From Scarcity to Abundance – Healing after loss

heather edwards grief loss wellness“How do you want to die?” These are the haunting words spoken by her doctor after being diagnosed with stage four cancer. Three months after her passing, I’ve turned toward and through my grief seeking peace.

Grief takes time. It can feel overwhelming and eternal. But it eventually changes. The cloud lifts. Clarity and lightness return.

Our love for those who have passed before us never dies and perhaps that’s what keeps us moving forward. They’re never really gone. They live on in memories, moments, and a felt sense of connection to them.

While sitting on the edge of loss and wholeness, I’m struck by the flood of ideas about cultivating a robust authentic life. It’s an integration of real science from multiple areas of psychology, neuroscience, trauma treatment, somatics, and mindfulness.

It takes effort to embody them sometimes. But that’s natural, too. From time to time, we are all challenged by real trauma and loss that interrupts our natural flow toward health and happiness. So today’s blog is a free association about the science behind wellbeing. Take a moment with each concept and consider ways to incorporate it into your everyday life.

Love

Abundance

Passion

Connection

Meaning

Movement

Wellness

Happiness

Authenticity

Showing up

Trust

Courage

Mind body

Engagement

Purpose

Flow

Yoga

Gratitude

Relationships

Silence

Meditation

Nature

Stillness

Reflection

Mindfulness

Notice

Observe

Let go

Drop in

Presence

Groundedness

Openness

Non-judgement

Hear

Sense

Experience

Positivity

Light

Choose

Imagine

Act as if

Family

Friends

Support

Animals

Sunsets

Music

Nutrition

Wholeheartedness

Boundaries

Yes

No

Truth

This moment

Vulnerability

Freedom

Breathe

Love


Since our bodies and minds naturally move toward wholeness, healing, and wellness a concerted effort can only accelerate the process. I’m not suggesting ignoring or numbing the painful feelings. That’s part of the hard work. It’s necessary to feel them. It makes the other side of those feelings more joyful when they’re reached. The contrast, the conflict, and the competition of emotions beckons us to examine them and welcome them.

heather edwards grief loss happinessIn the words of Rumi…

This being human is a guest house.

Every morning a new arrival.

A joy, a depression, a meanness,

some momentary awareness comes

as an unexpected visitor.

Welcome and entertain them all!

Even if they are a crowd of sorrows,

who violently sweep your house

empty of its furniture,

still, treat each guest honorably.

He may be clearing you out

for some new delight.

The dark thought, the shame, the malice.

meet them at the door laughing and invite them in.

Be grateful for whatever comes.

because each has been sent

as a guide from beyond.

— Jellaludin Rumi,

translation by Coleman Barks

What Makes You Come Alive? Find Your Flow

flow heather edwards

I recently gave a speech at New York Toastmasters. The attendees were moved and asked me to post it online. It’s about integrating Mindfulness & Positive Psychology into your everyday life…. See the YouTube video here…

What makes you come alive? I mean really alive. When you feel the flow of energy moving in your body. When there’s excitement on a visceral level and a calling of your attention to a particular person, place, or activity.

It’s thrilling, calming, and you’re in love with the moment. Nothing else matters. Call it passion, finding your flow, or just plain fun.

Let’s go with flow. Let’s take a ride together.  Let’s explore wellness, the universe, and gratitude.

Flow heals you from the inside out. It reduces the stress hormone, cortisol. It increases serotonin, which helps regulate mood, memory, sleep, & body temperature.

It can reduce pain and inflammation. It increases energy and a sense of being mentally awake and capable.

It helps to improve relationships by developing shared, meaningful bonds with others. It makes you healthy, strong, and really alive!

When you experience flow, you’re free. You’re immersed in an activity, and feeling like you’re exactly where you’re meant to be…

There’s a lightness, completeness, and connection with someone or something outside yourself that transports you to a new place.

It’s an alignment of sorts. An experience of awe, wonder, and curiosity.  

You’re no longer in your head. You’re fully present in this moment – right here, right now, at the intersection of this time and place.

There is a novelty and oneness with the intricacies of the moment. One foot is planted firmly in the safe and familiar, and the other dips freely into the unknown, exploring uncertainty, & tempting vulnerability… You’re stretching.

Your senses are attuned. You can feel the warmth of the sun on your face and the weightlessness of the wind in your hair. You absorb the fresh life-giving oxygen of the flowers, trees, and mother earth with each breath. You’re awake, aware, alive! It’s sublime.

You feel connected to beauty & a wider purpose. You seem insignificant and immensely integral to this beautiful tapestry of life. You’re uniquely distinct from it and one with it, at the same time.

When you pan out to the universe and observe yourself in this world, the one that we know, you’re tiny, invisible even. Yet, without your presence here many things would be different. In that sense, You’re huge in this life to those around you. It’s all about perspective.

What connects you to something larger than yourself?

Whether it’s a country road & the low rumble of my Harley, the crispness of the glittering snow beneath my skis, or the thump of each excited foot step exploring unchartered territory, it reminds me of the preciousness of every breath.

The stillness of my meditation within the frenzied activity of New York City amplifies and soothes the chaos of everyday life.

It calls my attention to the details of everything around me – shapes, colors scents, sounds, textures, people & my interaction with them.

I notice the lull of the crashing waves in Fire Island, the grandeur of the NYC forrest of buildings, & the gentle smile on my husband’s face behind his handlebar mustache. It makes me grateful.

Gratitude and meditation have all the health benefits of flow plus developing regions of your brain responsible for kindness, compassion, & peace.

It creates a complete and total presence. It’s transcendent. It’s time passing without your knowing it.

Eleanor Roosevelt said – “Do one thing everyday that scares you.” Try to live by that, at least once in awhile.

It makes you grow. It is living authentically to your fullest potential. It’s not merely surviving, it’s thriving at the pinnacle of existence.

When it both excites and frightens you, you need to pursue it. This is your life history in the making.

What excites you? What will you pursue?

Passion. FUN. Flow. Inspiration. Losing track of time. Getting lost in a person, place, or activity that awakens and nourishes you keeps you alive.

The latest research proves that flow develops healthy brain activity, supports learning and memory, and increases your overall health & resilience in the face of stress.

Laugh. Shout. Whisper. Love. Be. Here. Now. Live like you’re still alive!

I’ve taken you on this journey to inspire you to find the thing that connects you to your flow. Your life depends on it.

I’ll ask you again – what makes you come alive? Go do it.