Loss is something that most of us see at least once a week. We lose our belongings for example. Sometimes we lose precious belongings, items which mean a lot to us. There is a big difference between losing a pencil for example, a twenty pound note and a watch that belonged to a member of your family that has long gone. Losing something precious like the watch makes us feel sad and even if we get a new watch it does not replace the old one in our hearts.
Losing a pet is even harder to deal with and the grief can last for many months. You never forget them or the joy they brought you but they keep a piece of your heart for ever. Many people have pets instead of children so when a pet dies, the loss to them is greater. Losing someone close to you is even harder than losing a pet. My father died in 1981, my husband in 1995 and my mother in 2003 so you would think I know how to grieve by now. What I have found is that each time someone close to me dies, it brings back all the memories of the previous deaths. So this week I have been feeling a deep sadness at the loss of a very dear friend.
If you search the internet you will find lots of help and suggestions to help you deal with your grief. Some of these I have found helpful, like keeping to your daily routine as much as you can. You may not feel like doing anything but it is good to actually do the housework or go shopping however painful it seems. There will be bad days but I found that the gap between the bad days and the good ones got longer and there became more of the good days. It takes time to come to terms with losing someone close to you. Anniversaries are the worst days but after the first year of grief you have got through most of those. It is important to try to do joyful things even though you feel sad. I have found that sitting in the garden watching the bees and butterflies helps me
Talking to others or writing a journal can also help. But I need to say that losing loved ones does not always happen through death. There is divorce and separation for other reasons and there are those family members who decide to shun the rest of the family and deliberately lose contact. Grieving also happens in these cases.
One thing to remember that whoever you have lost, they have a small space in your heart where you will remember them for ever and you will remember the good times not just the bad ones.
I belong to that group of people who are never to old to learn. But I do hear many others say that they can’t do something because they are too old. I suppose it depends on what you think the word ‘learn’ means. The dictionary definition is this; ‘ to gain knowledge or understanding of or skill in by study, instruction, or experience.’
I know I love doing courses that interest me but I do them so that I learn something and am not bothered about an exam or a certificate. Recently I have been doing a couple of courses about dealing with pain, one course looking at exercises to control or get rid of specific pain. This was interesting to me as I found that I already did some of these exercises but I still had the pain at times.
But there are many others things I have learned since I moved house. I have learned to recognise the plants in the garden which were new to me and the butterflies and other insects that were also new to me. I learned to ‘drive’ my mobility scooter safely. I have also learned how to adapt to doing things around the house when my hands are painful. So I have never stopped learning, learning mainly by experience in this case.
This topic came about because of a discussion with my son about web design as I have been thinking of updating my web site recently. I did the original one in the late 1990s when I taught myself the language of HTML. Then my son took over and later on a friend. But as an independent person I want to do my own. Am I too old to learn this? I don’t think so. I believe that we all learn something new every day. And the ancient druids spent years studying and learning so as a druid I am doing the same but perhaps in a different way.
So I wonder what I will learn today?
From our first days after birth we spend time trying to achieve things. We learn to smile, to feed ourselves, to crawl and walk and talk. At school we continue in this way, learning to read and write and so on. When we get to working age the effort to achieve continues. But what is achievement? It is according to the dictionary ‘a thing done successfully with effort, skill, or courage.’
But we all achieve at different speeds and this is something that is often forgotten. What comes easy to some is extremely hard for others. In the world of employment, achievement is often seen as having a very good well paid job, a nice house, the 2.4 children and a big car. But is this really an achievement? If you have this are you happy? Do you ever stop achieving?
For me and for many others who suffer with chronic pain, sometimes just getting out of bed in the morning is a big achievement and to manage to do other things during the day is an even bigger achievement.
Do you ever look back to see what you have achieved? I did this recently and thought about the books I had written, the blogs I write and then I felt that perhaps that was my ego talking. So should we be proud of our achievements and tell others what we have done? I know many authors who ‘push’ their books and bombard social media with their adverts. This is not for me. If someone wants to read my books then they will find their way to them. But let’s get back to achievement.
There are many people in the world who feel they have achieved nothing yet they go to work and do well and have all that they seem to need. Is feeling happy part of achievement? I think we also need to look back and see what we have learned and done over the years. Every thing we do successfully is an achievement so for those who find it hard to do something, who then manage to do it, they have achieved that something. Achievements don’t have to be large, they can be small everyday things so look at what you have achieved this morning before you read this blog.
Staying calm can sometimes be extremely difficult in the world of today. There is so much going on in the world around us as well as in the wider world and there is so much pressure to do this or do that or be that way not the other way and so on.
Many years ago when I was first working with the Reiki energy I learned to stop and take deep breaths when I was getting worked up about something or pressured into doing something that I knew was not right for me. I also gave myself a boost of the Reiki energy. But not everyone can do this so how can you stay calm when you need to be calm?
I find that just stopping whatever I am doing and looking around me at the world of nature outside my window calms me down. I love to watch what is going on outside the window in my garden. I can see butterflies and damselflies and lots of flying insects all busy about their daily work.
But what if you don’t have a garden outside your window but have noisy traffic and other sounds. Then you have to find a place in your imagination where you can go to when you need peace. Have you been on holiday somewhere or on a day out where you have found a place you really like and feel at peace there? This is the place you go to in your imagination when you need to feel calm and peaceful. It can only be for a minute but it will help. It is the stopping what you are doing and taking a few seconds or minutes out that does the trick. Don’t think of what is getting to you but think of the peaceful place you love. If you do this regularly then you will feel much better and get less stressed by everything that is going on. You will be more able to go with the flow of things as they occur and deal with them in a much easier way. So take a few minutes out at intervals during your day and see how much difference it can make.
Here is a photo taken in my garden this week.
Hope is a word we use a lot. ‘I hope you are well’ or ‘I hope you get what you want’ are two examples. There are many more as I am sure you well know. But what do we mean by ‘hope’?
Generally in the cases above it is a feeling of expectation or a desire for something to happen. In some cases it is merely wishful thinking meaning ‘I’d like you to be well’ or ‘Id like you to get what you want’.
But hope can be seen as a capability to motivate ourselves and others in order to reach goals that we want but these have to be realistic of course. So many of us hope for things to happen that are definitely not realistic or to have things that we are never going to have.
However hope is important and can help people to get better when they are ill. If they believe they can get better then hope will help them to do so. If you are hopeful then you are also optimistic. Hope gives us the ability to see possible good in the future. Hope can make you feel positive and can improve your health. Hope creates self worth and gives you the strength to keep going. Hope gives you motivation which enables you to do things you had not known you could do.
Hope allows you to approach problems with your mind set on success. If you have hope, you can face the most negative times in your life with positivity. Hope therefore improves your mental health. Hope allows you to see opportunities in challenges; we often say ‘Look on the bright side’.
Here is a quote from Emily Dickinson ‘Hope is the thing with feathers that perches in the soul — and sings the tunes without the words — and never stops at all.’ And one final quote, author unknown, ‘Hope is the dream of a soul awake’.
We are often told not to look back but to be ‘in the now’ or to look forward to the future. But there are various reasons why we can look back and times when it is good to look back.
I like to look back at my life journey so I can see what I have learned, or not learned as the case may be, so I can decide what I need to do next. I can reflect on my journey so far. I also like to look back in history to see how countries and people have changed over the centuries.
Looking back at my life can also bring to mind some wonderful memories, some which I have shared with others and some when I have made journeys alone. Yesterday I went out with my son and his partner to a local, wildflower farm. The sun was hot, the sky a clear blue, the flowers colourful and the butterflies, dragonflies and damselflies were out in abundance and stunningly beautiful. Tea and cake added to the day and it will be a day to remember when in years to come, I cannot get out to enjoy nature.
In my history/genealogy research, I am of course looking back, but I try to find out what life was like then, what people wore, and how they lived so that I am in a way bringing them alive. It enables me to see how much our world has changed in the last three or four hundred years.
So looking back for me is important. It enables me to make changes in the way I live my life and it also enables me to see how I do things differently than my ancestors. Do you look back and if so do you reflect on what you see? Does it help you to change the way you do things now? Does it help you to find out what is important in your life as it does in mine?
Here is one of the dragonflies from yesterdays memories.
This week as the weather has not been good for gardening, I have been catching up on my family history. Looking at the lives that some of my ancestors led makes me wonder how they survived. How much did the lives of my great grandparents influence the lives of my grandparents? And in turn how much did their lives influence those of my parents and in turn my life?
In my family history there are stories of time in the mental hospital because of depression and anxiety. There are those who resorted to drink to deal with the loss of small babies soon after birth. And there are those who turned to crime. How do you deal with the loss of several of your children when they are only babies? Today there are plenty of organisations to help you cope.
Today we take our health system for granted and we know there is always somewhere to go when ill or needing help if we want to do that. But years ago and not so many actually, there was no way of earning money if you were ill and there was no contraception. Some families had up to thirteen children, many of whom died young. How did they cope with that? What happened if the mother died? Some children were then adopted by relatives or sent away and some were even sent abroad.
How did this all affect our relatives, our grandparents for example? I know that one set of my grandparents did not have an easy life. My grandfather was very strict and there was no emotion allowed in their lives. There were no hugs or words of love and I know that this affected my mother at a deep level so that she was unable to show love either. This leads to a core wound of rejection, one that is hard to deal with.
If a grandparent or great grandparent was violent did that affect those that followed? You can see how the wounds from one generation can come into the next generation and unless those wounds are healed then they will continue in the coming generation as well.
I could write on but I hope have said enough for you to think about this and how your ancestors have affected your own life today. If you feel you have a core wound to heal then please find a way to do this so it doesn’t carry on in the future generations.