Are you experiencing grief today?
It’s quite possible you’re experiencing grief this week as a result of the election. I know many who are seriously grieving over recent events and the resulting chaos in our country. Of course, it may also be something completely different for you today. Have you lost a job or opportunity or ended a relationship? Have you lost a friend or family member? These losses in particular, can take quite a long time to grieve. Perhaps you experienced the loss of a pet. We do get so attached to our pets.
The fact is, no matter the source of your grief, it’s real. There’s no reason to try to pretend it away. It wouldn’t help if we did.
I know everyone is familiar with the stages of grief, so I won’t go into all that right now. What I’d like to do instead is to re-frame our perception.
Grief isn’t always bad.
Stay with me here. I know that statement could possibly come off as insensitive or stupid or just plain wrong.
But even still. I hold to that statement.
So often, we put emotions in categories. Joy, Happiness, and Wonder all go in the “good emotions” category. Sadness, Anger, and Resentment all go in the “bad emotions” category. Right?
Here’s the thing I’d like to suggest: emotions are neither good nor bad. Joy is no better or worse than Anger. They are both intense and amazing feelings. One happens in response to events that we prefer and the other in response to events that we dislike.
Anger can often move us to much-needed action! Sometimes it takes the fire of anger to get us motivated to make changes. Or the intensity of a deep belly-laugh to relieve our stress.
In some of my most recent experiences with grief, I have noticed that it is full of texture and beauty. This is much like loneliness (which can be so full and expansive when we let it). Grief is raw, and often feels like our hearts are ripped wide open. I don’t know about you, but sometimes that is EXACTLY what I need! I can get so closed or detached from the real-ness of life. And a season of loss brings me back to raw reality. As my heart feels like it is bleeding beyond repair, I find I am more aware. I notice the acts of kindness from a friend that I may have taken for granted yesterday. I see the hurt another person is experiencing and have enough presence of mind to give them a smile or a hug.
Grief sometimes feels like it oozes onto everything for days, weeks, months and years. And we cry. We feel despair. We sit in disbelief.
Grief is also full of experience. Tears are wet, and salty, and endless! Our hearts ache and heave with the waves of intensity. We are opened up. We see others – not just as coworkers or neighbors – but as people with their own very real experiences. Joy. Sadness. Wonder. Anger. And sometimes…grief. But now, we have a small understanding. We have a little more patience and tenderness for their experiences.
Are you grieving today? If so, I invite you to lean into it a little bit. What does it feel like? What does it look like? How does it taste? Sit with it long enough to gain a new perspective about it. Sit with it until it feels beautiful.
Maps are helpful. They get us from Point A to Point B. The live, interactive ones even tell us when we need to change our route to get around a traffic delay. Truly remarkable!
Last week we talked about feeling all alone and then realizing that we’re really not. But what to do when you truly FEEL that way? When it feels like you don’t know up from down, left from right, in from out. When all the regular landmarks are missing and you don’t know which way to go.
Our tendency is to push the feelings away. To pretend they aren’t there. Or to do whatever it takes to get rid of them as soon as possible. We’ll over-fill our schedules, self-medicate, and enlist outside help from friends or counselors* – ANYTHING to get rid of the feelings of disillusionment as quickly as possible, right?
Instead of running away as fast as possible, what if we sat with the discomfort and took stock of the surroundings? Instead of trying to get rid of the “bad” feelings, what if we leaned into them and explored them? Instead of incessant resistance, what if we met our feelings with a sense of curiosity?
I’ve tried this a few times, and I have to tell you, after getting over the initial discomfort, the experience is AMAZING. When diving into the depth of the feelings and emotions and really leaning into all they are, I begin to realize that most of the time, they aren’t “bad” at all. They’re just intense. Sometimes, REALLY intense, but not necessarily “bad.” Sometimes feelings that I previously avoided turn out to be kind of cool in their own way.
I’ve noticed that anger feels hot and spicy and explosive. The map of my surroundings in anger looks dark, and red, and billowy and desolate. Sadness feels salty, like tears to me. And the landscape is kind of yellow-green until the sadness starts to subside and then everything becomes a soothing shade of soft blue. It’s also a place of alone-ness. I call it alone-ness because it doesn’t really feel lonely, just alone. Which is actually kind of nice sometimes.
So what do you say? Would you be willing to sit with an intense feeling with a sense of curiosity and make a map of what you see?
I’m not sure what it is, but around the holidays I get all crafty. I think it stems back to my childhood when I gave homemade ornaments to my relatives every year.
Anyway – I have three projects under way this year: Pumpkin Bread (dowload the recipe here), Dryer Balls (which are an awesome replacement for dryer sheets!) and Chakra Bracelets (oh how I love to bead!).
What is it about making gifts that moves me? I think it’s because it’s so grounding. As a culture, we are spacey, and hurried and UN-grounded. We live most of our lives in the top 14 inches of our body. In the Spring and Summer, I love to go for long walks and take my shoes off at every available opportunity for this reason. It helps me re-connect to the earth, to my deeper self. But in the winter, it’s too cold! And the lower temps and drier air contribute to the problem.
It can be lots of things. For me, it’s crafting! Working with my hands and getting into that mind space where there is no electronic input slows me down and helps me get a grip again! It can also be cooking. The methodical chopping, the cooking, the stirring, the baking – all of it – brings us back into our bodies and settles us down. I even calm down THINKING about it! Warm baths are also a great way to settle down and re-connect.
With the holidays coming upon rather quickly, complete with the end of semester finals (for my kids) and traveling around to see family and gatherings with friends, things are getting kind of busy around here.
Not to mention that it’s time to do my end-of-the-year reflections and planning for 2016. With that in mind, I’ll be taking some time off from blogging and facebook-ing to glean the most from 2015’s lessons and set 2016 up to be the best it can be!
I’ll be back in the saddle around mid-January. In the meantime, I am wishing you a wonderful holiday season and grand start to the new year.
If you are looking for some thoughtful gifts for someone you know and love, check out these items. I will be finishing up taking orders this weekend and mailing the final batch of goodies on Monday. So, if you want something, let me know right away! Here are the highlights:
This workbook has changed my life! Both on the personal level AND the business level! It’s a must-have!
If you have kiddos or teach yoga to kiddos, I cannot speak highly enough of these books! My friend Lindsey wrote them (I got to edit them!) and they are THE BOMB! Beautifully written, beautifully illustrated, and there’s also an accompanying album available to sing along!
I travel everywhere with these oils. Not only do they help with balancing chakra energies, they all have multiple purposes like helping with upset tummy, lightening mood, opening stuffy noses, cleansing a cut, providing immune support and MORE!
Last night my husband and I went to watch our daughter cheer at a football game. She cheers for the JV squad at her high school. It’s great – the team spirit, the cooling fall temps, the crowd in the stands getting excited when the team makes a good play.
There was this one lady a few rows up from us. I’m not sure, but I think she thought the fate of the world was resting on whether or not our team won this game. I think this because she was yelling (and sometimes screaming) at the top of her voice on every. single. play. She was elated. She was devastated. She was hopeful. She was mortified. She ran the gamut of emotions to say the least.
It was easy to judge her. To think it was ridiculous that her entire emotional landscape was determined by the total yards gained or lost on any particular play.
Since I found myself at least minor-ly (if not major-ly) annoyed by her, it made me wonder – what is it that I get all in a tizzy about? What do I completely over-react to? Are there times when those around me are wondering why I am letting something so little get me so upset?
I haven’t asked my friends and family, because I’m not sure I’m ready to know the real answer, but I’m pretty sure the answer is a resounding YES.
Just when you think you have something under control…right?
What to do? What is a good solution when you come to that realization that you are completely over-reacting and making everyone around you crazy with all your racket?
I have something. It’s called meditation. Sometimes it helps when you do it every day (I would go so far as to say it ALWAYS helps when you do it everyday), and sometimes it’s great when you pause and meditate right there in the moment of sheer craziness.
It’s pretty simple really. Whenever you notice a thought that feeds the frenzy, let it go. Just like that. Take a deep breath and enjoy the space you just created.
I don’t know about you, but I feel better already!
As you may know, the fam and I recently went on vacation. One morning, we went to the Aquarium of the Pacific. It was very cool! All kinds of amazing ocean creatures were in huge aquarium tanks where we could see them all swimming around.
I must admit, my favorite part was the section where we got to reach into tiny pools of water and actually touch different sea animals. We got to touch jelly fish! Who knew they are dense and spongy? We got to touch anemones, too. They are kinda slimy or coarse – depending on which one you reach out to.
But the ones that really blew my mind were the sea urchins. I had experienced sea urchins last summer when we went diving in St. Croix (read about that here), and those were not happy experiences! My husband accidentally stepped on one and he definitely paid the price! As far as I knew, sea urchins were not to be messed with and certainly not enjoyable to experience.
So…when the seemingly nice lady at the aquarium encouraged me to touch one with my bare hands, I did not immediately do so! No way! Was she kidding??? So I told her my St. Croix story and emphasized the part when Brad had sea urchin spines stuck in his foot. I thought for sure this woman was mistaken! Surely you cannot touch sea urchins – she needed to be warned! She listened in an understanding way, and then simply said, “If someone was trying to step on you, wouldn’t you try to defend yourself too?”
So….after a long pause, and intense consideration, I asked her how to touch them so they wouldn’t hurt me. She explained that if I reached out to them and touched their spines with two fingers, that they would hug me back!
Well, that was enough to make me curious. Now I had to know.
I put my hand in the freezing cold water and very cautiously, touched the sea urchin’s spines.
And, what do you know?
That sea urchin (now adorable in my eyes) hugged me!!!
I couldn’t get enough! I had to touch all of them and got sea urchin hugs by the dozens!
Here’s my takeaway: when we encounter things in life, sometimes we push too hard, and then we get hurt in the process.
When we pause for a moment and learn more about the situation and then proceed mindfully, the same situation that caused us pain, can actually hug us back when we lean into it!
The next time this happens, try leaning into it and see what happens! Leaning in doesn’t necessarily mean you have to jump in, or jump ship – it just means to lean into the possibility.
It’s amazing what happens in our minds when we consider what can happen. Our minds shift from absolute certainties into a brand new world where anything is possible! Think of the transformation that could take place with a shift like this!
Are you ready for life to hug you back?
Hey there, Dragonflies!
I am recently back from vacation and feeling all refreshed and ready to jump back into the routine of school (I have two High Schoolers) and work. While I was gone, I did some thinking and realized some things about myself. I wonder if you ever feel this way too?
Do you ever get scared of being successful? Do you sometimes think it’s just easier to stay with things the way they are and not rock the boat with some fancy new idea?
When I started this blog almost a year ago (A YEAR AGO?!?!) and the Facebook page (www.facebook.com/iridescentdragonflies), I was on fire! I was all about getting it started and taking some steps that I have never taken before and it was a little scary, but SO EXCITING, and I was having so much fun meeting everyone. But somewhere along the way, I let the scary feelings overtake the exciting feelings and while still taking steps forward all the time, I started kind of letting stuff get in the way of massive progress.
What was I so scared of?
Here’s what I decided it is for me: I got scared because of all the “what ifs?” What would happen if something comes up I don’t know how to handle? Or What do I do if all these people are looking to me to provide encouragement for iridescent amazingness in their lives and I don’t (or can’t) give it to them? What happens if this things gets really big and I don’t know how to keep up with it?
Well guess what?
There are thousands of “what ifs” in life. They aren’t going to stop, no matter what we do!
So, is it possible that something may come up that I don’t know how to handle? Well, of COURSE! It’s even imminent! Is it possible that I might not be able to live up to someone’s expectations? Yep. I can almost certainly guarantee it. Is it possible that at some point I will not know how to keep up with what’s happening in this business. Certainly.
Is it possible that it will be scary to keep moving forward and living as iridescently as possible?
So, what to do?
What if the blind painter had thought it was impossible to paint since he can’t see? Well, we wouldn’t have this:
What if those high school basketball players hadn’t embraced their teammate with special needs? We wouldn’t have this heart-warming story.
What if the 30 year-old Jake Weidemann hadn’t followed his love of penmanship and become a Master Penman, when the next youngest person with this title is 30 years OLDER than Jake? We wouldn’t have his beautiful art.
And what if I hadn’t followed my dream to provide a place for people to discover ways to create space for their own full-color amazingness? In just one year’s time, the stories you all have shared with me have BLOWN ME AWAY! I am so humbled and honored to be a part of your journeys and to share yours with you.
And what about YOU, Dragonfly? What have you done even though it’s scary? What do you want to even though it seems frightening?