Grief on Vacation

Grief on Vacation

Grief doesn’t take vacations.  Even if you do.

After spending the first part of January on a beach vacation I met a lot of amazing people, and a lot of those people were grieving. 

There was grief over health, loss of a loved one, divorce and someone who was carrying a lot of heavy stuff from their job.

Vacations can help us heal in many ways. 

 

Normal

What even is that? 

  • Nothing is normal after you have lost someone you love. 
  • Nothing is normal after a relationship has ended. 
  • Nothing is normal when you or someone else is healing their physical body. 

Nothing looks, feels, seems, is, or feels like it will ever be normal again.

Taking yourself on vacation or retreating from the tangle of “not normal” can be a way to distract ourselves from feeling overwhelmed while  being literally removed from our home base, we can begin to breathe.

A few months after my husband died I went away.  I went far far away from my normal to a country where nothing was familiar and I didn’t speak the language.  Some may have perceived my ‘get away’ as ‘running away’, however I intended and experienced the opposite.

Sitting in a cafe drinking a coffee and people watching was profoundly liberating.  I could not eavesdrop on other table’s conversations, I could blur out my vision to observe the bustle of everyone else’s normal and best part I began to breathe.

It was quasi meditative in the sense that I quickly found the skill to block out the rest of the world, and rather than empty my mind of thoughts I could actually tune into the thoughts that I was having.  I began to reacquaint myself with what was running through my mind that I hadn’t been afforded the luxury of.

Being able to sift through what felt like a jumble was a game changer.  I was able to open up my mind and heart to all the feelings and thoughts I was having about my recent loss.  I was able to allow myself the space to feel.

 

 

Perspective

So many well intended comments, adages, metaphors, advise and suggestions come after loss.  It is not uncommon for those who are on the receiving end to smile politely and nod. 

I am a firm believer in “take what you want and leave the rest”, and that can be hard to practice with so much coming at you.  All that had changed and all that had stayed the same gets flooded by all the other stuff other people are sharing with you.

I had summed up what I was feeling in a Feng Shui analogy:

It is good Feng Shui energy to have a fish in a bowl, it is another thing to feel like you are the fish in the bowl.

And that was my perspective.

It felt as if we were in a spotlight that relentlessly followed us during our zigs and zags as we moved forward.  Again whether real or not, that was my perspective on things.

Grief can dull our senses and feelings and it can heighten them to acute levels.  Its the yin and yang, dark and light, love and loss all the contrasts that we spinning amid.

Taking the trip, spending time with a friend, wandering around the sights, hacking my way through language exchanges brought to light a very important understanding.

I can not take a vacation from my grief, because whether I am home or away, grief is not a separate from who I am.

 

 

The significance of recognizing that grief was another part of me was a perspective shifter. 

Getting aligned with the understanding that it wasn’t neat and tidy as in — either you are grieving or you are not — and therefore that perspective that I was the fish in the bowl became less powerful, because I too understood that I was perpetuating that feeling onto myself to a great degree.

Feeling the Feels

Grief can make you guard yourself from feeling anything other than grief.   While in your home environment that energy is hard to shift, because of your literal surroundings.

Which is EXHAUSTING, in my opinion.

On vacation, surrounded by others who are there to also recharge from their lives, and in a different ecosystem you can be a part of something other than your grief. 

  • People are laughing and your laughter may come easier.
  • Smiles are natural and yours may not feel as forced.
  • Conversations with others can happen or not.

During a break, communing with other vacationers, we can go with and adapt to the ebb and flow at a resort, that isn’t as organically experienced at home. 

And that is the thing.

Everyone you meet on vacation is on vacation.  You don’t know what their story is and what they too may be taking a breather from.

That is the beauty and ease about taking yourself out of your normal, to broaden your perspective and to be in an environment that is safe for you to feel happy, to laugh, chat, nap, cry, really to do whatever your vacation looks like for you.

I remember feeling guilty for laughing, for genuinely being in the moment and having a laugh. 

I observed that in my daughters, during that time as well; it was like we weren’t supposed to feel anything but grief (which at times was self-imposed – hence being the fish). 

Navigating your new surroundings on vacation and new people requires you to engage in a different way.  You get to be, do and have your unique experience as is everyone else.

Returning Home

The positive effects of a vacation may feel as if they recede at lightning speed when its time to return home to real life.  As daunting as it may seem to plunge back into the day to day, I invite you to pause and consider the possibility that a re-calibration has taken place. 

Does that mean you have all the answers to the questions?  No.

Does that mean you have shed the heaviness of grief?  No.

What it does mean is that you have gifted yourself a temporary reprieve which may in fact convert into you feeling more grounded to take whatever next steps are in front of you.

 

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Graduation [be] Present

Graduation [be] Present

Regardless of when you graduated, you may be familiar with that loaded of all loaded questions…

 

 

“Now What?”

 

I suspect more than a few people who are graduating are asking that question tirelessly.  With of course some other good ones like.

 

  • What am I going to do with my life?
  • Am I doing the right thing?
  • What if I hate it?
  • What if I fail?
  • What if I succeed?
  • What have I done?
  • What if I’m wrong?
  • What if I should have listened to… and did what they said?
  • Maybe I should do what that person is doing?
  • I shoulda…
  • I coulda…
  • I woulda…
  • I wonder if the circus is hiring?
  • Etc.

 

My eldest is a few days away from walking across the stage in her cap and gown.  I’m so excited for her because this is BIG.  There is no do-over when it comes to this particular ceremony.

 

She is excited too with equal parts scared.  And she is not alone.

 

The significance of any milestone is the fact that it marks the end of or accomplishment of something, while simultaneously marking the start of something new.

[Click to Tweet]

 

When it comes to completing high school think for a moment of all the things that are no longer going to be the same.

 

Regardless of how long a student attends a certain school the consistency of going to school for 12 years, 5 days a week, 10 months of the year ends.  The comfort of seeing familiar faces in their community, the other sights, sounds and smells (it is high school after all), is no longer their day to day, the normal order of things in their world stops as they know it.

 

The core of their existence, their friends, teachers, lockers, and routine changes and the “Now what” question gets even more traction and momentum.

In my opinion, depending on the intonation with which you ask that question, “Now what?”,it can be an invitation to throw open the door of possibility WIDE OPEN, and not always feel like the tentative turning of the handle.

 

To coin a phrase, “The world is your oyster”, can sound divine to some and others can be thinking “Ewwww oysters, what does that even mean?”.  Its all perspective.  And perspective is close cousins to focus.

When my daughter shared with me this morning that she and others were feeling off kilter with the upcoming graduation and all that implies about their future selves, this is how I responded. [Sharing with her permission]

 

 

It can be so easy to get caught up in the future energy that we forget to be HERE.

 

Being HERE in this moment.

 

Being PRESENT.

 

When we focus on trying to figure it all out at once we can miss the good stuff happening now.

 

This is for anybody, who is trying to create a future, no matter what door we are about to close or what door we are about to open.

 

Watch my video [3 min] here…

 

 

 

Last year I wrote,  “Graduation & Grief“, from a observation standpoint after attending my friend’s daughter’s High School graduation, from the community me and the girls had lived.  This year I am seeing and feeling this from an altogether different perspective.

 

And hey, If you are asking your own self, “Now what?” or are thinking about joining the circus,  why not book your Discovery Session with me and let’s have a chat, before you head to the big top! 🙂

 

 

 

Couples Therapy:  My Relationship with Procrastination

Couples Therapy: My Relationship with Procrastination

It took a long time of struggling with the push and pull dynamics of the relationship to finally ask myself:
  • How had I allowed myself to be bullied for so long?  
  • When had I given up so much power over myself?  
  • And how could I release this hold on me?  

Being caught in this vortex was not serving my purpose. 

The need for change was imminent.  
Or was it?
It seemed futile to look for balance in a relationship, such as this, when the common ground felt as stable as quicksand.  I needed to step onto the sidelines of the blame game and determine what my role was in all of it.  Along with my new found conviction to make a change, I set off armed with fresh eyes, an open heart and a clean slate to begin anew.
Determined, I moved forward, seemingly unaware of the subtlety of the seduction, the light and easy suggestions, the whispered ideas luring me to come out and play.  The gentle urgings, the innocent voice, the promise of “it will only take a moment; you’ll be back on point right away.”  
The mastermind I was dealing with worked easily and effortlessly to derail my intentions.  
The initial moment was drawn out with the cajoling of, “Just one more minute, what’s one more minute?…You can make up the time later.”  
Those are not the demands of a bully, they are simple requests or so I led myself to believe.  Once the realization came I was furious.  It wasn’t just a moment, it wasn’t just another minute, I had been duped yet again by the exponential growth of a single moment into the whole loss of a day.
I berated myself, I belittled myself, I was angry at myself for being led. Angry at the apparent ease I had succumbed to distraction.  
Where were my fresh eyes, my open heart? 
I looked at my clean slate with disdain, now smudgy with taunts of distracted success by procrastination.  Chaos ensued.
Chaos had become a common ingredient in my life and it reigned in my world more times than not. In turn I welcomed chaos as I began to notice and accept that I thrived within its outer appearance of frantic disorder.  
That feeling of being more grounded as I stood amid the eye of the storm, more productive, more decisive, more clear and more successful to get my tasks done.  I began to relish in my many accomplishments handled and realized that I create chaos for my greater good.  Then it hit me.  
If chaos was a direct descendant of procrastination how could I love one and not the other?
I had found my piece in this dysfunctional relationship and now I could make my peace.
Procrastination had firmly established a place in my life, and for years I had rejected its value.  I had adopted the attitude that we could not work together, either I was on top or on the bottom, no balance. 
I was attempting to keep track of wins and losses and each time I checked the scoreboard I was always behind.  My feeling like a victim in the relationship only served to feed procrastination’s power over me.  The imminent change I needed to make was not one of overpowering my opponent, rather to embrace the challenges procrastination presented me.

I wanted procrastination to do the work to change.

I wanted procrastination to leave me alone so I could relinquish the guilt I felt when I listened to the whispers.

I wanted procrastination to respect my productivity rather than seducing me away from it.

I wanted peace! And procrastination was not giving it to me.

Making peace with something is akin to forgiveness.  The process is to accept what is in its natural state, not being in agreement, condoning it or in opposition to it, but to find neutral ground from which to move forward from.  
Procrastination had been doing its job, and doing it well without fail.  It always led me to chaos which I admittedly embraced yet I continued to resist the journey with procrastination to get there.
The relationship looks and feels different now that I have accepted procrastination for what it is.  
In my opinion, it is a momentary meandering off the path, or coloring outside of the lines as a means to an end.  I have chosen to view procrastination as a gift to myself and gently allow myself to wander for moments at its request.  
I have given myself permission to get to the end result without fear of veering off my predetermined path and know that procrastination allows me a bit more time for mulling or creating before the destination is reached.  At times getting there may be chaotic and other times not, that works for me too.

Procrastination and I are cultivating that comfortable relationship known best by old friends rather than adversaries, most of the time.  

How do you face procrastination?

This is my favorite way of approaching things that have the putting it off vibe…

Who am I Creating?

Who am I Creating?

Captivating quote Mr. Shaw.

My youngest daughter recently shared with me her love of this quote, and I wholeheartedly agree with the message.

As I’ve been focusing on creating my/our life here in Australia I’ve shifted my attention to other forms of media to build my community.  Such as Facebook and YouTube; and freshly added is Pinterest .

Admittedly as much as I value my personal strength in all ways, my dang gremlins when it comes to writing stuff down are very robust & convincing.  So thanks for indulging me as I again “Start where I am”.

I have grown with the number of people who have “Liked” my Facebook Business Page and today I feel an overwhelming urge to Share about Me.  And not in the blurby, marketing kind of way in order for those who have been attracted to what I’ve been posting to get to know me.

So here goes…

 

If a picture says a Thousand words, I’d be curious as to what words you would use to describe me at a glance from the picture above.

 

  • I am Loud Music and I am Silence and every rhythm and beat in between.
  • I am as much Type A as I am Atypical.
  • My Physical workout style is: Feel the Pain & Push my limit; my Bodywork teaching style is restorative.
  • I can exude the Rock Star Vibe as well as being the Zen Vibeage.
  • I can and will eat that plate of French Fries with as much enthusiasm as I do juicing beetroot, spinach and carrots.
  • I do not buy Fat Free anything unless by accident and I only use butter.
  • I am sarcastic; I am diplomatic.
  • At times outspoken, but always truthful.
  • I know what it feels like to Love.
  • I know what it feels like to Grieve.
  • I will stand up for what I believe in; I will stand behind those I believe in.
  • I am as simple as I am complicated.
  • I am Fire; I am Water.
  • I am Yin and I am Yang.
With Gratitude I can say with conviction I am…ME!
Enjoy your day 😉

 

Feeling like a Rock Star or the Roadie?

Where is your vibeage right now?

You know the Rock Star feeling, when everything you’ve got going on is going on!  You are hitting every note and are working through everything with relative ease!  Daily you take to the stage of your life and no matter what comes your way…bam… you have it handled.  No question, No hesitation, you have the “I Got This” attitude.

Have you ever felt like the Roadie?  When everything you are doing feels like heavy lifting, tripping over the cords, constantly stepping on the sticky patches of spilled coke?  When you face the day with the attitude of, “Geez I hope ________ doesn’t happen”, or I forgot to (fill in the blank) and you are always in catch up or clean up mode.  Not an awesome place to be.

Someone responded to my Rock Star question with, “I don’t even feel like I’m on the tour”…so now what?”

My response to the query above was “What would it feel like to coast?”  Think intermission – a time out, a pee break, a chance to get a drink, buy a t-shirt or whatever.  Consider this as an opportunity to take a pause.

When you are in a funk what can you do?

1.  Acknowledge- Be gentle with yourself knowing this is temporary.                            

2.  Mental Sorting – Take the opportunity to see what is coming up for you. What is occupying your mind that has you confounded.  Grab a journal and write. 

3.  Decide not to decide – There are things that will have to be handled and do so; if there are auxiliary things that you could delay making decisions on do so until you are back in the zone.  

4.  Keep connected – Enlist the help of your support network, talk it out with your go to person(s) and share the load.  Your circle of support would not want you to carry that heavy load alone.  Reach out.

5.  Keep moving – February is a month whereas we are still in winter, the sun is graduating towards spring, and the weather can’t seem to decide what to do.  Go for a refreshing walk, grab your Ipod, your friend, or pet and get some fresh air.

6.  Breathe & Belly Laugh – I realize you are breathing but stale, stagnant air can accumulate and hangs out in our lungs as it can in our homes.  Pop in your favorite comedy movie and watch and laugh, find a friend to have fun with and laugh!  Find a Laughter Yoga class and even if you don’t feel like giggling the benefits of this type of yoga is amazing. 

Not feeling solid or balanced can be reflected in the body as in the mind.  Make a list of 5 things that help you feel more centered, perhaps one or more are listed above.  If not seek to discover what those things are in you, for when a funk happens you have your own personal toolkit to get through to the other side, refreshed and ready for your close up!

Rock On!!!