December 2014 Blog
Turn Holiday Grief to Peace
Because I write and teach about grief and the heart, I get many calls this time of year from people who are suffering more deeply around the holidays. I ask that all of you who know someone like this take the time to listen, hug and have compassion for those who have suffered loss. That’s all they are asking for. They know you can’t “cure” their grief, but your kindness eases them. Remember that loss can be other then death. Sometimes it is loss of health, divorce, moving, financial losses or a multitude of other issues that live below the surface.
All of us know someone—including, very often, ourselves—who suffer their losses more deeply at this time of year. Here are a few tips to help them, and ourselves, to feel more at peace during this time of year. The death of my son many years ago sent me in search of a way our family could celebrate our traditional Christmas in a new and more fitting way. This search led to a deeper appreciation for the emotions we were taught through our faith, such as compassion and love. Though it was many years before I could be in a church without crying—especially when the beautiful songs of Christmas washed over me—I learned to look around me for signs of my son’s presence. I saw him in every kindness, in every act of compassion and appreciation for others. I began to sense his energetic presence at the table and by the tree. The realization that he was gone but not forgotten, as Jesus is gone but here and celebrated every Christmas, brought comfort. Eventually this became peace. Our Christmas Blessing always includes those who have left the earthly circle of our family. Every wedding in our family includes the spoken or visual presence of our loved ones. If you wonder what to do with your emotions during gatherings like this, try a new approach.
- Allow your emotions to direct you. Know and appreciate why you feel as you do and lovingly accept yourself.
- Consider adding a new tradition. It helps if it brings in a little of the spiritual side vs. new ways to give gifts.
- Volunteering or bringing someone who is alone or down on their luck into our home for a meal turns our focus outside of ourselves.
- If you have children, ask them what they would like to see. Their involvement with the process will take them outside of themselves too!
- Take quiet time in your hectic life to simply sit, breathe into your heart, and ask for the energetic presence of your loved one to sit with you. You can also send your compassionate energy to someone who is not longer part of your life.
- Above all, remember to appreciate and focus love on those who are still a part of your life.
There are many other possibilities that I include in my books and workshops. For now, I hope you or someone you care about can benefit from these thoughts. I wish you all the most beautiful, hopeful and appreciative holiday possible. This photo shows the possibilities of growth, no matter where we are in our lives.