We’re almost to the halfway mark on the 30-Day Holiday Challenge: Go From Grief to Grace! I hope you have been successful in creating some space to appreciate all that is present in your life – the good, the bad and the ugly. It’s time to pause and appreciate where we’ve been and take a peek at where we’re going. If you want a summary of the first six days, you can click here: http://liferecrafted.com/day-7-6-days-closer-to-grace/
Over the past week, we’ve touched upon some of my favorite topics. Here is a brief recap:
Day 8: Lighten Up!
Humor is a great connector and a powerful healer. Humor acts as a common language that can be universally understood to communicate, “I’m with you. I get that!” We looked at a couple of common obstacles that stand in our path to laugh and focused on the healing powers of laughter, noting that it isn’t reserved for only happy times. We reach for it when seeking comfort and healing as it reminds us that we’re not alone.
Day 9: Share Your Story
Who can hold your story? Seeking emotional support through sharing your story with the right person is so important – someone who doesn’t over-crowd you with their emotions, problem solving skills or judgment. Instead, by holding your story, they allow you the space you need to express your own feelings. We looked at empathetic versus sympathetic responses. Empathic responses are expansive. They invite sharing and acknowledge you as a peer. Sympathetic responses act as shut-off valves, and you may feel like a patient.
Day 10: Find Joy
Is it possible to find joy and not feel happy? Yes! Happiness attaches to our external circumstances and tends to ebb and flow with our fortunes, while joy is tied to our spirit. Our spirit is fed by gratitude, connection, meaning and appreciation. Appreciation is a deepening of gratitude. In appreciating the entirety of a situation, you can find aspects to be grateful for which lead to joy.
Day 11: Create Space
Anxiety and fear usually accompany any difficult transition. While normal to experience these unpleasant emotions, if left unchecked, they can be all-consuming, leading to feelings of overwhelm. While we can’t control the thoughts and feelings that come to us, it is within our power to choose what we focus upon. In so doing, we control the amount of space we allow our anxiety and fear to consume. I introduced an exercise to help you manage anxiety while still acknowledging it.
Day 12: Forgive Yourself
Forgiveness is the capacity to let go, but before you can forgive someone else, you need to forgive yourself. We tend to be hard on ourselves for decisions we made that did not work out. There is a tendency to engage in unproductive thought loops that ask “How did I not see this coming?” or “How could I be so stupid?” This kind of thinking leads to paralysis and shame. Each of us makes the decisions we do with who we are and with the information available to us at the time. A big part of self-forgiveness is allowing our imperfections. Instead of blaming and shaming, what can we learn about ourselves?
Day 13: Seek To Forgive
Do we need to forgive in order to move forward? Yes. However, if you are struggling with feelings of betrayal, loss, rejection or heartbreak, it may take a while to reach a place of forgiveness. Creating an intention to forgive in your heart and exploring different meanings around forgiveness can allow you to move forward, even if you aren’t ready to fully forgive. Every situation in our lives, especially the negative ones, can teach us something. Appreciating the teachable moments is another path to forgiveness.
Where are we heading over the next few days?
We’ll look at what it means (and feels like) to let go, the power of patience, and going solo through the holidays. To set the intention over the next fifteen days, here is an excerpt from John O’Donahue’s poem, To Bless This Space Between Us:
Awaken your spirit to adventure
Hold nothing back, learn to find ease in risk
Soon you will be home in a new rhythm
For your soul senses the world that awaits you.