There is a sacredness in tears. They are not the mark of weakness, but of power. They speak more eloquently than ten thousand tongues. They are messengers of overwhelming grief and unspeakable love–-Washington Irving
Despite the pain it elicits, loss shows us the healing power of love. It teaches us about the delicate balance, intensity, and richness of life and above all, provides the greatest opportunity for transformation. Loss is bittersweet for we cannot experience the pain of loss without first having experienced the joys associated with what has been lost. The heartbreak that wounds us most deeply eventually leads us to greater enlightenment, blessing our lives with a more spiritual depth of life.
Being a human being sets us up for an excessive emotional attachment to loss. Whether real or perceived, we experience loss when we are deprived of or have to let go of something we had and valued, something that we needed, wanted or expected. As we make strong affectional attachments to significant others, we undergo deep emotional distress when we are separated or lose that person. Therefore, the loss of a significant relationship even one with great distress disrupts bonds of love, connection, and security. Such loss produces separation anxiety or distress and these losses are critical to healing feelings of lovelessness for most adults.
Ultimately, we cannot know another’s soul journey so we must acknowledge whatever choices they make are part of their divine path. As hard as it is to understand or grasp, they are fulfilling their soul’s potential even if that choice is death. Therefore we must be grateful for the precious time we have with them even if it’s for a few seconds, months, or years. Regardless of the time we spend together, our love and soul connection with them transcends the physical universe and energetically resides in the eternal space of the soul.
There is no preparation for the life-shattering loss of a loved one for it is an unfathomable pain that penetrates our lives and pierces our hearts. Yet, we can best honor our soul connection with our child or another by transforming our loss into love. We can channel the energy released at our loved one’s death by putting their powerful light to positive use.
Another way to direct this energy is to love those family and friends we cherish and send love out into the world for the betterment of humanity. For example, we can become more kind and compassionate partners, patient and tolerant parents, attentive and supportive friends and co-workers. We can channel our losses into love by healing others as we rid the world of racism, abuse, hatred, and malevolence. Resonating as a field of love, we can become love activists in our love-starved world. Experiencing unconditional love is critical to healing our feelings of lovelessness and releasing our pain. Without full release, such losses create chronic distress, which may manifest in such conditions as depression, anxiety, and physical illness. If left unresolved, these losses will continue to be repeated and recycled through our interactions with others. As Judith Viorst aptly says, “Our childhood and youth are gone and we must pause to mourn our losses before we move on.”
It is critical that we mourn the significant losses in our lives. Without appropriate grieving, we cannot fully release the thoughts, feelings, and images that continue to weigh heavily on our hearts. Remaining stuck in the grieving process leads to a state of unremitting grief which clings to feelings of sorrow, anger, guilt, self-loathing, and depression. We must share and express our pain and give it a sacred space to heal so we can become whole. Leaning into our vulnerable selves allows us to face and experience the other side of loss, which is unconditional love of ourselves.
It is experience of loss, more than any other experience in life that can compel us to step into the space of our vulnerability so we can heal.
- Going with the Flow: Remember when you were so engrossed in creative play that you felt so present with the world around you? You can still feel suspended in time while exercising, painting, meditating, or playing music. It is here that distractions fall away, background noise disappears, and you feel completely immersed in the moment. Then, stringing together these moments of heightened, present-oriented experiences brings feelings of joy, inspiration and happiness.
- Sustaining a Positive Outlook: Remember when you looked on the bright side of life? You envisioned your dreams never doubting your innate power to fulfill them. When you sustain a positive outlook on life, you are more likely to manage life’s challenges, make better choices, support a healthy immune system and sustain a sense of happiness. Such a positive viewpoint also has helps you live longer and prevent certain diseases.
- Counting Your Blessings: Remember how your heart was open to give and receive at all times? You can practice gratitude by keeping a journal of things you’re grateful for, sharing three good things that happen each day with a friend or partner, and going out of your way to show gratitude when others help you. As your day begins, bring to mind three things that you feel grateful for or happy about even if it’s being alive. When your day comes to a close, think about three things that happened during the day that you feel blessed about, and how you believe they happened.
- Engaging in Mindfulness Meditation: As a child, you lived life as a meditation. Rewire your brain for happiness. Meditation literally clears your mind and brings your body into a state of calm. It’s been proven to be the most effective way to live a happier life. Set aside quiet time to tune inward and center yourself throughout your day. Even setting aside a few minutes each day to open your heart and be present will begin your day on a positive note. Ten minutes is better than five, and 20 better than 10.
- Savoring Positive Experiences: Remember when you noticed beauty, artistry, and the wonder of life.Train yourself to become aware of, appreciate, and enhance the positive experiences in your life. Consciously focus on and mindfully attend to, and identify these experiences on a regular basis. Be in awe of nature or a meaningful soulful experience.
- Practicing Random Acts of Kindness: As a child, you were kind and compassionate. Serve others at least a couple hours a week. Research shows that committing random acts of kindness promotes wellbeing. Be kind whenever possible and you will find that you will feel more positive, open and loving. It’s also important to engage in restorative self-care which are simple, sacred acts of kindness to yourself.
- Cultivating Healthy Relationships: The only thing that really matters is spending time with those you love. Surround yourself and spend more time with people who love, support, and care for you without conditions. Create an energetic soul team of pure love. Such love will support your happiness even if you are an introvert.
- Forgiving Often and Quickly: Remember when you were little you forgave often and quickly? Forgiveness allows us to create a clean slate so we can being anew. And, the more you forgive yourself, the more you will find it easier to forgive others. It will free you from the past and open the energetic space for you to create a better future.
- Exercising More: As a child, you probably played until you were exhausted. Physical exercise has a profound effect on our well-being. Research has shown that exercising only 7 minutes a day can profound impact our happiness and reduce anxiety and depression. It can help you relax, increase your creativity, and overall body image.
- Spending More Time Outdoors: As a child you loved spending time outdoors. Make time to go outside on a beautiful day even if it’s for just a few minutes. It can boost mood, expand thinking and improve memory. Happiness is maximized at 13.9°C so head outside for your 20 minutes of fresh air. Use of this natural anti-depressant to create happiness.
We create soul-hearted relationships by being love ourselves rather than going on a quest to find “the one.” It is about being fully accountable for the energy that we are in the universe. If our energy is toxic or negative, we will invite toxicity and negativity into our lives. On the other hand, if we radiate love and our authentic selves, we will attract love and connection with others.
Inviting in a new year gives us a natural place to clear our life of resentments and grievances, and begin with a clean slate. Confronting and clearing such negativity unleashes a flow of positive energy within us that we can direct toward shaping a more fulfilling life. At the beginning of 2015, we may have paused, reflected, and even made new resolutions for the coming year. This is beneficial, yet, for our new intentions to manifest, we have to clear our lives of any resentments that we may be holding toward others and even ourselves.
Like a cosmic cow catcher in front of a locomotive, we have the ability to clear the track of any resentments that block the forward movement of our lives. This healthy clearing process is an essential element for our physical, emotional and spiritual transformation. It’s like skin sloughing off dead cells that accumulate and block the growth of new cells. Animals, birds, and plants move through a regenerative clearing process as part of their natural development. Similarly, as we release unresolved business from our past, we open and see ourselves in a more loving, accepting way.
One useful tool in clearing body, mind and spirit is the mantra “bless and release.” Every time you notice a toxic thought, grievance or pattern, think or say “bless and release to dissipate any negative energy. Follow this mantra with directing your heart to soften and let go of whatever just surfaced. Wrap the person or situation in pink light to cut the negative energy on it. Another tool is a self-designed ritual of release such as a private prayer ceremony, the burning of old journals or a time capsule that can be buried with items connected to a past toxic relationship.
A ritual of release that I used to release past resentment toward my mother, who abandoned me when I was young, involved fashioning then burying a miniature time capsule in the form of a coffee that contained items connected to my childhood. Following a year-long search for my mother after her twenty-six year absence—a quest that revealed past experiences of loss and pain—my search ended at the run-down apartment in Pittsburgh where I had last lived with her. I had with me the coffee can containing a photograph that captured my essence at age eight, the year my mother had left me, along with a letter to that little girl expressing my unconditional love for her. I had written: ”Dear Debbie, you are a strong, loving, and courageous woman. You are whole and complete light. This is how you came into the world and this is how you will leave. Remember, you have not been abandoned. I have always been there with you. You have blessed and released your painful past. Now, be free to live and express the light of your being.” These ritual objects acknowledged both who I was then and who I had become.
I buried the coffee can in the backyard of the apartment building, symbolizing the clearing of unresolved grief relating to my mother. As a result of releasing my resentment and forgiving the past, I began to claim my true being so I could create a more positive and fulfilling life.
Releasing resentments does not constitute a free for all to blame, attack, or criticize another. Rather, it is a loving exchange of honest and open feedback with ourselves and when necessary with others When given as positive corrective feedback, it keeps us from harboring resentment and supports physical, emotional, and spiritual intimacy.
Using the power of intention is not about setting a specific goal and focusing so much on it that you lose sight of other possibilities. On the contrary, it is about setting a goal, being open to the many choices that present themselves in reaching that goal, then selecting the ones most likely to bring about the desired outcome.
Just as a plane is guided onto the runway, into the air, and to its destination by airline personnel and air traffic controllers, you, as copilot, can guide your intention into reality by co-navigating with your source. Making your flight plan a reality, however, necessitates being out in front of your intention, which means thinking and acting as if your intention has already manifested. Spirit assists in manifesting your intention by guiding the choices you make. You can be out in front of your intention by using creative visualization. Close your eyes and imagine how your manifested intention would look and feel in your life. Next, trust and affirm that your intention has already been manifested. Then expand your conscious awareness so you are open to the spiritual information that comes through your heart guiding the choices that bring your intention into reality.
In addition, because any thought or spoken word functions as an intention, it is crucial to keep thoughts and words positive. The phrase “Be careful what you wish for” applies to the potential outcomes of thinking or speaking negatively. If you catch yourself thinking or speak negatively, shift your ideas, words, or tone to be more positive.
It is important that our intentions reflect what we want rather than what we don’t want, because any intention has the power to manifest. For instance, if you complain to a coworker that you hate your job and wish you didn’t have to be there, you are setting a negative intention. In generating energy to support this intention, you may get your wish and end up being fired. For better results you could express your intention positively by saying, for example, “I want to use my talents and abilities to create a new career” or “I desire a job in which I can express myself more fully.” Having set a positive intention, you can manifest a new job by being aware of possibilities that will help you find it, such as talking to someone who tells you about another position, seeing a job advertised in the paper or on the Internet, or running into a friend who wants to start a business with you.
Trusting the manifestation of our intentions transforms our reality and allows us to relinquish attempts to control our destiny, such as trying to physically, mentally, or emotionally manipulate people, thus helping us attain more peace of mind and work more cooperatively with others. The Serenity Prayer used in AA and other self-empowerment programs underscores this dynamic by stressing the advantage of accepting the things we cannot change (such as other people), having the courage to change the things we can (such as ourselves), and having the wisdom to know the difference.
Familiarity with the transformative power of intention makes us realize that we have many more possibilities in life than we could possibly envision through the lens of old mindsets. In co-creating with our divine source, we can consciously choose what we want in life. And with new confidence in the innate power of intention to manifest our desires, we can trust in our ability to make our dreams come true.
Invite in blessings for 2015 and let go of any fear, negativity, resentments or disappointments. Resolve to complete 2014 with love, forgiveness and gratitude for everything that has brought you to this moment in your life.
For millennia, winter solstice celebrations have heralded the return of the light and are a time of quiet reflection and intention. In many Native American cultures, tribes and families would gather to start up a new year at the solstice and have a special celebration where they would make a request to the Great Spirit to eliminate certain things that they no longer wanted in their lives. As a way of representing this, they would craft six arrows: three to represent the things they did not want and three for the things they did want. They called them “death” arrows and “life” arrows because they held respectfully, the things they wanted to be out of their lives and those they wanted to bring life to.
One by one, they would each step into the ceremonial circle from the north, put arrows in the ground and say certain prayers, concentrating on that which they were willing to give up. Then they would go to the higher ground, and make the request to the Great Spirit for what they wanted to bring into their lives. They would leave the arrows standing for the Great Spirit throughout the year. During the sacred ceremony, what you requested to be taken out of your life would be removed, and what you wanted to come, came in. The Native Americans had unswerving faith that what they asked for would be granted through their intentions.
On the winter solstice, take the time to reflect on the things you want to let go of this year and the things you want to bring into your life. It’s an opportunity to name and release the situations or patterns in your life that are ready to be let go of and forgiven. Focus on what’s appropriate to your being at this time in your life. Sit quietly, open your heart and let the flow of energy move through you as you meditate on your intentions. If you feel inclined, write them down and put them in a special place to reflect upon at a later time. It is trust in yourself and your source that will manifest an abundance of all that is good, loving, and joyful in your life.