Is There Room For An Abundance of Emotions in Your Life?

GeneralAbundance. Dying. End of Life. Plentifulness. Not words you would normally think of together.

But there’s often an abundance of laughter on my Before I Go group programmes and workshops. There’s plentiful amounts of stories, some amusing, some poignant, others educational.

Then there’s also fear and anxiety and concern, more traditionally words associated with death and dying.

But here’s the thing –

it’s BECAUSE fear, anxiety and concern are welcomed that laughter, stories and even enjoyment are found.

You wouldn’t think it, would you? It’s one of the reasons that Western society (on the whole) has become afraid of death – we have associated this thing, which we rarely see nowadays, with fear.

And things we are afraid of we naturally want to avoid (and in some cases, that’s really sensible!) But avoiding the end of life, especially when one reaches a certain age, is not a great idea really.

With avoidance, resistance, anxiety and fear grow, and all contribute to a state of unhappiness. 

And that applies to anything in your work that you have to let go of – any kind of ending at all, not just the actual death of someone or something.

Ignorance also plays a part, and in itself begets beliefs based on ill-formed knowledge.

Before you know it, myths such as ‘It’s better not to mention the fact someone is dying, otherwise you might prevent a miracle happening’ or ‘Only hospital or hospice can care for your last days properly’, or ‘Better not mention the end of that project, I might hurt her feelings’ are seeded and then take on a life of their own.

These become assumptions, which then become beliefs, and before you know it, everyone is joining in under the same set of assumptions.

The antidote to all this is creating a welcoming stand to ALL emotions.

Just as I wrote in Chapter 27 of Gifted By Grief, it’s important to be open to them all.

Not try to push the ones we don’t like away, and only let in the ones we do like.

That’s not what life is (nor death for that matter).

Thrills for riders of the roller coaster.

Life is full of ALL kinds of emotions and feelings, and that’s what makes it so much of a rollercoaster ride.

How you behave on that rollercoaster is up to you – the ride of life is going to happen anyway, and by welcoming it all (no matter what it is), you’ll be engaging more fully in life, and therefore able to enjoy it more.

And death (or an ending of anything)  is just one of those rollercoaster ups (or downs, depending on what you think about it).

So, what do YOU think?

Is there room for an abundance of emotions in your life?

How much can you embrace both life and death, the death of anything? Reply in the comments below and let me know!

3 Non-Actions To Take When Anxiety, Brexit & Not-Knowing Abound

Uncertainty-100x100Fear gripped me, like a vice around my guts.  I treaded water in the swimming pool in which I had arrived for an early morning dip, before the heat of the day became too much. Brexit had arrived.

My friend had called from the terrace rooftop of the villa in which I was staying in Italy, on holiday.

‘Do you want the good news or the bad?’

I had paused in my leisurely breaststroke, and cocked my head.

‘We’re out,’ she called.

I swam to the side to hold onto the bar. Surely not? I was shocked. It had never occurred to me that the people of the UK might really vote to leave the EU.

Now, nearly two weeks on and the shock waves are still coming, though like the ripples in a still pond when a stone is thrown in, they are lessening from the centre out.

Uncertainty, doubt, confusion, fear, guilt, anger, tears – you may already be very familiar with these emotions.

They all belong to grief.

In one way or another, the citizens of the UK are in mourning; yes, even those who voted to leave. Because when any kind of ending comes, whether you realize it or not, a letting go has to happen, and that involves a mourning of some kind as the old dies away and makes way for the new.

Just as in the death of a person.

And as you will know if you have ever suffered a major ending of any kind in your life, let alone the death of a loved one, the resulting emotions can be very turbulent, with uncertainty and unknowing a common thread through them all.

At times like this, the mind goes into overdrive, trying to sort out how to cope. Trying to find a clear path forward, and bring things back to a sense of order. But the qualities of grief are the exact opposite of that.

Grief includes not knowing, wondering, and anxiety when a major change happens. You’re not supposed to be able to make decisions easily, be organized or able to think clearly.

It helps if you realize this, because then you can catch yourself being self-judgmental or self-critical (which often shows up as judging and criticizing of others, as in mutterings such as ‘the idiot, why did he do that?’ or ‘it’s not fair, I didn’t want that!’ or ‘why didn’t I …. (or why did I….)’.

When you notice yourself thinking these kinds of thoughts, what may appear on the surface as an opportunity for you to be right and others wrong, is in fact an opportunity to go deeper and understand what is really happening.

And what’s really happening is a natural human reaction to loss.

It occurs with all major losses.  But the way that individual humans react to these losses is very variable, and can make the difference between experiencing pain, and prolonging suffering.

Here’s 3 non-actions you can take to help you move through anxiety and grief more easily:

  1. Watch out for statements that keep you separate from others. These are easy to identify as they usually keep you right and the other wrong (e.g. blaming someone for dying in the first place, wishing you had behaved differently, justifying your actions). Breathe and go deeper to find the underlying opening your heart is showing you.
  1. Withstand the emotion-based demands from your mind which likes to control and feel certain. The ability to withstand these usually urgent messages, which nearly always dictate that you take action quickly, are messages that are coming from fear. Fear-based actions will always eventually create trouble. They have that inherent in them. Instead, just wait and see what happens.
  1. Be willing to experience the sea of uncertainty and unknowing. Become familiar with how this ocean feels. Let yourself be tossed about, or even just bob around, in these waters until clarity shows itself.  This is not an easy task, because of points 1 and 2. But if you can do that, you may find yourself surprised at what can then arise to the surface.

The Brexit campaign leaders have been judged as not having prepared properly in the event they won this referendum. There was no clear leader, clear strategy, clear list of instructions of what needed to happen next. Some kind of preparation in advance would have undoubtedly helped UK and EU citizens  to manage this transition more easily.

If you’ve been recently bereaved, then any advance planning that person did before they died will also help you.  That’s what happened for me when my husband died, and I was incredibly grateful he had taken the time to do at least some death prep – it helped me hugely to know I was carrying out his wishes.

Most people instinctively know that, at the minimum, a will is a good idea.

But most also do nothing about it (79% of people in the UK and the USA have been quoted as saying it’s a great idea to be well-prepared for their own death, and only 21% have anything written down).

If you’re one of the 79%, then take my free quiz here to find out how well-prepared you actually are: https://janedr.leadpages.co/big-quiz-webinar/

 

Searching for a Silver Lining..

Cancer. The very word can cause fear and constriction. Despite many people learning to live successfully with cancer, it is still thought of as a merciless killer in many respects. What has this got to do with your business? Well, nothing, at least nothing to do with your business I hope.

But it’ s a lot to do with mine, because my husband has just been diagnosed with stomach cancer. Fortunately caught relatively early, and it’ s treatable, but still, a very serious life threatening illness. Talk about an opportunity to think rich! (Ironic laugh from me here). Continue reading