Loss of any type, rather it be a divorce, a job termination, the end of a friendship that you held dear, or the death of a love one can send you reeling into unchartered territory. For some it means the loss of an identity. You may have found pride in calling yourself a CEO, a partner, a wife and now that this title is removed you don’t know what to do. For others, loss leaves you emotionally gutted with no sense of direction.
I was 33 in 2007 my husband died from advanced adrenal cancer. I spent over three years interviewing widows about their circumstances for my book A Widow’s Guide to Healing, and often the conversation would shift to a widow telling me that she wants to start a new life for herself and her family but isn’t sure where to start.
This widow isn’t alone in not knowing how to begin a new life post-loss. A few months ago, I was at a dinner party and someone asked about my book, and as she began to tell me about her move, new job and starting over, I thought she was a widow. Actually, she had divorced her husband of 20-plus years and felt the loss was similar to a death.
Loss is very painful, and even thinking about it can cause a knot in your stomach, and you immediately feel a lump in your throat. And yet you do desire to shift your energy, mind and heart toward a different direction. In other words, what can you do to begin to create life that you want after your devastating loss?
Here are 10 things you can do, and these items are no particular order of importance. What is key is that you begin somewhere, and these items are here to help you create a new path for yourself. Some of these things may not work for you, while other items you may find to be a better fit. Continue reading →
Once again the world is infused with a sense of horror and shock by the heinous attacks on innocent Parisians enjoying a Friday night in the City of Lights. And our collective response sensationalized by the media leads us where? The facts leading up to this attack should in no way be received as a surprise, for the endless stream of human barbarism and war has not receded in millennia. Our contemporary world order looks strikingly similar to many civilizations of the past.
What is an alternative response to terrorism? Merriam Webster defines terrorism as, “the use of violent acts to frighten the people in an area as a way of trying to achieve a political goal.” The heart of terrorism is to get under your skin, churning a sense of dis-ease and fear.
Any response powered by fear demonstrates low frequency, low vibration and has an internal destructive nature that ripples across the collective unconscious. Let us find a better solution than more killing, more savagery and attending to the lowest human frequency.
Much has been said about the attacks on Paris over the weekend.
Who is responsible? Are more attacks around the corner? Are those attacks likely in places beyond Paris? How does Syria tie into this? Should we be mad or sad or scared?
Conversations include so much conjecture, much sympathy and some ugliness but without a doubt, the world is in shock at yet another senseless act of violence claiming so many innocent people.
In the wake of all those voices, one we have appreciated hearing was that of a father teaching his son why he didn’t have to be afraid at the site of Bataclan attacks:
French father and son have the most precious conversation in i…A father and son have the most precious conversation during an interview by french media at the scene of the Bataclan attacks. I saw that it hadn’t been subtitled in english yet, so I made a quick edit to show the rest of the world how freakin awesome some of our citizens are. They’re my heros. I feel better too now! (Courtesy of Le Petit Journal) #paris #bataclan #parisattacks
Original Segment: http://bit.ly/1Lix9L2
Original Video (without subtitles): https://www.facebook.com/PetitJournalYannBarthes/videos/1013093998733798/
One day this week I was sitting on an LA subway (translate: no internet) without emails or text messages to distract me from the growing anxiety and worry over to-do lists and conquering of constantly looming life questions.
“Am I making enough money?”
“Am I wasting time/my life?”
“Should I go home for Christmas or would it be wiser to stay in town?”
“Did I email so-and-so about the time change for the coffee meeting in two weeks?”
“Is marriage in the cards for me?”
“Do I already have a padded envelope to do that mailing or do I need to pick one up?”
Questions were coming at me like I was sitting at the base of a waterfall.
All mixed together. No theme or particular problem to unite them.
My whole life was starting to suffocate me at the Pershing Square station and that part that felt most suffocating was that it was so easy to answer every question with negativity.
“Surrender” is a word we usually associate with failure or loss.
The person who loses is the person who is forced to surrender.
But what if that view is incomplete.
What if surrender is a powerful game changer?
Halloween is a time where we get to tap into a more childlike, festive side. Maybe you don’t like it because it’s easier to skip it altogether than attempt to be creative, like Dr. Molly! But there is something special that happens when we get creative.
In what areas do you get to practice a little creativity?
A few weeks ago I had the honor of being a panelist at The Parliament of World Religions conference in Salt Lake City. The Parliament of World Religions held its first conference in 1893, and since this date has attracted such remarkable speakers including: His Holiness The Dalai Lama, former president Jimmy Carter, Dr. Jane Goodall, Dr. Vandana Shiva, and Dr. Eboo Patel.
In September, I was in New York City when a professor asked me in person if I would be willing to join a Parliament panel and talk about my book, A Widow’s Guide to Healing, and immediately my heart was in my throat. It was not one of my finer professional moments as I couldn’t even muster up the words, “Thank you.” I didn’t answer “yes”. I said I had to think about it and this was partly true. I would need to make travel and work arrangements to get coverage at my day job, where I am a clinical social worker. The other part that I did not share was that I was scared. I was intimidated by the nature of such a large conference, attracting 10k people from 80 different nations and 50 different faiths, and the other panelists I knew had doctoral degrees from fancy ivy- league schools. I flew home and thought long and hard about this amazing opportunity and why I was so reluctant to accept it. Deep down I knew that it was my own insecurity because I had never have spoken in a panel format and I didn’t want to disappoint anyone, especially since I realized that the professor was taking a risk in even asking me to participate.
And a few days later, it occurred to me that I needed to revisit my original intent in writing my book. The intent was to be able to share the narratives of other widows so that a widow would be able to find herself in one of these stories and feel less alone.Before writing my book, the words that C.S. Lewis wrote “We read to know that we are not alone” rang true to me.And I know first- hand how lonely and scared grief can leave a person. I was 33 in 2007 when my husband, Roy, died from advanced adrenal cancer nearly eight weeks after being diagnosed with bronchitis at his family doctor’s office. Continue reading →