New Years is a time to stop and reflect on the past. Hillary Swank in the movie, New Years Eve, reminds us that possibly, we get another chance to do more, love more, let go of what was and embrace what is or what will be.
But NY is often thought of as a celebration.
I could not bear to watch the clock strike midnight, although there is so much about last year that was beautiful and some parts that I would like to leave behind, still others I want desperately to hold onto, even though it haunts me.
I often find myself deep in reflection. Pondering the purpose in life itself. I have found spiritual growth assists me to bridge myself, the past and the future. I have found comfort.
Mother Teresa once said, we suffer because we have forgotten our connection. And I agree, because I have found that a spiritual connection makes me feel more connected to everything, there is a comfort knowing that there is a bigger meaning in life. But that doesn’t ease how terribly painful it is at times.
I still hurt. I did managed to put up a tree but cried as I placed each ball. It was a day of deep mourning. I felt like I needed to step into the experience in order to process my loss, and it resulted in a beautiful tree that I enjoyed for the remainder of the year.
Why can it be so hard? My grief can feel like a narrow and challenging passage that wedges against my chest so hard until I squeeze through, it can take much energy and great effort.
I have found some parts of this grief passage to be very steep and I at times, I feel like I’m hanging on by a thread, but then, just when it feels to much, there is grace. Grace can appear in many ways, a friend calls, a message within a movie or a book, something that resonates provides even the narrowest of plateaus where I can take a full breath. It feels so good to simply breath.
And so make it a practice to draw my attention towards breath, I engage in meditation, a practice that helps me to ground my energy.
In some ways, I saw my own journey in a documentary I just watched, called “The Dawn Wall”. If you are going through something tough, then I encourage you to watch. Because this true life story is inspiring.
We know that resilience rises out of adversity and this true-life story has much to inspire us all.
Tommy Caldwell and Kevin Jorgenson literally scale the face of a 3000-foot granite face of El Captain, in Yosemite National Park. But it was a life-threatening experience that came before that gave Tommy his grit.
There is a point where the journey could end, when Kevin struggles day after day, failing to cling to the face of a lateral vein midway up the face. From 2000-feet he fails and falls through space, dangling by a thread. You just watch it again and again, time after time.
Exhausted, beaten-up, and deflated he reaches a point where he doubts his ability to go on.
But he does… and his “heart” to overcome is inspiring, because at times I feel like I am on a precipice and that I might fall.
And I too need to draw on something deeper within me to rise above my pain.
And I understand that I am not the only one, I hope that by sharing I am healing myself while supporting someone else who hurts.
And there is a powerful truth that that I want to share. This has helped me rise above my grief, and that thing is, finding a connection to something more.
In the past 6-months I have found building an inner bridge of spirituality to be one key to my wellbeing. Some say spirituality is a psychological evolutionary necessity.
A great example would be AA. Spiritual connection within this 12-step process has helped more people overcome addiction than any other.
The idea of psychological evolution isn’t news. If you want to, take a look at Maslow’s, I prefer the breakdown in the Barrett Institute, but both lead us upward, into spiritual realms.
The stepping-stones to psychological growth are so visible in children, yet as we get older, possibly we forget, that our mind and its’ needs are still evolving.
We see ourselves repeat, repeat, repeat, witness so clearly and yet clarity yields and many times we fail to connect what is happening as the demand of thy self for evolutionary growth. At midlife we see it again, some call it a mid-life crisis. What if it is something more…
But how can I relate psychological evolution to personal growth gained through the experience of losing someone I love so deeply.
I remember long ago learning that the death of pets is an invaluable stepping stone to the death of a grandparent, a parent, a friend, family member, spouse and ultimately ourself. That we practice the grief several times, to prepare ourselves for the ultimate death of our very being.
As I supported Willis move towards the end of his life, I witnessed his process and him coming to terms with his death. At many times it felt surreal to him, and yet he reached a point where he was at peace.
He had accepted death, not given up, but surrendered to the pain and the loss of his physical body, and he GLOWED.
He looked luminous. How is that possible? I wondered if he was recovering, but then a young friend allowed me to hear something I needed to hear.
Chris came to visit, after he left, he texted me. He mentioned how Willis looked radiant. He said Willis’s soul was excited.
He went onto say that he first recognized soul excitement when his sister was pregnant. She also glowed.
And we often see this in pregnant women. So radiant.
But it was the first time I would think of this as “Soul Excitement”
Could it be possible that his soul was excited? Now, I think maybe it is true.
As part of my journey, I was given a book called SIGNS, by Laura Lynne Jackson. It is fascinating research. If you have lost someone, and you are searching, I recommend it for you.
Within the book another was mentioned. It is called the Souls Journey, by Michael Newton PHd
What I know for sure is no one can do the work for us, but there are tools that gave me tremendous relief.
Through my experience I recognized how little I knew about losing a spouse. I recall myself engaging with friends and family’s grief without truly understanding the depth of this process.
I am sorry about that. I just didn’t know….
There are many things that we just need to experience before we understand. We can’t read it in a book or watch a movie and truly “get it”.
I was sitting with my grandies yesterday watching “People are Amazing”. It is a collection of hundreds of mini clips of humans doing amazing things. People that have put in those 10000 hours and became masters at something.
I sat there and listened to my 5-year-old grand daughter repeated say, I could do that, I could definitely do that, I could do that and I felt inspired by her youth and infinite belief in herself.
But in saying that, the wise older self knows that doing something takes the doing. We must do, to become something more.
Personal Growth is just that, it’s personal and it takes the doing.
The French have a saying; You can never escape life, ever.
But I also believe that there is a difference in perspective that changes the outcome.
So, I ask you, because Einstein once asked, do you believe the universe is a friendly place?
And I still think this is a powerful ask. Do I believe the universe is friendly?
What is your answer?
I think your answer and mine holds one key to how we approach life, death, and the journey between.
Because even though we can not control everything about our life experience there are things we have absolute control over.
It is the tough things that push us to go beyond where we are right then. Adversity asks us to get back on the wall, to do it and “glow.”
My answer was YES!
I believe the universe is friendly.
My short list of these things, and please add in your own are:
In closing, rituals are an integral to healing, writing about my experience is a ritual that I have found cathartic.
I hope you feel my writing is not all about death and mourning, but about life and living and celebrating all of it. Stay well out there, xoxo Adele Anderson If you would like a session for yourself or a friend or family member, please connect.