Posted in grief, Midlife Journey

Revisiting Old Wounds

As we enter into the holiday season, it is important to be mindful that while this is a time of celebration, for many, holidays stir up old sorrow, old wounds and feelings of loneliness. This is also true of the midlife journey.  As our Soul tries to be awakened and birthed through us, it brings to the surface old wounds in search of another layer of healing.  Today’s blog presents a strategy for dealing with these old wounds when they come to call.

midlife crisis

Resurfacing

Last night, after a beautiful afternoon and evening of celebrating Thanksgiving with family and friends, I suddenly found myself feeling sad.  Then, as I slept, I found my dreams troubled by stories of frustration, heartache and sorrow.  Upon risinng, I realized the source of this sorrow and the troubling dreams.  A deep, and apparently as yet unhealed wound/loss had come to pay me a visit.  The resurfacing of this wound, I realized, was so that another layer of healing could take place.  My job, was to allow myself to acknowledge the wound and then to make time in which I could grieve another layer of this loss.

Midlife and Holidays

We have been speaking much about the midlife journey – the process through which our Soul seeks to be born and through which we have an opportunity to discovery the uniquely creative way in which we have been gifted to realize peace, love, joy and fulfillment in our lives and through which we are empowered to contribute to the betterment of the world. During the midlife transition, it is common for old wounds, hurts, losses, disappointments, betrayals, perceived failures to resurface.  The intention of this resurfacing is so that we can find another layer of healing and release from the pain that might otherwise hold us back from the birth of our greatest potential.  This resurfacing is especially acute during the holiday season and is not limited to those in midlife.  Again, this resurfacing is not there to harm us, but to give us another opportunity for deeper healing.  Our job is to allow the healing to take place.

Strategies for Dealing with Holiday and Midlife Pain

In a word:  GRIEVE.  When old pains, ancient losses, past betrayals resurface and we experience the memories and emotions related to these situations, we need to grieve.  And the healthiest and most effective ways we can move through this grief is to provide a space in our lives in which we can grieve, and then we must grieve.  These old wounds are here because they are ready for another layer of healing and the best way we can heal these losses is to be present to them and accept whatever face of grief shows up in the face of these losses:  sadness, depression, anger, maybe even denial and bargaining.  The greatest thing we can do for ourselves is recognize that we have been hurt, that we are grieving and then allow ourselves to stay in bed for a day, find a healthy way to channel or express our anger, or maybe even spending part of a day obsessing about the past hurt and working out plans for how is wouldda couldda shouldda been different.  Then, once we have engaged in all the external symptoms of grief, we need to make room for the real emotion of loss – sadness and we need to cry, or at the very least, allow ourselves to feel and be present to our sadness.  In this way, we are taking care of ourselves.  We are honoring our loss and we are allowing ourselves to heal.  And, if the pain becomes too great, seek outside help and support in the form of a good friend, loved one, counselor, spiritual director or Anam Cara (soul friend.).  The most important thing to know is that you do not need to bear this pain alone.  And if you are a person of prayer, always remember to turn to the God of your understanding for help and support in times of grief.

Lauri Lumby provides support for men and women moving through the midlife journey and moving through the pain of loss.  To set up a one-on-one session, call Lauri at (920) 230-1313 or email lauri@yourspiritualtruth.com.

Posted in grief

Holidays and Grief

Today’s blog explores the topic of grief and the ways in which holidays can trigger the grieving process within us. 

 

Happy Holidays?????

We live in a culture that has created an expectation of celebration and joy that accompanies the holiday season.  Holidays (Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukkah, etc.) are supposed to be times of family, fun and celebration.  Well, for many, if not most, this could not be farther from the truth.  Instead, the holiday season serves as a reminder of our family dysfunctions, our own personal loneliness and the people we have loved and lost in our lives.  Mix these painful memories with the anxiety of the financial as well as social expectations that come during this time of year and you have a Christmas punch that is not only toxic but just might indeed prove to be fatal.  (The highest rate of suicide is during the holiday season.)

 

Symptoms of Holiday Distress

The best thing we can do for ourselves and for those we love is to be attentive to the possibility that the upcoming holidays might stir up new layers of grief around the past losses and disappointments in our lives.  The healing process of grief is something that continues throughout our lives, resurfacing every time memories of loss are triggered.  And, every time these losses are triggered, we have an opportunity to experience another layer of healing….if we are present to the grief and surrender to the healing.  The challenge is that we are not always conscious of the symptoms of grief and may neglect acknowledging that it has resurfaced so that we can be present to grief’s promise of healing.  As support for all those who may be experiencing the re-emergence of grief during this holiday season, here are some possible symptoms of grief to help you identify that grief has made an appearance, either in yourself or in someone you love:

  • anxiety
  • sadness
  • depression
  • general malaise
  • low-grade sicknesses
  • lack of motivation
  • impatience or restlessness
  • anger or frustration
  • lack of direction
  • avoidance (not wanting to go to holiday parties, celebrations, etc.)
  • fanatical, pressured, forceful holiday participation (a face of denial)
  • loneliness
  • boredom

“Treatment” for the grief

The good news is that there is an effective treatment for grief…and it is really quite simple.  The treatment is ATTENTIVE PRESENCE.  In other words, to allow our losses and disappointments to heal, we need only be present to the grief.  Here’s the quick prescription:

  • Acknowledge that you are grieving
  • Name the loss/es
  • Be present to the emotions that surface – anger, sadness, loneliness, despair, denial, etc.   In other words….LET YOURSELF be sad, angry, etc.
  • Surrender to the process of grieving….it is not something you can control, manipulate or hasten along
  • ALLOW support   in other words…..DO NOT grieve alone…let your friends, loved ones, family members, counselor, spiritual director, grief support group, recovery group, etc. be a source of support for you as your grieve!

EMERGENCY Support

It is important during times of grief to invite support.  Whether it be a friend, family member, spiritual director, pastor or loved one, DO NOT grieve alone.  And…..if you feel suicidal…..GET HELP NOW.  And here are the numbers for the National Suicide Hotline if you or someone you know are entertaining thoughts of despair or death during this holiday season:

1-800-784-2433

1-800-273-8255 

How might grief be making an appearance for you during this holiday season?

What tools do you have for identifying and being present to grief?

What support can you invite to help you through the grieving process? 

Lauri Lumby

Authentic Freedom Ministries

http://yourspiritualtruth.com

Posted in Uncategorized

Happy Holidays and Hiatus

I will be on vacation starting today and taking a hiatus from blogging.  I wish you blessings of peace and abundant joy this holiday season and into the new year and I invite us all to reflect on how we are being called to birth Divine love and light into this world. A Very Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays from Authentic Freedom Ministries/Your Spiritual Truth.   (I’ll be back on January 3, 2011 with more blogging!  See you then!)

 

 

Lauri Lumby

Authentic Freedom Ministries/YourSpiritualTruth

http://yourspiritualtruth.com


Posted in grief

Holidays Bring Additional Stress for the Grieving

The Holidays can be a difficult and stressful time for anyone, but especially for those who are grieving.  If you or someone you know has recently suffered a loss, you may find it helpful to explore the benefits of self-care.


For those who are grieving, holidays can be difficult

As I stare the impending holidays in the face, I am immediately reminded of what a difficult time of year this can be.  While many experience the holidays as a time of celebration, friends and family, many experience the holidays as anything but a time of joy.  For those who have recently suffered a loss (“recent” is a relative term!), the holidays can be a time of sadness, loneliness and isolation.  The holidays also tend to stir of old wounds of loss and bring them back to the surface for another layer of processing and healing.  To compound the challenge of the holidays for those who are mourning is that darn guilt demon that creeps in and tries to tell us how we “should” be feeling and what we “should” be doing. Then there are those really well meaning souls who mistakenly tell us to “get over it, move on, cheer up.”

First Aid for the Holidays

So, how might we respond to the grief we may be feeling during the holiday season or to the grief we might be seeing in another?  Below is a list of ideas for those who are grieving and for those who may know someone who is struggling with grief this holiday season:

Help if you are grieving:

  • Be kind to yourself
  • Honor your feelings – if you are sad, cry; angry, find a healthy release; lonely, seek out a friend; if you want to be alone, be alone.
  • Be proactive about creating opportunities to be nurtured:  schedule a massage, go out for a lovely meal, treat yourself to a day to just be, make time to be with special friends and family members.
  • Take time to be present to the grief and allow it to move through you in a healthy, gentle way.
  • Avoid giving into the guilt demon – nobody else knows how you are feeling and what you need than you!  Take care of the vulnerable part of you and give it what it needs.
  • Schedule an appointment with your counselor or spiritual director for support with your grief.
  • If at anytime you are experiencing thoughts of suicide….GET HELP.  You can call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline:  1800-273-8255 or go to their website for a listing of local services:  http://suicidepreventionlifeline.org

If you know someone who is grieving:

  • Reach out to them
  • Invite them to talk to you about the person/s they lost and to express their grief
  • Take time to listen to their grief, don’t try to fix it, just be present as a listening presence
  • Don’t be tempted to tell them how they “should” be feeling or what they “should” be doing, honor their process
  • If they are alone, find out if they have plans for the holidays and invite them to join you if they wish
  • Encourage them to seek professional help through a counselor or spiritual director if you feel they may benefit from additional support
  • If you suspect they are suicidal, help them get help.  See above for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline contact information

What we grieve

Another thing I am reminded of is that there are all kinds of grief and they all can show up at the holidays.  So here is a brief list of things we grieve and an invitation to remember it is not just death that shows up in our grieving:

  • A death of an acquaintance of loved one
  • A terminal diagnosis for ourselves or someone we know or love
  • A diagnosis of a serious illness
  • A job loss
  • Divorce
  • Children leaving the home
  • Parents, children, ourselves aging
  • A significant change in our normal life routine
  • The decision to enter into a recovery program (we grieve the loss of that which formerly gave us comfort – cigarettes, alcohol, drugs, compulsive sexual activity, etc.)
  • A significant disappointment (not getting a job we wanted, not getting accepted for a promotion or to the college we wanted, etc.)
  • A relationship breakup

In the end, the invitation is to be present to the grief, allow it to unfold organically and be kind and gentle with ourselves and others.

Lauri Lumby

Authentic Freedom Ministries

http://yourspiritualtruth.com