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Let's face it, life is full of all kinds of stuff:  some we label as good, some we label as bad.  Today I want to talk about what we sometimes label as bad:  change or loss.  Loss happens.  So does change.  Relationships end.  Jobs and careers go away.  Things happen.  So often the tendency is to somehow make the feelings as a result of those losses go away.  We don't want to hurt.  In fact, there is a judgement about the hurting itself, as if there is something shameful or wrong about it.  We tell ourselves we shouldn't hurt, to put our big boy and girl panties on and buck up.  We try to hide it, deny it, medicate it, do anything except feel it.

When we do, all we do is form ugly scar tissue over the break.  We heal it, but we don't cure it.  We don't do our grief work.  Because of this, we are doomed to a life where we may not feel the hurt acutely anymore, but all of our reactions and decisions are consequently based on that one event.  We've got tunnel vision and it is very limiting.

Here are some examples:

  • The relationship ends, and instead of doing our inner work to learn the lesson, we immediately get into another one.
  • We experience a loss, and instead of going through a grieving process, we get a prescription.
  • Something "bad" happens, and instead of working through it, we get so busy that we have no time to thing.

I'd like to propose that there is a different, gentler way to do things, and it is also more rewarding in the long run.

The difference between a broken heart and a broken-open heart is profound.  We all have times and instances in which our hearts get broken.  We hurt.  Eventually we heal, somewhat, but it is never cured.  There is a difference between healing and curing.  Healing is temporary and very shallow. Curing is permanent and goes deep.  Healing only takes care of the surface wounds.  Curing changes us at deep levels, and such change is necessary for us to move into the next greatest expression of being.

A broken-open heart can be the way to a cure.  It is a doorway through which we can live a new and wonderful life.

If your heart is broken, I'd like to suggest that you do not medicate it, jump into another relationship, make yourself so busy you have no time to think, or any of the other things we typically do to make the bad feelings just go away.

Instead, feel them.  Acknowledge the grief and allow the process to happen.  Do the inner work, because a broken-open heart is a doorway into new ways of thinking and perceiving ourselves and life.  Consider getting support and help moving through the process

 

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I don't know why I'm always somewhat amazed when it happens....again.

Maybe your mind works like mine does.  I get these inner shifts in my thinking, these inner awarenesses that are different.  They constitute inner rearrangements in how I perceive life, and result in differences in the way I react to life.  The amazement comes because while it takes me time to be able to voice what is occurring, I will always find in my studies an author who so eloquently speaks what I am feeling and experiencing.  This time around it is Parker J. Palmer, in his book "Let Your Life Speak."

It is both heartwarming, because I learn that I am not alone, and encouraging, because I realize I'm on the right track.

In the quote he is speaking to not looking backward and attempting to fix or control or somehow undo it when a door has shut, but instead to look forward to the opportunities inherent in such a situation.

In the last few years I've experienced a number of doors closing.  And some part of me knew that while it was important to properly grieve the losses (and I have) another also part knew that when the time was right, the openings and new opportunities would come.  I also knew I had some work to do, and I've done the work.  And new opportunities are beginning to present themselves.

If you have had a door (or doors) close, take heart.  I know it isn't pleasant right now, in this in-between place I call the hallway.  And there is work to be done for sure.  Inner work, and most likely some grieving.  Do not attempt to deny or bypass this work or the grieving.  That will simply ensure that you stay stuck.  Do the work and I promise you the new life that presents itself will be amazing.

 

KAL_3727Perhaps the most frequently asked question I receive when a new client calls me is, "how do you work?"  I interpret that to mean, "how can you help me?"

The short answer is:  quickly and easily, if you are willing to do some work. ...continue reading "How can I help you?"

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I woke up this morning, and as is my usual practice, looked out my window to see what Mother Nature was up to this fine morning. I noticed that a storm had moved in while I slept, and was hovering over the mountains west of me. This is the normal weather pattern here in my neck of the woods, and I wondered if the storm would make it over the mountains to gives us valley folks some moisture. As I sat and contemplated all the metaphorical meanings of this, a rainbow appeared! It was almost magical, one minute it was not there and the next minute it was.

I love rainbows. To me, they are a reminder to always look for the good. For there is good in every situation. Even in the midst of stormy times, there is good.

Using Mother Nature as a metaphor is a valuable practice for me. Storms have to come. They provide much needed moisture. In the mountains they provide snow, which brings visitors for ski season, which bring jobs. In this valley, the moisture from the storms facilitates the vast acreage of pasture land here, which feeds the cows and horses, which provide jobs, recreation and food. People like to complain during the storms, but I stopped doing that since I realized the storms were a metaphor for life. Storms are necessary for life to proceed.

We all have storms in our lives. Changes, loss and illness, all are the storms of life, and rainbows cannot form unless there are storms. So when I see a storm, I always look for the rainbow. Likewise, when I have a storm in my life, I always look for the good.

In this way, I can, even in the midst of sadness or anger or any of the other feelings I might be experiencing, know that there is good in this experience, and there will continue to be good. There will always be a rainbow.

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I was having a conversation with someone recently about loss.

She, like so many others, has experienced a lot of loss in her life in the last few years.  Her story is much like many I hear:  careers up in smoke, homes foreclosed, marriages unable to survive, sickness; these are only a few examples of what I know has happened at almost epidemic levels.

I happen to think that such losses can be doorways into new and wonderful opportunities.  All the time I hear stories like this:  the man who lost his job, and took the opportunity to start a business doing something he always wanted to do.  Or the woman who lost her home and moved to a place she always wanted to live in, but didn't feel as if she could because she was tied to her home.

It isn't necessary to experience great losses to make such changes in our lives, but if you have experienced such a loss, it may be time to look at it as an opportunity.  However, in order to do so some work may have to be done.    Properly grieving the loss, self inquiry, faith building and intention setting are just some of the things that might need to be done in order to move forward.

If you've experienced a loss of any kind and feel as if you haven't yet recovered from it, I encourage you to attend a workshop being held this Sunday, March 23, at 12:30 pm at the Center for Spiritual Living in Carson City, NV.  Ramona Goodge, a recent graduate of Holmes Institute and a good friend of mine, will be giving this workshop and is also the guest speaker at CSLCC that same morning at 10:30.  She will be revealing some healthy strategies to dealing with loss.

The address of CSLCC is 1927 North Carson Street in Carson City, NV.  CSLCC is located in the Frontier Plaza, on the corner of Winnie Lane and North Carson.  Again, the talk begins at 10:30, the workshop at 12:30.  And a bonus:  a potluck in between!  Both are being offered on a love offering basis.  I hope to see you there!

I was having a chat with someone today who told me that she had been feeling a bit depressed lately.  Nothing clinical mind you; if you find yourself unable to get out of bed or with suicidal tendencies due to depression, contact a physician.  I'm talking about those down days that we all get sometimes, seemingly for no reason.

But there is a reason.  Many times, a feeling of being down or mildly depressed can be a message from the body that it is time to rest.  The body contains wisdom  and it will send us messages that it is time to be doing something different with our lives; mild depression is one of those messages.

If you are feeling mildly depressed, or a bit down, or just unmotivated to do much, consider what your body is trying to tell you:

  1. Have you been burning the candle at both ends?  There is a reason most religions advocate a day of rest.  Even the ancients recognized that we all need a period of rest in our lives.  If you work seven days a week (self employed people are very good at this!), take a break.  Force yourself if you have to.  You'll find you are much more productive when you return.
  2. Get enough sleep.  We are a chronically sleep deprived population.  In spite of the fact that we need about 8 hours of sleep per day, most people allow themselves 6 or even less. This lowers your immune system and your productivity, as well as reaction times when driving or operating machinery.
  3. Investigate:       have you experienced a loss lately?  Even small losses can trigger a need to rest, which is what mild depression feels like.  Or perhaps you've recently had a medical procedure?  The more invasive, the more your body will need to rest, hence the feelings of mild depression.  Anniversaries can also sometimes trigger a feeling of mild depression.

The key, no matter what the cause for feeling down, is to honor it.  Take a nap, go spend a half day or an evening at a spa, get a massage or a pedicure, go to a museum and aimlessly wander, go for a walk.  And talk about how you are feeling.  A simple conversation with a caring person can work wonders!

If you honor the message of a mild depression, you will learn something about yourself and feel better in the process!

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