How wide are your wings? How to own your authenticity and increase your joy!

I struggled a little deciding whether to tackle a subject like this when the world feels so harsh right now. Like countless others, I feel sad at the general state of affairs. Many of us are no doubt feeling vulnerable, considering all the current global events and what if’s that we have zero control over.

I also detest the pain and suffering tens of millions of people in this world are being subjected to. At worst, things could turn out to be catastrophic. At best, they don’t, and we just continue to feel as though we will endlessly be at the mercy of the unknown.

All of which is nothing new, of course, and we can personally control what influences us by choosing what to read and watch. But, in the end, how far can we really run from the truth? Whether this is our own or the state of world affairs?

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What the (*) ? I now have 2 disorders. Prolonged Grief Disorder just became a real thing!

I had a rather shocking, but welcoming surprise last week. What has commonly been referred to in the therapy community as complicated grief has now been recognized as a real mental health condition. It is called prolonged grief disorder (read more here) and was recently entered into the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5). The symptoms have been defined and classified by the American Psychiatric Association (APA), which you can read more about here.

In short, the DSM is the handbook used by clinicians and psychiatrists in the United States to diagnose psychiatric illnesses. It covers all categories of mental health disorders for adults and children, including anxiety, depression, OCD, addictive and eating disorders. Why is this so important to point out?

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Why we don’t talk about grief and 5 ways to change this

I had the pleasure of speaking with someone recently who said that as a bereaved parent, nothing’s changed throughout their grief experience of many years. These sentiments echo my own. I’ve been bereaved since 2005 after losing my daughter to suicide.

I’ve written before about my frustration as a bereaved parent, in that we really don’t talk about grief. Which makes the recovery process that much harder. But whenever I have it mirrored back to me through someone else’s experience, especially long-time grievers, I think it’s important to talk about again. And again. Because nobody knows when their world is going to be rocked by a loss or something else that can feel almost as devastating. Read on to discover the 5 ways to change this.

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What we don’t get about grief

There are SO many things we don’t get about grief whether we are the ones in it or have not yet been touched by loss. The most interesting thing about grief is that anyone can be grieving any type of loss, without understanding that the pain that they are in is the result of their grief.

What is grief?

Grief is described as keen mental suffering or distress over affliction or loss, sharp sorrow and painful regret. It causes us to be in a state of mental, emotional and physical suffering that can arise from a variety of situations. Many that we don’t ascribe to grief. For example, losses that are not physical, illness, calamity or persecution. Which ranges from minor to catastrophic mistreatment and injustices experienced as an individual or by a community.

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How to Create Change Amidst Chaos

I recently came across this article that as an alternative practice to a more stressful pattern of living, describes how to minimize our regrets and maximize our happiness at the five main stages of life that each last 18 years. (It immediately brought to mind the five stages of grief that to be honest, I think seem more applicable to the dying than the bereaved.)

Anyway, while not wanting to sound doubtful that anyone could achieve major success by integrating any of these practices into their life at the appropriate stage, I found the system to be built entirely on the pursuit of success. Which isn’t a bad thing depending on how it’s pursued. But like many other mainstream manifesting practices, it doesn’t address the gaping holes the system leaves when you stop to consider the needs of those hard hit hit by loss or other chaos, which are:

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Are you keeping your bereavement a secret from your employer?

This recent UK article caught my attention (it’s a good read). It talks about the fear that disabled and chronically ill workers face if they were to reveal their conditions to their employer. Penalties and job loss being two major ones. It also questions whether the pandemic has helped to change our mindset about this or whether our biases are too entrenched to implement changes that would better support the vulnerable. Which got me thinking. This is exactly the same for the bereaved. Are you keeping symptoms of your bereavement a secret from your employer to protect your job?

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Get Me Started! -a new course for the bereaved

I’m getting super close to launching my new online school and course Get Me Started!. The first in my signature series Beyond Bereavement Your Path to Personal Power. While my school is dedicated to helping anyone heal and transform their life through expanded consciousness, the Beyond Bereavement series has been created for people who have experienced devastating loss. Specifically, people who have had a recent loss or one from years ago that has left them feeling powerless to change their life. (I’ll soon be offering a course similar to Get Me Started! to help people get “unstuck” from where they are and learn to fall in love with themselves again!)

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Grief Culture Today

Sadly, I had a reminder recently of just how much our grief culture today remains unchanged from sixteen years ago, when I lost my daughter (and decades before). One of my family members shared with me the difficulty they had in knowing what to say to an acquaintance, who has a family member who is critically ill with COVID 19.

Given our own bereavement and the isolation we all felt as a result of it, I was somewhat taken aback to learn that this encounter for my family member still felt extremely awkward, despite everything we’ve gone through after the suicide of my daughter. It turns out that the bereaved can be just as tongue-tied when having an unexpected and/or unpleasant conversation with someone going through stress, worry or trauma. In this case, someone coping with the serious illness of a loved one that could potentially lead to their death.

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WHAT IF YOU JUST SAID YES?

Are you someone who is more comfortable saying no to opportunities than yes? Can you recognize opportunities when they come knocking at your door? Looking back, do you have any regrets over the relationships or opportunities you let slip away?

Whether any of the above relates to a missed business opportunity, relationship you passed on or a job you turned down. Or it was the moment you hesitated to ask for a promotion, shied away from becoming an entrepreneur or hesitated to pursue an education. When you didn’t believe enough in yourself to make your dream career come true, or change anything else about your life, do you wonder what would have happened if you’d just said yes to something or someone instead of no?

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Can we really find the Divine in loss?

After experiencing earth-shattering death or any other harrowing experience that for many, can represent losing something of great value and life-long devastation, can we really find the Divine in loss? The Divine, as defined by many as something of or from God, or Supreme Being of another name. Which hails from the celestial realm and in its sacred power, guides us to develop our personal form of worship. Where in our faith we believe that all good comes from or through the Divine. We trust that there are no mistakes. Not even when the worst of our experiences occur.

In fact, we may not even question why bad things happen to us. Instead, we become willing to let go of our tragedy. To replace our sorrow with peace so that we can move on with our life. Maybe even find happiness again.

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