ONE YEAR. From Tragedy story to Creation Story
In this episode, we talk about the One Year anniversary of Pauls death. Regardless of your tragedy, time eventually takes you to the center of grief and asks you to take a long look through the lens of that time, and everything that happened. First anniversaries piggyback on anxiety and anticipation about what the day will bring. How do you find honoring and gratitude during these flashback moments? We hope that by sharing our process, you will find peace and some sort of breath in yours.
Therapy is always a good idea. It offers a safe space to share your deepest fears and anxieties and opens you to new ideas and fresh perspectives. On the early morning of July 27, 2018, Ashlee woke up before the sun and found a peaceful trail to sit in silence, and greet the sunrise. It’s important to find time for yourself during these anniversaries. They usually involve many people, and to have a moment to yourself can clear your mind as you progress through the day.
We talk a lot about anger in this episode. Anger tends to get a bad rap. If you are a woman fully expressing anger, society has the rudest way of calling you CRAZY. This could not be further from the truth. Anger is a powerful emotion that has the ability to transform. Fire is the element of anger. This idea plays out in nature. Forests will become overgrown and burn. The clearing makes space for new growth, and over time, a whole new forest will take shape under the ash of the old.
Anger becomes a holy practice. It's the vehicle that drives you straight into the center of your vulnerability. It takes insane courage to observe the rawest aspects of yourself. Anger is the fuel that helps create traction for healing. It's a very powerful looking glass that can wash away the anguish and put out the fire. Anger is the pathway to emotion that needs to crash over our wounds and wash out the lament. Anger is your first step away from who you were as you embark on the journey of who you are becoming. This is the dark night of the soul.
Its become more crucial than ever to unplug from our alternate reality of work, accumulation, getting ahead and overstressed lives. We need to sit in nature and observe the metaphors. We share how planting a tree in memory of Paul had a beautiful way of connecting us all at the level of the soul. All other worries were set aside while we wrote memories and put them in the earth. These moments of conscious connection are healing and help us forge ahead. Other tools that can help you when you are feeling overwhelmed and anxious about your tragedy.
- Write it down get it out. This is such a great way to get the grief out of your body. If you are feeling anger, write it down and then burn it, pay attention to how it feels as you let it go.
- Give yourself time. Being gentle with yourself is so important. Self-care will recharge you when you are feeling low.
- Connect to nature. Get up early and watch a sunrise. Sit under the night sky or full moon. Go to the forest, or beach, or desert. Pay attention to what is going on around you, connect to the sounds, and smells. This practice always introduces peace.
- Know that the pain will always live inside of you. Allow yourself to move forward and start building a new life around the wound.
- Therapy. This is so important to help you process grief.
- Join a grief group
- Surround yourself with family and friends that you trust.
- Break your routine, do something different. Go camping, or get a hotel, or go on vacation.
- Plan ceremonies to celebrate around the anniversary dates
- Paint rocks with memory words and create a little garden
- Throw old dishes at a wall to get out the anger
- Get a pile of stuffed animals and soft objects that you can throw at a wall inside
Write down your tragedy story. When you feel ready, write down what you want instead. Imagine what you might want your new life to look like, write it down, change it, work with it. Find yourself thinking about what great things you want to see in your new life, what new emotions and experiences do you want to bring forward? This will become your creation story, the new life that expands beyond your pain.
"Eventually we realize that not knowing what to do is just as real and just as useful as knowing what to do. Not knowing stops us from taking false directions. Not knowing what to do, we start to pay real attention. Just as people lost in the wilderness, on a cliff face or in a blizzard pay attention with a kind of acuity that they would not have if they thought they knew where they were. Why? Because for those who are really lost, their life depends on paying real attention. If you think you know where you are, you stop looking." David Whyte