It's a well-known fact that the holiday season (or any time of celebration, for that matter) can be a challenge after the loss of a loved one. Good cheer, family gatherings, parties, music and decorations all lose something when your life has lost someone important to you (human or animal). This was very fresh and raw for me last year after the loss of my 30-year best friend and her son (within a day of each other), but this year will be better.
I won't get into the clinical/advice aspect of dealing with grief; that's not my point here. I do want to address how I've dealt with it, in case others may find it helpful. Warning: exposed vulnerability!
My Christmas holiday was for a very long time spent with my now-deceased friends, my "family of choice," with much laughter, singing, wonderful food, and warmth. And so last Christmas found me alone, hurting, caught in that troublesome place between longing to be with someone who loved me and wanting desperately to be alone to grieve. Push-me-pull-you. Wishing for that feeling of fun and mystery I had as a young child and with my friends, and knowing it was no longer there.
This year I have healed a bit from that urgency of grief. I take great joy in decorating and music, traditions, coziness, even if just for me - always have. I know for a fact that what I focus on grows, and so, with a clearer heart and whether I'm alone or not, my intent this year is to truly savor my experiences, my close friends, the joys of nature and the season. To know that life does indeed go on. And that the love and warmth I feel will only grow from here.
Make it the happiest of holiday seasons! And so it is.
Recently in a spiritual gathering, the question was raised, "What if I'm wrong?" We were discussing fundamental religions, as I recall, but the question could be asked in many settings.
What if I'm wrong in my adamant, strict political view?
What if I'm wrong about what religion is the right one?
What if I'm wrong about the judgment I made about that person?
What if I'm wrong about gender preferences and relationships?
What if I'm wrong about the cause of what's wrong in the world?
What if I'm wrong about how I do this particular task?
What if I'm wrong about what my boss thinks?
What if I'm wrong about "them"?
Think about it. Whatever belief you hold onto the tightest, whatever you most believe to be true... what if it was NOT true? What if you found incontestable proof that an alternative viewpoint was true instead? How readily would you change your thoughts? What no-longer-needed emotions or thought-forms could you release? I'm not suggesting that you immediately force yourself to change. Instead, I'm suggesting that you examine the open mind...the open heart.
And...here's a really good question...what if you could release those now? Release all judgment, all condemnation, all righteousness? What if you simply lived your live according to the principle, "Love one another." What would happen then, in your life, and in the world?
Imagine that every tiny act of kindness (a smile, a donation, a referral, a service) generates a seed of light. (In my world, light = love.)
And focus for a moment on the idea of co-creation - we create our world by our focus and intention.
Pair those two thoughts - what magic we can create!
If we sow light-seeds several times a day, and those around us do likewise, what kind of world are we creating?
What can you do today to plant seeds of light?
Pet an animal. Feed the birds. Mindfully deadhead your garden to make room for new growth. Appreciate your healthy lawn.
Help your elderly neighbor with groceries or yard work. Refer business associates who would support each other. Call your mother. Smile at the cashier.
Donate to a charitable cause. Participate in trash clean-up. Respectfully write to a politician with your opinion. Donate time to a food pantry or homeless shelter.
Every act, no matter how small or large, creates a ripple effect, a wave or net of love and appreciation.
If you want to learn more about this concept and live in Northeast Ohio, I invite you to participate in my workshop, Sowing Seeds of Light, on May 20 in Mentor, Ohio.
More information here:
Those who follow my work know that I come from a point of love rather than fear. This was not always the case as, like all of us, I evolved with time and experience. Many of my "followers" are heart-based, working in service capacities to support individuals and thus the world. But I've been noticing a strong trend since the political events of the past year, culminating in the election of a new President.
Many people who are heart-based and purport to come from a spiritual viewpoint have become so passionate about their opinions that they have begun to denigrate others for theirs. I have noticed an unfortunate trend in social media of confrontation, heated debate and ego. None of these things comes from love, but of fear. When you come from love, is there a need to be right? Is there a need to tell others why they are wrong? Of course not. No more in politics than in religion!
Non-violent communication is a concept developed by Marshall B. Rosenberg, PhD, which teaches that...
If “violent” means acting in ways that result in hurt or harm, then much of how we communicate--judging others, bullying, having racial [or political or religious] bias, blaming, finger pointing, discriminating, speaking without listening, criticizing others or ourselves, name-calling, reacting when angry, using political rhetoric, being defensive or judging who’s “good/bad” or what’s “right/wrong” with people--could indeed be called “violent communication.”
Therefore when you use social media as a podium from which to "instruct" those who have different viewpoints or opinions based on their own experience and what is TRUE for them, you are being violent. When you listen, however, and say "I understand how you feel. I respect that you feel that way. I have a different opinion" then is there really a need to debate? Is there really a need to instruct the other on what you perceive as facts? Acceptance comes from love, not fear. Acceptance of differences of any sort, with no need to judge, correct or instruct. Simply love.
It's finally spring here in Northeast Ohio, and thoughts are at last turning to the greening and flowering of the trees, the preparation of our gardens, and the sowing of seeds. Besides our actual physical gardens, we need to pay attention to the spiritual seeds we plant as well.
I have just shut the door on a casual "acquaintanceship" with someone who has planted dark, angry seeds, and is now struggling with the crop she has sown. I refuse to allow this person's weeds to affect my own prosperous garden of "light seeds."
The vast majority of my friends and relationships choose light, choose to plant seeds of hope at the very least, and joy at the greatest. Examine your words, your actions, your creations - what crop are you prepared for when your seeds have come to bloom?
Right this minute, on the cusp of a new year, STOP IT! Stop being harsh to yourself, stop scolding, "shoulding," rushing, blaming. Do you ever catch yourself with self-talk you would never use on a loved one?
Self love means nourishing yourself, guiding yourself, not worrying and punishing yourself. If you do not have love for the self, how can you properly have love for others? It all comes back to the frequently-used analogy of the airplane's oxygen mask. Take care of yourself first so that you can help others. FIRST...not instead-of, not in-spite-of, not only...FIRST.
In my work I have occasionally caught myself completing tasks for clients first, before those I need to accomplish for my own personal or professional life. The awareness is a good thing - a "re-routing" on my GPS. Mixing metaphors freely here, if I don't ensure that my well is full and I allow it to run dry, there's no water for any of us!
Choose to pay attention to your self-talk, and be gentle. Instead of "Well that was a stupid thing to do," try "I could have made a better decision and next time I will." Rather than "Oh, crap, you fool - you forgot to.....," try "I choose to use this new method to manage my time and my tasks." Focus on all the wonderful things you know about yourself, and remind yourself of them every day - preferably in a mirror. And soon, your well will be abundant and flourishing with sweet water for all!
Thoreau said: "If you have built castles in the air, your work need not be lost; that is where they should be. Now put the foundations under them."
I chose this quote very deliberately when I designed my website. It is the nature of my work! Healers, teachers, intuitives are usually right-brain people. In the years I have worked with this client base, the majority of my clients have brilliant dreams and uplifting things to teach, but trouble with the execution. Are they lacking in something? Absolutely not!
“The lovers, the dreamers, and me.” We all learn differently, think differently, and communicate differently. Some are very left-brain, analytical, precise, and others are very right-brain, creative, big-picture. In the skill testing I’ve had, I fall somewhere in the middle of that spectrum, and so I make a good bridge between the hemispheres!
There are many reasons right-brainers may have trouble with execution:
If you’re one of those dreamers, keep on dreaming! But be sure to delegate to a skilled, trusted associate so that your dreams are captured and made a physical reality!
If you are one of the people, or know one of the people, whose heart is in their left brain (get it?), then my book, The Spiritual Virtual Assistant: A Guide to Supporting Holistic Practitioners, may be for you. If you are the practitioner, spread the word that this resource exists to teach more assistants how to support the dreamers. There are not nearly enough support staff like me to support the number of heart-based workers - please spread the word that this is a wonderful career opportunity!
In our Midwest colloquial language we refer to the twilight of the year as "fall" more often than "autumn." I assume that's because of the falling of the leaves, but I don't know the origin. The season signals a shift in light, a change in weather, and the accompanying change in our lifestyles and moods.
So go ahead. Fall down. The world looks different from the ground.- Oprah Winfrey
I just had a fall of another sort. Confession time: I "fell down" on the job. Good ol' Holly, she can handle it, no problem, bring on the work! And in my bravado, I made some mistakes. HORRORS! I was reminded of my humanity. I was reminded of my boundaries. Reminded that my expertise is based on having the time to produce the quality results that I normally produce. And so my falling down was a great time to shift.
The world indeed looks different from the ground - with a new viewpoint, I was provided the opportunity to renew my procedures. I was, in a very firm and powerful way, reminded by Spirit that I need to take care of MY business and MY life before providing to others. And reminded to provide to others within my abilities, so that I can serve honorably.
And so, now that I've given confession to you, my readers, I absolve myself by taking action toward a new way of living and working. And that feels really good!
If you have a similar lesson to share, don't hesitate to comment below!
“The fact that I can plant a seed and it becomes a flower, share a bit of knowledge and it becomes another's, smile at someone and receive a smile in return, are to me continual spiritual exercises.” ― Leo Buscaglia
I'm often asked where my business identity "Lightseeds" came from. Quite literally, the seed of the name was planted in me during sleep. I woke one morning several years ago with the word firmly planted in my consciousness. Over the next weeks, my business concept solidified and came to fruition.
But what does it mean? I think the quote from Leo Buscaglia above says it all. Every minute we're alive, we're spreading seeds - whether of light or the absence of light is up to us. I choose the light, and so do my beautiful clients. Every smile we send, every healing, every energy exchange, every handshake, every uplifting post, no matter what kind of transaction with another person, we are spreading more seeds, enabling the other person to then continue to sow.
Ever think your life doesn't matter? I beg to differ. That clerk you smiled at this morning was hurting. The comment you just left on Facebook meant the world to someone who read it. The friend you just offered to help is now in a better position to help someone else.
And so it continues...seed after seed after seed.