How often have you sent out a proposal, done something for another person, been through a terrible relationship and proclaimed, “Oh, that’s the absolute last time. I will never go through that again.” The truth is, if you live a long life, you will see those same challenges cropping up over and ...How often have you sent out a proposal, done something for another person, been through a terrible relationship and proclaimed, “Oh, that’s the absolute last time. I will never go through that again.” The truth is, if you live a long life, you will see those same challenges cropping up over and over. The difference lies in the way you navigate though those challenges, still keeping your resiliency factor high. Starting over just gives you a chance to do it better.
We’re always starting over, in one form or another – trying something different, a new job, new relationship, new formula for success, new idea to launch into the world, a new philosophy to keep our children on a good track. Unconsciously, we are hitting the refresh button on our screen every day – several times a day, if you really think about it. Learning to be resilient is about refreshing your outlook and staying in present moment awareness. It’s about balancing complexity and embracing life’s contrast with open arms, while celebrating all the glorious aspects of life. A tall order? Well, nobody said it would be easy. You’ve signed on for the big rollercoaster ride. There is no light without a little bit of darkness – it’s a package deal!
We’re All in the Same Boat
The human condition is not yet excused from grief, loss, death, failure, divorce, ill health, difficult relationships, or adversity of any sort. We have not yet established a collective mental equivalent for a world without such ideas. But in the interim, our resiliency can be strengthened by knowing each day begins anew. Having greater resiliency opens space for positive change and put us on the evolutionary path toward living life with greater, positive expectations.
When we experience loss, in the form of another person leaving, it is absolutely necessary to move through the pain, experience it, grieve, get angry, perhaps resign, in order to move forward. But pain takes you to a step where you will be in a position to accept comfort – allowing someone else a chance to do their soul work. Pain does lead to peace if we put moving forward at the top of the agenda. Moving forward through loss and grief is a lesson in using empty space for love, not more loss. Find the strength to crack open that space inside you, no matter how painful. Continue exchanging with others and fight the urge to isolate yourself. You will be amazed at what resides within.
We Can Develop More Compassion When Experiencing Grief
Many times we are overlooked for comfort. Being isolated during periods where we need comfort more than ever – and not necessarily by choice – is difficult to accept. When my father-in-law died unexpectedly a few years ago, I experienced my own grief as well as empathically experiencing the grief of family and friends. I expected to have my own grief recognized – after all, isn’t that a part of the grieving and healing process? However, during the funeral activities and subsequent encounters I had with church clergy and many members of the community, the offer of compassion was only directed toward my husband. Many, many times, over the course of months, I stood beside my husband, whose hand was grasped, his grief acknowledged, while I stood there unrecognized. I wondered, “Are my own feelings of loss not appropriate? Or is my function here to just keep facilitating the process for everyone else while my own grief would be more of a burden on those around me?”
This added even more hurtful heaviness to my plate, but in the end I became stronger and more perceptive. I had to learn how to ask for what I needed and realized I wasn’t going to get it unless I asked. When a close friend was killed in a car accident the following spring, I readily asked for comfort while giving it at the same time. Providing loving support to her grieving family, and my own, seemed easier while I allowed my own grief to run its course. I healed, and healed others, while I grieved. I fully participated in the process of being in grief while comforting others, and accepted comfort readily from everyone I knew. I imposed no limitations for healing, from myself or from others, because I learned how to accept and give simultaneously. I was an open channel for grief - accepting, and giving comfort all at once.
Do Not Be Afraid of Grief
I learned my grief lessons well that year, considering I attended funerals for four other people and gave emotional support to many others whose loved ones had crossed over. It was a far cry from what I had ever experienced previously. The universe does have a way of driving a point home. Remember, comfort equals both input and output, sometimes in a synchronized process leading to healing. Don’t be afraid. Use these types of lessons well when it is your time. It expands your heart and puts you in touch with the whole of humanity.
Give and Receive Comfort Regularly
Overall, I think we do not receive enough instruction in the subject of comfort when we know starting over is the only option, either for ourselves or for others. Know that comfort is a two-way street. Offer comfort in large doses and practice giving it. Acknowledge a person’s loss, but when it’s your turn to be on the receiving end, be willing to accept comfort and ask for more when needed. Here is how you can reach out to others:
• Practice comforting. Sometimes it is difficult to offer the highest vision of ourselves in the form of comfort as some people are fearful of sharing your loss. I suppose the older we get, we just get better at consoling others. But never distance yourself from those who are experiencing adversity, never ever. You must learn that reaching out is part of our soul story too.
• Keep on giving. Offer everyone comfort, in the best way you know how, for all types of adverse circumstances. Keep calling, send notes, bring dinner, give more hugs. Your resiliency factor will become astounding. And when you are told, “Things will never be all right again” by those you’ve assured it will be all right, you’ve still done a good job. You’ve just grown the size of your heart ten-fold.
• Hold a positive vision for someone else. Because our thoughts are powerful, you have the ability to visualize a positive outcome for just about anything. Use your energy to hold that person, family, or situation in the healing light of the Divine. In your own mind, become a channel for healing for that individual by sending help their way.
Above all, know that we are expected to see life’s contrast. Adversity is just part of the program – no matter how challenging, we are designed to triumphantly overcome any obstacle we may encounter.
© The Goddess Network, Inc. and Charlene M. Proctor, Ph.D. 2007. All Rights Reserved. See http://www.thegoddessnetwork.com/connect.php?page=eshow for more empowering thoughts! Register for The E-Show, a series of enlightening lectures!
Dr. Charlene M. Proctor is the founder of The Goddess Network, Inc. an on-line educational resource for topics on spirituality, relationships, and women's studies. Author of Let Your Goddess Grow! she is a researcher and educator in the field of women's empowerment and develops self-empowerment strategies for women in all walks of life. She is a subject matter expert for Beliefnet.com, the world's largest self-help and personal growth website. Her affirmations from The Women's Book of Empowerment reach 2.7 million web visitors daily. She currently facilitates the PATH to Empowerment program for Lighthouse Path in Michigan, a residential women's shelter for homeless mothers, teaching them how to cope with life and increase self-esteem and confidence. To learn more, visit http://www.thegoddessnetwork.net
Additional Resources covering Positive Thinking can be found at: