Official blog for the book "Just Behind the Door"

Posts tagged ‘Stages of Loss’

Change … Bring It On!

The only consistent thing we have in life is change. For those people who find change intimidating or uncomfortable hold on … you are in for the ride of your life! This ride is not one where you give the vendor a ticket and can choose to get off at a certain time. No… this is a non stop experience so we can either learn to accept, adapt and go with it or …well there really isn’t any other option other than stagnation. I’ll take change any time over that alternative!

Time goes by quickly and change has become so rapid that adapting our mental outlook to see the positives involved in change has become a true survival skill. Whether we are changing schools, jobs, houses or even relationships, at first there is a period of discomfort. Things are different – better maybe – but still different and that takes greater emotional energy from us. If you feel that you are already tapped out of energy it is time for an attitude adjustment. Trust me on this, looking at change from the perspective of growth makes all the difference.

We all have fond memories and connections to certain things in our lives. When those things change, momentarily we are thrown off our game. So what do we do with this discomfort? We can begin to take stock with gratefulness at all of the wonderful memories we have and realize they will always remain with us. Next we can look to the source of the latest change in our lives and determine how this latest change will help us grow as a person. Change may not be easy but don’t we eventually appreciate those things that force us out of our comfort zone? Well maybe not at first, of course. We don’t go around with a sign on our backs that says ‘Change…bring it on!’ Yet we become wiser, more seasoned travelers when we face change with eyes straight at it and our minds determined to make it work. It may take every once of what we have to move forward but is so worth it in the long run.

Now comes the hardest part – wrapping our hearts around the change. We may feel an actual loss inside us when life gives us a major change to contend with along the way. The stages of loss do exist and it is not uncommon to experience them even with a change that you have purposely chosen. It may be confusing and you might wonder to yourself, ‘What’s wrong with me? I chose this change and now I am worried or uncomfortable.’ Well, congratulations it just means that you are human after all! You may feel a loss of security, or comfort because you remember all of the good times associated with what once was in your life. You may even be reluctant to make the change thinking that nothing will ever take the place of what was … and guess what … you’re right. Nothing will ever be the same as what was but it will be different and eventually even better if you take a deep breath and believe that you can handle anything that life throws at you. You have evidence that you have done so in the past and you will do so again. If you wonder why your heart is not totally wrapped around the new and different I would suggest that it means your heart was in what was and that is a call for celebration. You gave a piece of your heart to what was and that’s a great thing. The amazing thing is that the capacity of our hearts to grow is never ending and it will embrace the new change overtime. Be gentle with yourself. Allow the sadness because it is real. Just remember not to allow yourself to remain stuck in the grief for a long period of time because you will be treading water not moving forward. Have faith in yourself and remember that as one door closes another one opens. Get ready to walk through it, head held high because you earned it!

You will look back in a couple of years and realize that life really is better in a host of ways now you have experienced the change. You will feel stronger, wiser and more self confident because you lived through another life challenge and lived to tell the tale.

Have a great few days!

Synchronicity and a Fellow Traveler

Synchronicity is amazing and at work again! Yesterday I met a highly successful, accomplished and beautiful person who had a difficult – actually life threatening experience – to share and apparently I needed to hear it.

As she described the physical assault she had barely lived through it sounded not only frightening but outright horrendous. I was amazed that she was able to put one foot in front of the other. At first glance although she looked so very confident and put together I just kept getting the feeling that inside she was a delicate, wounded bird and I was puzzled at my own reaction. As she began to talk I understood my initial reaction better. You would never have guessed that she nearly lost her life in the attack. To add more stress and trauma in her life, the timing of the on going court system continues to keep the attack in her conscious thought – long past the harrowing experience. Listening to her story you could visibly see and feel both the physical and emotional pain she was still in. Yet, she was involved with a group and determined to help others who have lived through similar traumatic experiences.

I was able to offer a few personal references – guides on the side so to speak – that I believed could help her further with the next steps in the healing process. We know that experiencing loss in any form takes what may seem like an inordinate time to fully heal but regardless of our determination or station in life deep loss is like a deep physical wound in our body. There are no short cuts in the healing process – it may take years to fully heal.

You may think our meeting was not particularly unusual or synchronistic but just read the following events that needed to be aligned to get the full picture.

She had changed her appointment due to a conflict in schedule
Still struggling a bit with jet lag I had not made an appointment until a few hours before when in desperation I realized I needed to get in. I kept thinking it would be impossible and not to even try to get an appointment but then in my next breath I would feel an urge to pick up the phone. When I did call I was absolutely astounded to get an appointment immediately (this process usually takes at best a week to get in)
Our times were 15 minutes apart and lasted for 2 hours so we had time to talk
She was physically moved from her original seat and seated next to me
The owner of the shop introduced us – not the usual procedure
Her life story involved tremendous loss of people, safety and well being
I have written a book and blog twice weekly on those topics

We had the gift of time to talk deeply about patterns of human behavior, prayers of protection, life lessons and moving on after tragic events occur in our lives. Our connection was immediately apparent and to verify it the Universe gave her a sign, goose bumps on her arms continually as we talked. In fact it was so noticeable that she commented on it. The energy exchanged left us both feeling happier, more energized and ready to tackle tomorrow. When it was time to leave, after exchanging hugs, I could feel my jet lag seemed better and I noticed that she left the shop with an actual smile on her face. It feels good to be used for a purpose higher than yourself.

Driving home I kept thinking about the amazing way the Universe just seemed to remove all of the normal roadblocks to make this connection happen. I could visualize in my mind the movement of times and events – rather like moving puzzle pieces around – just to make this meeting of the hearts happen and I smiled – I was humbled, indeed! I had met a fellow traveler along the way and was able to lend a listening ear and loving heart momentarily to her life. What greater gift can there be?

Have a great few days!

You are Important to Me!

I suggested on my last blog that you take the time to list five things about yourself that are unique, that make you special. We all have these attributes and they are not limited to five but I just wanted to get you thinking about the positives that you possess.

Imagine my surprise when I heard from some of you that this task was not only difficult, but in a couple cases, impossible to do. First, let me say that I applaud your honesty. Sharing this and being honest with your feelings is the first step to seeing a better tomorrow and discovering your special qualities.

Let’s think about this issue of attributes in greater depth. You have been created by God/Universal Energy for a purpose. You were NOT an accident. You participated in the planning of your life through your prebirth agreement with the Universe. Yes, as hard as it is to believe, you were a part of planning what you are experiencing right now. Remember the scientific principal, energy can neither be created nor destroyed only changed in form. Your energy has been around for lifetimes and planning experiences to learn lessons. This may seem hard to grasp, at first, and that’s okay, just stay with me on this one.

You choose this time to incarnate for a reason, a purpose. I have found that our purpose often involves learning to love ourselves and being able to see the good or at least the purpose in every situations, even a loss. If you have lost someone through death, divorce or separation you may be stuck in the ‘why’ and not able to dig out of the hole you feel you are in, I understand, I have been there. Please go back to the archives on my website where I talk about the stages of loss and change. They are real. We all experience them in our own unique time frame.

Others are in our lives for their own reason and purpose. Sometimes when their purpose is finished they move on. We don’t have to like it and may desperately struggle to understand or accept the loss to no avail. But sooner or later we come to the conclusion that sometimes things are just beyond our human capacity to understand and certainly to control.

If you are stuck and really can’t list your attributes ask someone you trust, maybe a friend or family member, what they think about it. Sometimes it takes someone from the outside, maybe even a good counselor to help peel away the layers that are holding you back from moving on and experiencing all the happiness and joy you are intended to experience in this lifetime.

Doing nothing about the situation is NOT an option. The strong among us accept when we need help and are not afraid to seek it. In fact, the strongest among us demand that someone hear us. We know that is a critical step to healing. Please make a commitment to seek the support that will allow you to refuse to stay stuck in the stages of loss and grief any longer.

You are too valuable to this earth and to the many people in your life to freeze frame your life in the ‘what used to be.’ Again, I speak from experience. You are reading this blog for a reason and it may be to learn self love. You really can’t love others fully or contribute the gifts you have to this life until you learn that number one lesson. Love is the Alpha and Omega of the Universe, the beginning and end and it starts with you!

Have a great few days and feel free to email me at if you want to discuss these thoughts further. I am here for you.

Reach Out to a Friend

My blog on Sunday was about the importance of friendship. The artist Coldplay wrote a song entitled, “Fix You” that just seems to reiterate the importance of having a few close family or friends that take the time to not simply listen but truly hear you when you need a sounding board or simply a shoulder to lean on. They are more than ‘friends’ that someone can simply ‘unfriend’ on Facebook. (I must admit the thought of simply ‘unfriending’ someone is hard for me to grasp. It must be a generational thing.) The lyrics in Coldplay’s song touch our hearts.

When you try your best but you don’t succeed
When you get what you want, but not what you need
When you feel so tired, but you can’t sleep
Stuck in reverse
And the tears come streaming down your face
When you lose something you can’t replace…

The refrain in the song is hauntingly moving.

Lights will guide you home
And ignite your bones
And I will try to fix you

Who do you have in your life that help ‘guide you home’ and lighten your load? Everyone needs someone they can reach out to for support, encouragement even redirection at times. We can all get stuck in the fear of the unknown. It can paralyze our mental processing and make us feel like we are ‘stuck in reverse.’ Losing someone close naturally triggers fear of tomorrow. After all, we think to ourselves, we were powerless to stop this loss. We can easily start to generalize that feeling of powerlessness into the rest of our lives. If you find yourself stuck in the ‘whys’ and ‘if onlys’ it may be time to get in touch with someone – a friend, family member or even grief counselor. Do whatever it takes to get the emotional support you need to face tomorrow.

As human beings we have remarkably similar needs. We all need love, acceptance and support. When we lose a loved one each of us goes through predictable stages of grieving. The pain of loss may resurface throughout our lives when something out of the blue triggers memories of what used to be. Verbalizing these feelings is a healthy thing to do. The strongest among us recognize this and are not afraid to reach out for the supportive hand of another.There are special people in our lives to help ‘guide us home’ to find our true north and gently support us as we move on with our lives. They are heaven sent for a reason, season or lifetime.

Is it time to unload the rocks in the backpack you are caring? As I said in my book, the weight of grief can become so heavy that you can become laden down, unable to see the horizon – the light of day in the tomorrows.

Experiencing many losses, I have come to believe – to absolutely know – that God/Universal Energy does not make mistakes. “All is as it should be.” I don’t have to like it but I chose to live through the lessons involved in loss and a big part of that is to learn that I must move through the loss and continue living life. We have been given the gift of family and friends to help us along our way.

Tragic Events

When unforeseen and tragic events happen such as Hurricane Sandy we wonder why. People have lost their lives, their homes and belongings and some are struggling just to find drinking water. The feelings of helplessness and fear affect all of us. These natural disasters are humbling. We realize how tenuous life is in general. As we strive to accept and make sense of everything, the belief surfaces that we are spiritual beings in a physical body and our bodies do have an expiration date.

We know, of course, that there really is a thing called climate change. In all areas of the country we are seeing an intensification of the normal weather conditions. The scientific evidence is apparent. Yet, we still wonder why and think,to ourselves, how could this have happened?

As I watched the 12 plus feet of water rushing into areas of New Jersey and New York, I just kept thinking that there are so many things beyond our control, beyond our knowing. It helps to control anxiety and fear when we accept the thought that there is something bigger than ourselves in the Universe. It is important for us to remember that nothing happens by accident. All is as it should be. Following this reasoning the question then surfaces, what lessons are we supposed to learn from these life altering situations?

Our survival depends upon our willingness to be good stewards of the earth on which we live. Global warming is caused by many things. We are a part, a contributor, to the warming that is causing the extreme climate changes. The good news is that each of us, in our own way, can do something to improve the environment. We just need to make a commitment to do so.

Another huge lesson I see surfacing is a reminder that as Americans we are survivors. We can put aside our differences and come together for a cause greater than ourselves. We are tough, resilient folks who are willing to lend a hand in times of trouble. In the challenges of Hurricane Sandy, we have seen our federal and state governments working together within a matter of hours. The politics of the presidential election have been put aside, as it should be, for a bigger purpose. It has been impressive to see how fast the various agencies have joined hands to assist so many people. This tragedy cannot be undone but the question remains, will we internalize the lessons from it?

We can help the people on the east coast in various ways. One possibility is to send in a donation – even five dollars – to the Red Cross or some other reputable organizations. Every dollar will help to ease the pain of our fellow Americans.

As we watch the devastation unfold before our eyes we can’t help but offer a little prayer for those people whose lives have been changed forever. For those that lost a loved one everything changes. They will be experiencing the stages of loss on so many different levels. May they have the strength and resiliency to rebuild and face tomorrow.

We will help, we will survive because we are Americans!