When I first became bereaved in 2005, after the suicide of my daughter, I felt powerless, confused and distrustful of everything. My entire world had fallen apart. I had no idea how I would ever live without my child and was terrified something else really bad would happen to my family. I couldn’t imagine what I would be able to ever do again that would feel worthwhile. I felt isolated because of how different I now felt from everyone else and in pain so extreme, I didn’t think I would survive it.
But I did survive. And more importantly, I’m starting to truly live again after experiencing genuine healing through a process I can’t wait to share with others.
Being a bereaved parent (and there are many of us even though we’re still a minority) gives us a bird’s eye view into the pain just about anyone else could be suffering from. And, while our experiences may be different, pain is pain. Most of us deep down, want to heal from the worst of our hurtful experiences, even if we don’t have access to the right healing method or even know what it is that we need to heal.
THE POWER OF RELIEF
When I discovered the power of relief a few years ago, when I was forced into a work disability from my then job, but couldn’t yet make the bigger changes for my life that I really needed, I began to experience a certain freedom in my healing that I hadn’t felt before. In fact, when I did start to feel relief by implementing the smaller changes in my life that I could create at that moment, it helped me see just how much I had been pushing myself for years to be and do more than I ever really could. Which is part of what had driven me to go on a disability in the first place.
Anyone who wants to heal from pain or transform just to be the best that they can be knows that this requires we make changes to our life. Always, this means letting go of something in exchange for something else we hope will bring us more of whatever it is we are looking for. However, we can’t always be making bigger changes in our life for any number of reasons. It could be that the timing isn’t right because we aren’t quite ready for the change. We may have responsibilities we can’t get out of or the impact on loved ones may be significant. In the worst case, it may be because we are afraid to let go of the pain that we’ve become accustomed to (anyone grieving a difficult loss knows all about this) or it is fear holding us back.
So, when we can’t be always making the bigger life changes we are certain will bring us the money, happiness, better job, new relationship or whatever else it is we are looking for, it’s less stressful and more practical to focus on what would bring us the greatest amount of relief, and start making those changes that are within our ability to make.
WHAT BRINGS RELIEF
Anything that feels distressing in any of our environments or with our relationships is our mind and body’s way of telling us what needs to change. When you feel uncertain about what would bring you relief, check in with your heart! The heart never lies. It will tell you what you really need and want in any given moment, even if you don’t like the answer. Which is why sometimes, we must wait for things to happen.
When you are feeling frustrated or stressed because change isn’t happening as quickly as you’d like or when you don’t think it’s even possible, think about what is in your power to change in your life right now that would bring you the most comfort.
The level of relief you feel thinking about your different options will be the best indicator about the change you really need, even when the steps you can take today seem only temporary.
RELIEF FEELS LIKE
Relief feels freeing. It will give you respite from any situation that feels unpleasant or distressing. Relief can come to us in all sorts of ways. Sometimes it’s more time. Less responsibility. More humour. A good friend to talk to.
More often though, there are very real problems we must endure that can make us feel like our life is spinning out of control. While there are too many things to list here about what can bring anyone the greatest amount of relief in any number of situations, the point to remember is that knowing the type of environment, friends and activities you prefer; what you need in all of your relationships to feel loved and supported, and the lifestyle that feels the most authentically you, will help you start reimagining your life. Sometimes in ways you didn’t think possible.
IF YOU’RE FEELING STUCK
We all feel stuck some of the time in our life or worst case, like we’ve fallen into a rut we can’t get out of. However, most of our more challenging situations are a necessary part of our future unfolding. They give us insight into what we can and want to change in our lives at any given moment. They often are our best opportunity to learn.
Setting your sights on what you need and want now or in the future can ensure your changes will actually happen. The key is knowing when and how to take the action that is needed.
As a fun little exercise, think about (or write down) at least one thing that feels unpleasant in your life and what would bring you the most relief. Write down at least one thing you could do right now to make a change. (This could be a change of thought, making a physical adjustment to your environment, asking someone for help).
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