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Work On Your Inner Life Even As You Mourn


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Work on Your Inner Life Even As You Mourn

By Lou LaGrand

All successes in life, especially when adapting to the death of our loved ones, depends on the quality of our inner life. The quality of that mindset directly depends on the beliefs, thoughts, choices, experiences, and commitment we generate to face the numerous changes that the absence of our loved ones brings.

So the first belief to ponder and strongly embrace is the cold hard fact that it all depends on us, with a little help from our friends. But in the final analysis, it is what we think and do, as we experience the deep pain of separation and loss, which becomes the basis for how we adapt. Or as a widow once said to me, "I finally realized I had to do it or it wasn't going to happen." This means what we choose to do on a daily basis, given the fact that some days will be infinitely more difficult to deal with than others. The point is every day counts as we have to make a comeback after a bad day.

Accepting the reality of the death of our loved one is widely considered the number one task of grieving. Of course, it easier said than done. However, recognize that placing priority on achieving peace of mind will eventually lead us to the acceptance goal. Where can we begin to build habits and routines that bring peace? Here are five starters for finding inner peace.

1. Develop greater spiritual awareness. The late psychiatrist, Elisabeth Targ said, "Despite sour faces from some traditional psychiatrists, spiritual orientation and practice are clearly associated with greater quality of life, less depression, and less anxiety as well as greater longevity." And there are numerous studies to back up her statement.

Much has been written about spirituality and non-physical reality. The word "spirituality" has many different meanings. Find yours. Browse through your local library or bookstore for readings on the topic. Look at the writings of psychotherapist Thomas Moore or C.S. Lewis. Delve deeper into your own spiritual traditions. Spirituality counts big time in adapting.

2. Change the tone of your inner voice. The way you speak to yourself has a crucial effect on how you feel both physically and mentally. That same inner dialogue builds up or tears down your self-esteem. Never forget: the way you talk to yourself affects every cell in your body for good or in stealing precious energy needed to cope with your loss. Focus on the tone of voice you are using. Does it love? Is it gentle? Or is it discouraging, harsh, and lacking in confidence? You can change it right now. It is one of the great choices we can all make. You are worthy and more gifted than you realize. Make a vow to change.

3. Set your daily intention with a ritual. Decide what you want to accomplish each day. Be specific. Write it down the night before. Perhaps it is going to a particular place alone for the first time. Or maybe it is facing some of the financial paper work, a common stressor for many. It could be deciding to give away some items that belonged to your loved one. Whatever the goal, create a positive ritual to start the day.

It could be an early morning walk in a natural setting. It could be a prayer for assistance or speaking to your loved one about what you must do. Then listen. Believe you are not alone or are grieving alone (a powerful belief). Say your intention out loud in your ritual and see yourself taking the first step to get it done.

4. Outperform negative thoughts and memories. Obviously, the bombardment of repetitious sad thoughts and memories cause much distress and eventually health complications. The good news is there are ways to run the brain that can reduce this onslaught and lead to more peaceful moments. This can be accomplished by using and old NLP (Neuro-Linguistic Programming) technique. Try the following.

Think of a sad or negative memory and the picture that appears with it in your mind's eye. Now take the picture and remove the light around it so it becomes dim and hard to see; then immediately shrink it to the size of a postage stamp. Now take that small picture and push it far away from you. Or you may want to take it and place it in back of you and watch it fade into the background. Replace it with a pleasant thought.

Practice this a few times and notice that you feel quite differently. If there is a voice connected with your picture or a voice with no picture, change the tone of the voice to one of gentleness or one that becomes inaudible or garbled. Through trial and error, discover what works best for you. You possess the ability to change feelings and behavior. You do not have to be a slave to the automatic actions of your brain.

5. See with your heart. Your heart can be a great sanctuary for you, a place where you can find much peace and equally important, much wisdom. The French writer Antoine de Saint Exupery, observed, "It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye." The heart can become your great symbol of love and change for the better. Let it be a symbol of a new way to see the world.

How can you see rightly with your heart? Contemplate adopting the following belief. Most of our behavior is driven by love or a lack of love. Start seeing all you come in contact with from your heart and decide to change your behavior toward your new world based on the need for love. If you keep love in the forefront of your life during your grief process and beyond, you will grow and be transformed by your sad experience. You will find love and peace changing your attitude toward life.

All of the above will strengthen the inner self. When building any commitment or new skill we need a plan on paper as a reminder. It will also help to gather information from a variety of sources. Think about specific behaviors you need to work on and how you will get started. If possible, find others with similar values and goals so you can exchange ideas. Remember, you can find peace of mind and ultimately "acceptance of the unacceptable" because it all begins on the inside not the outside.

Dr. LaGrand is a grief counselor and the author of nine books, the most recent, the popular Healing Grief, Finding Peace: 101 Ways to Cope with the Death of Your Loved One. He is known world-wide for his research on the Extraordinary Experiences of the bereaved (after-death communication phenomena). His free monthly ezine website is http://www.extraordinarygriefexperiences.com.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/7070760

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Great piece! Great reminder! Been working on all of these for many moons. :)

Mary

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Hi Marty,

I just saw your comment on my post here last night. I would love for you to say more about what you are seeing/picking up on- regarding patience with myself being my biggest challenge. I think I am making some strides in this area but you are obviously picking up on something and I would love for you to share that. I so respect your input. Thanks, Marty.

Mary

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Mary, dear, not to worry. I meant that statement more as encouragement to continue what you're doing already. I'm not picking up on anything that causes me concern; on the contrary, I am continually amazed at your insights as you describe your personal experience of your own grief journey and the lessons you are learning along the way. Because of your openness to the process, your ability to articulate those insights, and your willingness to share them here with us, we're all learning from you as you continue on this path.

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Thanks, Marty, I do feel that I am making progress; that I am growing and am more accepting of Bill's death and my own life without him; insightful and more patient with myself and the process even as the pain (often gut wrenching) continues. I just wanted to check that I am not missing something that you (or anyone) were picking up. I welcome all input (help). :) I am glad that my sharing might be helping others...that is part of why I share...the other part being that it helps me to do so. Onward...

Peace,

Mary

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