52-year-old man who had a pretty firm pattern set in his life. But he’s making changes and from all the signs he’s enjoying them incredibly, just as he deserves.

Just one small positive change this week could improve your entire life. Go ahead, give it a try. I can’t wait to hear all about the positive life changes you are making.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to go practice my fox-trot and rumba steps so that John doesn’t go off dancing into the sunset without me.

Cha cha cha,                                                                                                                                                                                    Sandy


John has always been incredibly conservative. Watching every penny, worrying about every event, predicting all possible outcomes and then sort of holding his breath to see if his predictions would come true. These qualities may sound dull as you read them, but the truth is that they’ve made him a terrific husband and devoted father. We’ve always known that John had all eventualities covered. The boys and I have always felt entirely secrue regarding finances and knew that John was totally and completely devoted to us all.
Apparently John has now decided to do a 180! The man is changing right before my eyes, it’s not only surprising, it’s a ton of fun.

 

What did you Expect?

IMG00061My co-host and wonderful new friend, Melissa Heisler and I welcomed a group of five (5) women for our Relax and Recharge Retreat this past weekend.

We had talked about our hopes and plans for the retreat and created an outline to guide us as well as letting the participants know what to expect. That plan pretty much flew right out the window, and it was to the benefit of all of us.

Everyone came for their own reason and of course, those reasons and personal stories will remain confidential. What I found most interesting though was that all of the participants had desires and intentions in common, even if they were not aware of these desires and intentions went they registered for the event.

The weekend seemed to fly. Bonds were quickly and firmly established. Some ladies slept in, getting some much needed and well-earned rest. Others spent those early hours in quiet talk. We walked for miles while we shared precious stories, sometimes all of us together, other times one on one. There was the opportunity for Psych-K and Reiki and we all participated in guided meditation, taking our own private journeys in our mind while listening to our souls. We even spent some time creating our own vision boards. And do these ladies have vision! Each vision board was of course very different from the others. Another step toward creating the future that each is bringing about in her own life.

We ate well, nurturing our bodies while we nurtured our souls. It was a weekend of discovery and remembering. Recalling the laughter and pure joy of youth and simple pleasures. Life coaching went on almost constantly, and some of it was even offered by the coaches; Melissa and me. The support and positive suggestions offered by each of these women to one another was heartwarming and genuine. They were positive, supportive and kind, most of all they were right on point, time and again. Tears flowed, but there was also laughter. So much joy, I can hear it even now.

Can you bend spoons? Me too! But Melissa shared this skill in a whole new way. Instead of using force to bend the spoon, she taught how to make the spoon pliable and easy to bend by using your heart and mind. Love that! And yes, it worked. I was smart enough to buy some extra spoons from the accommodating diner down the road or I suspect I would be looking for new spoons for my lake home even now. They bent easily and it was just so cool to see the looks of amazement and happiness of the faces of the amazing ladies. They were always powerful but now they realized it in a whole new way. Very exciting stuff!

While it was our original plan to include Reiki, Psych-K, meditation, life coaching, etc., we soon realized that the schedule was not important at all. The days and nights unfolded perfectly. It’s pretty tough to ask for more than that.

I’m grateful to each of these women for sharing and participating. I’m also grateful to them for reminding me of a powerful lesson. I had certain expectations and plans when Melissa and I were putting all of this together. And while I still believe it’s important to have expectations and plans, I was gently and wonderfully reminded that it’s very important to let go of expectations when something much better comes along.

I wish you a week where your expectations are not only met but exceeded in surprising and most fabulous ways.

Namaste,

Sandy

A Good Deed

DSC01004I’ve posted about this before, but every time I think about it I become very excited, so I thought I’d share with you.

Our mother’s taught us that we should be nice to others because it’s the right thing to do; I tried to teach my kids the very same thing. I remember from time to time one of my boys would ask why they should help out their brother, what was in it for them? Well, I was the grown-up in the house, so in the most gentle, loving manner, I could muster I would calmly explain that what was in it for them was the opportunity to sleep inside the house that night and with any luck the next night as well! I tried hard to be a generous and helpful mom.

I wish I had known then what I know now. It turns out that every time we do something kind for someone else, from helping them find their shoes to untying them from the railroad track just before the speeding train arrives, raises our serotonin levels. In short, it makes us feel good. Here’s where it gets even better. You would probably expect the formerly tied up on the track person to feel pretty good about the new situation. But guess what, you will too! That’s right not only are you doing just what your mama told you to do (rest assured, Mom’s feeling pretty good at the moment now as well) but your serotonin levels go up just as a result of your doing the right thing. Hot dog, you’ve got to love that. But wait, it gets even better!

This is not just a win/win for both the good deed doer and the good deed recipient, but it turns out that anyone witnessing the event also experiences a rise in serotonin. How cool is that? That explains why I felt so good when I would watch one of my boys help the other to build a snow fort. They thought they were simply doing it to protect their corner of the yard from the opponents on the other side of the yard, and in truth, that’s what they were doing. But they undoubtedly felt good as a result of the kindness, their brothers felt good and I now realize that this act in full view of the neighbors probably made them smile and feel just a bit better as well.

Now the life coach in me realizes that even if I didn’t intellectually understand this all those years ago that I probably intuitive understood it and that others probably do as well. But how cool is it that we now actually know intellectually what we felt all along?

I’ve had conversations with other Reiki people about this from another angle. For instance, while I give myself Reiki frequently I most feel the wonderful effects of Reiki when I am offering it to another. That is definite motivation to be sharing Reiki with anyone and everyone who is open to the experience. It just feels good and makes me happy.

What to do with this information? Perhaps just knowing it is enough to make you smile and feel good. You might share the info with others and hopefully motivate them to do an extra  kindness.

In truth, I don’t care just what the motivation was that made my little boys help one another out from time to time. They did and clearly, they got something from the experience as they are all now adults who don’t hesitate to assist others cheerfully. I feel better just having that knowledge.

I wish you a fabulous week, offering, receiving and observing kindness and good deeds.

Namaste,                                                                                                                                                                                          Sandy

Life Coaching Basics

Life coaching is not about therapy, consulting, counseling, or advice. It is basically a process that addresses business successes, personal projects, transitions and general conditions among others, especially in the clients personal life and profession by putting efforts on the current situation, discovering the barriers, challenges and selecting the course of action in order to make life be how you would like it to be.

Life coaching involves the coach and the client and the relationship between the two of them, giving all the power to the client. It is believed that one knows the answers to every single question or problem he or she may be facing in his or her life, though the answers may be hidden or concealed. As a life coach, my skills revolve around knowing the right questions to ask a client, being equipped with helpful tools and techniques that empower you to get to the answers that you already have within yourself.

One may ask, why work with a life coach? What each and every person dreams of is success, achievement, happiness, and joy. Working with a life coach assists the clients to uncover their own blocks so that they are better able to manifest and allow the life they truly want to live.

As a holistic life coach, I assist individuals in identifying and setting the goals that he or she really wants without basing them on others interests. My role as the coach is to assist clients in clarifying their personal values in order to attain something better when it comes to setting the goals. Remember that when the goals are based on the things that the client value most, they become more naturally motivated.

As your life coach, I’m with you for every step. As a client, you will learn to forgive your past mistakes and see them instead as valuable lessons. We are going to work together to focus on your very best self.

For this week, I wish you focus and balance in your life. Please feel free to send me an email or give me a call for your free life coaching consultation.

Namaste,
Sandy

The Shack

I read a wonderful book the other day. It had been recommended and even loaned to me by one of my favorite life coaching clients. ‘The Shack’ by Wm. Paul Young spoke to me on many levels.

As a life coach, I encourage clients to acknowledge and appreciate their faith, if they do indeed believe in a higher power. This book tells the true story of a man who lived through a brutal childhood. Later he married and had children, settling into a wonderful if somewhat ordinary life. God, as he knew him, was pretty unavailable and not someone he felt that he could count on. Tragically this man experienced a horror that is every parent’s nightmare. Sometime later, this man is invited up to a place referred simply as the shack. During his time at the shack, his life changed forever.

I’m not going to tell you too much more because I do not believe I can do the story justice.

Reading this book helped me to deal with many questions. Maybe predictably, it prompted many more questions as well. Most of all it reminded me of the connection I feel with my God and reminded me that it doesn’t have to be all that complicated. It’s really pretty straightforward, a relationship of love and trust. Beginning, middle, and end.

Why do I feel the need to share this with you? Because I think we all need something that we believe in and depend upon. For me, this is my faith. Life coaching and Reiki have both helped me to become much clearer about my faith. Each has helped me to eliminate some of the junk that I always associated with faith. For me, this process has been simple yet incredibly profound.

I encourage both life coaching and Reiki clients to take a bit of time each day to meditate. Time to simply be. When I do this it helps me to clear my mind and open my heart to ideas, thoughts, and feelings. Sometimes these thoughts and feelings are new to me. Often they are old thoughts or emotions that I had sort of shelved in the past. Now when I give them a bit of time, they are more easily dealt with, as I simply ponder them from a detached point of view. I’m not consistent about meditating every day at a certain time or place, but I expect to get better about it with time. I know that it has served me well and I absolutely appreciate that fact.

For today I hope that you are able to take a few minutes to spend all by yourself in peace and quiet. Not thinking, just being. I hope that this will help you to find a bit of peace and guidance.

For a very good read which just may change your life, I strongly recommend reading ‘The Shack’. I know I’ll be buying several copies and keeping them on my lending bookshelf. This book is too important not to share, which is why I just shared with you.

Namaste,
Sandy