How to Lighten The Emotional Load You Carry

You might think that holding on to the past to the heaviness of grievances and transgressions and negative energy of others that have hurt you is justified.  We all look back from time to time at old wounds that were inflicted on us intentionally or unintentionally and feel the sting and allow the anger to simmer on. Our subconscious carries that burden in the recesses of our memories, yet we feel and carry the heaviness of it today.  How do we truly go through the process of laying this down so our journey will be lighter?  Holding on to this pain really affects us more than we realize.  When we carry heavy negativity from the past in our backpacks with us, it forces us to take the roads and trails that we can only barely handle.  We feel the burden and do not trust the higher, more lofty paths due to the acknowledgement that we can’t possibly make it with this heavy sack of emotions on our backs.  This burdensome backpack of memories weighs us down causing us to  keep our guards up on our paths as we move forward in life often times choosing roads and trails and paths that are easier, yet less rewarding.

The key to this journey is to lighten your emotional load.  The way to do this is counter-intuitive.  When we look back at what has happened to us we must place ourselves in the circle with those that caused us harm and to accept that we played a part in some way through our decisions and choices. This isn’t easy to do, but it can be done. When we give focus to even just a small amount to our part, and accept the outcome~ we assume and accept part of that energy that was created was ours.  Believe it or not, by doing this, we lighten our loads, we do not add to them.  This is not in any way an assumption of guilt.  What it is though is a higher level of understanding as to why that person or circumstance was in our path to begin with.  What were we seeking at the time?  What was our focus?  What really went wrong?  Or was it just time to move on and learn and grow from the experience.  If we stay on guard or continue to ruminate over the actions and words and deeds of others, this weight grows.  It burdens our emotional and physical and spiritual wellbeing and can manifest into decisions of future paths that are not intended for our highest good.  When we take on personal accountability for our part in past negative experiences we lighten weight in our hearts and minds.  We rise above the finger-pointing and anger and blame.  From a universal perspective anger and blame are much heavier substances than love, understanding, and forgiveness.  We know this to be true because we all feel the lightness of a loving heart and a clear conscience.  We also know the weighted feelings of blame and anger.  One emotion builds while the other destroys.

Lay the past down if your backpack has grown heavy and is wearing you down and taking away your breath. Take a look back at the whole valley you have traveled through. See the beauty and the shadows.  Admire the clouds, the sounds of the birds, the smell of the flowers, and feel the gratitude of the higher understanding of lessons learned.  Ask for peace and accept all that was. All that is. Be open to all that will be with a hopeful heart.

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Our New Normal

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I know I haven’t been posting much lately. It’s hard to write when you’re treading through life’s watery challenges. Instead of writing about the challenge of not sinking I’m actually into the act of finding a shoreline. Sometimes the reality of earthly matters needs to be attended to. If I sink, I cannot write; therefore I seek the shore.

I’m learning a lot about myself lately and I thought I would write it out so I can see it in front of me. The written word brings emotion and thought to life. It will be a good reminder as I have a real problem with staying on track with all that I want to do. I’m somewhat of a perfectionist and I need a clean slate and an organized environment in order to function. You see~ my mind never shuts off. There is so much I want to accomplish and I am hopeful that it all will come to fruition. But life keeps getting in the way and it is my own decisions about life that keeps my path full of distractions.

Let me explain myself. I am a member of several grief groups online, mainly on Facebook. They are closed groups and I have the opportunity to really see how other’s lives play out after the loss of a loved one. Most of us are the same in many facets. Moving, forced transition, emotional challenges, family issues, new decisions, packing, unpacking, re-organizing our lives…. It happens for years for some people and I am no different. I am getting ready to move to a new city and a new home for my son and I. My story might be fairly unique but in the big picture, probably not.

I am from the USA and I married an awesome Canadian guy. He loved the south and all things southern. I think in a past life he was a southern boy as he was completely immersed in our culture here and he fought the pull to bring him back north. Our little family back in 2009 went on a vacation trip to a cottage in western Ontario that solidified our need to move there. Jordon finally submitted and followed us to our new home in Canada. Now that I have a wider and higher view of the events that transpired in our lives, I know he went home so he could spend the last five years of his life around friends and family and the work that he loved. I am grateful for this happening and it changed my life for the better too. All things happen for a reason, and our Higher Power knew this was what needed to happen.

Now things are vastly different. I found myself alone, in a foreign country without family nearby, navigating through paperwork and laws and doing everything myself. I told myself~ I’m never leaving here. We are happy still. This is Jackson’s home. I really tried to stay but it was not in the cards for us, and I became another statistic of those affected by the death of a spouse. The bottom line is no place we live will stop the pain and fill the void of Jordon not being in our lives. We cannot find the perfect house or the perfect neighborhood that will make things different for us. No amount of family, friends, or parties will take away the feeling of there being something vital missing in our lives. Jackson and I both are finally starting to settle into what we now know as Our New Normal. It is a hard understanding to accept. It was not given to us gently, as we crash-landed last year. We are slowing. We are taking a breather right now. We are absorbing reality. We both have been on the move, heavily distracted by the flux in our lives and now we are resting for a bit and taking in the heaviness of loss. Fast moving decisions, changes, and rapid days of being busy with sports and living life had to come to a resting point as its impossible to continue to move at the pace we were in. But I don’t fault it. It saved us.

The pace helped us to not sit and get stuck. Getting stuck is the space where roots grow quickly in sinking sand and it does nothing but drown out the lives of those who choose not to move forward. It is akin to a living death and thank goodness we choose forward motion. I will go back there to try and help my brothers and sisters who choose to stay. I just need desperately to find my resting point, my home for the time being, to write and to heal, and to help.

The water is calling me. The sun is beckoning for us to come and join. The friendly faces and this new place are welcoming and comforting. All is new here and there are no memories. Sometimes for those that are grieving loss~ moving somewhere where there are no memories or memories from those you interact with~is really good for the soul. It is a true starting-over point and it creates a paradigm shift in healing. “For now, this is your new space,” the Higher Ups are saying. The message I am hearing loud and clear is this is your new landing pad to write, to rest, to heal, to get healthy, and most importantly~ to continue to be a mother to the best kid on the planet.

My prayer is adjust to this new life, this new normal, this new community for the healing sake of myself and for Jackson. Please give me the time, energy, and focus to do all the important tasks that lay before me so that I may give back, share, and help. And God, please give those who are drowning in memories a shoreline to reach and give me a boat to help you.

Amen.

Crossing the Bridge to the Place of Acceptance

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“How??” “How can I do this?” “How can I accept that she’s gone?” That is a very deep meaningful question that I am hearing over and over again from others reaching out to me. I write about acceptance. And yes it is the key and the starting point of healing from loss. Your painful, valid questions are very real and very much in order. How do we cross that bridge over to acceptance and stay on our path of recovery? The horizon shows a landscape of many bridges we have to cross and many roads to take. I know it is overwhelming. Just take a deep breath, settle in, read on and breathe out.

There are two parts to acceptance. The first is the physical separation we feel when a loved one leaves us. It is a physical, emotional, and mental bond that breaks that is truly felt by the body, heart, and soul. When you feel this, you will know it. It will be a feeling and understanding like nothing you have ever felt before. This is the dark feeling, the painful part of acceptance. It is your heart, mind, and spirit feeling the burn of the physical separation. Unfortunately many people get stuck here. This comes to us whether we accept it or not.

The other side of acceptance is the powerful healing side. You have to fully accept and understand that our departed loved one’s energy, essence, love, and spirit is still alive and well. They move up and into the Light and still have the ability to be with us here during our mourning and throughout our life if necessary. They know what we need better than we do. When you fully vest yourself into this understanding and open yourself up to the spiritual connection your healing and acceptance will start.

Will this take away the sadness and grief? No. Will this make our day-to-day pain of closing out the earthly matters of our loved one passing on go away? No. But here is the truth, and it has been recorded over history for a millennia as well as countless accounts from near death experiences from people all over the world. Our loved ones don’t die, they move on to a different plane, dimension, Heaven. They are happy. They are at peace. Their hearts are full and their souls are rejoined once again. And they are with us. Guiding us. Watching over us. And very much able to communicate with us if we will be open and believe and notice. When the rhythms, and signs, and vibration, and closeness start you will know where to look, what to understand, and it will bring you great comfort and an ease to your heart that will start your process of healing.

Grief and the physical separation is the painful, horrible part of this process and none of us is spared. The key is to move out of that space and over to the connective space of acceptance as soon as you can. Read about it. Believe it. Reach out to us, to books; to your faith; to which ever you can to help pull you over. You will find strength you never knew you had. Believe in yourself and believe in the power of this process and you will cross that bridge to acceptance. It is the most meaningful resting point on your journey and it is a solid foundation for your recovery.

Here is my prayer that you can cross this bridge and many more. I pray that you find this starting point within your heart and mind. Ask God. Ask your angels for help. Ask for signs so you will know. And know above all else that you are never alone.

The Pain Jar

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I have a guardian angel. We all do. I became keenly aware of mine the day Jordon called me to tell me to meet him at the cancer center because he had just found out he had advanced metastatic cancer. I have written about my guardian angel’s presence in the car with me on the drive over in my book. I had an hour drive by myself and I needed some support to get me there safely with this news heavy on my heart, mind, and body. Today I want to tell you about the pain jar he holds for me.

My guardian angel is more like a guide. He is Native American and he speaks quietly to me with light pokes with his arrows and gentle pats when something is happening that I need to take notice of. I don’t hear direction from him; he is just a large force I can feel that is keeping me moving forward, steadily. He is silent, but his love and compassion is great. Slow steady positive pressure is his way. But I know one thing for sure that he has shown me. He holds for me my deepest, saddest, most awful pain in a jar. Twice before Jordon died he opened the jar, just a touch, for me to experience what pure, raw, unforgiving grief feels like. The experience had me both times curl up in a ball and wanting to die. That pain, for just those two short times, drives me for the rest of my life to try to reach out and help others who live day to day with that gut-wrenching emotion of loss and despair. I know without a doubt that I would not be able to write, share, understand, or cope if I was living out that pain day to day. I know its there. I have felt it. And my heart breaks every time I meet someone who’s in the clutches of it.

The key to healing is to not get stuck in that pain and to move forward. That pain is the pure pain of physical separation from someone you love. It is the act of breaking a physical love-bond and it is excruciating. That person is no longer here to hold, to kiss, to hug, and to share with. The physical void has no relief or resolution to it.  This, my friends, is a life experience that we will all go through at some point.  No one escapes losing someone they love, unless you are the first to go.  The key to passing over this pain is to live, breathe, love, and accept the connection and continuum of spirit and oneness that you have with that person and to oneness with all.  Know we really never die, but just cross over. The only death is a physical death. When we really accept this as truth and live and bathe in belief, and notice the signs all around us, healing comes in and takes over and love and light fills the heart, mind, and spirit with joy and gladness and forward understanding of another time when we will be connected again. These statements have become cliché sentiments over time and are often over looked with simple comments from well-wishers to the point that people often see it as a glossy term of endearment or a generalized safe statement to the bereaved…..But truth often lies in the clichés. The truth really is~ till we meet again.

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Warrior Angels

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One of the toughest days I had during the time between Jordon’s diagnosis and his passing was a particular day at the cancer center early on. He was going through a barrage of testing that week. He had a bone scan, an MRI, a biopsy, on and on….but one particular day was the hardest. His abdominal CT scan. That’s where the cancer was. There was a known factor in this scan. And it was going to be the determining outcome in Jordon’s time that he had left.

His pain had been increasing steadily so I knew this was not going to be good news. I felt a physical, emotional, and spiritual weight on my shoulders that day. It was so heavy. My speech was slowed, Jordon’s thinking was slowed. We barely talked. It was like we were going to a sentencing to hear judgment. The day was dark overcast. We parked and entered the cancer center. We turned down the hall to head towards the radiology department. It was like people were parting the way for us. I could feel an emotional energy around us that I have never felt before.

It made me look up and to my left and to my right. I had the sense that two huge giant warrior angels were walking beside us. One to our left and one to our right.   I imagined them worn-looking and dressed in Roman battle attire. Their wings were dirty from dragging on the floor. I really felt them. Was this my imagination? Maybe. But I have learned now since Jordon’s death to question my skepticism. They were going into battle with us walking down that hallway. I knew they were there for protection. We were never alone that day. They were there to support Jordon as he had to wait for hours in a crappy waiting room chair. His pain had become intense yet he was managing. They were there for me to keep me sane and somewhat strong enough.

Being a witness to physical trauma on a personal level is life-changing. Opinion changing. Motivation changing. Behavior changing.

In our worst hours we are not alone. These hours will play out at some point in everyone’s lives. There is inevitablility in truth. I do see angels, rarely, but I do. There, I admit it. But I think a lot of us do see or feel things out of the ordinary but it just doesn’t register or we don’t accept it.  We reason it away.  I didn’t see these angels, but somehow I knew they were there. That’s why I am telling you this story. Question your skepticism~ Lorna Byrne.  Believe you are special and you have a guardian angel that is always with you no matter whether you can see them or not. If you feel them, that’s good and don’t second guess yourself. You only have everything to gain and nothing to lose!

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Afterthought that I want to share with you:

What is the purpose of the ability to imagine? What are our imaginations for? Imagination is the centre from which manifestation happens. Our imagination needs to be better understood. For as children when we felt and saw things we were told it was just our imagination. We then interpret our extrasensory perceptions as just that~ imagination with the connotation of it being not real and just a colourful thought. The root word is image. Where are these images coming from? What do they mean? When we believe and notice, we set this centre of our understanding on fire and the realization and purification of the fire brings in truth and clarity and then connection and understanding. Think on this.

Nature and Art are Healers of Grief

Being in the forest is art and life in motion. The greens, browns, grays and blacks, reds and purple, and white flowers abound. I now have an amazing appreciation for seeing the cycle of nature unfold and I allow it to show its beauty to me. I find value and understanding in getting out into nature and looking at the new shoots rising from the ground preening for sunlight and raindrops. I see the dying tree trunks slowly returning their wood to the earth in respect and gratitude. One can really find acceptance in life and what it brings to you if you open your eyes to what is really going on around you. There is so much parallel in nature as in our own lives. The cycle plays out for us before our eyes and it wants desperately to show us all the beauty in life and to not be afraid.

Enjoy your seasons.  Enjoy the change it brings into your life. If you are hurting or need a sign – be drawn to your environment to look for healing.  Let your spirit guide you! Feel open to express your view or experience with your pen or paintbrush, your footsteps, or your camera. Open your ears to the sounds around you. There is healing in the sounds of the forest and the birds. They can remind you that you are alive and your presence here in this world still has purpose.

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The same goes for the music in our lives. Allow music to guide your heart. Music will help you play out your emotions and carry you through to the end of the song. Play it. Really play it out. Over and over and over again until you feel at peace. Find a song that fits your journey and let the vibrational words and rhythm fill your soul until you are full. Music can draw out pain like medicine if you let it.

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I took all this photographs during the first year after my husband’s passing from cancer.  I found photography and writing to be a way to help me heal from my pain and trauma.  I encourage you to find a passion for releasing your own pain.  It will give you something to look back on and remind you of how far you’ve come!