There is something many of you may not know about me and that is I am private about death and loss. My personal experiences are mine and I honor them and deal with them behind the scenes. This last year has been filled with loss for me. The unexpected, untimely, and multiple deaths of friends, co-workers, and family has sent me reeling at times for shelter under the closest rock. Yet, each day I’ve put one foot in front of the other to carry on. I also know many of you have lost loved ones this past year.
Last week a friend created a casual gathering to remember two close friends who passed away within a few weeks of each other in 2017. During our times of reminiscing and afterwards I realized the profound value the friends who are left standing hold for each other.
“When we honestly ask ourselves which person in our lives mean the most to us, we often find that it is those who, instead of giving advice, solutions, or cures, have chosen rather to share our pain and touch our wounds with a warm and tender hand. The friend who can be silent with us in a moment of despair or confusion, who can stay with us in an hour of grief and bereavement, who can tolerate not knowing, not curing, not healing and face with us the reality of our powerlessness, that is a friend who cares.”
– Henri J.M. Nouwen
Creativity and wellness message for today: Remember the fabric of life holds many strands. When one is lost others remain or are woven anew.
The stories people tell have a way of taking care of them. So when stories come to you, you must take good care of them, as well. Learn to give them away where they are needed. Sometimes a person needs your story more than food to stay alive. That is why we put our stories in each other’s memories. This is how people care for themselves.
Today I can’t help but remember where I was almost 10 years ago on September 11, 2001. It was 8am, I had just dropped our three-year-old son at his new pre-school in a magnet school 30 minutes away from my home and office. Upon leaving, his pre-school teacher gave me a book, welcoming our family into the school community. I tucked Michele Pace Hofbauer’s Couldn’t We Make a Difference under my arm, drove down the thruway to my office, and started my day. I had not turned on the car radio.
Soon my husband called telling me of the devastating news of a plane crashing into the Twin Towers and as he was relaying this a colleague walked into his office revealing the additional traumatic event of the Pentagon’s attack. I heard his co-worker say the words through the telephone receiver before my husband had time to repeat them. What to do? We were devastated, scared, we didn’t yet know the full scope of our country’s violent attack.
Our son’s pre-school was on the way home from my husband’s office, our son would be safely picked up. I had clients scheduled, I needed to wait. What I chose to do next effected my experience of that day on a cellular level. Remembering the book I took a moment of reflection. Sitting in my cushioned, floral blue easy chair I started to read. As salty tears streamed down my face I felt an inner knowingness that we would be okay. The book healed me, it gave me the strength of hope to take the next steps toward safety and protection. It was the perfect balm at an unjust time.
I will quote from the book’s introduction,”Couldn’t We invites children of every nation, race and culture to join hands in overcoming difference. Its message is that of tolerance and acceptance, understanding and empathy, courage and hope. It suggests that children have a responsibility to themselves, to each other and to the earth. Beautifully illustrated and written in simple verse Couldn’t We offers a vision of a bright future. It opens a small window into a world where everyone lives in peace and where every child has the power to make a difference.”
Creativity and wellness message for today: Open your own small window and make a difference.
In the Women’s Center of a local college there sat a group of women, similar, yet different. Courageous women who were all breast cancer survivors. My program for them was “Guided Meditation for Insight and Joy.” After we shared a bite to eat and lots of hearty humor we moved into the evening’s event. I gave a brief introduction on meditation then led the group through three customized guided imagery exercises.
The room calmed as the women released stress and anxiety, and the green plants lining the window sill seemed to perk up. Each person tried something new and reaped the benefits. Some comments after the program included: “soothing; relaxing (x4); peaceful; personal; interesting; nice . . . how nice; reflective; time you give yourself.”
I congratulate The Breast Cancer Survival Centerwhich offers unique programs throughout the year. Their founder Susan Santangelo epitomizes living life to the fullest. The women in attendance had endured trauma, fear, and loss as well as recovery, transformation and joy.
Creativity and wellness message for today: Healing is creating an environment in which your mental, physical, spiritual and emotional bodies can integrate.
Many years ago when I was the Founder and Director of The Center for Creativity & Wellness, I had a collaborative professional relationship with three psychotherapists. Each of our strengths was different. One of us was a therapist who specialized in substance abuse and recovery, another was a marriage and family therapist who also led Sacred Circle Dances, and a third was a therapist who was a practitioner of shamanism. I provided the healing arts of natural energy healing, dreamwork, and meditation for my clients and students. Our professional foursome published quarterly newsletters, and mailed them as a unit to our clients. We called our multi-pronged marketing “cross-pollination.”
We embraced our diversity and that attitude served us, and our clients well. Potential clients were introduced, in very user-friendly ways, to new modalities of healing and personal development. This collaborative approach can be applied in any business or walk of life.
Creativity and wellness message for today: For 2010 plant the seed of fertilization in your life. Veer off the beaten path, touch down on a new flower, try something that you haven’t done before. Let the vitality of cross-pollination be your guide.