What your grief is telling you

Last Saturday I spoke at the Congregational Church of Manhasset’s Center for Wellbeing and presented my workshop, “Gratitude is the New Calm.”

The program was very interactive, there was wonderful group participation, and everyone left feeling good–especially me!

During Q&A at the end of the workshop, a beautiful woman in the back of the room asked me to explain how gratitude can help us during times of deep grief.

I love this question because I have experienced firsthand how gratitude helps us heal from loss.

Gratitude is an amazing tool that allows us to find greater joy in everyday things, yet also helps us build resilience so we can handle life’s challenges with strength, grace and ease.

But being grateful does not mean we don’t feel pain, or that we shouldn’t feel sadness.

In fact, gratitude helps us appreciate these feelings, as one workshop participant pointed out.

When we lose someone we love, being able to FEEL our feelings, as painful as they may be, reveals just how much we have loved, and how much we feel loved by others. Tweet this!

By appreciating these feelings, instead of pushing them away, we are better able to move through our grief so it doesn’t get stuck in our bodies, wreaking havoc on our health, or take over our lives.

When my Mom passed away suddenly at the age of 67, I was devastated. But once I was able to move through the shock, with the help of my husband, siblings, family, and friends, I was able to feel blessed to have had my Mom for as long as I did.

At her wake, many, many people came up to me and shared their stories of things my Mom had done for them. People she worked with, people in the community, and distant family members all had their version of how my Mom had been an inspiration and support to them in their personal lives.

I was grateful for these stories because they helped me appreciate my Mom in ways I had never known. While she was a very nurturing and caring mother to me and my siblings, I had no idea how much mothering she was doing for the rest of the world, and it made me happy.

My gratitude practice enhanced my appreciation of these stories, and helped me feel lucky to be her daughter, instead of focusing on self-pity for having lost her too soon.

So whether you are grieving the loss of a loved one, a pet, a relationship, a job, a home or any other loss that is causing you pain, remember to feel your feelings, and give yourself permission to grieve.

Trust that one day, eventually, you will find something to be grateful for. Vitamin G can certainly help.

If this resonates with you, please share your questions and comments below and let’s help each other through grief and loss. Your input matters.

Gratefully yours,

 

Beware of Compare

Your new year is off to a great start. You’ve reflected on what makes you happy and blissful and you’ve set your intention for what you want to make happen in 2018.

You get started and things are going really well.

Then it happens.

Your best friend just announces she got engaged, or is buying a new house, or having a baby, signing a super awesome book deal, planning an exotic vacation, or just got promoted, and you start to feel small.

My friend Erena calls this “compare and despair.”

Turns out it’s a real thing, and we now have social media to thank for Obsessive Comparison Disorder.

If only we realized:

Comparison is the thief of joy.
–Theodore Roosevelt

That’s where gratitude comes in.

Whenever you feel yourself stuck in the comparison trap, shift your thoughts to something positive, something you’re grateful for, or something you’ve worked hard at achieving and are now enjoying.

It’s so easy to dismiss how much we do have, when we are focused on what everyone else has.

But don’t ever let comparison derail your joy!

Let Vitamin G be your reminder that you too, are blessed. 

You too, are on your journey to joy.

Only by focusing on what you already have, and what already gives you joy, will you actually have real joy.

Because things by themselves won’t give you joy; enjoying and appreciating things will. Tweet this!

I love you and am so excited for you this year.

To joy!

It’s good to feel good

One of the reasons practicing gratitude is so incredibly powerful is this:

It’s good to feel good.

When you focus on what you are grateful for, you create a positive mindset.

And if you practice what I call Vitamin G, and also focus on the feeling you get when you think about what you are grateful for, then you are not only thinking in a positive way, you are creating a positive energy field within and around yourself.

How cool is that?

Thinking positive thoughts, and feeling positive emotions, raises your vibration.

The higher your vibration, the more easily life flows and the lighter you feel mentally, emotionally and physically. When you are in a high vibration (or positive state), you experience more clarity, power, ease, balance and healing.

When you are in a low, or negative state, the heavier you feel mentally, emotionally and physically, which over time can lead to “dis”-ease.

The more you make choices that feel good, the more you raise your vibration.

It’s a new year. It’s time to feel good. Tweet this!

What are some things you can do today that feel good?

Here are some of mine: 

  • Meditation
  • Remembering to drink plenty of water
  • Going to bed early so I can feel rested
  • Going for a walk
  • Making time to be with friends
  • Yoga
  • Hugging my son, even when he is being difficult
  • Thanking my husband for helping me get us out the door in the morning
  • Taking time off to just be

Now I want to hear from YOU! Please share some of yours in the comments below.

 

It’s all about the juice!

(NOTE: If you missed last week’s post about prioritizing grapefruits, be sure to check it out here: Grapefruit anyone?) 

As we continue to move into 2018, I want to encourage you, once again, to get clear on what really, truly matters most to you.

STEP ONE: Look back on the past year. What made you smile? What made your heart sing? And also, what are you ready to let go of?

HINT: look at your gratitude journal – it’s your blueprint for joy!

STEP TWO: Once you have identified your “grapefruits” – those big juicy things that matter most to us like spending quality time with family, writing a book, or taking care of our bodies – the next step is to prioritize them in order of importance to you and use “one-pointed focus” to achieve them.

HINT: Try to let go of the voice that says, “I SHOULD do _____” and listen to the voice that says “I LOVE doing _____.”

So, for example, the juiciest grapefruit on my list this year is to deepen my meditation practice and my connection to spirit.

For me, finding just a few minutes every day to sit quietly and clear my mind is my utmost priority every single day, knowing that everything else in my life will benefit from this one small change.

Once I have accomplished this, I know the rest of my day will go more smoothly and I will also feel a sense of accomplishment, even if this doesn’t take me that long! 

STEP THREE: Continue to move down your list.

Making sure #1 gets done first frees me up to move on to the next item on my list: increase my physical strength and stamina. I started lifting weights again in addition to walking, biking and yoga.

Here is the best part – since one of my goals is to get out in nature more and another is to make more time for friends who lift my spirit, I scheduled a walk with one of my soul sisters in a preserve nearby.

BAM! That one action – taking a walk – is essentially accomplishing FOUR of my grapefruit goals.

Walking in nature with a friend I care about not only increases my physical stamina, it deepens my connection with this person, with nature, and with my spirit.

Now THAT is juicy stuff!

Had I not been clear about how important these things are to me, I may still have scheduled that walk, but might not have appreciated all the wonderful things this one activity is doing for me and I might not make the effort to do it again.

So you see how this works?

It’s no joke that what you appreciate, appreciates and that practicing gratitude shines a light on joy, love, health and happiness. Tweet this!

Now here’s the clincher: The more I take action to do the things that lift my spirit, the more energized and motivated I am to get all those other things done, like cleaning my basement and organizing my closets. These by the way, are things I have chosen to put on my list as secondary goals, but together will add up to another grapefruit of mine: Create a home environment that inspires bliss.

It’s all about clarity – and juice!

Now to help hold you accountable, I encourage you to share in the comments below your #1 grapefruit and make this your juciest year yet!

Happy juicing, y’all!

 

Grapefruit anyone?

One of my favorite lessons from health coaching school was a twist on an old idea.

It goes like this…

If you had one large container in which to fill some nuts and seeds, oranges and grapefruits, which would you put in first?

If you opt for the nuts and seeds first, you would never be able to fit in the grapefruits. There would be no room.

The moral of the story is this:

In life, we have grapefruits — those big juicy things that matter most to us like spending quality time with family, writing a book, or taking care of our bodies. 

But we also have nuts and seeds — those little tasks that need to get done, yet by themselves don’t make or break our wellbeing. Think of cleaning the house, paying bills, or scheduling an oil change for your car.

By prioritizing the very things that matter most serves us well because once those things are getting done, the other more minor tasks get “fit in” more easily into our day, our week, our month and our year. 

As we glide into the new year, ask yourself, What are MY grapefruits?

What are the things I am most grateful for?

What do I truly want to be doing more of this year?

If this is difficult, try looking back at your gratitude journal from the past year – it’s your blueprint for joy.

And if you haven’t been keeping one, today is a great day to get started!

(For next steps, see my next post!)

Happy 2018!

Grapefruit anyone?

 

Photo by Isaac Quesada on Unsplash