Navigating Through Grief & Loss

In Memory of Sparky
November 27, 2007 – December 28, 2019

Christmas 2019 with Sparky

The loss of a loved one, human or pet can be devastating.  That being who once occupied real space and time in our lives has gone leaving us with a hole in our lives.  Even with the best support I have found through my own personal experiences, and we all experience loss, is that by going through it, fully grieving with all emotions, tears and all is the best healing salve.  The same place that we love deeply is the place that feels heart broken and sad.  It is okay. 

Elisabeth Kübler-Ross, author of the internationally in her best selling book, “On Death and Dying” wrote about the five stages of grief.

“The five stages, denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance are a part of the framework that makes up our learning to live with the one we lost. They are tools to help us frame and identify what we may be feeling. But they are not stops on some linear timeline in grief.”

Tips:

Honour your grief.

Give yourself permission to cry.  

Seek a listening ear; a shoulder to cry on.

If possible, remember times with your loved one.

If possible, look at photos. 

Share your stories with friends and families.

Be infinitely patient with yourself. 

Seek support from a professional, a grief counsellor, your spiritual teacher or someone who you connect with and trust. 

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A New Bit About Me!

Up Dog
Image by Noah Lane

Well, I have promised for a while that new information about me would appear here.  It didn’t appear magically, I have had to make an effort.  For me, like many in our new CoVid world, I have struggled and suffered a little.  I don’t have a problem self isolating, my issue has more been socializing.  However, now going out to do some simple shopping gets me vibrating… anxiety or excitement?

This is what I am exploring now.  Is my body’s physical response because I’m happy, overjoyed to be out or is it because I am pursued by a fear of the unknown or both. I talk to self about the tools I have but still it is a journey.  Yes, meditation.  Yes, yoga.  Yes, my new canine companion Ginger Lee.  Yes, walking.  Yes, biking.  Yes, breath work.  All these are tools in my tool kit of emotional and mental health.  

This bit about me may read familiar to you as well.  Becoming aware of these challenges and strengths is the first step on a road to not just coping but enjoying the journey.

Ginger Lee — Up Dog

I am, truly I am.  I would love to share my skills with you.  Please know we don’t have to meet in person to reap the benefits of hypnotherapy.  Contact me, let’s talk.

 

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Hypnotherapy Helps

Positive; powerful.   Life affirming; life changing. 

Some of the words that describe hypnotherapy.

Find out for yourself!  Let’s talk. Email me to book your free session to appreciate the vast potential of hypnotherapy.

Tommi@heartsdiscovery.ca

Heart to Heart Help!

Photo by Jasmine Wallace Carter from Pexels

 

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The pivot point of positivity

How do we respond when we’ve missed the mark?  When saying or doing something has impacted another in a way that was not intended. We may have acted out of anger or maybe just offered unwanted advice or misunderstood a situation. 

How do we make amends? I believe it starts with willingness. Being prepared to listen wholeheartedly and speak from the heart we cultivate what it truly means to be humane.

By mistake, by intention, we humans have a choice even when we’ve made an error.  I was brought up with the concept that if you borrow something from someone, you either return it in the same condition you received it in or you return it in better shape. This same is true if through our words we’ve hurt feelings, dismissed an opinion or just not listened.

A starting place is by turning inward and checking out how would I feel if it had been me on the receiving end. 

It’s interesting how “he said she said” can spin us into a vortex of negativity. Sometimes so damaging that once beloved syblings become estranged, partnerships tumultuously end or friendships dissolve. Don’t get me wrong, all things have their course, the great Way.

Everything coming and everything going; always changing, all ways. This understanding is the flavour of life lived to its fullest. Sometimes savoury; sometimes sweet. 

When something goes awry in how we relate to another and especially ourselves how can we turn the wheel on this pivot point? It could mean anything, for some, taking a deep breath, perhaps walking away and regrouping thoughts, maybe inviting someone who can be a mediator, for groups maybe engaging in the wonderful process, “The Way of Counsel”. It could be veering away from the critical or defensive and just saying a simple affirmation of possibility. “How can we make this win/win?” “I trust you to do what’s right.” These are only suggestions. It’s not a pat phrase or words that can be preplanned. It revolves around listening and speaking from the heart. Asking self, “What is appropriate for this moment?” And perhaps how can I be the pivot point of positivity? And a pointer to possibility?

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Summer Time Blues

Summer time blues?  The weather is greyish, rainy.  The upside is that after a dryish spring where we live is thirsty. Very parched. The downside is that summer activities may be curtailed or cancelled.  What we were expecting to happen didn’t. 

Much like situations that arise in life, we don’t have the ability to control weather. However, equipped with the right tools and knowing how to use them, rain clothes or an umbrella, we can choose what we wish to do. Go out prepared or stay indoors and find some other activity. 

In life we always have a choice on how we respond. However, triggers, fears or phobias  can make us feel helpless. As if there is no choice. Is this really true?  Yes, when we don’t know why we have those triggers, where the fears originated or what we can do about that phobia, it feeds helplessness and fuels hopelessness. 

Here is some good news, very good news. We come into this world with only two fears, these fears are important for our own physical survival.  The fear of falling and the fear of loud noises. We wouldn’t be here if we didn’t react, without thinking, as if they were a matter of life and death because in our distant past, and even now, they are just that. 

All other fears and phobias arise from circumstances and reactions, sometimes from our caregivers, sometimes from others in positions of authority, sometimes from those who are just bigger and older then us. These fears and phobias become part of our operating system in the subconscious mind. The sub conscious mind then takes on the task to protect us, sometimes with irrational behaviour; they  become an integral part of our survival system. 

How is this good news? Working with a hypnotherapist who uses the tool of hypnosis we can access the subconscious mind and deprogram those protective responses that have outlived their usefulness. In fact, now they may have become the problem themselves. 

Seems we cannot actually find who the insanity quote can be attributed to. “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results.” 

I find this ironic. The same old same old that our sub conscious mind created to protect us is now the thing that can make us feel insane, out of control. Yes, it does feel “insane” when the same small things feed instant anger or for example we “know” that a kitten won’t harm us but when we see one we are paralyzed with fear each and every time.  

But for our purposes it rings true when we relate it to the trigger of the subconscious mind to a created fear or phobia. The subconscious mind responds in an insane way to what others would see as a sane situation.   Undeniably fears and phobias are debilitating. Yet we cannot think ourselves out of them.  It is not the thinking mind that needs to be updated, it is the subconscious mind.  

This cycle of “insanity” needs to be examined, determined if it is still useful and then as in an outdated operating system be updated in the “subconscious mind” to what the conscious mind finds useful in navigating and living a quality life. 

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Anxiety Talk

Anxiety in Black & White

Muddling through the DSM freshly released iteration, 5, I looked at the definition of Generalized Anxiety Disorder.  From my humble, un-allopathic (sic) educated perspective but from that of someone who struggles with the persistence of anxiety reading it made me feel very anxious. 

For me, I would say if anxiety arises and is present it is an uncomfortable, debilitating and, a generally agreed upon, unhealthy state of “perceiving” the world. It causes dis-order in my life. Whether it fits the definition in the DSM or not, it is useful to recognize the dis-ease that anxiety brings and then develop the skills to ameliorate. And not just cope but to create and experience joy. Listen to the wisdom of your own body. Seek support from trusted professionals, allies and friends. 

Believe me, I know, I’ve been there.  My great and useful practice has been to recognize it and then to use acquired skills to settle, be with it and feel it, accept and “know” that this too will pass.  

Breathe. 

Yes, many do experience anxiety and regularly to varying degrees.    Anxiety, for me, presents as my need to personally be on guard, just in case. Anxiety comes cloaked in hypervilglliance, it wears a crown of perfection and holds a sceptre of meticulous control (everything has a place and everything in its place). 

My overcompensation for the possibility of being late is one form of hyper-vigilance. However, the “just in case” itself is unsafe, taking risks to be someplace on time. (More on where this “fear” of being late arose in another writing.)

Breathe.

On the upside, I have found the meticulous nature, like a homeopathic remedy (like cures like) is what on occasion calms me. I have organized a huge amount of small hardware, screws, hanging hooks, different sizes and types of nails for a couple of hours and at the end, I feel calmer.  I clean my living space with the metaphoric toothbrush. 

Anxiety feels like unbearable discomfort, the possible likelihood of instant harm, without an option. Something might happen at any time and I need to be scrupulously prepared for the eventuality.  Yikes, what a way to live waiting for the siren to go off, waiting for the emergency, that I am positive is going to happen will happen.

Breathe. 

Let me illustrate from my younger days before I started to learn to tame the beast (and friend, more on that in a later post as well.) If I was going out in a social situation, I would prepare in my mind what was going to happen and a variety of scenarios that could possibly happen and the responses or reactions I would make when those situations would arise.  

Guess what?!! For the most part they didn’t, but when they didn’t that feeling would trigger the sense of impending doom, not now but soon and “will I be prepared?” A relationship is doomed, a meeting will go awry, I better leave very early to be on time so I don’t have to feel anxious in the inevitability that traffic will be bad…. it’s never ending. Being late is akin to the fear of being mortally wounded (as I sad, more on this in a later blog post.)

When I am anxious, I can turn this wild energy into productive exuberance. I can get my home sparkling clean, meticulously complete the little tasks, like organizing paper files and decluttering my computer files. I can use this energy to go for a long walk or bike ride or practice yoga. And, I can just sit with it.  Patiently reminding myself “wherever I go there I am”, there is nothing to do, nowhere else to be then present in this moment. This moment contains all that is sustainable and nurturing.  I can post reminders in ‘friendly font’ such as Breathe or Don’t Panic or Don’t Forget Your Towel. 

Breathe. 

Read beneath that paragraph for the “big but”.  But during a panic attack or acute or chronic anxiety it is difficult to remember the tools, to take off the glasses that perceive the world as an unsafe place.

For me hypnotherapy has not just helped me alter my perception of this world from the “unsafe” perspective to that of a “friendly universe”.  It has allowed me to engage tools that help me recognize the gold in the challenges.  Through deprograming this deeply entrenched anxiety call and response I see the world and experience what I’m experiencing in a different way.

Let’s talk about anxiety. 

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Super Being

Super Sparky Soars

Super Being

I am not.  When I didn’t listen to my body’s gentle whispering that I ought to slow down, it started poking me. 

Wake up! You’re over doing it.  You’re off balance.  The louder it got, the more I believed I needed to do.  And I did. And I got sicker…

The tricksy side of the ego is that, based on childhood/social/cultural programming it wacks hard when a core value of who you are is “ not good enough”.  Since we are a product of our society, what is of value is the template. In generalizing, looking outward and living, I see, like most do, the more stuff, the better. Is this true?  You know the truth. (Most folks on their death bed don’t lament how they wish they had more stuff.)

Since, most of us, unless you have fairly awake parents, have been modelled if not outright told not to trust our gut feelings it may take very loud communication to heed what is apparent. Take heart, it’s okay as our greatest challenge has the potential to be our most significant and uplifting gift to self (and others).

Coming out of weeks, lucky me, only weeks of illness, low energy and not even a teaspoon of creativity, I am returning to my most amazing talent, the plasticity of the mind.  My head is less foggy, ideas surface, words are at my fingertips. (Although as I am my own proofreader, I need to return a day or so after I make a post, to correct the obvious (in hindsight) typos.)

This time I have opened the experiential gift, if something doesn’t feel right, it isn’t.  Physical me recognized this with the illness now conscious me is determined to remember it. (Note to self, handwritten, listen to your body.) I simply needed to rest, needed to look at my programming of “doing more and doing it right now and doing it perfect.” (Yikes, what a set up for a fall down!)

Yes, it is true that this very body, this very mind is the laboratory. I am reminded to experiment, experience but pay attention. Remember hard earned lessons, experiments that have gone astray. Above all, don’t forget to play. Give the body a break.

I am grateful. Outside, the last day of May 2019, sunny and warm. Flowers blooming, soft music playing, me tapping away on this keyboard, attempting to translate feelings and ideas into words.  In this moment, it can’t be any better then this.  (And as I laugh at the rather odd typos, it can’t get any better then correcting this.)

I feel like Super Sparky looks. Soaring. 

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The Bloggery

Zen and the Mindful Art of Cycling

Lola and I

Caveat:  This moment is the most important moment of your life.

Assume that no one on the road, beside the road and in the crosswalks sees you.

Be as respectful to others on the road, beside the road and in the crosswalks as you wish for yourself.

Eye contact and a friendly hand gesture is a positive acknowledgement that you are seen and wish to be seen. 

Sky, Go Fast Fun!

Your best friend is your left shoulder check, visit her often.

Use your signals with your left arm.  Signal frequently. For optimum usage employ suggestion three.

When you pass a cyclist or pedestrian, signal politely with your bell or, if no bell is present say, “Ding, ding.” Always pass on the left.

Take the lane when you’re coming to an intersection.

Be visible, reflective clothing, lights; white in front, red in rear. I personally do not use a flashing white light as a head light, I find it blinding when I’m driving and a recipe for an accidental meeting.

Flaunting your ability to zip in and out of traffic from behaving like a vehicle to morphing into a pedestrian to being a cyclist is not friendly behaviour to fellow human travellers. It’s confusing, it’s unpredictable and it’s unsafe. Nobody intentionally wants to cause harm to fellow travellers.

A formula for how we navigate all things in life might look something like this:

Thoughts (left brain; Sahasrara (Crown) chakra)

filtered through love (Anahata (Heart) chakra)

expressed through communication (Visshuda (Throat) chakra)

Thoughts + feelings + words = connection

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Troubleshooting Shit

I’m beginning slowly to realize that a lot of what we do in life is Troubleshoot. (In the spirit of Dr. Seuss and A. A. Milne, I will capitalize the first letter of the Important Things.) When things are running smoothly, we don’t tend to troubleshoot, just in case something should arise.  It’s like the saying when we find a lost Something, we say, “I found it in the last place, I looked.”  Well, I tend to look in one more place so I can say, “I found it in the second to last place I looked.”

See, it doesn’t make sense.  When I need to troubleshoot something, I want to have it troubleshot, done and over with instantly. My formula has been just add anxiety, desperation, instant fixative and then voila, Done.  Not always so, now in my 60’s.  I’m realizing what has been pointed to all my life.  I’m going to put it in Caps, Bold, Italics and Underline it and make it a Larger Font.  I’m not shouting at you, I’m reminding me.

BE PATIENT 

Frankly, I love the troubleshooting state. I find myself in complete trance where I am so focussed on go-arounds, possible complex solutions, downloading extra apps that time has no meaning and passes so quickly.  When I move out from a micro pereception of what I need to accomplish, I find my vision was actually blurred.  If I pull out to a macro perception, I can see the big picture.  Look what I have desperately been trying to find was simply deleted from my personal operating system, meaning it was filed in my subconscious mind under a folder that may be titled, return to this later, assorted stuff or junk. Translate this to any of the operating systems we hold in our hand or have on a surface and the trash icon can be the answer.

It was, after frantically searching everywhere, even considering recovering old files, I looked in trash, recent deletes in fact and there it was.  Simply.

The motto perhaps is that simple results come from stepping back, taking a break, having a walk, sipping a tea, then returning to the task at hand.

Now, I will file this simple suggestion,in friendly font, BE PATIENT in my current, check here first, top ‘o mind file.  If I remember.  

 

Or sit with it.  The most difficult time to sit in meditation is when I really need it.  Do it anyway.  

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Click Sparky

Sparky Lazy Bones

Sparky’s just lazing around. Click on him to fetch A Bit About Me!

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