…birthdays…

…. they come every year and often we don’t give them much thought.   

Then someone you love dies.   You bury them, you cry, you grieve….  and you get on with getting back to life.   When friends ask, you tell them that you’re “doing fine” and you really mean it.    You think that you’re getting through and over and past missing your loved one… until your helpful automated calendar assistant reminds you that your loved one has a birthday coming up… and you lose them a little bit, all over again.

It feels strangely heartless to delete a loved-one from your contacts list… but if you don’t, this is what happens:   Siri or Alexa or Hallmark or whomever keeps track of birthdays for you, pops up a week or so in advance, so that you’ll have time to buy a card and send it.

But your person won’t be there to receive it.

What do you do?

Do you delete them from your contacts list?    Or replace their birthday with a deathday?  

If you delete the birthday reminder the day will likely sneak up on you anyway… you’ll be happily moving through your day, when you’ll be swept up in a wave of melancholy as you suddenly remember what day it is.     Or worse, the day after… and then you feel the added mix of being the schmuck who didn’t even remember their birthday…

Maybe it’s better to see that birthday coming a week or two in advance, rather than having it sneak up on you… on the day.  

And do you really Need or Want a reminder of their deathday?   Probably not.     So maybe you just leave that alone….

It’s messy.

This week my calendar reminded me that my sister’s birthday is coming up.   This will be the first without her.   She died just as CoVid locked us all in our homes.   It was a strange way to lose someone… it was hard not to be allowed to Be There to say goodbye.   Once CoVid is gone, we’ll have a gathering to remember her… we’ll hug and cry and do those funereally  things.   

I hope we get to do that before her next “birthday” rolls around.  xoxoxox

It’s Working!

For anyone who wants more information about Grief Recovery and for those who want to book time to start learning How to Heal, online booking is Finally Live! I’m available at Ki Health and Wellness in Whitby, Tuesdays through Saturday and I’m looking forward to meeting you all.

Book an Appointment Now!

What’s worse than a giraffe with a sore throat?

an Alligator with Tooth Troubles…

an Elephant with a Stuffed Nose…

a Turtle with Claustrophobia…

a Centipede with Foot Odour…

 

This week I am dealing with dental pain. (as I await my dental appointment)

Instead of being at Ki Health and Wellness I’m at home. I’m taking pain meds, not operating any heavy machinery, resting when appropriate, puddling with paperwork when I’ve got the clarity for it … and I’m feeling schtuff about all of it…

We live with expectations.

Most of our expectations are so small that we don’t even realize that we expect things to roll out in a certain way. Until they don’t… and then we feel “Schtuff”.

Like the expectation that you’ll be at your desk at your usual hour.

When something as small as a broken tooth hijacks your routine, your expectations begin to fall like dominos: without time at your desk you’ll get behind on that project you were committed to… and that will mean a delay in A, B or C… and you begin to feel anxious… or annoyed… or both… and you Certainly have opinions about being in pain. This is grief.

“Grief is the Conflict of emotions that happens when an established pattern changes”

When life takes a left turn, we grieve.

Your pain doesn’t have to be greater than mine, in order to deserve your full attention. 

When we admit what we’re feeling, at least to ourselves, life gets a little bit easier. When we attend to what hurts, it heals.

If you want to know more, contact me next week… after my tooth gets fixed and I’m back at Ki. xoxo

Are you CoVid Cranky??

I was in a parking lot this week and heard someone “toot-toot-tooooting!!” on their car horn as if they were celebrating the Leafs winning the Stanley Cup.

Unfortunately they weren’t celebrating.

The toot-tooter was having an adult temper tantrum and toot-toot-tooting at someone who had taken “their” parking spot, or failed to wear a mask, or some other perceived infraction. Whatever it was, the encounter used up the tooter’s last ounce of patience and they were making it obvious to anyone within a 3 block radius, that they’d “lost it”.

It’s almost impossible to predict what will set someone off these days, because all over the world, folks are working at the ends of their respective ropes.

CoVid has gone on far longer than most of us expected it would and it has effected far more of our lives than we expected it would and most unexpectedly of all… it has exposed the fact that most folks Cope with life.

In spite of what the beer commercials imply, before CoVid hit, most folks weren’t Joyfully living the Life of their Dreams, they were Coping with jobs and kids and unexpected bills. After months of having to cope with CoVid too, our coping skills are tapped out.

Whatever your plans for this year, it’s unlikely that they unfolded exactly as you thought they would.

When life takes unexpected turns and our dreams don’t come true, we grieve. When we don’t have any way to express these daily griefs, they build up in us like steam in a kettle. Grief Recovery teaches people what to do with all these little day to day griefs and that’s part of why I love it.

If you’re not ready to learn new skills, that’s okay, admit what you’re feeling, if only to yourself…  and watch life get just a little bit easier.

But if one call to tech support or someone cutting in front of you in a line has you ready to Scream.   

You might be CoVid Cranky. See if you can find time for a nice nap this weekend. xox

video connections are better than nothing…

… but not by much …

There are Grief Recovery Specialists who have been trained and licensed to guide you through the Grief Recovery process online.

I am Not one of them…

I believe that in-person, human to human connection brings magic to the process. Human connection is one of the reasons I became a Grief Recovery Specialist. I just don’t think that anything else is as good.

CoVid has pushed a lot of us to accept online connections as “the new normal”.

I’m not buying it.

For folks who are bedridden, or living in remote communities where working with a Grief Recovery Specialist just isn’t possible, except by video… it’s the perfect answer. Because Grief Recovery work, done by video, with a properly trained specialist Is Better than living with a broken heart.

It’s just not one of the services that I offer.

Because it’s not right for me.

… and that’s unlikely to change. xox

Grieving what used to be…

Lately I’ve been grieving the tiny things I think I’ll miss in the unknown future.

It’s usually a small thing that starts it. For instance, it seems unimaginable, after all the CoVid disinfecting we’ve done, that I will ever again feel comfortable rummaging through old jeans at a second hand shop. (No more bargains??) If I’m not the only one with these residual feelings, how is that going to change our world? No more church bazaars? No more rummage sales? What about shops like Value Village and Goodwill?? These potential changes are small things but I feel sad when they cross my mind.

Maybe your thing is rock concerts or theatre, or even opera… all of which put people together in far closer proximity than what will be safe for the rest of this year. What will our world look like when we are finally done with CoVid? Will theatres and other stadium venues survive the closure? Or will they simply become relics of an earlier time?

I don’t know the answers to any of these questions and I expect that the truth will be a lot like the truth that follows when I have a head cold. About 1/2 way through any extended bout of snuffles I’m certain that I’ll never get my sense of taste and smell back. But I do. And maybe this year of CoVid vigilance will be just like that… Maybe 2 years from now it will be as if CoVid never happened.

Somehow I find that a sad thought too… For after all this fuss and struggle, it would be nice if we actually learned something good and useful from it.

The Grief Recovery Method gives us skills to deal with change. Right now, the change that I’m grieving is the unknown future. Six months ago we all thought we knew what 2020 would hold. (more or less) Today, we all know that we don’t know… and knowing that we don’t know, brings a whole new kind of grief.

Rest if you can…

Many of us were taught to stay busy as a way to “deal with grief”.   In reality, staying busy is just a distraction technique.    If you distract yourself from your grief now, it will be waiting for you when you stop being so busy…   But right now, if staying busy is all you know, Do that.

Because of CoVid, many folks are finding themselves home alone with grief that they don’t know how to heal or even how to Be with.   If you feel the need to stay busy right now, then do that.

This is a hard time for all of us, it’s not the time to beat yourself up for doing what you know.

And for the rest of us?   If you can relax, Do that.

CoVid will end.   Life will resume and there will be stuff to do.

Rest while you can.

If you can.

xox

Don’t let CoVid win…

Most of us grew up with the same tired advice for coping with heartache, fear, grief and loss:

“Get Over it, Get Past it, Get Through it or Forget About it.

Move On…”

The problem is, none of those helpful tidbits really Solved our Problems.    

Coping with a Problem, by definition means that the problem still Exists…

and when you don’t have the tools to Solve a problem, sometimes all you can do is Cope. 

Right now the whole world is Coping with CoVid.  We’re Coping with the changes that it has brought and will continue to bring to our lives but we Don’t have to Cope with the feelings that are roiling up inside us because of it.

If you’re one of the folks who has coped with painful issues in your life by staying busy… you may be feeling overwhelmed right now because as you sit idle, memories of times past seem to land in your lap.   If you feel trapped at home with painful memories or feelings of grief about what is happening there are things that you can do to make life better for yourself.

I’m not suggesting another way of Coping.   I’m suggesting that you take the time you’ve got and Learn Better ways of dealing with painful emotions.   This isn’t a suggestion that’s fun and easy to implement, what I’m suggesting will take work.   But right now you’ve got the time.   What if you used that time to make yourself smarter and stronger?  What if you came out of CoVid with Better Emotional Health than you had when you went into it?

The Grief Recovery Handbook can walk you through the steps, just like it’s been doing for grievers for over 40 years.   Yes, it’s easier with a buddy, there’s no question about that.   It’s better to do this in a class with others who can help you or one on one with a Grief Recovery Specialist but CoVid has put both of those out of reach right now.   So are you going to let CoVid win?  Or are you going to do what you can, while you have the time?

The Grief Recovery Handbook is available from Amazon in both Kindle and Audio format.   You can have either one delivered to your computer right now.

I urge everyone who is reading this to consider buying the book.   Even if you don’t get through All of the exercises on your own, it will give you a new foundation for living.   Life is always going to throw us new things to deal with.    People who have learned how to heal from the unhappy and uncomfortable things that life throws at us, have more energy left for the good stuff.

Fresh starts…

Last year I moved from a home in farm country to an apartment in the city.

Although the pace of this new place is not quite what I expected, it feels good to be here. As 2020 dawned I found myself fairly well settled in my new digs, with a new office pending and new adventures to look forward to.

What I didn’t expect, was that it would take 6 months and 6 new phone numbers before I had home and business numbers that worked for me. I didn’t expect that getting a spare key cut would take months, emails, phone calls and days of frustration. I didn’t expect to find kind and loving neighbours right across the hall, who would watch out for me and invite me for dinner.

Change never turns out exactly the way we expect it will.  Even when we get everything we asked for, there are always details we didn’t anticipate.  

Whether you’re having a baby or moving house, getting married, or letting go of someone you love. There will be things that will catch you by surprise. Usually a collection of them…  

Life is big.  And Messy.  And usually pretty wonderful.   Except when it isn’t…

Grief Recovery helps make sense of it all.

Recovery time…

Last July I was working diligently to organize my life. To see whether, with enough structure and help, I could keep all the balls in the air. Life, Work, Home, Family, Schtuff…

By Christmas I knew that where and how I was living, was an untenable arrangement. My life was scheduled 24/7 and there was no joy left in the mix.

On March 1st I decided that home ownership was the first piece to let go of. Less than a month passed from deciding to move, to signing the deal. The deal gave me 30 days to purge, pack, find a new place and to move. It was a whirlwind of change.

Once all the boxes were unpacked and the final loads had been taken to the charity store the Office Manager who lives in the back of my brain, thought that I should be at my desk, churning out articles and blog posts in every moment when I wasn’t out in my new city searching for classroom space for upcoming classes.

The Office Manager and I have had words.

I’m pooped. Proud of myself and what I’ve accomplished. And happy to be here. But pooped, all the same.

When someone runs a marathon, we don’t expect them to get up and do it again the next day. Yet it’s easy for us to lose sight of the marathons we run. We see the mountains in the distance and can fall into chivvying ourselves to get on with the next.

I am puttering away at both business and a new social life here. I am meeting new people and getting ready to set up classes. I’m writing some too. But it’s not at a marathon pace right now… I’m still slowing down from the last race I ran.xoxo

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