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Finding Strength in Times of Sorrow
“First of all, grieving is okay.” —Cheri (Stephens) Walter (HEART GUIDE, in memory of her parents).
“Find ways to take care of yourself, and don’t set expectations for yourself. There’s absolutely no right or wrong way to grieve.” —Justin Phillips (HEART GUIDE, in memory of her son).
In Western culture, we sometimes equate strength with the images from movies: the tough-talking men who wield commando weapons or the heroes and heroines who destroy villains with supernatural forces. Despite the popularity of these movies, that is not the kind of strength we need for most of life’s challenges. While strength can mean putting on our game face, that’s also not what I’m referring to here. The strength we call upon during times of despair is completely different.
On a journey through sorrow, our greatest trials—as well as our source of courage—often reside deep within the depths of our very soul.
Strength is not the armory we erect to protect ourselves. On the contrary, true daring may mean letting our guard down long enough to allow our emotions to come through, with tender self-compassion; rather than fending them off with unhealthy coping habits. Being completely honest about our feelings can take tremendous bravery on our part. We may need dauntless resolve to simply be fully present in the moment.
Make no mistake: Acknowledging intense heartache is the mark of a spiritual warrior.
Such a warrior summons the might of a ground-shaking mama bear roar; she releases the penetrating howl of a lone wolf in the dark forest of the night; and, at daybreak, heeds the insistent call of the hawk circling high above.
Inner strength appears in gentler moments as well: while watching a candle softly flicker, or while listening to birdsong in the early morning mist, or while noticing the autumn breeze shaking the leaves from their branches.
With sorrow, the sun’s warmth and the passing clouds become our strength. The songs we sing, the paint we splash on a canvass, the words we pour forth in poems, or the free-flowing movement of our bodies as we dance across the floor become our strength.
Our inner strength is always there. It is there while we clear the fog of our minds. It is there while we heal the ache of our soul. It is there in the calm as well as in the rumblings of a fierce storm.
It is there in the quiet of our heart.
It is there in the holding on and in the letting go.
More importantly, our strength is there in the people who love and support us: the friends, family members, and neighbors who remind us that we do not have to carry our burdens alone.
Peace & love,
Wow! Very powerful! And so true…
Thanks for letting me know that you appreciate the message. : )
Grieving is a personal experience and we need time to process through it. Thank you for reminding us that it’s ok to take our time to heal, because it is a healing process. Wonderful words of wisdom.
Indeed Vanessa, there is absolutely no rush or set time frame for healing the heart. Thank you also for sharing your insights and wisdom in HEART GUIDE. Peace & love ~
Thank you for this article…it comes at the right time. In May, I lost my dad to cancer and now am caregiver to my mom in her last stage of life.
It can be hard to keep things straight with all of this going on.
I just wanted to say Hi and thank you.
Hope you and Dave are doing good.
Good to hear from you Sharon! I’m sorry about the loss of your dad. Sending you my best wishes. Caregiving is not easy; it ended up being a whole chapter in my book HEART GUIDE because people wanted to talk about the difficult challenges related to that last stage of life. Many people mentioned how important it is to have support; it’s okay to ask for (and accept) help. Hospice services were often invaluable in the process. I hope you are finding small ways to take care of yourself. Know that we are holding you and your mom in our hearts. Please keep in touch! Peace & love ~
Hello Diana, beautifully stated and written… I encourage you to give us some more specific practices to build inner resilience and strength… blessings to you!
Thanks Charlie. For some people, journaling/writing, singing/music, dancing, painting, photography, and so on (the things that bring us joy) are specific practices that fill the well and build inner resilience. My first book, TRAVELING SPIRIT, has numerous tools that help cultivate inner calm. Daily practices might include (for example) meditation, or inspirational readings, or physical activity such as yoga. Gratitude (such as listing three things each morning and each night) is also incredibly helpful. I will certainly include additional specifics in future blogs — practices for daily living is the goal!
Blessing to you as well! : )