Grief Anonymous

I am more than excited to launch this organization.  It has been several years in the making for sure and it will continue to evolve and transform over the days, weeks,and years to come.  I have so much to say about this organization that there just isn’t enough time here in this one post to describe it in its entirety.  So let me just start with a few words about the  beginnings of GA. In the days to follow I will continue to add it all to this blog with a book to follow shortly. GA’s roots began to form after I transferred my writings from Caringbridge from when my husband was first diagnosed into http://www.hollycbarker.com after my husband passed away from cancer as a means to cope and to share in hopes that maybe my journey might help someone to know they are not alone in their grief.  What came to pass was a growing membership of people from around the world and right here in the USA coming to the page to connect and read someone’s shared grief experience.  From this catalyst of losing my husband, the writing has also allowed me to continue to write about the connection we all have to humanity and to a Higher Power.  Through my husband’s diagnosis and into his passing and onward through my recovery that Source of Love and Light has never left my side.  During the summer of his original cancer diagnosis in 2006, I was shown a vision of a bright, loving, beautiful light.  It was shown to me during the lowest and saddest time of my life.  I was shown and was able to feel the love God has for me, and also the pure simple love we all have for one another.  It is from this experience that the circular gold light has been created from the vision  into what is now the GA symbol.  The small circles surrounding this Light are the Tenets of Recovery.  Ten actionable concepts to follow in order to recover from grief.  These Ten Tenets are the premise and bedrock for this organization.  This group is for all to attend, no matter what your religious beliefs are or not.   No matter your ethnic origin or race.  Male or female.  Young and old. Social situation.  Grief is a collective human experience that has been in the shadows for way too long.  Now is the time for cumulative action to be taken to link us all who are on this path.  We can then be there waiting for those who will join us.  Grief Anonymous will be the light where there is darkness and bring hope to those who are bereaved and in need of fellowship, understanding, and support.

The Ten Tenets of Grief Anonymous:

  1. Belief in a higher power or consciousness
  2. Find or create a sanctuary for healing
  3. Focus on the physical fundamentals of sleep, diet, and exercise
  4. Practice baby steps and leaps of faith
  5. Acceptance of your loss
  6. Facing your fears
  7. Learning to forgive and what forgiveness really means
  8. Finding a creative outlet for your grief
  9. Embracing your new authentic self
  10. Giving back

http://www.griefanonymous.com is under construction and will be ready soon!

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Sue’s Story and the Ripple Effect of Loss

Thank you, Sue for sharing your story of loss and grief. First, I want to say how brave you seem to me in facing all that you have faced. Now I want to step aside and let you tell your story.

In Sue’s words:

“When I lost my husband, I lost my circle of friends who were all married couples. It was like I had leprosy or something. I also lost his family. My family saw that I didn’t just fall apart (in public, I didn’t but I did in private), so they fell away, too. It was so hard losing my best friend, my lover, and my soul mate that I over-medicated to try to run from the pain because 10 days before I lost my husband, our 17-year-old nephew was killed in a traffic accident. The ones who were there for me the most were his parents, my brother and his wife. Was three years before I was able to deal with the losses and it took me almost dying to get to that point.”

If you really read with an open heart the words above and see into Sue’s life you will see a woman who’s entire life changed very quickly and dramatically. She lost her soul mate and from that epicenter she lost her family, her husband’s family, and her friends turned away too. Everything in Sue’s life changed, even if she still has those who stood by her, she is still going through a complete life change. This experience brought her to the brink of her own death. Really think about her words. Her experience. The reactions of others to her. Before her husband’s death she had a full life with many relationships and with a sad turn of events she found herself quite alone. The events that shaped the outcome were not of her making, so~ WHY DOES THIS HAPPEN???

I want her to know and all of you out there that are going through similar situations that the outcome of Sue’s experience is a very common occurrence when someone dies. In order for us all to learn why this happens we need to seek out the basis of human nature in order to understand the whys. Why do life-long friends fade away after the loss of a spouse? Why do families fall apart after the death of a family member? Why do people choose to not bring up the subject of someone who has passed? Why do people walk away from their connections with others? I have had this happen to me and I have done some of these things too. All I can do is authentically share my experience and visions as to the “whys”. I am going to share higher visions that have been given to me by my angels and guides from all angles as best as I can.

The death dynamic in our human psyche is complicated and many of our behaviors as humans go back to prehistoric ancient times. We are genetically encoded with some of our primal behaviors and life and death seem to be very closely linked to these ancient reactions we have towards each other during the process of death and dying. None of what I am about to say excuses any hurt that any one person causes another, but what it may do is allow us to see into our core natures as human beings and to try and utilize this knowledge and understanding in gaining a perspective on the why’s. When we figure out the whys, we will have our answers to solve the problem. Then through intent and newly gained wisdom and goodwill we can go against our primal instincts and start to change our behaviors during and after the death of a loved one. Through mindful change of our behaviors with positive intent and action we can alter our DNA and start to heal this aspect of our collective natures and change the course of history, if I may be so boldly humble. We all have to gain from this because we will be affected by this event at some point in our lives and so the answer for “what’s in it for me?” becomes a solid, “Everything, the answer is everything.” Because in truth, we are all connected.

This journal is going to become a series because I have many angles to cover. This is the basis of a book I am writing about; grieving families in crisis. I have actually grown up with this experience my entire life. My early memories as a young child were watching my extended family fall apart after the death of my great-grandparents. I saw from an early age what happens to an immediate family and how the extended family feels the ripple effect. And now I am experiencing some of the same, some of my own doing, and some not. I feel I can offer my thoughts and experiences from one simple opinion from someone who’s been through the epicenter of grief, death, and family crisis. I will say I will never mention names here, as it is never my intention to bring shame on anyone. Like I said earlier, this is a universal experience and is very much a part of many people’s experiences. I am also not a perfect human being and to that end I am going to offer up my own shortcomings because I feel it is needed to see from a different angle and I have that to offer in truth. If I wasn’t authentic about my entire experience then I would only be telling half-truths and the intent of what I am trying to do would be lost and do nothing but sound like a big dose of blame.

This journal is already long but I am going to start scratching the surface of grief and friendship from my perspective. Remember above, Sue lost all her married friends. I don’t speak for everyone as this is not always the case, but I’ve read enough and heard enough and have experienced myself to know it’s possibly a universal feeling we have on both sides.

Possible From the Widow/Widower’s Point of View:

The newly widowed spouse has an outlook now of one. There are no longer 2 sets of eyes viewing her life, there is only one set of eyes~ to look back, to look into the future, to plan and to be in the present. All of this now is just through her eyes. The widowed spouse looks toward her friends that are married and feels the void beside her. Being in a room full of married couples now seems sad and lonely. So from a widowed spouse’s perspective it is hard to be around that and not feel the sting of the void. And everyone in the room feels that energy and their own uncomfortable energy that is flowing off us, and reasonably so. It’s that energy that we all feel that makes us all uncomfortable. And that’s were it all begins to end. From a quantum physics perspective, the energy that starts at this point is the beginning of the end of the relationship, as we know it. The healing and the mindfulness of this process will happen when this energy is faced by all, accepted, and communicated. Honest communication at this point becomes diffusion and can relax both souls into a higher understanding. When we are authentic about our feelings it removes the “big elephant in the room.”

Perhaps from the view of the Friend:

“I always saw them as a couple. It’s hard to look at her anymore without feeling pity and sadness that I cant ignore from the depths of my heart. Its painful to see her alone and it hurts me that we aren’t together anymore as a group and we miss him too. We are grieving the loss of our friend too.” So fun events start to decline in offers because people like this friend feel a disconnect from the widow/er. The relationship becomes one of “what can we do for you?” instead of planning a BBQ or talking about trips or kids; the normalcy is hard to get back. They can’t move past the sadness and redefine the friendship because the friend is also grieving the loss. Confusion can set in at this point making things even more difficult. The duality of both sides is so difficult and sad that they fall away and seek out support with those without the connection to the deceased spouse. It works both ways sometimes.

The widow/er can find true friendships soar during this time with those that only have a connection with themselves~ and not you with your spouse. This is a phenomenon I am seeing and reading about over and over again and also within my life. But to truly understand this fundamental law we need to fully understand the ancient history as to why this still continues. The answer and the solution lie in the understanding of where it came from. Once we discover these ancient human traits we then can fully integrate new ways of dealing with this and learn to react differently towards each other. There are ancient secrets we have yet to put together, but the funny thing is those of us who know parts of the answers are all around, yet we are just not talking to each other because grief is not fully accepted and observed like it should be.

Its much more simple and less complicated that we imagine. Within grief lies many of the world’s toughest questions that are answered so easily, simply, and truthfully. My hopes are that through my grief process and my gifts of being able to communicate with the Divine, this will allow me to open up this discussion as a means for healing. Through acknowledgement of fear, and mainly fear of death, we can change that fear into wisdom and bring about love and continuing connection. And if a healing connections are not possible, at least we have answers as to why. And that’s half the battle won. And at least knowing the answer to why allows in acceptance and healing can come faster for everyone.

If any of you out there have a grieving story to share, please reply and I will share your angle. The world needs to know so that we all may grow.

And I have one other point to make. When I say I can communicate with the Divine, it is simply that I can hear the answers and understand them quickly. After all, if you are spiritual or religious, you know we all talk and ask questions to God through our prayers. I just seem to be able to hear clearly and quickly when I do pray and ask. And I just believe through important events that have happened my life that my life’s purpose was to write and share.

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Accepting Belief Systems that Are Different from Our Own

I am putting my belief system out front for a reason.  Not to convert you or to make you think the way I do.  I am modeling my example for everyone to see how this aspect of GA should work for the greater good of all of us.  I do not want people to have to “check their faiths or non-faiths, or belief systems at the door” before entering a meeting.  After all, Tenet #1 is belief in a higher power or consciousness.  I want to be crystal clear on this subject and it is non-negotiable in order for GA to function as a support organization.  My beliefs are unique to me.  And I know what I believe could come under some scrutiny.  Any one of us could become subject to judgement. And that is not allowed with GA.  We want diversity and acceptance.  We want everyone to show their colors and not be afraid.  But we must not impose our belief systems on others.  Grief is a powerful pain and many use faith as a means to work through their pain, including myself.  Others will take a different path and that is okay.  I think this could easily become the biggest hurtle we have to jump with this organization and that is why I am facing it head on.  My fear.. Tenet #6 is Facing your fears. And so by posting this I am facing my fears of chapters of GA’s having issues with people not accepting each others belief systems.  So I am sharing my fear with you today in order to move past it and forward.  And also sharing my belief system too so that people who are worried that others won’t accept them can see that even the founder of GA is unique.

I have a Christian heritage.  And a minor in religion from college.  I also have Native American ancestry.  I have sough God my whole life.  But I don’t believe there is only one way that gets you up to see the Big Guy.  Below is a prayer I heard through meditation.  My heritage is Native Cherokee.  I incorporate my heritage into my faith so that make me unique.  I want to be respected for my beliefs.  I do not want to force my beliefs on others.  I want to share my grief through my understanding of faith.  Others will want to share their grief through other religions or no belief in religion.  All that Tenet #1 states is belief in the energy of LOVE and how we individually define that love.  Because after all:

The very essence of grief is loss; loss over something that was and is still loved.

One must have loved in order to feel loss. When we don’t feel loss, then there is no grief.  And we are here because of grief.  So we are all here for the same reason.  We have all lost what we love.  And the core of GA is loss of our loved ones.  Tenet #1’s higher power is LOVE in all its forms.

Please, lets let in  love in all its forms.  And celebrate!  Again~ let us become a model for the world at large that is facing dark times.

My Native American Prayer for GA:

The death of a loved one brings on the storm. It rises over the mountains and covers the lake with its shadow. We are very affected by this storm. The wind brings in resentment. The cold rain brings in judgment; trickling uncomfortably down our backs. The mud beneath our feet that soaks in brings in the guilt and anger. This unforgiving riverbank, in the middle of this storm in life is hard to handle, I know . The rain beats at your face, cutting with sharp drops. The wind blows a chill through your body. The clouds make life hard to see to the other side where the sunlight is breaking through.

The Great Spirit wants you to know that you are never alone. He is with you always holding your hand and loving you through the storm. Storms are a necessity in life. They bring in the water and purify the air. They wash away the old and bring forth the new. Know this process is here for you to learn and to grow and to love. You are an old soul to choose a life of loss and grief. You are ascending in this life cycle and learning life’s lessons from farther up the continuum. Take the pain and sorrow you feel and use it to develop compassion and understanding for others. Take the love in your heart and fill it with more souls so you don’t feel the void’s bite. Take the sting from your memory and let it be sent to Mother Earth for absorption, transmutation, and diffusion. Like I am in the sky, allow Mother Earth to ground you as you move forward in this new life of yours. Ground yourself with her energy and bring your life back through the life force in nature. Take walks. Breathe deeply. Think deeply. Look up into the Heavens and see us in the clouds, rainbows, and stars. We can speak to you more fully when you engage us there. Listen with an open heart and with faith that we will always be with you. Guiding you. Loving you. Amen.

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Rosalinda’s Story: Stepping Back from Suicide with a Smile

Rosalinda’s Story: Stepping back from Suicide with a Smile

This is a most welcome support group. If only we had this earlier, I would have been guided in my 3 days state of shock, when I could neither cry, eat nor sleep for days and in my prolonged mourning. For the first three months, there was no moment when I was not in tears. I saw my husband everywhere and at dawn, I would give in to intense sobbing. There was even a time when I became suicidal. It has been 2 1/2 years since, and I am still in mourning clothes, his pictures are all around my room, as I talk to them and his clothes still hang in our walk in closet, to hug when I would feel so lonely. By now, I know that I have not been coping well. It is only lately that I sport a genuine smile, and could react with a chuckle.

First of all, a BIG THANK YOU Rosalinda for sharing your story with authenticity and what life has been like for you for the past two and a half years. The good and hopeful part about your story is the ending~ you are starting to genuinely smile again and have found you can start to laugh a little. Baby steps are crucial for us. And also sometimes giant leaps are too, even if we stumble. I wrote a blog post early last year when my husband first passed away from cancer called “Training Wheels” and I used this analogy when I was in this space and it helped me. Maybe it will help others too. It is about learning to live “AS IF”. Because everything we know changes in the moment we lose that person and our new life begins. It is a process and many of us get stuck in the physical separation of grief. It takes time to learn our new lives and for me, living “AS IF” provided a Godsend answer.

Training Wheels

Most of us learn to ride a bike using training wheels as kids.  We learn how to get up on the seat, balance ourselves, and steer while peddling.  We learn how to break and watch for cars. But the training wheels are what enable us to move forward and to feel what it is like to authentically ride. We get a grounded feeling, a oneness with the road with the help of those training wheels.  Eventually they come off and we are free to roam. Steady. Self-assured.  Not looking down but out to what life puts in front of us.

Right now I am trying to live a life “as if” and I feel it’s a good place to be.   I am trying to live now based on what I envision I want for myself down the road.  It’s not that I am trying to bury my grief into the recesses of my brain and just carry on; I just have my training wheels on.  I have no end goal in mind in terms of when I will get the wrench out to unscrew those little-helper wheels, but I know that I will know the feeling when it comes.  When I feel a oneness with the road and I feel free to roam, I will slip into that life that I have been living and catch up with my actions.

My belief is that during the epicenter of the death of a loved one, living authentically is nearly impossible. Your whole definition of who you are is profoundly changed because “no man is an island.”   Some people have had time to consider what is about to happen~ and such was my case. Maybe Rosalinda didn’t and like so many others felt there was no other option than to join her deceased husband. The link below is a sobering view of a statistical fact that suicide is much higher for widows and widowers, especially during the first three years. And I write to all of you, both those who are bereaved and those who want to support and understand that these years are the crucial ones. Please don’t give up on us. Make a genuine effort to stay connected to this person through it all. You might actually be the link to them deciding to stay with us.

http://depressivedisorder.blogspot.com/2011/03/bereavement-leading-to-suicide.html

National Suicide Prevention Hotline: 800-273-8255

I pray to you, God, that this journal finds its way to those that might be considering this option and to those who need a spark of inspiration to pick up the phone or stop by to see someone who is suffering the worst of grief in that they may be lifted up by your Angels and given hope that life is important and it does get better.

Thank you,

Holly

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Online Dating from the Perspective of a Pier

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I thought after some time on a dating site that I would put out there into the universe exactly how I feel about this experience thus far~ not just about dating but also about how difficult it is to start back and also the judgment that comes your way from those around you when you do. Life is very different in this regard compared to dating in your 20’s and being a widow makes it even more complicated. The rules change, everything about it is different. I’m adding my real life experience today to the blog because I want to share something important. Each person is different in their need for companionship, intimacy, and love and how important it is to them is only up to them, not you. The added complexity to this is the judgment from neighbors, friends, and family if they are not ready to see you with another person or if they are ready to see you move on and you are not. This is completely unfair, but so are many other things in life. Grief is complex and some people wait years to date and some people never date again. Others can’t stand the loneliness and void of companionship in their lives and they seek that out very soon. All of these answers are the right ones and none of them escape judgment. If it’s too soon~ the gossipy phone calls start amongst your connections, if it’s too long~ the brazen comments your way are “ you just need to move on and find a man.” None of this helps. And among those of you in this situation we all know we can’t win and please everyone. So just do what’s right for yourself and what works for you and your family. What needs to be given to us is acceptance and space to move at a pace that works individually for us. We will make mistakes. We will also do things right. Just allow us to figure it out for ourselves and stand with us. I can imagine this is difficult for you to do, especially if you are connected to our loved one that has passed away. What you would do in our circumstances should never enter your mind when considering someone else’s emotional, physical, and mental needs. Just love us. Support us. And be there. I promise you, you would want the same. It is the Golden Rule: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

Now, I write in analogy many times to express my experiences and beliefs. Here is my analogy of online dating. I have a sneaky suspicion that with many of you single people this will resonate. Many clichés exist and are overused, but there is truth behind many of them. The one that points directly to this experience is “There are many fish in the sea!” And from there I will begin.

Dating online had been a “less than centered” normal human interactive, aquatic experience. We all come to the pier freshly optimistic as to what swims below the surface. What will our catch for the day bring to our table tonight? What are we in the mood for? We stand hopeful casting our lines out with tasty bait. The bait symbolizes who we think we are as a person and we use that bait to bring in what we think we want and what will satisfy our hunger. The internal hunger we feel and the need for fresh air and fun drives us out to the pier. Most of us are all deep down good, honest souls (we believe) and we are deserving of that big, beautiful fish that is waiting in the seaweed and rocks of life below the surface of the water. Some folks out there are looking for the sunfish with all its sparkle and sleek outer fins. It jumps and preens and is beautiful. Some look for the sea bass with their richness in flavor. Others don’t really care and are just looking for a little action on the end of their hooks. All types are on the pier and all types are in the water so we must be cognizant of this fact of life.

Here’s the truth of it all. As the day wanes and sun begins to disappear into the horizon~ we grow weary of the casting and reeling in of the “not so perfect” fish we hadn’t envisioned at the start of the day. Our expectations of what we want and what is out there are clashing and we began to grow callus to the energy spent in the act of fishing and to the painful unhooking of those fish that don’t meet our expectations. We begin to see this experience as a vast sea and an endless draining source of possibility. The humanity of the act is lost~ we should all learn that no fish is perfect and neither is the person fishing. Some of us walk away dissatisfied, some of us see the beauty of the endeavor. The fish that are caught and thrown back swim to hide near quiet rocks to nurse their hooked wounds. A few today caught their prized dinner plates, others walk away with empty pails contemplating whether they want to invest in more bait. This is how it goes in life and with online dating.

My hopes to share this is to remind us all that we are all humans with feelings and histories and are all worthy of someone. It would be nice if collectively we don’t lose that sense of understanding of the human element to our endeavors on this pier and to be more respectful of one another in this sea of humanity.

New Blog to Build a Bridge of Help, Support, and Healing

I want to share my new website with you all.  Please take a look.  Its an interactive site to help those who are grieving communicate with those who are on the other side and don’t know what to say or do to help.  Hopefully this builds a bridge of love and support and understanding so those that feel alone on this grieving journey will be understood and supported and those that want to help will now know how to or to a least, understand.

Love and Light

Holly

http://www.grievingjourney.com

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.

Turning Life’s Obstacles Around

Taken from the “Adversity” chapter of 1,000 Little Things Happy, Successful People Do Differently

“Many of the most iconic novels, songs and inventions of all time were inspired by gut-wrenching pain and heartbreak. Therefore, the silver lining of these great challenges is that they were the catalyst to the creation of epic masterpieces.

An emerging field of psychology called Post-Traumatic Growth has suggested that many people are able to use their hardships and traumas for substantial creative and intellectual development.  Specifically, researchers have found that trauma can help people grow in areas of interpersonal relationships, contentment, gratitude, personal strength, and resourcefulness..

When our view of the world as a safe place, or as a certain type of place, has been shattered, we are forced to reboot our perspective on things.  We suddenly have the opportunity to look out to the periphery and see things with a new, fresh set of beginner’s eyes, which is very conducive to personal growth and long-term success.”

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