When we are restructuring our lives after a serious loss, we often find ourselves sitting alone wondering what to do next. Emotional pain coupled with free time often makes basic life choices difficult.
Should I go take a nap? Or have something to eat? Should I return a phone call?
The simplest functions become mind-boggling choices. But there is a way out of the fog. It begins with a promise.
I, (insert your name here) am committed to creating a new life for myself.
At some point in your grief (and it doesn't matter if you are mourning a deceased loved one, career, opportunity or relationship) you must make the choice to be active in your own rebirth.
You are allowed to make this choice in your own due time. But after counseling thousands of bereaved persons over the years, I can whisper a hint to you: The sooner you choose, the better.
I'm going to suggest six areas of your life to assess, sort of like a "Create a New Life" worksheet. These are questions to ask yourself as a starting point for deciding what you want to create.
I'd love for you to do this exercise twice. Imagine that you are two separate beings. One of you is all the emotion and feeling. I'm sure you are well acquainted with this part of you; it usually swallows you whole during loss. I also want you to imagine a second you, a version that is simply observing your life. The observer is not labeling or judging what it sees, it is only going to report to you what it observes. The observer may help you see where you are avoiding reality.
Health: Am I making my health a top priority? Is my body strong and flexible? Do I need to schedule a health check up? Do the foods I choose support my well being?
Emotions: Am I free to express myself honestly? Do I honor my grief or do I try to hide it? Am I avoiding reality with diversions such as the internet, alcohol or unnecessary drugs?
Spirituality/Faith: Do I believe in a higher power? Have I explored other points of view? Have I cultivated compassion for others experiencing grief or suffering?
Relationships: Have I backed away from friends and isolated myself? Do I fear making new connections because they may result in further loss? Do I have friends that allow me to fully express my grief and offer me patience?
Intelligence: Am I reading uplifting books? Have I taken any classes to learn more about a hobby or interest? Have I traveled to experience the world rather than simply taking a vacation?
Fun: Have I retained my sense of humor during the loss? Do I feel guilty when I laugh and have fun?
Write down a few things in each area you'd like to try. Perhaps you'll promise yourself to walk 30 minutes, 3 times a week. Maybe you'll devote yourself to a painting class. Maybe you'll call a friend or two and pledge to have lunch with them.
Committing yourself to recreating your life is a sacred vow, the holiest of promises to honor the gifts you've been given and have yet to receive. It is a continual choice, and sometimes a hard one, to wake up each and every day and make a conscious decision to move toward healing.
Not choosing is also a choice. You can let the wind blow you wherever it may. You'll discover that it often sets you right back to the same place and presents you with another opportunity to choose. We really cannot escape the lessons life wishes to teach us. They will simply show up through a different person or circumstance until we choose to participate in the lesson.
©Mollie Morning Star 2014 Short excerpts of this article may be shared on the internet provided a live link back to this original source is used. Reproduction in print is prohibited.