(79) Choices… Choices… Choices…

In everyday life, we make consciously and unconsciously many choices. In one case, it’s crystal clear what choice to make, in the other case the choice is far from certain, let alone that you understand the consequences of your choice… or… that you even can make a choice.

During bereavement emotions add another dimension. Decision-making is not becoming easier… on the contrary. In addition to that these choices have most of the time an impact on your path-of-life.

I used to think that making a choice is just like when you’re standing on a crossroads. You see different streets coming together at the crossroads. In the streets, you can see what’s out there but the view is limited. And beyond is uncharted territory. And yes… how do you proceed from here?

  • You can make a choice based on what you initially see. And accept the unknown for what it is and what it represents.
  • You can make a choice based on your sense of direction in which you feel your destination is. And accept the street and the unknown for what they are and for what they represent.
  • Perhaps there’s a bench where you can sit at the crossroads. Where you can contemplate how to proceed. Where you can weigh all cons and pros for the different choices that are available to you until you’re sure of your choice.

You’re not proceeding with your life when you’re not making choices. And, you’ll never get total certainty for any choice you make. After all, things that were originally hidden when you made your choice are becoming visible once you’ve put your first steps again. Hence, there is no point in reasoning out (in detail) what steps you should take… but do listen carefully to your feeling.

In my opinion everyone has a purpose in life. However, that purpose is not important… what important is, is the path you’ve followed to accomplish your purpose. And in particularly the lessons you’ve learned and still learn on your path are important.

To reach your goal you’ll have to make choices to move forward in life. What those choices are? That’s not for me. That’s up to you! You are responsible for the choices you make in your life. It also means that you must accept the consequences of a choice made… after all it’s your choice.

What I’ve learned so far is that it really doesn’t matter what choice you make to achieve your goal. When you keep making choices you reach your goal eventually anyway. Only the road towards it is different. One way is harder or longer than the other way. What is important, is to have confidence that the path you’ve selected is the proper path.

It also amazes me time and time again is that you unwind once you’ve made your choice. You’ve put a step forward. And whatever the situation was where you’re coming from… or maybe even still is… you’ve put a step… a step forward. And with that you opened new opportunities to move forward in life. Make sure you make use of what you discover… what you see… what you get… what you receive… what you feel. Exploit it fully! Get all out of it!

Maybe you’ll discover at some point in time that you’ve learned new things, new capabilities… something that you otherwise never would’ve done…something that might be a revelation for you… something that made you happy (again)!

But please do realize that it’s your own responsibility to make and to keep making your choices, how difficult and annoying that every time may be, to achieve your goal on your path-of-life.

(72) My Journey from Grief to Sorrow

While I was processing my grief in the past period consciously and unconsciously, I can now see the huge change I’ve made. A change that transformed the raw pain from my grief into the forgiving pain of my sorrow. In addition, I have found new opportunities on my path and despite my sorrow I became a happy person again. In retrospect I can conclude that what I have achieved now and the way I feel now … I couldn’t even imagine that in my wildest dreams three years ago!

In my first blog, on the 23rd of September 2013, I mentioned that you are not alone in processing your grief in some way. I also informed you that I want to share with you the lessons I have learned and am still learning during my personal journey of bereavement. Yes, that was then.

At the moment, that is the 15th of June 2016, it’s almost three years later and from my point of view it is a perfect moment to review what happened in the meantime and, what lessons we could learn from this.

Should I make a comment against your preconceived notions, your beliefs or violate personal beliefs, accept what is true for you and let the rest go.

When you read my latest blogs, I’m also using a spiritual approach. With spiritual I do not mean that mediums are telling me the messages that deceased dear ones are giving to me… no… not that way! Practical as I am I cannot do much with such messages. Everyone knows that no matter how well we do our best, communication between people is difficult to say the least… let alone between a deceased dear one and we as human beings. That is why I try to get to the core of such messages to see whether I can do something with it in a very Earth like and in a for me very practical way. My blog titled Light is such an example.

In my first blogs I wrote about the bleak experiences… about experiences during your mourning… about the raw grief. Today, the 15th of June 2016, I talk about love… true love. Love not only on Earth, but in another universe… where both my deceased dear ones are… where my spiritual guides are… with an infinitely grander sensation or emotion… than we experience here on Earth. Michael Newton’s book “Journey of Souls” describes what I already unconsciously knew for a long time.

In retrospect, I can say that I have experienced somehow all stages of grief (denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance) developed by Elisabeth Kübler Ross. And not only that, “passion” and “drive” are factors that determine the course of your bereavement. Two factors with which you can transform negative things in your life into positive ones and as result it makes you “stronger”. What I also did learn in the past is to adopt a positive attitude. A positive attitude not only largely determines how you walk through your process of grieving; it also determines the speed at which you walk through this. Bereavement is like a dance… two steps forward and one back. Eventually you’ll arrive where you need to be.

In retrospect, it is also my experience that I walked on two parallel paths at the same time… maybe I was doing so already all the time. One path is that of the heart or the soul. The heart mourns… for the grief… for the persons deceased and he is missing… for friendships he lost and is still missing… but also celebrates new friendships he obtained… and also celebrates others he met. The head is just busy to make sure the heart survives. Most of the time the head does this unconsciously and… maybe not always in a most elegant way… that is often not… but… the result is that I just can continue with life. Yes, unconsciously… but still I often find afterwards that the proper choices were made… and that those choices changed my path(-of-life).

The result is also that my heart and head are more and more balancing each other. The days I’m in balance, are great days in my life. And when there are also friends with me… yes… yes, then despite all my sorrow, I find such a day… awesome.

In retrospect, it also appears that my interests have changed… from engineering… to people and the behavior of people. Not that during my jobs people were not important, on the contrary, people were very important, but… in the knowledge area of grief and bereavement people are very important in a different way… more personal… and…vulnerable. Especially after my openheart-surgaries… it felt like a switch was pushed from on to off. I didn’t want to do anymore the work I used to do… and I used to love. But… that new focus area… people… I find infinitely more challenging and interesting than engineering. I wish I had started much earlier with this expertise… however, it is what is!
mijn reies van rouw naar verdriet - shutterstock_343539905
While I was processing my grief in the past period consciously and unconsciously, I can now see the huge change I’ve made. A change that transformed the raw pain from my grief into the forgiving pain of my sorrow. In addition, I have found new opportunities on my path and despite my sorrow I became a happy person again. In retrospect I can conclude that what I have achieved now and the way I feel now … I couldn’t even imagine that in my wildest dreams three years ago!

I sincerely hope that when you look to your path of bereavement in retrospect… that you can draw similar… and for you acceptable conclusions.

(66) If You Let Go Who You Are, You Could Become Whoever You May Be

vlinder op hand - shutterstock_118291774“You have to let it go!” How often is this comment used insensitively? “You’re good, as you are!” Another one of those amazing one-liners…

But what can you do with comments like that when you are not feeling good yourself at all, as you are now? When you feel you do not matter, while you know in your mind that you do matter as much as everyone else? What if that feeling is so deeply anchored in yourself that you became that feeling?  “Then you have to let go of that feeling!”, is the most likely answer. But, that means concretely you have to let go the entire picture you have of yourself. One step further it means that you have to let go of yourself; to say farewell to your own “I.” To say farewell of who you were and to start searching for who you really are. Releasing the person, you feel you are, is frightening. Not electrifying, but real scary! Because in your belief, this is who you are.

Where does this story lead to, you may think as reader. What has this, perhaps somewhat troubled, desperate story to do with mourning? Bereavement to me means to reflect on what was in all its aspects and to give the associated sadness and grief a place in my heart. Not to forget, but to give room for new things, insights and experiences. In the event of the death of a dear one you often make not the choice yourself to say farewell. That choice is made for you, for example a disease. At a farewell to yourself you have that choice and which may be made consciously with your whole heart. I write very intentionally “may,” because “must” is not an option in this case. You don’t have to say farewell to yourself at all because you also have the choice to stay the same as you are today, including all those feelings of being inferior.  But wouldn’t you deprive too much of yourself?

Thanks to all those lovely people I have been able to gather around me, I’m now convinced that you really deprive yourself too much in that case! They made it clear to me that every person is a beautiful human being with good and less good sides. That each person has arrived on this world precisely as he or she is meant to be. My head knows this by now, but yet still my heart…

My head understands by now that I’m not the person I’m convinced I should be, and would gladly like to say farewell to that. But, my heart is not ready yet. It is still convinced that I’m the person I am, and that I would no longer exist as the person I should be if I let go. Because who am I when my heart does not belief the person I should be? That answer has my head neither and hence there is battle going on between my head and my heart. The “winner” has long been known, but the “loser” is not willing to give up yet; it’s too attached yet in old beliefs and fears.

When Hans asked me to write an article for his site, I already knew that I wanted to write about this topic. By writing about this topic I say farewell, not to myself, but to my beliefs. Because I have always existed and I always will be there. I am who I am and not the person I thought I was. But every farewell hurts and required time of mourning. A time of reflection, looking back and putting those happy memories in a little box. Then, all by itself there comes a time with new insights and new experiences. Until that moment comes I allow myself to grieve so my heart gets the time to heal and I can become the person I may be.


(65) Understanding (2)

Maybe you’re not ready yet and you kind of like your life as it is today. That is OK too.. as long as you understand this… and… as long as your partner understands that too.

begrip - shutterstock_178311602“Time heals all wounds” is often said to people who shortly lost a dear one. “It’s not good when you keep greaving” you hear say when the loss was longer ago. “It’s not healthy when you couldn’t process your loss after so many years” is less often heard.

They say it will wear off, but is that really the case? It could be that the sharp edges of your grief disappear and you are able to live with that. It even could be that you are not aware, even after years, that you are still somehow processing your grief. That doesn’t have to be bad or unhealthy. My point of view is that others should be able to understand this. However, when those others are not empathic then you as a mourner should be able to understand that too. But… there you ask quite a bit from a grieving person. One condition is that you as a grieving person should be aware that you are still processing your grief… but… you might not even realize it!

An example for clarification.

From the first moment they saw each other there was magic between them. It wasn’t so much love at first sight, it went much deeper. It was as if two old souls met and also recognised each other at that level. They joined forces, were deeply in love and got married. Their lives went over high mountains and through deep valleys. People who knew them were jalous of them. A few, however, recognised the depth of their love and the price they both had to pay for that. A price they paid with love.

She died at a young age. He was devastated. He missed his buddy… his soulmate. He burried himself in his job. The work was challenging. Work he could put his heart and soul into. Work that gave him energy, lots of energy, and also was the means in order to be able to cope with his grief. He dreamed a lot about her, they had long talks together and recollected memories. Yes… still… after all those years and relations further. He was married several times now… and divorced again. He had reached a point where he didn’t need a partner at all… he was alone… and kind of happy.

One of his exes requested his help in order to find her current partner who was missing abroad. In his job he had the means and the opportunity to start a search and decided to help her. All end’s well, the partner of his ex was found and everyone continued with their own lives. When saying goodby the ex told him that she regretted their relation was ended at the time because she was unable to “reach” him. He was just as important to his ex as his deceased great love was for him.

It took a while before he understood. In retrospect, this ex was also important to him although in a different manner than his deceased partner. Both regretted the way things had worked out between them, but at the time it was not possible… and even today it is not possible… because they have different lives now as well as other relationships.

Again he dreamed about his great love and this time she told him to let her go. He shouldn’t keep looking back… but he should continue with his life.

There you are… you with the loss of the great love in your life while at the same time you yourself are the great love of your present partner… the thing is though… you are not aware of this. But how can you assure a steady relationship with your new partner without this awareness. What is clear, is that both sides should perceive this.

People are unique and the solutions that might be needed are also depending on place, time and culture. It could take even years before you are able to deal with your grief… and that doesn’t have to be bad. Processing emotions like grief and mourning takes time. Personally I have no value judgement about that; one person can do this faster than the other.

There is no ready recipy for all of us available, but understanding is about yourself and it starts by being aware that something is going on with you. As long as you can’t follow your intuition without even thinking… you can’t help yourself… nobody can help you. Only when you are aware that something is going on, only then you can start taking steps in assessing and solving the situation you’re in. However… is that realy what you want to do? Maybe you’re not ready yet and you kind of like it  as it is today. That is OK too.. as long as you understand this… and… as long as your partner understands that too.