Monday Meditation: Sorting the Mess

“Sometimes things have to get worse before they get better.”

-Marilyn Ferguson

If you’ve ever moved, you know how stressful it is to be surrounded by a mess that you have to put away. But, before you can put anything away, you have to figure out where everything is going to go, and to do that, first you have to organize the rooms and furniture. Then, after organizing, sorting, and putting away you are left with some things that just don’t fit anywhere. Turns out, moving was the easy part. Unpacking and reorganizing is long and frustrating. Finally, though, after years of living in organized disorder and shedding what no longer fits, you can say that you are done. Well, mostly…because you need new things to take the place of what didn’t fit or was broken along the way.

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Monday Meditation: Tomorrow was, Today is…

“There is only one day left, always starting over: it is given to us at dawn and taken away from us at dusk.”

-Jean-Paul Sartre

At first, grief days may be a whirlwind of chaos and disbelief. Then they may settle into long stretches populated with questions like ,”What now?” Nights seem longer at first, endless even. One or the other may seem more daunting as you wonder how to get through another day or night without your loved one. Then some days become “good,” and others “bad.” It’s hard to tell what the day will bring.

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Contemplative Craft

I have long paired crafting with suffering. Crafting brings a meditative moment to life, helps reduce stress, and melts chaotic elements (if only for a short time). I have crocheted and knit for over twenty years and have had various iterations of craft shops. Now, my shop and my craft have a greater purpose: to provide comfort for grief.

Photo by Surene Palvie on Pexels.com

My companion craft website is up and running…though, still under construction. I hope you enjoy the site as it develops. I plan to offer handmade condolence items and memorial project ideas.

There are two ways three ways to reach the shop:

  1. by clicking the Contemplative Craft menu heading at the top of the page,
  2. by clicking HERE, and
  3. by typing http://www.contemplativecraft.com directly into the navigation bar.

Monday Meditation: Follow What Feels Good

“Re-examine all that you have been told…dismiss that which insults your soul.”

-Walt Whitman

Social opinions on grief are everywhere. They invade a grievers space from day one and snowball over time thanks to well-meaning (and not so well-meaning) grief supporters who aim to “fix” us and help us “get over” loss.

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Monday Meditation: A Chance to Renew

“Problems can be experienced as…a chance for renewal rather than stress.”

-Marilyn Ferguson

January 1 may be a fresh start for the calendar, but grief-related stress and issues don’t get the same consideration. Grief rolls over from year to year, and whatever has accumulated over time continues to expand. This produces stress and perhaps a desire to avoid whatever lingering issues are present in an effort to “start fresh” for the new year.

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Monday Meditation: A Time for Reflection

“It is only by reflecting on the past that one can create a better future.”

-Rithy Panh

This is the last week of the 2020. What a year it has been.

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Christmas 2020

2020 has been messy. That’s being kind. Christmas is right around the corner and the messiness continues as we move to celebrate in ways that deviate from years past. Traditions have been paused for a year and we’ve had to become creative about how we celebrate at a distance.

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Monday Meditation: Season with Joy

“It is a fine seasoning for joy to think of those we love.”

-Moliere

Holidays may be an awkward time for grievers. First holidays, especially, can be tough. There is no etiquette for how to handle the first year of special events without a loved one. Do we relish in memories of past holidays? Do we share memories with others? Will memories bring sadness? If I am happy, am I disrespecting my lost loved one?

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Monday Meditation: The Lonely Holiday

“Christmas is a holiday the persecutes the lonely, the frayed, and the rejected.”

-Jimmy Cannon

The Christmas season is upon us. It is a bittersweet time for grievers. First Christmases without a loved one are difficult, of course. But it’s the second, third, and rest of the Christmases without your loved one that may be the saddest. The first year, you have a focus: making it through. The next, you think you’ve done it once, how hard can the second time be? And you let down your guard, and the reminder of a shortened gift list surprises you. Or you come upon a decoration, stocking, or other item that is no longer used and sadness creeps forth.

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Monday Meditation: The High Road

“Take the high road. No matter how much strife, and consternation, frustration and anger you may be confronted with–don’t go to that level.”

-Tim Gunn

One of the unexpected challenges of grieving (for me at least) was dealing with grief supporters who, instead of supporting my path, used their time to put down my choices and my grieving process. I tried to take the high road–but I didn’t always succeed. Exhaustion, the need to be understood, and shear shock got in the way. I responded. I reacted. I should have left it alone.

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Monday Meditation: Thanksgiving

“There is one day that is ours. Thanksgiving Day is the one day that is purely American.”

-O. Henry

Thanksgiving 2020 is bittersweet. We are isolating. Many of us have lost loved ones. Many may be spending the day alone because of the pandemic. Many Americans are out of work or have lost family businesses because of COVID shutdowns. Many families are struggling to put food on their tables. We are an intensely divided nation struggling to reconcile and to survive. We may not see what we have to be grateful for.

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Monday Mediation: A Test of Integrity

“Calamity is the test of integrity.”

-Samuel Richardson

Nothing tests us like distress. The same distress we experience also tests those around us. Distress, struggle, trauma, death–they challenge our character, our honesty, our morality, our honor. Grievers must make difficult decisions and choose from options they don’t always like in order to make the best of the situation at hand. Sometimes those decisions are easy, and sometimes not. Sometimes those decisions have outside support from grief supporters, sometimes they don’t.

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Monday Meditation: A Deep Breath

“I took a deep breath and listened to the old bray of my heart. I am. I am. I am.”

-Sylvia Plath

In grief, especially in the early days, a chaotic whirlwind swoops in and creates emotional confusion and mental anguish. Though it fades over (a lot of) time, this whirlwind can return without warning, bringing its wake anxiety, stress, negativity, etc.

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Monday Meditation: Transform Through Compassion

“For me, forgiveness and compassion are always linked: how do we hold people accountable for wrongdoing and yet at the same time remain in touch with their humanity enough to believe in their capacity to be transformed?”

-belle hooks

It’s difficult to extend compassion to, or forgive, someone who has hurt you or people you know. Grieving should be an experience in which there is an abundance of compassion, love, understanding, and acceptance. However, because of our society’s “get over it” attitude and the tendency to believe vulnerability is a weakness, grieving can become a stressful experience when grief supporters aren’t understanding or empathetic.

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Book Review: The Essential Wayne Dyer Collection (Wayne Dyer)

The day of my mother’s surgery, I went to a bookstore. I was seeking a book that could help her reframe how she viewed life. She hadn’t been taking great care of herself for a few years. She had stopped exercising (which she was never very enthusiastic about), she stopped eating as well as she needed to, she ignored signs that pointed to the need to see a doctor (like shortness of breath and leg pain), among other things. She claimed that she couldn’t do any of these things because she needed to prioritize my father and I. (I was never clear on exactly what we needed that got in the way of her taking care of herself. We were just more interesting and, I think, a good distraction from self-care.) I finally got her to see, the day before her surgery, that if she took better care of herself that was taking care of my father and I, because we needed her healthy and living.

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