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

Adulthood Sucks… or does it?

Heather Edwards AdulthoodLast Friday I was sitting in the dentist’s chair chuckling between tooth jabbings with the hygienist, Jessica. She told me she bought a T-shirt for her friend who’s fallen on hard times. It reads, “I’m not a gynecologist but I’ll take a look.”. We laughed and I replied that I just bought a T-shirt for my sister that reads, “Sorry I’m late. I didn’t want to come.”  We relished each other’s sense of humor & noted how serious adulthood can be, if you let it. And how extra important it is to be silly & have fun, and acknowledge emotional pain and indulge your dreams.

Later that day I attended another doctor appointment and then took a long drive out of state to a dear one’s funeral. It didn’t feel like a Friday. It felt like a very heavy, fearful, solemn day.

What I didn’t realize was that it was going to be one of the toughest weekends I’ve ever had. It was also one of the most beautiful. Family and friends laughed and cried together. We supported each other in our grief and loss. And we created new bonds and memories. We brunched, hiked, went through old photos, and shared past experiences.

We explored nature and our place in it. On a hiking trail we came across a quote on a bridge rail that read, “…the universe is wider than our views of it.”- Henry David Thoreau. It was profoundly relevant and comforting considering our reason for the trip.Heather Edwards Adulthood

Adulthood sucks, right? Not so. Yes, the longer we live the more loss, tragedy, and heartbreak we will see but, we choose where to focus our attention and energy. While remaining open and aware of life’s challenges, we can choose to notice the gifts and find strength in what brings us joy.

So in the face of sadness, anger, or loss what makes you experience gratitude? What shifts your energy from low to high, negative to positive, or sad to content?

What happened to that dream you had before life got so complicated? – The one where everything was perfect and you were sitting on a beach or mountaintop basking in the glow of the warm sunshine with your lover listening to the sounds of nature without a care in the world? It’s still there, somewhere beneath the chaos.

Heather Edwards AdulthoodEven though it may seem impossible or even irrelevant now, it’s more important than ever to pursue it. You may not know how to achieve the end goal but you can identify one way to get an inch closer today. What makes you feel joy?

Embrace your fearless inner kid and stop listening to the self defeating inner monologue. Take a moment to be still. Connect to your dreams. Find the silver lining.

Reclaim your life. Mourn those who pass, take responsibility for a mature life, and go play! -even if it means buying a funny teeshirt for a friend in need of a laugh.

When Did Life Get So Hard? 10 Reasons Why & What to do …

Heather Edwards Inspired

1. When you stopped believing you are worthy – and quit taking inspired action. Tune into what you value about being you and write it out. Give yourself credit. If you don’t see it, who will? Dig deep into your core self and embrace what matters most.

2. When hardship took over – and you stopped leading with your heart. You gave up your power and lost trust that things will get better. Like a Tsunami of overwhelming emotion, things may seem unbearable now but, this too shall pass.

3. When you started avoiding, numbing, or ignoring the pain you dampened the opposite, too – joy, love, & positivity. You must tolerate the darkness to see the stars.

4. When you forgot the glass was beautiful – not half full nor half empty – whole regardless of its contents. Practice open awareness and acceptance. Stop judging yourself and others.

Heather Edwards Inspired5. When you stopped feeling gratitude – and only noticed the negatives. Gratitude creates a mindset of abundance. It changes neural pathways and the attitude you apply to everything. Notice what you would miss if you didn’t already have it. Pause. Reflect.

6. When you stopped cultivating self compassion –  nurture YOU. Soothe yourself. Forgive yourself. Be flexible, patient, and kind to yourself. Treat yourself like a friend.

7. When your expectations weren’t met – you hoped for something different than what you got. Suffering comes from wishing things were different. Enjoy the journey. Every bit of experience changes you and helps you grow. Find the nugget of wisdom in everything.

8. When you stopped claiming your life as your own – everything and everybody else’s needs took priority. You forgot say, “No.” and ended up feeling taken for granted. Know and assert your boundaries.

9. When you stopped noticing the natural beauty around you. Just looking at a tree and experiencing a sense of awe and wonder for a moment takes you out of your head and into the moment. It measurably reduces anxiety and worry.

Heather Edwards Inspired10. When you started believing the cruel things others said about you. We naturally notice negatives in our environment. It’s kept us alive as a species since the beginning of our time. So you have to work harder to consider the positives. Question and refute tired messages. You don’t have to hold onto them.

 

 

 

Photos courtesy of Aleksa D, Gualberto107, and dan at FreeDigitalPhotos.net, and Mark Robert Turner.

 

Happy Holidays! From Me, to You.

Heather Edwards Happy HolidaysHappy Holidays! During this season of joy, celebration, and bonding take a moment to notice what are you grateful for…

Create a life of abundance by practicing gratitude everyday.

Pause. Breathe. Drop into this moment. Who is with you? What pleasures are in your environment? What lies in front of and around you? Where are you headed? What do you hope for?

As 2015 comes to a close, count the gifts of abundance that presented themselves to you during the year. Focus for a few moments each day on what you already have.

Make time to reflect on the changes, people, activities, or creature comforts that helped you evolve into a wiser, kinder, more gracious person. There are many things you may have overlooked in your busy schedule.

Give yourself credit for being open, diligent, and ready to receive those gifts.

If you focus on what you don’t have, you’ll never be satisfied. You’ll continue aiming at a moving target, perpetually out of reach. You’ll continue existing in a mentality of scarcity and deficit.

It can keep you stuck there – even though there are many things unfolding around you that nourish, support, and uplift you.

When you shift that focus…Heather Edwards Psychotherapist Coach

Suddenly you’re surrounded by wonderful people, things, and events. What if you didn’t have the things you already have?

Start with the basics – you have running water and a roof over your head, you have special plans with special people, the winter solstice brings us longer days… and so on.

What will 2016 bring? That’s up to you.

Be deliberate. Make it what you want. Don’t live by default. Take control of your life. Design 2016 with intention and purpose.

It’s only one week away. Get clarity. Start with gratitude. Focus on growth, prosperity, and positivity. Imagine the next steps to creating an exceptional year!

Cheers to you and yours! Wishing you a peaceful and enlightened holiday and a flourishing new year!

With love and gratitude…

xxoo

 

Photos courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net by OZPhotography and Serge Bertasius Photography

5 Tips for a Juicy, Gorgeous Life

Heather Edwards Life Coach

Heather Edwards Life CoachLet’s face it! You’re bored with the status quo. You’re an adventure-seeker-happiness-freak-self-improvement-junkie.  (No offense intended. I’m one, too!) So, put the needle on the record. Let’s pump up the volume! Here are five tips you can start today to create the life you want…

  1. Shift your routine. The same ole only maintains what you already have.  Mix it up! Stir the pot. If you’re reading this blog, you’re ready for something new. Identify one action that could change the outcome of your day. Decide to get up 30 minutes earlier. Start your day with a journal entry, meditation, or work out. Unplug at a reasonable time. Whatever you choose to enact will change your trajectory.
  2. Embrace one goal that stretches you. See it through.  What area of your life do you most want to transform? Some want to advance their career. Others focus on relationships. Even more want to lose weight. Everyone wants to find their soulmate, if they haven’t already. Identify what you desire most. Decide to do something about it. You have the power to create a revolution in your life.
  3. Heather Edwards Life CoachSwear by the best case scenario. Believe it will happen.  According to metaphysics, the  type of energy we put out, is returned to us. If you’re affecting energy in a negative way then, negativity is what you receive. If you are projecting energy in a positive way, then relish it. It will create positivity around you and help move your life forward. “Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined.” -Henry David Thoreau
  4. Silence the mind chatter. Reframe negative thoughts into positive ones.  You are your biggest doubter and own worst critic. You notice more flaws and imperfections in yourself than anyone else. Shift your thoughts to the things you love about yourself. Notice the delicious possibilities for your future. Acknowledge your heart’s desire. 
  5. Abandon comparisons. Relish the goods that are you. There is no one else in the entire universe like you. That’s special. Most people fall into the trap of comparisons. For example, a lawyer might compare herself to a chef. A chef might compare himself to an athlete. An athlete might compare herself to a musician. A musician might compare himself to a doctor. …and all can feel less than worthy. Whatever the comparison, it equals self sabotage. Instead of looking for evidence of your shortcomings, (we all have them) practice gratitude. Imagine how much you would want the things you have now, if you didn’t already have them.

In the words of Fatboy Slim, “We’ve come a long, long way together, through the hard times and the good. I have to celebrate you, baby. I have to praise you like I should.”. Check out the video below for a lil’ pick me up.  Remember to celebrate you everyday!

 

photos courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net by stockimages

Thanksgiving: A Grateful Heart

ThanksgivingThanksgiving is a time of family, tradition, love, abundance, and appreciation. It’s celebrated nationwide annually by all cultures and religions, and in other countries on different days in different ways.  Here in the USA, it’s the most heavily travelled day of the year marking it as one of the most popular national celebrations.  For many, it kicks off the holiday season beginning an exciting time of gathering, feasting, and memory making.

Our celebration of Thanksgiving began in 1621 at a Plymouth feast prompted by a good harvest.  President George Washington proclaimed the first nationwide Thanksgiving celebration on November 26,1789.  He declared it a day observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many favors received. It’s been an annual tradition in the United States since 1863.  In 1941, it became celebrated on every fourth Thursday in November, by federal legislation.

A Day of Gratitude:

On this day, acknowledge the many gifts you have received – especially the people in your life. Look around your home.  Who is there?  How do they, to the best of their ability accept, love, and support you?  We are social creatures.  We thrive when surrounded by our tribe, family, or people.  We depend on a sense of belonging,  community, and a common purpose.  In Abraham Maslow’s famous 1943 paper on the psychological theory of innate human needs, he identified belonging as a fundamental human need only second to physiological ones for food, water, and safety. Without belonging, loneliness, social anxiety, and clinical depression can develop. If you are lucky enough to have family and/or friends to celebrate with today, express gratitude to those pillars of your health and well-being.

Thanks for Abundance:

On the first Thanksgiving, the Pilgrims celebrated the abundant fall harvest.  Today, the celebration of abundance takes many forms including the food on your table, your health and that of loved ones, the roof over your head, the kindness of friends, and the giving and receiving of love.  It’s an opportunity to focus on the good.  The trials, tribulations, and disappointments of life still exist, but they’re not the focus of your attention today. Instead, devote your energy toward your good fortunes, no matter how small.  Without them, you would miss them.  Focus on what you DO have, not what you don’t.

An Open Heart:

When you open your heart, you open yourself to greater health and abundance.  This affects your physiology in ways that attract, create, and sustain more positive thoughts and behaviors.  The tons of research on gratitude and positivity by Martin Seligman and the School of Positive Psychology, Rick Hanson on the neuroplasticity of the brain, and Dan Seigel on interpersonal neurobiology (and more) demonstrate that we respond and create our experiences through the ways we perceive, relate to, and interpret the events around us. The events themselves do not create our experiences.  The way we think about them does. Catch your interpretations. Adjust them. Open up to the good.  Search out the silver lining. Trust, hope, and give thanks.

As you look around the dinner table today, embrace the good fortune and generosity of family, friends, and the many ways you’ve received nourishment. Today, choose to focus on the good. It surrounds you. Practice patience, love, and gratitude. Celebrate Thanksgiving and the plentiful harvest of your life!

“The thankful receiver bears a plentiful harvest.” – William Blake.