New ideas ~ A good book ~ And, writing appetizers
Let go of any dead
Trees let go of hundreds of leaves each year.
These are leaves they’ve nurtured and fed for six months . . . leaves that protected them from the hot summer sun . . . leaves that added color to their otherwise blah, brown bark.
And, all this makes me wonder if us humans could do that?
Could you let go of hundreds of things you’re attached to, things you nurtured and loved . . . or things that became attached to you each year?
I’m not sure I could. And I’m somewhat of a minimalist.
While nature lets go right now… we humans hang on.
We keep things we can’t or won’t use.
We hold onto old traditions that may or may not be good for us. Keep broken, old ornaments because they belonged to so-and-so and can’t throw them away.
After some time…these old things accumulate in our basements, closets, and garages.
Why? Why do we keep things we no longer can or will use?
letting go is hard.
After all, we might need that old purse. Someone may ask about Grandpa’s cigar box. Or the trinket we bought on vacation ten years ago. What would we do without those things then?
I don’t know…
But I do know letting go is not such a bad idea.
There are plenty of old things I cherish and use daily.
But, the problem is we sometimes keep things for emotional attachment reasons only . . . things that hold us back . . . and at the same time add to our collection.
Nature naturally lets go right now . . . and we humans gear up to grip, hold and collect more.
It’s not our fault. November is the start of our holiday season.
Everywhere you look you are encouraged to buy, buy, buy.
Buy gifts for your spouse and kids. Gifts for your family. Gifts for neighbors and friends . . . and the mailman, the hairdresser, and anyone else we feel society says we are
supposed give to. And, let us not forget to give a gift to ourselves too!
We pack more into our homes . . . but we also pack more into our bodies!
We eat at Thanksgiving. At the Christmas parties of our family, relatives, friends, work, organizations… you name it there is a holiday party for it. We eat and eat … and eat. (The winter holidays only come once a year, right? So why not?)
Come January, the average person gains 1-2 pounds. At least according to WebMD. Though, it may feel more like 5-10!
I thought a lot about all this holding and packing on during the last few days…
I mean, really… if we are following the natural flow of nature (if you’re in the northern hemisphere), then we should be November cleaning!
Purging the way the trees, bushes, and flowers do… they die off to make room for the new.
Interestingly, this is also the time
of year when many people experience significant loss in their life – or are reminded of past losses.
For some, it may be a close loved one. A relationship. A job. Or, a routine we loved.
Unlike the trees, we cling to those losses - our loved one, their belongings left to us, those memories...perhaps, that is why we hold on and pack on more.
Last year around this time, I lost a best friend. It was the most difficult experience of my life. And still is, though not as raw as it once was.
As I thought about November and nature… I realized it was time to wash some of her belongings. Belongings that until now hadn’t been washed since before her passing. I just couldn’t do it back then …
So… the November cleaning began at my house. And, I think I liked it.
As the December holidays approach, you may want to let go of your old leaves.
Let go of things you no longer need or use. Let go of uncomfortable feelings that
don’t serve your greatest good… like anger, resentment, jealousy, regret, and others only you truly understand.
But also, let go of relationships that physically, mentally, emotionally, or spiritually no longer support you in a healthy way. Focus on the new joy the spring will bring...
Letting go is not easy. And so, I wonder if trees, too, shed a few tears...
The loss of anything – whether it be leaves, a favorite item, or a loved one – stirs all kinds of anxiety and emotions.
It’s those emotions that make letting go difficult. What I love about this month’s recommended read is the author’s acknowledgement of that difficulty.
I share it with you, because it helped me work through the grieving process. A process that for many this time of year, becomes more difficult...as they anticipate the holidays without someone they love. And, you may be experiencing this yourself right now.
No matter what life gives you…be
strong like the trees. Flow with the wind and allow yourself to let go of your old leaves to make way for the beauty of spring – all those new things you desire.
And, just like the trees, you never truly lose those leaves...parts of them will always swirl around you and within you forever.
All the best,
Healing Words for Difficult Times
Grief and the grieving process make people uncomfortable. So, I’ll talk about this gingerly. Because, even though it’s hard, people – the grievers - need to talk and be understood.
Healing After Loss: Daily Meditations
for Working Through Grief,
By Martha Whitmore Hickman
That’s what I love about this month’s recommended book. Comforting words to help you cope with a loss you experienced recently or old loss that returns during the holidays …
Author, Martha Whitmore, provides short, one-page daily thoughts on grieving. And, she’s an expert – having studied it and experiencing the terrible loss of her young daughter.
She calls these short writings meditations, though there is no expectation that you sit on the floor and chant “Ommmm.” To me, they are simply simple, loving messages that help guide your grieving process.
The book contains 365 messages – one for each day of the year. Each begins with a quote and is followed by commentary to discuss how the quote relates to you and your grief journey.
The daily message ends
with a gentle one to two sentences quote or words of wisdom – something for you to think about or try to do as you move through your grief.
Some of the quotes come from The Bible (such as Psalms) or another religious book. But most are simply thoughts about grief from great works of literature.
Though at some point you realize she is probably Christian, she includes all beliefs. And, that makes this book good for anyone with any religious or nonreligious background.
What I love about this book is the author’s kind, gentle way of talking to you. She embraces you with her words.
She tells you that while people want to help during this difficult time, they may not know what to say. They may not have experienced such profound grief and at times say the wrong things too. Even though they don’t mean to…
Whether you lost someone 20 or 30 years ago or yesterday…this book will help you digest your feelings.
And most of
all, it can help you embrace and accept your own grief while acknowledging that your love one and your connection to him or her will always remain.
P.S. If you’re looking for a book with specific techniques to help you deal with grief – to help you move through extreme sadness, anger, or other feelings, another book I recommend is Grief Healing Techniques: Step-by-Step Support for Working Through Grief and Loss by Calistoga Press. It suggests physical things you can do to allow grief to natural flow through you, as well as special ways to remember your loved one.
Whet Your Writing Appetite
with these . . .
HOT and FRESH Writing Appetizers –
Here are three writing appetizers to get you thinking and writing:
(AKA: Writing Prompts)
1. Write about a tree – any tree you find particularly interesting, a tree that calls to you. Write about a time you noticed it letting go of its leaves. What happened? What did it look like, sound like, smell like…? What do you think the tree thought as this was happening?
2. Think of something that was difficult to let go of – perhaps it was a toy as a child, a best friend who moved away, or your pet that passed on. Write about that loss, what made it so difficult, and why.
3. What is one thing you wanted to let go of – something you couldn’t wait to say goodbye to? What was that thing (a person, an item, a city you no longer enjoyed living in…) and why were you so darn happy to let it go? Write about that.
Note to New Subscribers: The writing prompts can be used in the classroom or for creative free writing. Enjoy and be creative!
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