good in goodbyeTrying to organize while packing for an unanticipated move this week has left me overwhelmed and in tears at times as I see the holiday lights go up and think of the many who have been travelling to find safety and comfort. I am not the only one seeking shelter at this time. And my situation is not nearly so dire, but to make it extra interesting in my case, Spirit has thrown in some “dead people” to the mix. Three to be exact. 1. Great Uncle Victor, the friendly ghost who has been my roommate in this rambling home by the sea. 2. My Father, who has been dropping in to provide guidance about finding the perfect place and provide tips on how to share the new healing techniques I have been discovering. And 3. Shawn, Dad’s widow who was a little more chatty than I ever remembered.
Confession time… to avoid the chaos created by boxing my well-organized books (the few I still carry with me from location to location) and papers that are in piles and need to be dealt with as soon as possible, I have distracted myself. It fills the Virgo need to feel she has control over some part of her little world and harms no one. In fact, I might even get applause for this quirk. I have been organizing emails on my laptop. It is small and silver and elegant and when closed looks remarkably tidy, but it holds a lot of stuff! In fact, it is holding on for dear life as it awaits for me to declutter. Frankly it is filled to the gills with files and messages that aren’t needed but I have held onto. Some seemed so important at the time. Some I glanced at and promised myself to take action on and some… well some were simply waiting for a winter storm day like yesterday.
Sitting in front of the fire in the living room, intently focussed on clearing another 100 emails before making dinner, I came across a number of emails my Father sent to me about friendship, God and silly jokes.. the kind a parent who is trying to stay connected with you after years of being away might send. The emails that say I love you kid and I am wanting to know you better now. The emails that say between the lines that we may not see each other often but you are always in my thoughts.
I didn’t always message back. And I didn’t always read them that closely, truth be told. I may have even rolled my eyes or groaned at the jokes, but they stayed in my inbox waiting for this evening 3 1/2 years after his passing. And there were also ones from his wife Shawn, who passed away this Fall. It’s coming up to her birthday next week and it is going to be odd not to send an email or call.
There was no time to say goodbye to their home before the last of their things were removed in October while I was away with a client and by now a new family lives there I imagine. Thank goodness though I carry a special connection (my Dad actually helped with my first healing CD, Journey of the Heart and other major life-changing moments) that comforts me especially as I open for guidance. Even after his passingI have often been tempted to ask Dad for his input when I am preparing to try something new or know I am about to take another leap of faith in this path of service. While he was never one for advice, he had words of wisdom to share if I listened closely amidst the smDSC00015_2-300x225all talk and stories I had heard over and over.
One of my favourite things he told me during a time of turmoil was that he believed in me. That, “if anyone is going to have a miracle, it is you kid.” I thought of that this week as I looked for a safe and more sturdy home for myself and my fur babies and miraculously, one day before I needed to know where I was going it appeared!
i ii
While those words always stick in my mind, sometimes it was what wasn’t said that was more important than the words he shared out loud. At some point in our Father/Daughter relationship we just decided to be friends and simply playing music or having a tea and a game of cards or Scrabble was enough.
Reflection question #1 ~ Have you ever lost a loved one and felt that desire to speak with them one more time or simply sit in a companionable silence and watch a sunset?  I am so grateful to have saved music he has recorded so I can still hear his voice and I am glad I have a few cards and damn it, I am still going to save some emails too. Ones that really feel like they came from his heart and remind me of his simple, yet profound teachings that have helped shape my life.
Reflection question #2 ~ Are there words from a loved one that you are needing to hear right now or be reminded of that would bring you comfort at this time?  Not everyone fancies talking to the dearly departed, but at the holidays our minds may still turn to childhood memories and traditions of times past. Combine those annual energetic triggers with a world that appears to be crueler than usual juxtaposed with Charlie Brown snowflakes and Christmas carols on the radio and classic holiday movies and every sensitive soul needs some added self-care.
Self-care tips for sensitive souls during the holidays…
1. Revisit your traditions ~ Decide which holiday traditions really nourish and nurture you and which ones have been done by rote or habit and no longer serve you. Give yourself permission to create new and meaningful rituals or habits that honour your beliefs and values now, rather than simply repeating annual patterns because you feel they are expected. One of my favourite adopted traditions co-created by a friend that I lived with was that our holiday meal was decided by picking a favourite country or culture and we would prepare our favourite foods from there. Great solution for a vegetarian who had little to enjoy from a traditional turkey dinner and a quieter dinner was a perfect way to relax and recharge.
2. Get honest this holiday ~ Tell your friends and family what you are comfortable doing this holiday and do not say yes to events that are not meaningful for you. Your time is precious and too long at the party may mean that you end up being an energetic sponge for someone else’s stuff. Ugh! A secret strategy of getting away from social functions that may become draining? Bring your own vehicle so that you can get away after a few hours instead of ride sharing so that you don’t need to stay if you find yourself in a room with an energetic vampire or stuck talking with someone who is looking for an audience for their latest drama. Keeping healthy boundaries at the holidays will do you a world of good.
3. Self-care needs to be a priority ~ Rest when you are tired. Eat when you are hungry. Get enough water. And spend time doing things that nurture and nourish YOU. Your energy levels need to inform your activities  If you spend these few weeks rushing about filling social obligations, chances are that come New Years one of the things you are going to have to give up is your cranky-pantedness because you are going to be drained!
4. Make your holidays holy days ~ No matter what spiritual tradition you practice it is a sacred time. Be sure to allow for some quiet time and reflection. Consider all of your senses. Listen to soft music. Wear clothes that feel comfortable. Rather than overindulging, allow yourself to eat and drink what feels nourishing. Journal. Dance. Get creative. Connecting to your Inner Wisdom in a way that suits your soul could be just the ticket for making 2016 your best year yet!
5. Find a way to honour loved ones who have passed ~ There are many ways to keep that connection to your loved ones, such as il_fullxfull.781052787_coqycreating a memorial ornament and placing it in a special spot, keeping a seat at your holiday table, sponsoring a family or charity in honour of your loved one, donating some of the belongings you have held onto to someone who would cherish them (much better than leaving the items stored and part of the healing process as you let go of the physical possessions and focus on the love in your heart) or perhaps volunteering during the holiday to keep things simple rather than going all out on decorations and parties.
It is YOUR choice how you honour your loved ones and completed parts of your journey like relationships ending or finishing your current  job or living arrangement and preparing for new blessings on their way. Please don’t worry about expectations from others about what your grieving/honouring process needs to look like. There is no time limit nor way to show your feelings that needs to be followed.
Want to talk about how you have handled your grief at the holidays? Perhaps it is the loss of a loved one, or a changing relationship, or a job? Have your own special tips or want to share your experience?  Comment below. I would love to hear from you!
ES promo shot sedonaEagleSpirit, a Contemporary Shaman, has worked for over 20 years to help clients relax their bodies, release limiting beliefs and radiate their most authentic selves.
As the creator of Empath 101 Empowerment program she speaks to groups internationally, facilitates the month-long course that has changed lives and is often featured in the media for her grounded approach to spirituality.
Visit here for more details about Empath 101 and contact us if you would like to sponsor the program in your area. Email to find our about personalized Soul Journeys or private sessions. You deserve to feel Soul Good!

2 comments on “Grief and grace ‘pack’ a powerful message

  • I wonder if I put the wrong answer if CAPTCHA would reject me… One day I will work up the noive to find out.

    Christmas will be different this year for us. We will still be spending Christmas with my husband’s family, but there will be no gifts or decorations, just good food and hopefully good company. It is that time in our lives when parents are aging and changing far faster than we can ever be ready for. I’m not sure how it will go being with someone who is mentally faltering, but I sure know I like not worrying about gifts. I’ve discovered how unneccesary they are, when you have loved ones near.

    This time of year always brings to mind the first Christmas after my mom died on December 1st, 1992. A long time ago now, but Christmas has never been the same without her in it. That first year we were all lost and grieving. My aunt took over, and did a fine job. We hadn’t even had Christmas at my parents for years, but when someone you love is no longer there, I’ve had some wonderful Christmases since she passed and created many, many new traditions. I’ve come to realize that what I love about the season is being with family, or people I choose to be with. Christmas is a feeling that is a gift in and of itself.

    I’d love to have one last last Christmas with both of my parents, my mother especially. Perhaps without the distraction of gifts, it will be possible to be quiet and sense her presence. That would be a lovely gift…

    • What a wonderful way to make the holidays holy. It really isn’t about presents, but presence Kathy. I am totally with you. Trusting you will get to connect with your parents who will be watching over and delighting in your happy holiday plans.

      Thanks so much for sharing.

      Many blessings, EagleSpirit

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

* Copy This Password *

* Type Or Paste Password Here *

CAPTCHA Anti-Spam * Time limit is exhausted. Please reload CAPTCHA.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.