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You Have to Show Up: On Small Miracles (Okay, maybe not so small)
I hadn't intended to go to my cousin's funeral.
That sounds terrible, I know. And if I had chosen to focus on the 18 year estrangement of various factions of my family from each other and my own 15 year estrangement from my uncles (hey, Greeks are a war-like people, what can I say?), I could have patted myself on the back for the fact that I had gone to the wake and let it go at that.
But if you knew the littlest thing about me, you would know that I recognize an inner dragon when I see one. And, once I see one, I have to slay it. It's a sacred covenant I have with myself.
And, should I get tempted to walk away from a soul-defining battle, I have some very powerful people watching my back. Powerful people who won't let me slack off. Powerful people who say just what I need to hear to remind me of how powerful love is and the miracles that can unfold when we Show Up.
To prepare to attend the wake, I visited with my dear friend and spiritual Rock of Gibraltar, Mike Schwass, (http://www.dontblamethegame.com). He shared with me some of the last conversation he had with his dear friend, Blackhawk's Keith Magnuson a month before he died.
You have to show up. Just your presence can be so powerful. You have to show up.
Mike has a way of planting seeds in my head that grow...and grow...and grow. Guru-types are like that.
This brought me to a lesson from an anonymous reader at my blog this week:
You can criticize or you can educate.
"Anonymous reader" chose to criticize my falling prey to a pervasive myth on Chinese calligraphy interpretation but never gave the slightest clue to how I could correct my path. All I got was, "sorry, you are wrong, seeya."
Thankfully I am naturally inquisitive, so I was inspired to do research and enjoyed learning more. However, I could just as easily been hurt, embarrassed and defensive at being publicly defrocked as my unwitting blunder was exposed to my readers.
But since I also believe everyone is a Buddha here to teach me something I paid attention to what was really happening here.
You can criticize or you can educate.
The biggest reason I was going to avoid the funeral was due to my own belief that everyone in my family was going to do it wrong. That it would be a fiasco. That my grudge-holding family, in the midst of chaos and tragedy would just pour fresh gasoline on fires which had been smoldering for 18 years and I didn't want any part of it.
No, I just wanted to sit in the woods and meditate and not be soiled by the whole thing. Not be irritated. Tempted to jump into the fray. Resurrect my Greek Evil Eye.
You have to show up (you big weenie).
The truth is I did know how to show up. Sure, there is something familiar about being pissed at my family. It's just so easy. And, face it, anger is energizing. Gossip has a certain seduction to it. There's momentum. Criticism is so easy.
But love is more powerful.
Yes, it's a harder place to hold. It takes work. It takes a conscious conviction to stand for love when there are so many temptations to blame, to judge, to criticize. It's easier to walk away.
It's easy to walk away until you realize that your very integrity is on the line. I'm either walking the talk or I'm not. I'm either adding to the love or I'm adding to the pain. I'm either criticizing or educating.
You have to show up. Just your presence can be so powerful. You have to show up.
I showed up.
I'm here to tell you that my 15 year estrangement from my uncles has ended. We talked. And hugged. And the one that was most difficult to reach, who has been estranged from the entire family for 18 years accepted an invitation to come to my home next weekend. He even came out to the parking lot as I was about to drive away to make sure I knew the best route home.
My uncle's laughter is one of my favorite sounds of all time. It's brilliant and silly and mischievous and infectious. It is the sound of everything that was ever right and good in my family. And next weekend, his laughter will fill my home.
Laura Young is a personal development and business coach. She is a contributing author to A Guide to Getting It: Purpose and Passion and Become Your Own Great and Powerful: A Woman's Guide to Leading a Real, Big Life. She has recently been featured on By, For and About Women and Artists First Radio. To learn more about her, visit http://www.wellspringcoaching.com
To visit Laura's blog, visit http://antwatching.blogspot.com
How My Four Your Old Son Reacted To The Death Of His Great Nanny Biscuits
My nan was called Margaret and lived until the age of eighty eight. Unfortunately she died in hospital and this article describes how my son reacted to the news of her death. His reaction basically put a smile back onto my face again.
The loss of a loved one. It is often difficult to find the right words to express your sympathy to someone during this time of sorrow. A floral tribute and supportive message can offer much support to those grieving such a loss. Here we list some suggestions, perhaps to inspire you as you offer your condolences with your floral tribute.
Loss Involves Change - The Transformative Power of Loss and Change
There are many experiences in life, which remind us that change is an inevitable part of living. We then have to choose to either to resist this process or look for new ways of finding meaning in our lives. Losing a loved one to homicide, for example, is one of those changes that throw our lives into chaos and disarray. We are forced to see our world very differently, knowing that things will never be the same again. Our loss involves substantial change in every aspect of our lives.
Suicide in the Church, Part 3
Men and Grief
Men grieve differently from women. Our cultural roles make it difficult for men to look for support, and harder again to accept it. Men are so often silent, solitary mourners who immerse themselves in activity and private, symbolic rituals. They feel profoundly, but often can't express the depth of their loss.
Grief Support: The Dos
Helpers often ask questions such as: "What should I do? What should I say? Am I doing the right thing? Did I do the wrong thing?" Here are some suggestions for how to best help those in grief.
Physiological Consequences of Carrying Emotional Trauma
Although many of us carry some form of emotional trauma in our bodies, and therefore in our energy fields, do we ever really stop to question the impact that it is having on our overall health? If you are like most individuals you probably just want to forget its even there. The thought of revisiting it probably just makes you feel sick.
Suicide in the Church Part 2
In a town the size of mine - about 16,000 - can a few suicides within a 90-day period be considered an epidemic? I'd say so. Quite a few Christians have contacted me since these tragedies have occurred, people struggling with the in's and out's of suicide and its effect on one's eternal reward, among other concerns. These included the wife of one of the recent suicide victims. As a certified Workplace Chaplain, I receive various ministerial and counseling materials in the mail and one recent article presented some jarring statistics about suicide and its effects on those left behind.
Angelo C, was a good man that never did any harm. He died yesterday in the shower over a severe asthma attack. The entire school cried and prayed for their old friend Angelo. They joined in a moment of silence at 2:55 pm to let Angelo know that we care.
Euthanasia: How Will I Know When its Time?
Pippin needed assistance from his owner to get to his feet. He slowly walked to the door, then needed help once again to step down onto the back porch. With a slight groan, he squatted to relieve himself and came back towards the house. There was no twinkle in his eye, and this time he needed to be carried all the way back to his bed. He'd used up his energy for that day.
And You Always Will
I opened the dishtowel drawer for about the sixth time, hoping the towels had somehow magically appeared.
Why Does God Allow Suffering?
Justin was a typical ten year old boy. He liked Leggos, trains, and watching TV. He had red hair, freckles, and a huge smile. Justin was a great kid and everybody loved him. Because of cancer, he didn't live to see his eleventh birthday. His mom Mary, who had watched him suffer for months, held her son in her arms when he died. Every day, for the last two years, she has lived with the grief of her loss and the memories of Justin's suffering.
Angel of Comfort... The Story
I am an Angel artist and several weeks ago while listening to the late night news, a news story came on that really touched my heart. On the way home in the wedding limo ... a drunk driver caused a horrible wreck, resulting in the loss of a child and the limo driver. This story stayed in my mind. A few days later, a woman emailed me requesting my help. She wanted to know if an Angel painting could be created for this family. I immediately knew who the family was. I heard a voice say ..."Yes, you can help ... Create an Angel of Comfort for her painting ... their energies are needed here." I emailed the woman and she immediately commissioned the painting.
The Truth About Emotional Intelligence
There is so much emphasis on emotional intelligence these days that it appears that people are suppressing their emotions and problems in an effort to "fit in," to keep their jobs, and using "positive self-talk" to muscle through the rough spots in their lives.
How To Write A Eulogy
Remembering someone special in a personal way can be healing for everyone concerned, for a eulogy is a deeply personal way of saying goodbye. The key word is life, and you've been given the opportunity to celebrate a loved one's life in the individual way that made your friend unique. Don't be daunted by the task, just take these simple steps for a sincere and moving last farewell.
Silent Tears - from a Norwegian Hospital
Silent tears hit hospital-white sheets. The young Pakistani mother holds the mask that brings moisture, oxygen and medicine to her babygirls lungs as she struggles against the slime that threatens to suffocate her.
Dealing With Tragedies (The 9/11 Tragedy)
September 11, 2001, marked yet another significant turning point in world history. Whatever innocence was left in the world was lost on that fateful day.
Like it or not, we think in line with our customs and tradition often times, right down to the level of how we think of death, or about death. I was a licensed counselor for many years, and the issue came up a few times, and I was sad at its results, to hear Americas shamefully trying to avoid talking about it. But let me put that aside and finish the article. Yes customs and traditions set down; do play a big part in how we view death. Death being a normal and natural thing; we mimic our parents and our TV heroes, and how they portray death. Why so much gloom out there on death [?] It has been around for a long time, as long as I've been around anyhow, fifty-seven years. It is often a taboo subject to talk bout it in certain places. But you can see a lot of books on the subject; more than I can count.
If Ever It Is Me
With my father, his brother and their father having had late onset Alzheimer's I can't help but wonder if someday it will be my fate. This is what I have told my family.
When Change Comes (Dealing With Grief and Loss)
Needless to say, the time after loss is volatile and confusing for most people. Unresolved issues come to the fore and questions we have not answered must often be confronted. Along with a sense of abandonment and sorrow, anger often arises. Most have little understanding of what they are going through, or what to expect in the future. Facing the unknown can produce additional fear.
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