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 Being Human, Healing

The Fine Line between aVoidance, Vulnerability and Victim

Today we explore the tenderness of our human emotions and how we choose to respond to them.  Do we avoid, fall into the role of victim or are we able to be open to our vulnerability?


Exploring Defense Mechanisms

I had breakfast with a friend/colleague yesterday morning and she shared how much she enjoyed Wednesday’s blog on the Warrior.  We discussed the various defense mechanisms that we have at our disposal – the warrior, the perfectionist, the performer, the glutton, the miser, the suffering servant and the victim (just to name a few).  The victim became the point of conversation as we explored the ways that we as human beings deal with our tender emotions.

The energy of emotions

There are times in each and every one of our lives where we are struck by the tender human emotions of sadness, loneliness, rejection and loss.  These are the emotions that make us feel weak, vulnerable and sometimes afraid.  When these emotions arise within us, there is an energy to them that is palpable – we can feel it.  This is natural, healthy and a normal part of life.  Emotions are neither good nor bad…they simply are.  The problem is that for most of us, we were not given permission to feel these emotions, neither were we given effective tools for dealing with these soft and tender feelings.

Responding to our emotions

For those who were given permission and a safe place to feel these emotions, along with healthy tools for dealing with them, these tender emotions are just a part of life.  They are not threatening, dangerous or scary.  The ideal way to move through these tender emotions is exactly this  – to allow ourselves to acknowledge these feelings, give ourselves the time and space to be present to them and in doing so, this allows the emotion to move through us, finding healing and release.  This is how we can allow ourselves to be present to our inherent vulnerability as human beings.   Unfortunately, this healthy path is often the road less traveled.  Instead, we choose between one of two responses to this inherent vulnerability – either we avoid the emotion or we fall into victim.

Avoidance

Avoidance is when we ignore, repress, stuff the vulnerable feelings as they arise.  Typically, this is done by seeking out distractions that will keep us from having to pay attention to the feelings arising within us.  We find activities that will keep us from recognizing our deeper feelings – we watch tv, go to the bar, take on a video game, call a friend to gossip, go shopping etc.  While avoidance in the form of denial is a natural part of the grieving process, it only serves to delay the inevitable.  Eventually, we will need to acknowledge and deal with those tender emotions.  Unfortunately, the longer we avoid our sadness, our loneliness, rejection, etc, the bigger it gets.  So when we finally give ourselves permission or are forced into to doing so (because now we are depressed or suffering with anxiety attacks, panic or physical symptoms such as fibromyalgia, high blood pressure, etc.), those vulnerable emotions are bigger than they need to be.

Victim

Falling into victim could be considered the dark side of dealing with our human emotions.  Instead of acknowledging our tender emotions and allowing them to move through us, we grab onto them, draw us into ourselves and feed on them like a vampire on its victims.  Falling into the victim allows us to gather all the badness we are feeling to our selves, nurture the bad feelings and watch them grow.   Embracing the victim allows us to remain stuck and stranded in our pain and prevents from healing and moving forward.  Being the victim also allows us to avoid taking responsibility for the growth that could have occurred through the loss or to recognize and heal our own behaviors that may have contributed to the sadness, etc.  The victim is the one that says, “WOE IS ME…I AM DOOMED…Nobody loves me, everybody hates me …I’m gonna eat some worms.”  We all know this victim and quite frankly he/she is not very attractive.  But lest we be tempted to judge the victim, again we are invited to simply recognize her for who she is and hold her in her own vulnerability so that she can gain the courage she needs to let go of the emotions that are feeding her victimhood.

Moving is the answer

So I guess the fine line between aVoidance, Vulnerability and Victim lies in movement.  Avoidance and Victim allow us to stay stuck and prevent our healing from taking place.  Being open to our vulnerability, staying present to it and allowing it to move through us is how real healing can take place.

Who do you want to respond to your vulnerability?

Lauri Lumby

Authentic Freedom Ministries

http://yourspiritualtruth.com

Posted in grief, Healing

Bring on the Metal – the Power of Music to Heal

Music is said to soothe the savage beast, I have also found it to be a powerful source for healing and release.  In this blog I explore the power of music to heal – music of all sorts, including my personal favorite, heavy metal.  And I give a shout out to my current musical medication – Disturbed! 

 

 

Divorce, as many of you know, is NOT an easy process.  While there may be a sense of relief in some areas, there is still grief and old, unhealed wounds (some related to the relationship and some not) come home to roost.  While this is taking place, we are also visited with the fear and terror of a new life that has not yet been revealed.  This is scary stuff!  Grief, anger, sorrow, fear, anxiety, worry, rage, resentment, shame, guilt, depression, sadness, loneliness all show up to pay a visit and we have no choice but to do something about it.  (Ok, I know we could choose to ignore it, but I have not found that to be a helpful decision as anything I try to ignore will simply show up in some other more painful form…..so…..I try to meet it head on!)

One of the things that I have found especially helpful in dealing with and processing the painful emotions of divorce is music.  When I can no longer “think” through the pain, or try to conquer it through meditation, yoga, contemplation, when my fingers are too tired to write, I have sought refuge in music.  While music is part of my daily spiritual practice through chant, the kind of music I’m talking about here has nothing to do with the ethereal strains of sacred chant.  NO…..the way I have found to move through the painful, dark, scary emotions that are surfacing in this divorce process is Earphones on, as loud as my ears can stand it without bleeding, HEAVY METAL…..and the particular persuasion of this genre that I have found myself drawn to is the musical genius of Disturbed!  “Wha ha ha ha!”

For as long as I can remember, without even knowing what it was, music has  been a part of my spiritual practice.  I remember as a child retreating to the sanctuary of my bedroom to put on my headphones (or not…..sorry mom and dad) and jam out to whatever was my favorite music at the time.  Beginning with the Osmonds and the Partridge Family, moving on to Fleetwood Mac, eventually graduating to Led Zeppelin, Joan Jett, Heart, Guns and Roses, Aerosmith and Motley Crue – music has played a role in helping me to move through the painful feelings and experiences of the human condition.   And….it has been heavy metal music that has been the most helpful when times are most difficult.  I can’t say that I have made it as far as the Berzerker genre of East Germany, but give me a good dose of Marilyn Manson, GnR or Disturbed and I am transported to a place where I can find freedom and release from the dark emotions of hatred, depression and rage.  If the movement of the emotions brings me to tears, I know that true healing is taking place.  AAAAHHHHH

How does this work?   Since I am not a sound scientist, I cannot give you the scientific reason for why sound helps us to find healing, but I can give you my current theory.  I believe that music somehow harnesses the power of the Holy Spirit to bring healing and release.  In the session that I teach on the Holy Spirit in my program, “Called to Freedom,” I use music to demonstrate this aspect of the Divine.  I use music to invite participants to connect with an understanding of the Divine as “Creative Action.”  When we listen intently to music and allow ourselves to connect beyond the notes and the words to the movement of the piece, we are able to connect with a place within ourselves where there is movement.  In connecting with this movement, we are connecting with the transformational aspect of the Divine that lives within us and seeks movement.  The Divine calls us to growth, calls us to movement, calls us to transformation and music has the power to not only connect us with this place of transformation but acts as a catalyst through which this transformation is facilitated.  It is in this way that music is a powerful tool for healing and transformation – in divorce or in any other stage of transition in our lives. 

 

So…..a shout out of gratitude and profound thanksgiving to the guys and gals in the band who have been vehicles through which we can experience profound healing and transformation.  And a special shout out to David and the boys in Disturbed”Wha ha ha ha !”

 

PS:  You Tube has an official site for Disturbed videos!  CHECK IT OUT!

 

 

Copyright 2010

 

Lauri Lumby

Authentic Freedom Ministries/Your Spiritual Truth

http://yourspiritualtruth.com