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Jan, good for you! And it gets easier/more comfortable with practice. I agree, we shouldn't be trying to measure our progress, for one thing, sometimes it's so gradual it's hard for us to notice unless we compare back to a definite time (say, the week they died).

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My counsellor came. We talked. I didn't mention about not feeling Pete is really dead but I did tell him about my horrible feelings about other people who have been ill and are recovering. Instead of feeling good for them like a proper empathetic person should do I feel sorry that they are getting better. How totally awful is that? Phil said that its anger that Pete died and they didn't. He said he asked me way back if I felt anger at Pete's death and I said No. He said now the anger is coming out in resentment that others have survived and Pete has not. I think he may be right. I have struggled with this because it seems such a horrible attitude. When people recover I should rejoice, but I don't. I feel disappointed. This seems to make me the most horrible person I ever met. I am being really honest now with you and you are at liberty to think I am a completely awful person. I wasn't like that before I lost Pete. I hope this is a temporary state of affairs because it seems to suggest that bereavement, rather than make me a better, more understanding person has made me a monster of unfeeling. Please don't think me a horrible person, just temporarily one maybe?

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Jan, I totally agree with your counselor about the anger. People tend to think anger is only expressed directly or in hostile remarks. When Bill died I would see couples together and instead of being happy for them I heard myself thinking, "I hope they appreciate what they have" but with angry energy. It will pass and the Jan you know and love will surface again. I do not think you are horrible at all. I think you are just in pain over Pete's death and pain is what sits beneath anger. I also know many instances where you have mentioned kindnesses about people in your town who have died.

I just got home from a brief visit to Yvonne...the friend who broke her shoulder. She has surgery on Tuesday and the MD said it was tricky as the ball (shoulder) was smashed in so many pieces. I saw the xrays today and she is a hardware store of pins and plates. But she was smiling again. Her sister flew in...thank goodness but I have her covered with food etc. for quite a while. That felt good to do something for someone besides me. I am sick of me. I felt good that I did not transport her, go to visit her, etc. I took care of me.

YOU ARE LOVING!

Mary

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Oh my dear Jan. Please disabuse yourself of the notion that you are in any way "horrible" for feeling angry or jealous or mad or anything else you may be feeling! This is precisely why I'm always saying, "Judge yourself not for what you feel, but for how you behave." Feelings are neither right or wrong, good or bad ~ they just are. We simply cannot control what we feel ~ only what we DO with what we are feeling! If you judge yourself for what you're feeling, you're in effect condemning yourself for being human. None of us is perfect, and there is not a soul among us who has not felt envious or jealous or even angry that someone else gets to live while our precious loved one had to die (or that we got the flu and they did not, or that we live with chronic pain and others have no idea what that's like). It's all part of that "life is just not fair" realization that hits all of us at one time or another.

I truly do appreciate how hard it must have been for you to disclose to us ~ and to yourself ~ that you were feeling this way. It takes a great deal of courage to admit to those parts of ourselves about which we're not proud. But when you share those kinds of feelings with us, it only serves to endear you to us all the more, because we can embrace your humanness and know that you are more like us than not.

What is more, we humans are capable of holding more than one feeling at a time in our hearts. You can be angry that someone got to live while Pete did not, and still be glad for that person's return to good health. This is when it's helpful to do what psychologists call "splitting your ego." Say to yourself that a part of you feels angry about the unfairness of it all, but the rest of you is happy for the person who got to live. (Then you only have to think of part of yourself as imperfect instead of all of you ( :blush: ). And remember, too, that NONE of us is immortal, and none of us is immune from grief. When Pete died, it was your turn to learn to live with the physical loss of him. Sooner or later, it will be someone else's turn to lose the one they love, and then they too will know what it is like to walk in your shoes. That is when your empathy for them will shine.

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Oh Mary thank you for your kind words. I'm glad to say this horrible feeling does not transmit I to action, in fact I am trying to do good deeds, but I hate this underlying hostility which doesn't seem like me. But now I think I understand why and it seems I can cope with it better now I understand it.

Your poor friend! I hope she recovers soon. The chap uptheroad who had a triple bypass is slowly getting better and I am going to visit tomorrow. I wil try to be glad for him! Yes I have always been a sympathetic warm person I think, and I hope I can recover my empathy.

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Dear Jan,

I think we ALL see you to be a sympathetic warm person. I think Marty said it so very well..."splitting the ego" -a part of you is angry and a part of you is your empathic, kind, warm Jan. I liken it to where I am right now (and where we all are in one way or another) where we carry our grief and feel and are sad but also carry gratitude and joy for what we had with our beloveds. As humans we all have feelings that appear to conflict. Keep in mind that beneath anger is pain...you are hurting, the worst you have ever in your life hurt, and seeing someone survive opens the wound.

Congratulations again on your book. Your empathy is there or you would not bother to visit your neighbor today.

Mary

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Oh Marty thank you so much. As usual you mAke me feel so much more comfortable with myself. I intend to read and reread your lovely words. Heck it's like going to confession! And I feel like a burden has lifted as I have been troubled about this quite a while.

Jan

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Jan, I see it more that you're angry at the injustice of it all! Why should one person's spouse live and another person's die?! Are we any less deserving than the next person?! You have every right to feel angry, there is no fairness in how life is distributed! Don't worry, this is something that you'll work through, it won't stay forever. I don't feel angry any more, I have accepted that life is unfair and it just is what it is...but I didn't feel that way the day George died, or a few months later even! Grief is a process and it's a journey that requires so much from us that it's exhausting!

Marty couldn't have explained it better, I agree 100%. Feelings are not a barometer of anything, they are to be contended with. We don't base things on feelings, but what we know to be true. Actions ARE what is important! And it IS true that we can have conflicting feelings at the same time.

Mary, I'm glad your friend with have surgery Tuesday and I hope it is successful in spite of it's being shattered. Surgeons seem to me to be magicians!

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More on meditation. Here is Tara Brach, a Buddhist Clinical Psychologist who wrote Radical Acceptance among other books. On this page: http://www.tarabrach.com/audioarchives-guided-meditations.html you will find some audio meditations. I think you will like her.

Mary

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and today on Facebook at 1000 Peacock Feathers, I saw this:

In meditation this morning, practicing bringing a compassionate attitude toward the mind: "Ah, there you are again, wandered off - let's get back to the breath. Oh, again little one, off with another thought - gently back to the breath now." And as I was bringing more and more compassion to the dear wandering mind, a sharp contrast became apparent: the attitude driving the mind-thoughts themselves was completely not compassionate. The scene was like a fairy godmother shepherding a cage fight: "Ah, there you are again, little one," shepherding, "You better get that job done or you'll be fired and maybe they're already planning to fire you - you'll see when you open your email that you've been fired so you better prepare for that. You should have worked harder, you lazy thing." Such a bizarre juxtaposition. And so, as there was recognition of this phenomenon, the same compassionate attitude that could be brought to the wandering mind started to seep over to the content of the mind-thoughts themselves. In the same way that it was not necessary (or even wise) to be harsh with the wandering mind, it became apparent that it was not necessary to be foster harsh content in the mind. The fairy godmother was entering the cage, and her influence could not help but disarm the fight. And as she did so, I felt the softening, relaxing relief of how it felt to not beat up on myself. Fruits of the practice.

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You are right, Mary, sometimes we can be our own worst enemy...what we tell ourselves can be a self-fulfilling prophecy. Maybe that's why Norman Vincent Peale has found so much popularity. I know that all of the positive thinking in the world cannot change some things, but I also know the power of telling ourselves helpful and healing things, having a positive attitude. The Bible tells us "Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things." (Philippians 4:8) That is true! It is so easy (I fall prey to it too often) to dwell on the bad, but we need to dwell on what is GOOD!

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http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/01/20/mindfulness-meditation-inflammation_n_2503119.html

Just came across this in the Huffington Post. It also has some great slides with it. Stress and Meditation. Notice the research was done right here in Madison, WI. We have an incredible group of neuroscientists at the UW and a Mindfulness Center that is doing great things and uses some of their grant money to go into the elementary schools. When I was teaching 5-6th grade in the 70s, I taught them how to meditate and we did it twice a day. I often wonder if that got lost or ever stuck with them. :)

I actually completed the set up for a painting today...sketch, values, etc. I have not been able to paint in a long long time so we shall see. I hope to play with it tomorrow. Shot for today.

Peace,

Mary

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A very good post, Mary. I still struggle with quieting myself when meditating. My mind wants to wander from here to there and never seems to be still. I do have a most favorite web site that we have posted before that I keep going back to -

Maybe in its simplicity I will learn the art of quieting my mind.

Will we be seeing more of your paintings? Anne

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Anne, I love this video! Thank you for sharing that.

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http://www.care2.com/greenliving/4-free-guided-mediation-videos.html/5

I came across these four guided meditations today and early this morning I did all four of them. I think for those who have never done formal meditation before, these are a real help. Each one is a bit different but in all, they teach some of the basics (breathing, posture, focus, etc) and you can do each of them many times. I will be including this link in my final piece.

Mary

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Dear Ones,

I am so blessed to find you here with me in this shadowed valley. Thank you for this place to wail, shed tears, share love, give and receive compassion, and to find myself not on a solo adventure. {{{hugs}}}

Here is a wonderful meditation

Which is sung here:

http://www.sikhnet.com/gurbani/audio/sa-ta-na-ma-

And here is how to use it.

http://healing.about.com/od/chanting/ht/kirtan_kriya.htm

I do this meditation morning and evening, right after and before prayers.

We usually said the "Refresh and Gladden" http://www.bahaiprayers.org/spiritual10.htm

together a couple of times a day, as well as our usual impromptu prayers with all our meals. I still say "Refresh" morning and evening.

Our dear friend/spirit sister, who is a Sikh, came to care for me after the surgery, and taught me the Kirtan Kryia meditation, and its practice. She is just now getting back from India where she was studying ayruvedic healing for three months. (She had been a teen-ager who learned from and climbed with the Alaskan Alpine Club when Doug had just resigned his commission and set out to heal his life after being a Ranger officer/aviator in Viet Nam for two full tours. Doug was the founder of the club.)

Most of my healing has come from our spirit family/tribe of climbers & artists. She is both, as many of us are. :) Her gift of teaching this practice, as well as so many other Auryvedic and meditative practices, helped us get through those years of Doug's adventure, as he came to called it late in the game.

I find this meditation, especially if begun with a statement of conscious intentionality, is especially healing. I think it helps to have listened to some guided, healing meditations on grief so that you have some healing, joyful, heart-opening phrases on which to meditate. Thank you, Mary, for the Joan Halifax meditation on Grief, which I am finding most healing. What a place of richness and love this is!

*<twinkles>*

I hope you all know that every tear you share through your words here, every hope, faith, and love, are helping me to add my own voice to this wonderful song of love and compassion and transformation which we are all singing together. Thank you all for this gathering place, and your presence.

On our Caring Bridge site, I signed myself this way for the years we share there, so here's some fairy dust/photons, to send loving thoughts to each of you who are so giving of your time and hearts. Thank you!

*<twinkles>*

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This arrived in my email today. It is a TED talk on meditation, a brief article, and a reference to an app for iPhone or Android. The TED talk is about 8 minutes and is a great explanation on how to handle the thousands of thoughts we have each day especially during meditation. There is a lot of debate on how many thoughts we produce a day but most see it as being between 12,000 and 70,000. So to be conservative...consider 12,000 thoughts in 16 waking hours....this is super conservative...and it is still about 12 thoughts per second...yes, per second. Our minds are busy places. As we grieve, at least for me, my mind became even busier and the thoughts were all over the place and yes, mostly pain filled in those early days. Getting into a regular practice of meditation can help. Is it a challenge in the early months following a loss? Absolutely. But I would urge you to consider doing at least 10 minutes (20 is better) at least twice a day. More coming...on meditation as we also grieve.

http://www.care2.com...ion-tool.html

Peace, Mary

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I am going to have to open up my own web site just to store all these wonderful meditation treasures. Thank you feralae and Mary.

I need to listen to both of these latest ones. Anne

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Anne, you might consider Soundcloud.com You can upload your audio files and others can listen to if you wish and they can upload theirs to you and even talk on it....

Mary :wub:

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Jon Kabat-Zinn is credited most often with bringing Mindfulness to the western world. He began 30 years ago. This is an interview from one of my favorite NPR programs, On Being with Krista Tippett who interviews a variety of people. A very inspiring program. This interview with Jon Kabat-Zinn is an excellent source of information on the history of meditation in the western world, the relevance to our world today, and the basics of Mindfulness. It is the unedited version..my favorite kind.

http://www.onbeing.org/program/opening-our-lives/138

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What a wonderful and timely post, thank you Mary.

It was a delightful distraction for a part of this day, and I was lifting weights, too, while listening. Mindfulness of body, I hope. I could not find any movies or books that offered any fullness or what I seemed to need. And I found this post from you. Nice!

Especially, I loved how the mindfulness is useful for finding out who I am becoming. Or, more accurately it feels, unveiling. New depths, skills, things I did not know about me. :)

Sitting quietly has become my favorite activity a few times a day, and I have been meditating, but felt I needed more input. And here it is! Thank you.

*<twinkles>*

fae

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My Bill was a clinical psychologist, a woodworker, a gentle sensitive man, and a poet among other things. Here is one he wrote when our lives got "noisy" in the midst of renovating our country home.

It is a kind of meditation on quiet: noisiness.pdf

Peace,

Mary

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Thank you Mary, that is a beautiful and inspiring poem.

I often find myself being distracted by noise, when what I most need is the silence to hear the voice within. Is description of noise was exactly what I have noticed at times. It is so easy to let the outside world distract me from the self within sometimes.

Thank you so much for sharing. Your Bill had a great deal of insight. How wonderful.

Thank you

*<twinkles>*

fae

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I am very glad you like it and found it helpful. My husband, Bill, was a kind and sensitive man...very in tune with himself and others. I have about 200 of his poems...we exchanged anniversary cards every single month on the 22nd (our wedding was June 22) for the entire time of our marriage and dozens upon dozens of other times. The cards almost always had a poem in them..from him to me and me to him. Thanks, Mary

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