A Few Thoughts on Grief

Grieving comes for many reasons, not just over the loss of a person or a pet. Souls can also experience grief over the loss of a relationship, the sudden changing of a lifelong career, the loss of a home or a way of life they have always known, sometimes even the dying of a dream.
The thing about grief is that there are always certain stages the soul must go through, and at the pace that is right for them, in order to achieve healing, peace, and the ability to move on.
There is no singular right way to grieve, nor is there one timeline within which to do it.
The grieving process is personal to each person who experiences it and cannot be judged or discriminated by others.
Grief is how we accept loss, adjust to change, and hopefully grow along a new path towards a different destination.
Change is hard. We have a built-in human inclination to resist it. However, change is also inevitable in life. Grief is how we deal with changes that must occur and often bring us to different experiences, locations, and decisions that we quite likely would never have made otherwise (perhaps we needed the change to force us into doing the right thing we didn’t realize we needed to do).
Grief comes to us all. The best thing to do when it arrives is to allow ourselves to feel it, every step of the way, and see where it eventually leads us.


Facing Unusual Obstacles

There are phases in life where we find ourselves facing one obstacle after another.
It’s times like this that seem to beat us down spiritually, emotionally, mentally, and physically.
Sometimes you see them coming, like a freight train in the distance. At other times, it is almost like getting caught up in a multi-car collision you could not have anticipated.
Either way, when they do come that’s when the true tests of strength and character begin.
It’s how you face the adversity and push through it; or how you manage to see past the obstacles and find the workable solutions that bring you out of the storm and back into calmer waters.
No one solution can work for everyone, but there are helping hands that can guide you along the way.
Depending on your situation and personal beliefs, you might choose guided meditation, counseling, a support network of friends, bible study, therapeutic walks to clear your head, a combination thereof, or perhaps your own secret “pick me up”.
That is truly the secret to getting through these hard times – you must have a guide or a “pick me up”. You have to find that thing, (whatever it may be for you personally), that gives you the strength and conviction to carry on.
In times of happiness and joy, you should make a list of your blessings, and keep it close on hand for the days when you need reminding.
I would also recommend a personal mantra or motto that gives you comfort or reassurance. For me personally, it is this: “This too shall pass.” Other popular choices include: “Everything happens for a reason” and “If God leads me to it, he will help me through it.”
The important thing is that it has to have special meaning to you or it won’t ring true.

The Calm Before the Storm

You know that tingle of apprehension and expectation that comes when you catch the scent of the rain before it falls? The tell-tale dark clouds, rumbles of thunder, and flashes of lightening never fail to alert us to the approaching storm.

But what about when that storm is on the inside rather than out? What happens when the tell-tale signs are unexplained pin-pricks of pain, nerve tingling in your face, a slowly building buzz in your brain or a sudden shift of pressure that makes your head feel on the verge of exploding? Maybe you see zig-zag lines or blur spots in your vision? Perhaps what you experience is the sudden “ice pick” stab of pain in your skull that has no obvious origin?

What do you do when the calm before the storm refers to the warning signs of a hell that is about to be unleashed inside your own head?

For those of you who haven’t already figured what I am describing, I envy you. Because it means you have not experienced migraines.

I, however, and countless thousands of others like me have suffered with them on a regular basis. I know there are many who have experienced worse episodes than myself, and I won’t even attempt to speak for them. But for myself, I have battled migraines for over 13 years. They started very suddenly during a terrible sinus infection that had gotten out of control. I have suffered with them ever since. In the last two years, I have had one nearly every single day. At least 50% of those have been moderate to severe (by my internal pain scale).

My particular affliction means that my eyes are my biggest trigger receptor. So sunlight and the color white are my greatest enemies in the world. To me, bright light equals pain. Don’t get me wrong, I love a beautiful sunny day! It just doesn’t love me. I have to wear sunglasses every single day of my life from the time the sun rises until it sets, unless I am in a room with no windows and only soft lighting. Even at night, if I go into a store with bright fluorescent lights I must wear the sunglasses or suffer intense pain within the first couple minutes of exposure (that grows with intensity the longer I linger). As for going to concerts with flickering lights, forget about it! Those days are long behind me, my friend. I will never again be able to look at them, because strobe lights are an instigator as well.

I am also sensitive to smells. Lilies, lilacs, lavender, perfumes and colognes, cleaning agents (especially bleach), candles, incense, and air freshener are all torture to me. (You may have seen me running from some of the aisles in Walmart with a frantic look upon my face.)

Last but not least, noise is the other big baddie on my list. Heavy metal, rock and roll, techno, rap, anything with an unsteady beat, heavy pulsing bass, or erratic lyrics is just like nails on a chalkboard. I literally want to crawl out of my skin and escape. I know that sounds crazy, but the pain creates a desperation to escape the trigger at almost any cost.

When you live with daily pain, you just want to make it go away. Sufferers will go to great lengths just to get any kind of peace and release (even though it may be short-lived).

So every day from the time I wake up, I am living in the calm before the storm. Knowing that I am always “watching the skies” so to speak for the signs which I know are coming to announce the impending arrival of the next storm.


The Evil of Men’s Hearts

By now most everyone has heard of the tragedy at the Boston marathon. It horrifies me to my very core. It is worse then any scary movie or horror story on the market.

It is irrefutable proof that great evil dwells every day in the hearts of men. I say men in a general sense referring to mankind.

The fact is: men have committed greater atrocities and unforgivable acts than can ever be imagined, even in the worst of nightmares. Pointless violence for the sake of violence, done to fill a sick craving in a maniac’s mind, or to make a statement which has no direct bearing on its victims is the expression of an evil that knows no justice and fears nothing.

One can only hope for a day when darkness is finally overcome by light, when real-life villains do fall and heroes prevail, and when life is appreciated by all for the blessing that it is.

My sincerest heartfelt prayers go out to the victims and families of this latest tragedy.



Tapping Your Emotional Wellspring

It has been said by many, to write with passion and intensity the writer needs to tap into their emotional wellspring. It comes from within, brought on by life events. It can take us from happy and peaceful to any number of extremes.

Even if your present state of life is content and calm, (which I hope it is), at some point in your life you have felt pain. We all have. We’ve known our share of pain, loss, grief, sadness, desperation, desire, anger, need, and many other emotional extremes.

To fuel your creativity, start with the simple act of remembering. Close your eyes, go back in your mind, and pull the emotions from deep inside of you, until they boil over to the surface. Once it is raw and real and (sometimes) terrifying, just dive in and let go.

Staying Optimistic In The Storm

It’s a new year filled with many things to come: opportunities, experiences, friends to be made, times to be shared, and of course, hardships to endure.

My year has already started out on fairly rocky footing. I won’t bore you with the details. However, it has made me take a realistic view of change.

New Years is famous for its resolutions and promises of a fresh start. But the truth is: change comes not with the turning of a calendar year, but with the commitment of your heart.

Accept that hard times will come, as they always do, but there are always choices and chances to get us through.

Accept that unexpected things will arise, some good and some not, but that is the spontaneous nature of life.

Accept that no matter how uncertain you may feel today, there will always be a sunrise tomorrow.

Stay your course in the storm and you will prevail to greet the sun.