By Deborah Marini, Certified Mental Health First Aid Instructor ~
February 6, 2020, marked 6 months since my dad passed.
Yes, I could write something nostalgic…. or sad… or mournful…
But God has worked so many miracles since my dad’s been gone that it makes it hard to do anything but smile when I think of him. It’s taken me 5 months to get here but, I’m on my way back to the “living” so to speak.
There are so many people in my circle that have recently experienced the loss of a parent and yesterday a friend (thank you Allison Newman!) sent me a podcast that spoke about how we all have a need to bond over loss because it helps us to know and learn how others heal.
Looking back at the journey (I sound like The Bachelor!) is like looking at a road map of how I got here. So many stepping stones. With that being said I’d like to share what has helped me and hopefully, it will help you …
- To change your perspective
- To manage the loss
- To become present again
- Or…. to make your roadmap
How did I get to this place of peace?
Well… first of all, today is a good day. I still have my bad ones… and that’s ok ? Just like a road map may miss detours or closed roads there are always bumps. Bad days. Days where the sadness overwhelms and weighs you down.
But I learned a few things recently that explain loss in such an amazing way and it truly changes the perspective.
We hear all of the time that we need to “change our perspective.” That the “answers lie within us” or “you have power over your own thoughts.” But unless someone provides the road map to get there it’s like saying “hey… it’s really important that you get to this event but you need to figure it out on your own how to get there!”
I’ve done nothing but explore how I feel and try to grapple with an understanding as to how to move forward after so many losses in such a short time.
What I’ve found is this- There are really two big lessons I’ve learned that are easy to implement that can help you to start your journey.
LESSON ONE :
During my recent Certification course in Neuro-Linguistic Programming NLP (a fancy-schmancy way of saying becoming more conscious of the way your brain works) we learned an Ancient Hawaiian process called ho’oponopono. It’s a release of sorts, a forgiveness practice where you place someone in your mind who has wronged you or someone you’ve lost and “cut the ties that bind” so to speak.
Not to say we cut them out of our lives or forget about them… more of a separation of the old attachment and forming a new one.
**Dr. Matt James has a book on the practice of ho’oponopono to explain the process and what’s behind it and I HIGHLY recommend you buy it !! **
Dr. Matt James explains ho’oponopono in NLP and puts it in such simple terms…
Whenever we lose someone we not only lose them physically but we lose the place they held in our heart. The “relationship” was an exchange.
- You make me smile I do the same for you
- You sit down next to me and chat and I do the same.
- You tell stories and I hear them and listen
It’s like an energy that goes between you both….. when that loss happens it not only leaves a loss physically but it also leaves a loss of exchange between the two of you as well. A disconnect or gap. We call it a “hole in your heart” sometimes.
The morning add-on to my routine of ho’oponopono has helped me to start to stitch or fill that hole and become …. well…. whole. It’s allowed me a solid technique … something concrete to practice and grab on to and it opened the door to replace the sadness with a perspective that allows me to see the new energy and life created by my dad’s loss. To appreciate the life around me.
She… is simply amazing! She’s lost her partner of 60 years that she dated for 7 years before that….. but still finds time to keep up with and counsel the grandchildren and us when we need it.
She still bakes cakes for the …. well… really everyone she meets and keeps the Kringle store in business (if you’ve never had one…. you must!!)
She still buys tickets for 4…. because my dad is still with her in spirit. But she laughs at her mistake and I get to reap the reward by going to a play tonight with her and two friends lol!
My brothers and my sister…
We’ve watched my mom’s strength in carrying out my dad’s wishes and helping him to go with dignity. We’ve supported her and in doing so learned to support each other with so much love. He was our hero and now we are all bonded together to carry on his legacy of caring for and about family. We are always family ❤️
My own family….
We realize that with loss also comes an appreciation for what we have in each other and in this world that we still get to look at, smell, feel, and be in ❤️❤️. Loss teaches you to appreciate each other and the life that Marc and I have made together for 30 years (next month!) Pain of loss can take that perspective away if we allow it to. It’s all about changing our view …
My focus is now on the future.
There will be a wedding in June (yay Sarah and Nick!!) and I find myself feeling excitement I never have before to have all of us, my whole family, Marc’s family….gathered in one place again!! I value the relationships more after feeling the loss. (Ernie J Menold- start working out now for our Love Shack dance !!)
Throughout this blog, I’ve purposely tried to avoid the words like “energy” and consciousness in this post because there are some people (I was one of them!) who would immediately eye roll or jump to the association of being “out there” that comes with it …. but what I say to that is: if you’re feeling empty, or wounded, or lost and you have a HEALTHY opportunity to feel whole again…. mentally and physically ….whether it’s your “thing” or not, in the end, isn’t at least worth an open mind in trying it?
Years ago I was struggling with depression after a trauma and a friend told me about the book 10% Happier by Dan Harris. It was all about Dan Harris’ journey to meditation. (Thank you Matty Knuckles .. the most unlikely person to recommend the book lol!!)
This book opened me up to the world of meditation and ….well… at least WEARING yoga pants. Lol. Getting there… baby steps…
But my point is, I learned again what it could feel like to FEEL. To learn to sit with my feelings and let them come up. (To celebrate them as they say in NLP ?) Had it not been for that initial Book…. even with all of my background in Behavioral Therapy, I wouldn’t have been present enough to see what I needed to focus on to achieve mental health.
It led me into a world that has connected me with beautiful people like Mary Briggs Rower, Dani Fox, Melanie McLean, Rodney Salomon, Mychal Mills, The Kyds Organization, Mary Farrell Tobin, Soulful Awakenings, and countless others (too many to list but you know who you are!) all of whom, along with my family, have played a part in my growth over the past years.
For me, Meditation always conjured up a vision of a bunch of people removed from the world creating their own commune or “cult” outside of the world. But, because I had an open mind and explored it as a means to mental health I now see it as actually helping people to connect with the world. It added another tool in my toolbox that allows me to sit with how I’m feeling and manage them WITHIN the world and AS A PART of the world!
My exploration and research about feelings, behaviors and how they drive us is part of what has led me to continue to explore my passion for helping others answer and understand their feelings as well.
When I decided to become certified in NLP it was like the cherry on the sundae. The icing on the cake or the bow on the package that tied it all together ….all of what I’ve learned kept coming up each day during the certification process and married what I already knew with how to implement an action plan and keep learning! That’s the key to managing our feelings!!
So…what can you do now?
Feeling at peace with the sudden loss of my dad and the emptiness it left in me took time. But it also took loading up my little tool belt, exploring new techniques and laying the stepping stones to a healthy mental place.
Find what works for you
But realize this…
We have so many thoughts that come with loss. Some related to the emptiness it left and some that stir up old baggage. It is necessary to stop the carousel of thoughts and just sit, be still, and ask yourself…
- “What am I feeling right now” and
- “How is this creating a problem?”
Keep asking that until you get to the REAL ROOT of the issue. Then, you open the door to being able to say
- “oh hey there issue…. let’s chat!”
Whether you’re analytical, driven by numbers, pulled by emotions or ignore them, no matter what drives you, I implore you to enlist an open mind when looking for an understanding of how to get to the next step. How to feel better
If you want to chat or learn more about
- Integrative Therapy
- Just to chat
- Or any other steps to feeling whole again
….please email me
Because in the end…
If it helps you understand things… then it’s worth it no matter what “logical” box you put it in ?. Make sense?
For you Dad, and for anyone else that has experienced a loss…I’m with you. And it does get better once you become aware of how you feel and know what to do with those feelings.