Getting Through Grief After a Divorce – Part I

Good morning! The day dawns clear and bright, and like all days, brings the promise of peace and joy to my world. I hope this is so for your world as well. Someone was looking for inspirational sayings for after a divorce, and I can offer ways to get through your grief. You be the judge of whether or not what I say is inspirational. : )

Grief occurs with any loss we experience. In other words, grief does not only occur after the death of a loved one. Loss includes divorce, loss of a pet, loss of a job, even a move to a different location. If we recognize that we have experienced a loss, that makes going through the grief process that much easier because we are not resisting it or being blind to our grief.

Grieving is difficult, I will admit, yet, to return to whole and to get to peace-of-mind again, we need to allow ourselves to feel our grief. We need to allow ourselves to go through the process of recovery and repair of our heart. Today, let’s talk aboout the grief process after a divorce.

People are uncomfortable with another’s expressions of grief and say some pretty useless and even damaging things. Examples include: “Get over it,” “S/he was no good for you anyway,” “You will meet someone else and forget about him/her.” There are more, and these are most commonly said to us when we have gone through a divorce and are struggling with our grief. So, what can we do?

First of all, it is a grave disservice to tell someone who is grieving to “get over it!” This totally negates where someone is in the process of grieving. Obviously, they can’t, or they would! There is something stopping them from moving on. Often, that is unfinished business, anger, or guilt.

For me, after I left my marriage in 2001, I grieved the loss of my familiar routine the most. It took several months before I actually missed my ex-husband. Then I moved into the guilt phase, as I realized the ways in which I had led the marriage to demise. Occasionally, I still get twangs of grief over things I did, and I say soothing things to myself, like: “If you had known better, you would have done better, Jones.” “You did the best you could with the tools you had at the time, lacking though they were, it was the best you knew how to do.”

Sit with that self-talk for the day, and I will return tomorrow to give more information about how to get through grief. I am splitting it up, because I have a fair amount more to say and the post is getting long. Also, for the day, try to ignore what people tell you that is not useful, realizing that the person saying those things is uncomfortable. Feel compassion for their uncomfortableness and continue with your soothing self-talk. I’ll be back tomorrow morning…

Share

How to Develop Tolerance

Good morning, all! Once again, the morning got away from me yesterday and I had to leave for work for the day before I blogged. I really don’t like people coming to my site to find my blogs and not finding a new each day. Yet, there is a wealth of information to keep visitors busy. 🙂

How to develop tolerance was searched for three times yesterday and today, so I thought I’d write my thoughts on that. The definition in Webster that fits my belief of tolerance is to recognize and respect another’s ideas or beliefs without sharing them. The definition goes on to say, to bear or put up with something that is not especially liked.

I suppose tolerance boils down to one saying that is a good motto to follow, and that is, “live and let live.” If we pay attention to our own affairs, and allow others to pay attention to theirs, we are that much closer to practicing tolerance. This assumes, of course, that the other is not being a harm to themselves or others. When they are being harmful, we do not tolerate that behavior or action.

If we dislike what someone believes in or is saying, then we can remove ourselves from the situation. What if we can’t? For example, I disliked the verbal abuse I was enduring as handed out by my now ex-husband. I couldn’t leave at the time. I wasn’t strong enough emotionally. Yet, it was a choice to stay in the marriage. And, I tolerated the abuse.

In retrospect, I see that I could have made good on my threat to leave much sooner than I did. I also could have employed lots of self-talk while being verbally put down, by building myself up, telling myself what he was saying were lies, that what he was saying was a reflection of his insecurities. Much easier said than done!

In the end, when we have the strength to do so, we can remove ourselves from the vicinity of someone whose opinion and actions we do not like and thus, tolerate them, while still taking care of ourselves. We allow them to be themselves while, at the same time, we respect and tolerate our own views and opinions.

Tolerance has to do with ourselves, also. We need to learn to tolerate our foibles and failings, accept them, and then move forward to correct them. We have the power to change ourselves and our behaviors, actions, and beliefs, and we can exercise that power.

When we act in such a manner, we end up finding peace-of-mind. How do you tolerate those people in your life that you find disagreeable? Have you tried any of the things I’ve suggested here? How did it work for you? Leave a comment and let us know.

Share

Fear of Emotional Sobriety

Good morning, all. I hope this day is a productive one for each of you. I actually started this two days ago, and the days got away from me, so I’ll try again…

I liked it that “fear of sobriety” was searched for twice, as I had been thinking of writing about whether sobriety was for you. Fear of sobriety fits quite nicely into that question. Before we dive into it though, I want to redefine the way I will now be looking at sobriety, which is what led me to add “emotional” to “sobriety.”

Sobriety refers to more than just abstaining from substances. It also refers to behaviors, and this is what I wish to focus on from here on in when I blog. I would like to define it as the act of developing more awareness – of self, others, and surroundings – as well as becoming more enlightened spiritually. It is about going through the gates of your heart, the gates of your life.

Webs of Fear

Using this definition, let’s look at fear now. Like a fly or some other insect, we each can get stuck in the webs of fear. My fear was not only about leaving behind the substances, it was also about changing my thoughts and behaviors as well. In fact, I didn’t even know that if I became more aware of myself and others, I would find peace-of-mind. And isn’t peace our goal? Don’t we all wish for peace-of-mind?

I was slow to wake up to self-awareness and especially awareness of others, as I was so emotionally damaged. It took doing a lot of work on myself to even identify what I was feeling! I was afraid to look at myself… fearful that I would find a nobody, a worthless person with no merit.

What I have found instead over the years is a highly compassionate and caring person with lots of gifts and talents. I discovered many strengths and character traits that I didn’t even know I had! Today, I can recognize and celebrate these.

It works that way when we do our emotional work, when we take a look at who we are at our core. It is scary, and the reward is immense peace that is gained. It grows on us. We become more self-aware, and thus, develop more sobriety. Also, as we become more self-aware, we become able to be more aware of others… their needs, their desires, and we become able to treat others with respect, kindness, and tolerance.

Said another way, when we become more self-aware, we are able to show more love to ourselves and to others. We also become enlightened in spiritual principles, such as gratitude and compassion. The end result of all of this? Sobriety in our behavior and more peace-of-mind.

Will you walk through the gates of your heart to more self-awareness, awareness of others, and the ability to practice spiritual principles? Or, will you continue to allow the fear of looking at yourself keep you from emotional sobriety? The choice is yours. Which will you make? Leave a comment and let us know. : )

 

Share

How Sobriety Leads to Joy and Peace

Good morning! I hope this is a gentle and fulfilling day for each of you. I wish for you a sobriety that is filled with joy and peace. That’s the search term for the day about which I will blog today… the relationship of sobriety to joy and peace.

All my life I looked for joy and peace, peace-of-miind. I looked to alcohol and drugs to supply these for me, and I thought I had them when I was drunk and high. It was not until I started and lived a life of sobriety that I discovered I had no clue what joy and peace could really be.

Burst of Joy

In sobriety, I learned it was possible to heal my wounds from early life and this brought me great joy to be free of chains that bound me. My heart burst with joy when I discovered that I even COULD heal.

At first, life was quite painful in sobriety, as I was feeling my feelings without anything to numb them, to quiet them. Ah, and it was extremely difficult to stay sober, but with lots of prayer and attending support group meetings (4-5 a day), I was given the gift of continued sobriety.

The more sobriety I accumulated, the more I healed from emotional scars and pain, the more joy I felt. It was a wonderful feeling, and still is in present day. You see, every day I feel joy… joy about the life around me, joy about my peace-of-miind.

Yes, with the joy I had found, I began to experience peace. I think the biggest thing that led me to peace was learning to conduct a self-appraisal, and conducting one on a on-going basis.

At first, it was difficult to do an appraisal, as I felt shame over my behavior, my actions. Every time I thought of what I had done, or who I was, I felt shame. This was one of the negative effects of an abusive past.

Promise of Peace

After a while of doing an appraisal, however, I began to gain peace when I completed one. It began to feel really good iinside to identify my poor behavior and thoughts, and to right them. It felt good to “confess” them to another person, as part of the appraisal process involves telling another person what I had discovered.

I think that when one commits to doing an ongoing self-appraisal, one is offered the promise of peace. But the real thing that brought me to peace was when I discovered how to forgive my parents. The act of forgiveness really undid the chains that bound me emotionally.

At the end of each day, if I had done an appraisal and forgiven myself and others, I experienced the promise of peace. To this day, that is true for me, and so I gladly and without reservation perform an appraisal and look toward forgiveness.

All of this is possible because of my continued sobriety. And how about you? Do you experience joy and peace as a result of your sobriety? How does that look for you? Leave a comment and let us know.

Share

Living in Gratitude

Good morning, all! Today I would like to talk about gratitude – how to live with it every day, how it benefits us to do so. One of my images from my book Opening the Gates of the Heart: A Journey of Healing is Visions of Gratitude, as seen here on the right.

Visions of Gratitude

The verse that accompanies this image is: “When I look with eyes that appreciate, everything around and within me is more pleasing, more beautiful.”

This has been my experience. The more I look around and appreciate all that I have, all that is in my life, the more pleasing life is in general. The more pleasant it is. The more grumbling I do about things, the more anger and dissatisfaction I feel. It’s my choice, and I like to feel good, so I choose looking with appreciation at all that I have.

We can all practice looking for the good in our lives, looking for things about which we are grateful. It starts from the moment we wake up… we can be grateful simply for waking up to have another day to live to our fullest, to experience life and all it presents.

Even if we are in the middle of hard times, we can be grateful that 1), we can feel the pain, because when we feel pain, we also feel joy when the pain clears, and 2), we can be grateful that from the difficult time, we will grow our spirit, our character.

When we express gratitude for all that we have, our demeanor is one of cheerfulness, of happiness. We are a joy and a pleasure to be around. We set a good example for others to show their gratitude.

Today, I am grateful for my home, my warmth, my kitty who is my companion, my health, my job… I am especially grateful to be an alcoholic because it led me to recovery and that led to healing that has occurred in my sobriety. Recovery has led to all the peace and happiness I have searched for all my life.

What are you grateful for today in your world? Leave a comment and share with us your joy and gratitude.

Share

The Benefits of Compassion

Good morning to you all! It is the wee hours of the morning and I just popped awake, so I got up. I’m armed with a cup of coffee in me, and am ready to write. : ) This morning’s search term I chose is compassion. Let’s see where that takes us.

Webster defines compassion as sorrow for the troubles of another coupled with the desire to help. It also defines it as having pity, and here I disagree. Pity is also defined as sorrow for another’s misfortunes, and goes on to say it implies a slight contempt because the object is regarded as weak or ignorant. I don’t think people want pity, especially because it implies ignorance or weakness, yet I believe compassion is desired by others when they are suffering.

It is possible to feel compassion for someone who is ill or experiencing difficult times. For example, I am currently care-taking a woman who is unable to be independent in her life, and I show her compassion. I think, “What if this were me? How would I like to be treated?” So I show her a mixture of kindness, gentleness, and patience – all components of compassion.

The benefit is a feeling that I have done something good for another, and that feels satisfying emotionally. It feeds my spirit, my soul. The benefit to the other person is that they feel nurtured, cared for and about.

Perhaps the biggest benefit of compassion is that it leads to forgiveness – of others and of ourselves. Let me explain how I discovered this. I spent 38 years angry and bitter about my up-bringing and the damage it did to my psyche. Then, through the process of my recovery in sobriety, I was lookinig at the relationship I had with my parents at the time, and I began to think about what they had endured in their lives.

What I realized is that they were abused themselves in harmful ways, and they were just repeating that behavior with me. When seen in this light, I began to feel sorrow for their troubles, their experiences, knowing how difficult the after-effects of abuse are. And they never learned to examine the feelings associated with their misfortunes. I began to feel compassion for them.

I re-visited that space of compassion many times, as I thought about the effect their up-bringing had on mine, and I found my anger and bitterness melting slowly away. Eventually, I realized I was feeling forgiveness for their behavior, knowing they knew no other way. That did not condone their actions and behaviors, of course, but forgiveness does not mean you condone anything that happened, it just means you pardon it.

In a similar fashion, we can feel compassion for ourselves over our difficulties, our misfortunes, and even our bad behavior. After-all, we knew no better or we would have done differently at that time. We were most likely wounded people ourselves. Instead of feeling pity or remorse, however, we can allow ourselves to feel compassion for our ignorance, our woundedness that led us to poor behavior.

We can feel compassion for the damaged person that we perhaps became through our experiences in life. Yet, that is not grounds for excuses over our behavior or actions. We feel compassion for ourselves, learn the lesson, and move forward in our life, resolving to not repeat what led us to compassion in the first place.

So, there you have what I believe to be the benefits of compassion, with forgiveness of others and ourselves high on the list. In what way do you show compassion to others, to yourself? Leave a comment and let us know.

Share

Respect for the Rights of Others

Good morning, all! “Respect for the rights of others” was searched for four times, and I wish to address that today. To look at how to do this, it is necessary to look at what I believe another’s rights actually are. So let’s discuss them.

Cultivation of Differences

First, the biggest thing we can do to respect another is to tolerate one’s differences. In fact, we can celebrate the differences of each other, encouraging others, and ourselves, to greatness. The differences of others is what brings richness to our lives.

The second thing we can do to respect another is to treat them with kindness and consideration, just like we would want to be treated. When I say “consideration,” I am referring to consideration of one’s beliefs and one’s feelings.

It is the right of another to be treated as a worthy being, simply because they are living on this earth. We each are inherently worthy and we can respect that of another.

Acknowledging one’s individuality is another way to show respect for them. We spend lots of time trying to get others to be like us, to think like us, to act like us. Is that because we feel insecure about who we are ourselves?

If we respect someone’s individuality and cultivate their differences, think of the harmony that would be created among us. Similarly, if we respect OUR individuality and cultivate OUR differences, think how we would shine in the world.

So, armed with these things – tolerance, cultivation of differences, kindness, consideration, and encouragement of individuality – we will be showing respect for others’ rights.

What actions do you take which show respect for another? Leave a comment and let us know.

 

 

 

 

Share

The Keys to Sobriety

Good morning! It is chilly on this clear and sunny morning in the Bay Area. We had frost last night. I have ice on the top of my trash can! Brrrr.

The search term that caught my attention was “the keys to sobriety.” I haven’t written in several days about sobriety, so want to pass along the things that worked for me, and that continue to work. which help me to stay sober.

What I did in early sobriety is different than what I do today. Early on, I was an emotional mess. Lots of feelings surfaced and they were raw, very difficult to feel and remain sober. So here’s what I did. I started the day with a brisk walk to a coffee shop and got coffee, then a brisk walk home.

The most effective thing I then did was to journal with my non-dominant hand. For me, that meant printing with my left hand, as I’m right-handed. I printed rather than attempted to write cursive. It is easier and more legible, and I believe the results would be the same.

What I discovered with my journalling was that deep feelings welled up and words to describe them found their way to the page of the journal. Frankly, I was surprised and astounded each time this happened, even though it happened on a daily basis. With the release of my deepest, inner-most thoughts and feelings, I was able to get some relief.

I also attended 4-5 support group meetings every day, as I was an emotional wreck and needed the support to maintain my sobriety. Between meetings, I wrote and took brisk walks. I did a lot of crying, which released the angst I felt. I let myself express my feelings in such a way, even though I got tired of crying. It was cleansing for me. I also prayed to a higher power of my choosing all the time, asking for the strength to maintain my sobriety. It was granted to me.

the van I rebuilt in cherrywood

When I was about nine or ten months sober, a major project came my way and I kept myself occupied in a good way for hours each day, when I wasn’t writing or at meetings. It was a full-sized van, outfitted with a stove, oven, and refrig, and I gutted it and rebuilt it in cherrywood. I built it to look like a boat.

I had to learn about all systems, such as plumbing and electrical, in addition to the wood working. This project was a great way to occupy my time, and I had a chance to think while I was working. It was a good distraction, versus a not-so-good distraction, such as shopping. The project also boosted my self-esteem, as it came out very nicely.

Today, I have a running conversation with my higher power and I blog every day to be helpful to others. I attend support group meetings 1-2 times a week. But the most beneficial thing that maintains my sobriety today is being of service to others. This leads me to maintain my sobriety, to feel good about myself, and to share my gifts and knowledge with others. We all benefit.

These are some things that worked for me to keep my sobriety going. I hope they are useful to you, as well.

Share

Inspirational Thoughts for Feelings of Hopelessness

There were two searches for hopelessness this morning, and I would like to address this topic today. I wish to offer some solace and comfort to those of you who are feeling hopeless.

I remember what it was like to have feelings of hopelessness. It was a feeling that what I wanted and expected would not happen, that there was no sign of a favorable outcome. It led me to great depression and despair, and I spent every day praying to God to let me die. I was miserable and did not want to continue in life.

Then something happened which turned that around for me. I listened to the people who were urging me to seek professional psychiatric help for my depression and despair. I sought help through the County Mental Health system. What I discovered was, I was suffering from major depression and panic disorder.

Ray of Hope

Suddenly, armed with this new information, I saw a ray of light, a twinkling of hope. I felt less like I was a loser, a failure. I accepted the recommendation to take medication for my disorders and I began to feel better emotionally. It was like it says in my book, Opening the Gates of the Heart: A Journey of Healing:

“A ray of light across the bars of my being lights my way, instills hope in my heart.”

Just that little bit of light began the journey out of my emotional prison. But what really transformed my hopelessness was being of service to another who was suffering the way I was. I shared with them about my story, and efforts I had made to heal from my past, which is why I was feeling so hopeless. I began to feel worthy, worthwhile. From that point on, I felt hopeful that things could get better.

The thing is, I had to keep sober to get to that point. I had to maintain my sobriety. If I had not done that, I believe I would have stayed in that feeling of hopelessness, unable to get out at all. As is was, I was given the gift of continued sobriety because I worked at it.

As that ray of hope grew, I began to look at my expectations and discovered that what I was expecting was unrealistic. My expectations were too high. In my case, I was expecting to clear the pain of my past away, to wipe it from my mind. What I learned to do instead was to use it to help others, and that led me to more hopefulness.

I began to set realistic goals and dreams, based in every day occurrences. The more I helped others, the more peace with my past I began to have. It was amazing how that worked, but it did. With just that small ray of light, that ray of hope, I was able to conquer my hopelessness and that occurred because I asked for help. Asking for help allowed me to get unstuck and move forward. I stopped asking to die, and thanked God instead for showing me a better way, for guiding me to be of service to others.

Today, I have continual hope and the feelings of hopelessness have not returned. I consciously try to not have expectations for anything, and my goals and dreams are more realistic and attainable. This has led me to peace and joy.

Do you have feelings of hopelessness, like life is not worth continuing? If you do, I wish for you the courage to ask for help, to talk it over with someone else. I wish for you to be of service to someone else who is struggling also, so that you feel that your experience is worthwhile and through that, feel more hope. I wish you well on your journey.

 

Share

Living with Grace

Sweep of Grace

Good morning! I liked the search term “living with grace” as a topic to continue with in the new year. I like Webster’s definition that grace is beauty and charm of form, movement, composition, or expression.

In my book Opening the Gates of the Heart: A Journey of Healing, I speak of grace. “Gently, quietly, an unearned favor of great beauty and pleasure is bestowed upon me.” I say this because, for me, grace is a gentle and quiet gift I receive when I live with love in my heart.

I found grace in sobriety. It just happened one day after a few years of staying sober and working through my issues. I noticed a calm and quietness, a gentleness, which pervaded my being. Ah, I thought. This is grace. It is a lovely and comforting feeling that I experience frequently these days.

When I am in grace, kindness, gentleness, tolerance, and kindness just come naturally and quietly, gracefully, with no effort. It’s a gift from the Universe, from the powers-that-be, and I am grateful to have it in my life.

I found the following quote in my papers. I don’t know where it came from, but it is grace in action. “When the voices of self-destruction scream and slowly alienate any sense of self-worth, the healing perspective of soul dialogue will prevail.” That’s grace in action.

You will know you are experiencing grace when things just fall into place gently and quietly. You will feel a deep knowingness in your being. You will be at peace.

For 2013, I wish for you grace.

 

 

Share