Closure

I rarely am driven to write when in an emotional mood of the fired-up variety. I am pretty sure I have not addressed this before, and if I have it bears repeating.

It started with a thoughtless comment by of all people a social worker, who said, “I am glad you have got over your daughter.” I am not often stuck for words, but I was struck dumb.

Firstly her profession should have if she kept up her knowledge told her there are no stages; there is no prescribed way to grieve. The current understanding is that we (yes I am a professionally qualified social worker and psychotherapist) assist the family and or individual members through the crisis stages and then guide them to a renewed relationship with their deceased child. No words will ever bring that child back, but with guided grief work, we may help those in that terror of terrors to learn to ride the waves. Is grief work, you bet, it is the most challenging work you will ever have to do

Grief is not straightforward, but one has, in the end, two options to go down or up. Some find it so overwhelming that they join their child. I understand that I tried three times, but it was not to be. The universe had other plans. I am saddened when I hear of a family member joining a deceased child as if that was there only way to cope, and I question how much quality hope and help were they given.

No words will ever suffice, that is the first lesson those who wish to support someone in their grief. Actions speak louder than words – a cooked dinner delivered at the right time gives a mother breathing space a chance not to have to be there for others all the time. I think I have given a lot of examples over the time I have been scribbling.

The other pet hate I have as does nearly every parent in my position feels anger. There is NO SUCH THING AS CLOSURE FOR A PARENT- yes you heard right there is no such thing as closure. Closure is a media-driven word from people who have not had the gut-wrenching experience we have of losing a child. You will hear the police frequently say “now the family can have closure.” Some parents flanked by police repeat what they think they are supposed to say. Okay, the intention of police, and media is to be kind for the family, but if they only knew that the finding of the bones of a missing child or a missing child, a murdered child is just the continuation of the hell for the family. Sure there is some closure for the police they have clues to solve a case, or an offender charged and therefore the beginning of closure is for them as they are close to case closed. There maybe closure for a lot of people BUT NO parent finds closure.

What a parent does do if they decide to begin to live with that hole in their being and their family is to learn how to live around the pain. To accept the waves that in the beginning come crashing in so fast one is left reeling. Time helps spread the waves out a bit, but they are there for life. The goal is to help those waves to come less high and less quickly.

You can help very easily by talking about Johnny, Jane or whatever the child’s name is. Nothing is appreciated more by a mother more than someone to mention their child’s name. I have openly said I have no partner, so I cannot speak for the fathers/stepfathers in this position. I suspect a lot of it happens under wraps.

So what is happening? Do not permit yourself to be boxed; do not ever stop talking about your child. You can judge a lot of people who are genuine in this alone if they do not get it.

Inside it over time can be likened to a unique thread of love taking your busted open heart and slowly weaving a thread of love over your heart. If we do not let that happen and keep picking at it like a scab, we will keep ourselves unwell.

This unique thread weaves slowly but surely, and if we allow it to happen in its time, we slowly rejoin the world. We will never be the same and people who say oh we have the old Karyn back (insert your name) have no idea of the faces that sometimes we feel we have put on. I am strong enough now in myself to not put a face on. The world needs to know that this is a life sentence for us, and those who strive to survive are heroes.

I have found that I no longer hide my pain, because that has been the problem. We have hidden it behind the masks of mother, coach, wife whatever. Have you ever wondered why there is no word to describe our role in the grief of our child? Widows have husbands pass, Widowers have wives, parents dead the children are orphans, but there is nothing for us.

I realise my emotions have probably made this a bit scattered, but I am so incensed by the thoughtless remark and that word closure.

Heal well dear warriors because you truly are a warrior, it will take some time each is different but no less shattered.

Blessing to you and yours



Some gems from Michael Tym’s blog

Explaining the Death of a Parent to a Child

Posted on 02 September 2019, 8:56

When my friend Dave was asked by his nine-year-old granddaughter what happens to us when we die, he struggled and stumbled in his response, realizing that it required an answer that went beyond the trite, “we go to heaven and live with the angels.”  Fortunately, Dave’s daughter came to his rescue and explained that people have many beliefs about the afterlife, leaving the door open for her to learn about them and explore her own understanding of what happens when we die, at which point Dave told his granddaughter that he would be happy to talk to her about the subject anytime.

My discussion with Dave was prompted by a movie in which a young girl, about five, lost her mother to an auto accident and was told by her grandmother that “she will live on in your heart.”  I had heard that hackneyed expression more than a few times before and wondered how a child is to interpret it.  It does not necessarily imply that the parent had survived death in a larger life and was still with her, and it might well be interpreted to mean that the parent was now totally extinct and nothing more than a fading memory.

I can still remember the anxieties and fears I experienced 76 years ago when my step-grandfather died.  My parents didn’t know what to tell me, and I, just six at the time, didn’t know what questions to ask.  It was all hush-hush. The trepidation multiplied 100-fold when we visited the crematorium and I struggled with grasping that what was left of my grandfather was now contained in a little metal box, one surrounded by hundreds of other little metal boxes with “people” in them.

Is there a comforting response concerning death for a child? After discussing it with Dave, I decided to put the concern to other friends and to limit it to children under seven (the generally accepted age of reason), leaving the older children for another discussion.  I hypothesized a situation in which my friend could go back in time with his or her present experience and knowledge and attempt to explain to a five-year-old daughter and three-year-old son the death of the other parent in a traffic accident.

I began with my most skeptical (sic)  friend, Dale, who rejects all the psychical research suggesting survival that is often discussed at this blog, as “unscientific.”  “Kids, I’ve got some really terrible news,” Dale thought out his reply. “Your mommy was killed in a traffic accident. I don’t understand how or why it happened but it did. Come here and let’s hug. (We would all break down and cry). I’d answer that Mommy wouldn’t want us to see her and how she was hurt as it would only make us more sad. We will cremate her body as those were her wishes. Nobody really knows what happens when you die; maybe she’ll go to heaven and we’ll see her again some day. Meanwhile, remember all the nice things she did.”

Dale said that such reflects his belief and he doesn’t see it as giving the children false hope, like telling them there is a Santa Claus. Moreover, he would want them to think about all the good things their mother did and not dwell too much on the loss, at the same time realizing that thoughts of their mother would come back to them from time to time, when they’d just have to be strong and be grateful for the time they had with her.

Dale’s approach seems in line with that of mainstream psychology, as I was able to gather from the Internet. It avoids any discussion of consciousness surviving death.  “Kids this young often have a hard time understanding that all people and living things eventually die, and that it’s final and they won’t come back,” we read at KidsHealth.org. “So even after you’ve explained this, kids may continue to ask where the loved one is or when the person is returning. As frustrating as this can be, continue to calmly reiterate that the person has died and can’t come back.”  More bluntly, as I interpret it, tell the child that the loved is extinct and to get on with life.

Keith remembers that when he was about four-years-old his great-grandfather died and he was told that it is like “falling asleep.”  He feels that this euphemism is still effective with the younger children.  “You know your mom was in her car, don’t you?” he provides his possible explanation.  “On the way a lorry did not stop at the traffic lights, and it hit your mom’s car and she was knocked out.  That is like falling asleep when you get a bang on the head.  By the time she arrived in hospital she had gone to sleep forever.  We all do that sooner or later.  So now she is at the hospital and won’t be coming home again, so you won’t have the chance to see her until you also fall asleep forever, when you are very old.”

When the children are a little older, Keith, who does not subscribe to any accepted religion nor accept the standard Christian version of heaven and hell, would use the word “died” instead of falling asleep and would explain that death is not the end of us, and that Mom is quite possibly living with her family on the other side and waiting patiently for her children to join her.

Glenda recalls the time she was working as a hospice social worker and made a call to a home where a young father fatally shot himself.  The man’s three-or four-year-old son kept asking what was wrong and was told by the police and others that everything was fine and not to worry.  “I thought it was doing a disservice to the child to lie to him and make him distrust his own observations and fears,” she says, adding that her advice in that case was not accepted and she was not allowed to follow up on it.

“They also need assurance that they will always be cared for and safe,” Glenda continues. She does not agree with Keith in suggesting that death is like falling asleep, as it might cause the child to fear wanting to go to sleep.

“My answer is pretty simple,” Mike replies.  “If they haven’t reached the age of reason, and assuming they still have the other parent, I would say to them, ‘God called Mommy home to help Him in Heaven. She still loves you and thinks of you and watches over you from Heaven; and you can talk to her every night before you go to bed when you say your prayers. And she will hear you. And you’ll will see her again when you someday go back to Heaven. In the meantime, I will take care of you   Talk to me any time you want. I always have time to listen to you, and help you. And I love you very much.’”

Like Mike, Norm does not accept the humdrum heaven of orthodox religions, but he believes in keeping it simple for children of that age and expanding on it when they become a little older.  “[I would] explain that an accident is like falling down and scraping your knee, but sometimes more serious because the person will not get better,” Norm states. “God wants her to live with him to make her feel better until all of us can be together again and happy forever.  Meanwhile, she sees you and knows what is happening to you, and she will be at all your birthday parties.”

When the children do indicate that they can comprehend a somewhat more complex idea, Norm would expose them to the evidence for survival as developed over the past 170 years by psychical researchers.  “In other words, I would guide them along the way as far as they might want to go, not indoctrinate them. If they chose a traditional religious faith after all that, I would not attempt to proselytize them. However, I would be happy to discuss the ridged dogmas of both organized religion and materialistic science.”

Getting back to Dave, he would tell the children that their mother has gone to a very special place where she is living with God, who is taking care of her.  “In her new home, she lives in a Spirit body that we can’t see, but she can see us, and she will be living with us and watching over us to give us all her love,” he explains it.  “It’ll be sad for us because we can’t see her anymore, but anytime you want to talk to her you can and she will hear every word you say and she will try to find a way to answer you.  When we die, we will all go see and live with God and Mommy forever.”

Like Norm, Dave would later introduce them to the evidence “that explains and reinforces this belief, educating them on the context of the world’s major religions, including reductionism and the role of science in explaining our unknowns.”

Lewis would tell the children that their mother “had gone to a better world, a happier world, the place we’ll all go to when we leave this one.  I’ll tell them she did not want to leave early and that she had no control over what happened, and that she’ll miss them and think about them for as long as they are alive. And they should talk to her, for she will pay them visits from time to time even though they probably won’t be able to see her.  She will always love them and help them in every way she can.”  Lewis adds that he would be in steady contact with his deceased wife, “sending her my love and assuring her that we love her and wish her every happiness where she is.”

Richard would explain to the children that their mother was killed in a terrible auto accident.  “She can no longer be with us,” he would continue, “but she would want us to be very strong and help each other understand.  She is actually in a ‘wonderful place’ called heaven and her “spirit’ is watching over us every day.  She loves and misses us very much.”  To support his statement, Richard would familiarize them with the stories of Colton Burpo (“Heaven is for Real”) and Akiane Kramirik’s “Portrait of Jesus.”  I would add Karen Herrick’s “Grandma, What is a Soul,” to the list of books that might help children understand death.

All of my friends had more to say on the subject, including how they would explain it to the children at an older age, but space does not permit more here. Readers are invited to share their thought on the subject in the comments section below.

Michael Tymn is the author of The Afterlife Revealed: What Happens After We DieResurrecting Leonora Piper: How Science Discovered the Afterlife, and Dead Men Talking: Afterlife Communication from World War I.

This has been posted totally unedited but the source can be found at http://whitecrowbooks.com/michaeltymn/entry/explaining_the_death_of_a_parent_to_a_child

 

Nothing is sadder than a child taken by those charged with their care…

http://griefsjourney.wordpress.com/

Keep going dear Williams family and friends, when you stand tall you show the world we can survive the sudden hell we find ourselves cast into when innocence is smashed and where sometimes just the next breath can seem impossible.

May loving arms hold you in the darkest hours and may in your better times you stand tall, survive and shine your light for the new family in hell on earth.

We do not die. They are with us every day.  Just believe.  We will see them again.

Ten Tips for After Death Communication

This is an exercise in channelled writing and after-death communication. Even if you’ve never tried to receive messages from the Other Side, this exercise can help open that door. The hardest part is allowing yourself to come to a place of absolute trust in what you receive. We’re not talking about partial trust… the trust has to be absolute. You have to leave behind your mind, your beliefs, your ego, your expectations, your fears and even your intentions.

It might take a few minutes or it might take a few years. All you have to do is receive and trust.

Listen

  1. Set the scene. You may wish to light a candle or create sacred space in some other way. Heartfelt meditative music is also quite helpful. Make sure nobody can disturb you. Turn off the phone.
  2. Before you begin, say a little prayer asking for the conduit to be opened. Breathe deeply and relax. Ask your guides to assist you. The moment you ask, they will arrive.
  3. Sit down with paper and pen (or at your computer) and begin by writing, “Dear (your name).” You may focus on a loved one on the Other Side if you wish, or you can ask for messages from guides, religious figures or angels.

Write

  1. Start writing. Write anything at all. You will immediately feel self-conscious and foolish and say to yourself, “This is stupid. This is just me talking to myself. I’m just writing what I think I’m supposed to hear.” That’s OK. Everybody thinks that at first. Just keep writing. Don’t stop.
  2. Write down everything that comes to you, no matter how irrelevant it seems. Do you see an image of a baseball or an apple tree? Write it down… “I see a baseball.” Follow that thought as far as you can. Are you hearing words or phrases? Seeing colours? Smelling or tasting something? Did your dog suddenly start barking? Write it all down. These are all messages. Don’t stop trusting. These are messages from the other side. This is the true definition of faith.
  3. The only thing that will stop you from receiving is your own doubts. You will stop yourself a hundred times during this process to indulge your doubts, fears and rationalizations, and that’s OK. Just keep going. Guides and loved ones in the higher realms make an effort to reach us, and our doubts create interference. They need our participation in order to reach us. Ask your guides to help remove your doubts.
  4. Do this exercise for as long as it’s comfortable. When it starts to feel forced, it’s time to stop. You might be able to do this for ten minutes or ten seconds. But if you sincerely want to make contact, you will keep trying and eventually, you will have success.
  5. Sometimes we receive very clear verbal messages… pages and pages of words. And sometimes we receive symbolic messages, like a song or the sound of a train. Write it all down and don’t worry if it doesn’t immediately make sense to you. You can analyze it later. If you receive these things with an open mind and an open heart, they will eventually begin to tell a story.

Trust

  1. You will know that you’re receiving transmissions from The Divine (and communication from the dead) because the words, the writing, the feeling, the energy, will not feel like YOU. It will become automatic. It will flow freely and easily because you’ve taken your fear, ego and personality out of the way. You will absolutely recognize this feeling when it comes. For some people, it happens in seconds. For others, it can take years.
  2. Don’t give up. This is not a special gift. It is your birthright.

Copyright 2007 – Terri Daniel and Danny Mandell

To learn more about after-death communication,
please join us at the annual Afterlife Awareness Conference,
and subscribe to our newsletter, The Afterlife Advocate

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Galactic Gulfs

This was a phrase I read in a Sydney paper to describe one man’s experience of describing his grief following the death of his wife.

Such an interpersonal gulf also applies to many of you as you re-enter your various worlds following the death of your child.

I would argue that is is probably true for families attempting to explain a cancer diagnosis and the treatment experience to their wider world.

In my conversations with palliative and bereaved families, one of the issues that surface frequently is how difficult it can sometimes be to adequately communicate what it is like to be a grieving parent to others.  This is equally true for surviving siblings.

Grief is, for many an overwhelmingly gut-wrenching experience at times…a bit like a being swamped by an emotional tsunami.  When as humans we experience such heartache, we need that heartache to be heard and understood…or at the very least tolerated for what it is.  What we don’t need is silence, irritation, discomfit or mindless platitudes.

Many of you will find yourselves in the position of trying to communicate to extended family or friends what it is like to be heartbroken and to be faced with the challenges of rebuilding our lives.

I was reminded of a piece sent to me a while ago from a mother who had had this type of experience and what she met was advice that she “not do this to her self”, that she should “get on with her life” and to “focus on the surviving children”.

Needless to say, this was not helpful at the time and only served to add to her already existing distress by making her feel even lonelier and more cut off from the rest of the world.  That sense of being ‘different’, of feeling disconnected from the ease of mutual understanding and communication is an experience that many can identify with.

In her distress, she spent time on the internet, exploring some grief websites and found the following lines which gave her comfort at that time.  She thought it might strike the right chord with others and so suggested that it be included.  I know many will resonate with the words.

  • Please don’t ask me if I am over it yet.
  • I will never get over it.
  • Please don’t tell me she (he) is in a better place.
  • She’s (he’s) not here with me.
  • Please don’t say she (he) isn’t suffering any more.
  • I haven’t come to terms with why she (he) had to suffer at all.
  • Please don’t tell me how you feel.
  • Unless you have lost a child the same way.
  • Please don’t ask me if I feel better.
  • Bereavement isn’t a condition that clears up.
  • Please don’t tell me at least you had her (him) for so many years.
  • What year would you like your loved one to die.
  • Please don’t tell me God never gives more than we can bear.
  • Please just say you are sorry.
  • Please just say you remember my loved one if you do.
  • Please mention my loved one’s name.
  • Please be patient with me when I am sad.
  • Please just let me cry.

Many of us could add many more to the list of do’s and don’ts.

These words, I think, illustrate three very important features of bereavement.

First, that it is not something that people recover from.

Grieving for someone we love ends when we too finally die.

It is a sorrow that is carried as part of oneself, a sorrow that underscores the fragility and preciousness of life and frequently influences in a myriad of ways, the way bereaved people continue into their tomorrows.

It is a process of becoming more familiar with a world that is profoundly changed and moving to a place where, hopefully, the heartache is carried more easily and in a way that permits enjoyment of life again.

Secondly, it describes the fact that while people die…our relationship with them does not.  Children who have died continue to be a part of you and to be part of your lives and remain, someone that you will want to talk about, whose story you will continue to want to share with others.

And thirdly, that communication with the broader social world in which you live can be very challenging at times (the galactic gulf), that language can be limited and that the receptivity and capacity to appropriately respond to another’s pain varies greatly.

Bridging the divide between the world that was and the world that will be, requires the bereaved to re-enter their social worlds – reconnecting with family and friends, developing new relationships perhaps, sometimes distancing or severing some social connections.

Supportive social networks are important to us all.  They are associated with positive mental health and a capacity to manage life crises.  Social support has been defined as feedback from others that one is loved and cared for, esteemed and valued and part of a network of satisfying communications.  Basically, we cope more effectively if we find the social support we need.

For bereaved parents, this will require amongst other things, being able to truthfully acknowledge thoughts and feelings , opportunities to have their changed selves acknowledged and accepted and the freedom to speak freely about ALL their children, both living and deceased.

The death of a child is an unusual event in the society in which we now live and communities are not always familiar with how to respond to the bereaved.

The culture of response tends still to lean towards notions of recovery and closure and a return to normal.  Nothing could be further from the truth, as is so beautifully expressed above.

Bridging the gulf may be difficult but necessary as you re-enter your social worlds, reweaving the web of your daily lives and reestablishing interdependent connections.  This can be comforting and reassuring as it may relieve the isolation of grief…but as observed in the poem, we cannot predict the responses of others and their responses are not within our control and can add to distress.

However, as humans,  we jointly weave our social webs.  By challenging or simply not accepting the platitudes or misguided utterances and providing cues as to “how it really is” we play a role in improving conversations and interactions about love and loss and life after.

blue and purple silk rose flower on pink surface
Photo by Marta Branco on Pexels.com

 

with thanks to Vera Russell Palliative Care/Bereavement Counsellor, a treasured colleague and friend.

 

Conceptualizing Progress in Grief

We often use the simile that grief is like a journey and while grief is a little bit like a journey, it’s not the perfect comparison.  The word ‘journey’ is not quite right because (1) I think it makes grief sound way more exciting than it is and (2) journeys are usually direct and typically have an endpoint.

Grieving is anything but direct and, contrary to what many people believe, it doesn’t follow a specific path or end after an arbitrary amount of time. Grief happens in fits and starts; it’s full of ups and downs, and it requires you to try and try again. Some days, when you’re well rested and confident, you feel as though you have a handle on things and you say to yourself…

“I can do this. I am capable and in control.” 

Other days, when you are weary and tired of the fight, you stumble backward, you stand still, or you manage to move just a few feet in the right direction.  When this happens you say to yourself…

“I’m lost. I don’t know how to find my way. I’m not making much progress. I feel broken. I’ll never be whole again.”

When something evolves as clumsily and slowly as grief, it can be really hard to visualize progress.  On a day-to-day basis you don’t feel any different, “better”, or “normal” and this perceived lack of improvement can feel very frustrating and defeating. But could it be that you aren’t giving yourself enough credit for the strides you’ve made?


How you measure up, depends on how you measure.

Something we often caution grieving people to be mindful of is their perspective.  It seems like such a small thing, but the way you conceptualize yourself, the world, and others in the context of life after a loss can have a big impact on how you feel.  This is true in many instances, but particularly when thinking about personal progress in grief. Why? Because when thinking about adjustment and progress in grief, people often make the mistake of comparing themselves to their “best” or “ideal selves”.


In this instance, your “best” or “ideal self” may be based on a number of things:

1. The person you were before the loss: Even though you might intellectually know you will never be the “same”, it’s hard not to think back and idealize the person you were before your loved one died and before you felt ravaged by the effects of grief.

In your mind’s eye, the person you were “before” may seem more whole, unbroken, radiant, happy, and fulfilled. This person is such a far cry from the one you’ve become since you stopped showering and wearing real clothes, and also since you allowed that bird to build a nest in your hair.  Okay so this is a complete exaggeration, but sometimes we (as people) are truly that unkind to our self-perception.

2. How you believe you should feel based on assumptions and expectations you hold: Before experiencing grief you likely had at least a few assumptions about (1) what grief looks and feels like and (2) your ability to handle emotional distress and hardship. But as we’ve heard many people say about the experience of grief: “Nothing prepares you for it”. 

Many people find themselves blindsided by how different grief is from what they expected. It would be great if everyone responded to this unanticipated reality by saying to themselves, “Grief is harder than I thought.” Sadly though, many people continue to put stock in their expectations and instead say to themselves, “What’s wrong with me? Why can’t I handle this? Why am I not coping better?”

3. How people literally say you should be: Sad but true, some people may judge the speed of your grieving.  Comments and expectations from others can cause you to question yourself and can make you feel confused, ashamed, embarrassed, alienated, and many other things.  Even though grieving at your own pace is okay, regardless of whether that pace is ‘head on’ or ‘slow and steady’, pressure from others can make you question the progress you’ve made.


Needless to say, comparing yourself to your “best” or “ideal self” works against you.

Looking towards a non-existent endpoint, or staying focused on a mythical future-you, keeps only what you haven’t accomplished in view.  It’s good to have realistic goals and hopes for the future, but be careful not to compare yourself to unrealistic ideals and ignore the many gains (I’m certain) you’ve made.12-e1473171171808-1024x553

Instead, if you truly want to gauge your progress, you should compare yourself to your start point (i.e. your worst) rather than your best. This is the only way to have a proper perspective on what you’ve accomplished and to accurately see how far you’ve come. Even on days when you feel completely lost in your grief, if you look back to the beginning you will likely see that you are doing better than you were (unless some overlapping or subsequent setback has gotten in the way).

Grief is something you learn to live with day by day. Every time you push yourself to do something like getting out of bed, face something you fear, sit with a painful emotion, engage in self-care, actively cope with your loss, honour your loved one…and the list goes on…you should say to yourself “good job”.  You should feel proud of yourself for every small step you make because healing from grief isn’t the result of smoothly navigating a journey. Healing from grief is what happens when you get up each day and decide to keep walking.

 

13-e1473171227602-1024x537whatsyourgrief.com

Building a field of flowers…

Rather than focusing on right and wrong, try to think in terms of creating something new from a pollination of ideas. Consider each mind as a flower, which goes through its own cycles of growth, budding, bloom and decay.

Somewhere along the path, the cerebral flower of the mind comes into full bloom, and through dialogue with others, a wondrous process of cross-pollination with other mind-flowers can begin.

Before you know it, new flowers with new colours, patterns, and shapes begin to emerge everywhere; idea-flowers that have never existed before, not even in our wildest imagination.

beautiful environment field flora
Photo by Mina-Marie Michell on Pexels.com

This process exposes the genius of natural designs and laws which are far beyond our weak intellect’s comprehension. What is essential is that we come together as a community and communicate, and do so as respectfully as possible.

The change will emerge on its own and will carry the unique imprints of each participant forward into the mysterious creation of that which is beyond imagination — a new world.

Bryant McGill

 

How fear blocks creativity

 

When we feel safe, our creativity unfolds like a beautiful flower.
To understand how fear blocks creativity, take a moment to imagine yourself telling a story. First, imagine telling the story to someone you love and who loves you. You probably feel warmth and energy as you fill in the details of your tale to your friend’s delight. Now, imagine telling the same story to someone who, for whatever reason, makes you uncomfortable. The wonderful twists and turns, the fine points and colorful images that unfolded in your mind for your friend probably won’t present themselves. Instead of warmth, energy, and creativity, you will probably feel opposite sensations and a desire to close down. When we feel unsafe, whether we fear being judged, disliked, or misunderstood, our creative flow stops. Alternately, when we feel safe, our creativity unfolds like a beautiful flower, without conscious effort.

Knowing this, we can maximize our creative potential by creating the conditions that inspire our creativity. In order to really be in the flow, we need to feel safe and unrestricted. However, achieving this is not as simple as avoiding people who make us feel uncomfortable. Sometimes we can be alone in a room and still feel totally blocked. When this happens, we know we have come up against elements in our own psyches that are making us feel fearful. Perhaps we are afraid that in expressing ourselves we will discover something we don’t want to know, or unleash emotions or ideas that we don’t want to be responsible for. Or maybe we’re afraid we’ll fail to produce something worthy.

When you’re up against fear, internal or external, ritual can be a powerful–and creative–antidote. Before you sit down to be creative, try casting a circle of protection around yourself. Visualize yourself inside a ring of light, protective fire, or angels. Imagine that this protective energy emanates unconditional love for you and wants to hear, see, and feel everything you have to express. Take a moment to bathe in the warmth of this feeling and then fearlessly surrender yourself to the power that flows through you.

BY MADISYN TAYLOR

red and blue hot air balloon floating on air on body of water during night time
Photo by Bess Hamiti on Pexels.com

 

the heart of the matter

Shared at Su’s request, words to ponder. ❤  Andrew Codling

mini red hearts wallpaper
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After spending some time with friends, I reflected upon the values that truly mean something.
” In the end, it is how generous you were with your heart, that matters.
One day, when all your earthly possessions have no use to you, you will reflect upon the life you led.
There are many paths to happiness, and the path you choose will be filled with distractions, like wealth, adoration, greed, envy, anger, the list is varied and long.
When you meet these distractions, do not feed too heartily from their plate, for they will never satisfy you, they will offer temporary relief to you, but you will be left hungry and wanting more.
You see, the distractions that truly fill you up, are not those that feed the mind, but are those that feed the soul, like love, compassion, kindness, humility and charity.
These are the attributes that you take with you on the great journey, and when the mirror of your soul reflects these back to you, you’ll feel pride in seeing these aspects of yourself reflected back to you.
It’s not wrong to submit to the material world, it’s necessary in order to survive, but it is right to find balance, and in doing so, we can feel truly fulfilled, and then we are better placed to serve not only others, but also ourselves, and with greater purpose.
To truly give of yourself, is to grow and nurture your own spirituality, and this we can do, irrespective of our means.
Because, in the end, it is how generous you were with your heart, that matters “

Finding grace, tact and empowerment

We have all had the experience where we have been annoyed, offended, hurt, saddened or angered by another. How can we handle the situation and ourselves so that we exercise, grace, tact, and possibly even advocate for change in the world?
Together, let’s explore some strategies which we can adopt to both heal our hearts and move forward in the best manner possible.
Judgment.
It is simply not necessary to introduce judgment into everything. To understand someone’s intention you’d have to fully understand them. How can we possibly know what is in the heart and mind of another? Many times, we and others act without forethought, without conscious intention. Sometimes, our emotions overtake us. A lot of the time, we barely even know ourselves! Broken people hurt other people. Can we really judge them for that?
If, for example, someone is ill, do we judge them for being ill? Do we hold their illness against them? No, of course not! It wasn’t that person’s choice to become ill.
By the same token, perhaps, that person we are so quick to judge hasn’t made a conscious decision to be where they are. Maybe, they themselves don’t even know how or why they ended up where they are. Can we blame people for not knowing what they don’t know?

Boundaries.
If you can’t handle yourself in the company of a person, then it is necessary for you to enact a boundary for the well-being of both yourself and that other person. If you can’t keep your emotions in check, it may be best to distance yourself until you have found some healing for yourself.
We want to spend time with people who motivate us to be our best selves, because we want to bring our best selves to the world.
We do not need to keep people who have harmed us in our lives. We can set boundaries. We can’t possibly have time and energy for all people anyway. We must, however, ensure that we make time for ourselves in our own lives, we must engage in self-care. Self-care is particularly important when we are hurting.
Vengeance.
We have all heard the saying that “Two wrongs don’t make a right.” and it is true: Hate breeds hate. Hate will not heal. It will not heal you, and it will not heal them.
If a person is broken, that person needs healing. They need your love more than they need your hate. Hate will not break a negative cycle, but love may make a difference. Even if you don’t know how to love a person, don’t treat them with hate. Treating them with hate chances them also losing the ability to love themselves.
People who don’t love themselves are often volatile and at risk of poor choices and behavior. Don’t make the problem worse. Don’t treat people the way they have treated you. Treat them the way you wish to be treated instead. Don’t become that which you hate.

Expectations.
Don’t give with expectation. Don’t help someone expecting them to return the favor. Don’t expect them to change. If you have helped leave it at that. Your intention was to help. Your intention is not the outcome.
You’ve done your part. More than that, you haven’t added to the problem. That’s quite something all in itself!
Compassion.
It is easy to love people who are easy to love. The real challenge is to love those who have hurt or harmed you. Love and compassion are not circumstantial. You don’t have to understand people in order to love them. You don’t even have to like them or agree with their actions.
Remember the human beneath. We do not know what may be tormenting a person’s soul.
You can love others with a compassionate heart. Never underestimate the power of kindness and compassion.
Forgiveness.
Don’t carry the darkness of hate in your heart. It will harm you. That anger will seep into every aspect of your life. It will taint everything.
Instead, work through your emotions. Find forgiveness and let go. Don’t hang on to things. Don’t bring the past into the present. When we bring the past with us, we diminish our presence in the moment.
Learn to let go. Forgiveness is for you, not them. Forgiveness does not mean you condone or agree with what someone has done. Don’t replay that which has hurt you over and over again. Don’t torment yourself further. You deserve peace.
Remember, you have the power to make a difference. Your very words and actions can effect change.

Don’t be a part of the problem, be a part of the solution instead.  Be defined by love in all you say and do.

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Akiroq Brost – inspirational writer