Unconditional Love of Mothers

Unconditional Love of Mothers

Mother Nature

We look to nature as being the perfect mother. She doesn’t love you because of what you do, but she loves unconditionally without judgment. She refuses to withhold her blessings from us just because we have wronged her in some way. Sometimes, Mother Nature is known as the Great Mother or Gaia, and she has given us a blueprint for what mothering is. Our mother has given us a safe have to live and thrive.

In the same way, our physical mothers adopt and show us the same unconditional love.

Spring Arrives

Throughout the season’s mother feeds us and provides beauty as she dresses her world in the colours of each season. Spring is when she colours our world alive with flowers, which burst through the once-frozen ground to begin their life cycle. In doing so bring new promise for more beautiful things to come.

Spring is the home of so many mothers! The birds and animals that enjoy this season are doing their best to prepare for when their babies come, building nests as a place where these offspring can thrive. Everywhere we look around us at springtime there’s evidence of motherhood.

It is against this backdrop that we hold our Mother’s Day in recognition for all they’ve given to us.

May’s Celebrations

In North America Mother’s Day is celebrated later than in Europe which is held in March. Probably because this is when their spring flowers begin to bloom. I mention this as I get to celebrate with the UK as my daughter lives there then again in May. I get the best of both worlds and double spoiling as it brings me connections with my female ancestors!

Now I’m the matriarch of the family the day is all mine. I no longer share it with mum physically as she died many years ago. Although the overwhelming grief and pain I felt at her death have softened and healed long ago. The feelings of sadness and nostalgia of the many mother’s days we did celebrate come to mind. I am both grateful and thankful we had mum in our lives as long as we did. It is never easy saying goodby to a parent regardless of your age. I can only begin to imagine what it was like to be an orphan as mum had been.

Mum never let herself be a victim to her circumstances and early life upbringing, Instead, she threw herself into creating a safe and loving world for my sister and me. A world she never had. Her family meant so much to her and was her greatest joy.

It’s during Mother’s Day, that my thoughts often go to her mum, my grandma Isabella, I only know her name. I wonder what she was like and would love to have known more. It is so sad that all those memories are no longer available, nothing was written down about their lives. Mum was only 5 when her mum died.

Family Constellations

It is through my study of this work that I’m aware of how our ancestors DNA lives on within us. I can find comfort in knowing I’m carrying a long line of women who’ve survived and thrived throughout the ages. How many women in my ancestral line never met their biological mother but were raised by adoptive parents, grandparents or relatives even friends. All of their values have been passed down regardless. For all of those women who gave themselves to create life.

Mothers therefore are complex many carrying the traumas from previous generation. None the less Mothers are the nurtures, the keepers of house and hearth. They represent creation and sacrifice, they’re the compassionate nurturing ones, tender and loyal.

Our mothers are our first teachers, they show us right from wrong and how to navigate life, keeping us safe throughout our lives with them. Our mothers give us our values they ignore our faults. She holds her grief and tears wanting to show her children how to laugh and to find joy.

As mother nature gives and demands little in return from us, it’s the same for mothers everywhere. Mother provides and helps her children grow and evolve allowing the next generation to thrive in ways not available to the previous ones.

For those who have had their mothers live into their elder years, it is difficult for them to live life without them. They’ve never known life without a mother by their side. When experiencing Mother’s Day they’re uncertain how they can survive Mother’s day.

My only suggestion as Mother’s Day approaches is for daughters whose mothers are very much in their lives that they cherish the time they have with each other. Also, ask questions about their ancestors as they spend time with their mothers and not wait as I did until it’s too late.

For those grieving their mother’s this year and are unsure what to do, I invite you to connect with the Great Mother, as so many have done in the past, or go out into nature, into the woods and let nature bring you solace as your mourn.

COVID Mother’s Day

This year because of COVID 19 lockdowns, there will be many, not able to celebrate the day in person with their adult children or their mothers. I’m going to take a leaf out of my mother’s book and instead of feeling sorry for myself, I plan to enjoy a walk in nature. I can be with our Great Mother and relish her wisdom and beauty. There I’ll celebrate all mothers in my lineage in remembrance of their lives, loves, sacrifices and losses as well as their joys and accomplishments because of them, I’m here. Thank you to all.

2020 COVID Grief – How to Create Less Stress for the Holidays

2020 COVID Grief – How to Create Less Stress for the Holidays

What are your plans for this holiday season?

The holidays are among us. A time of year that’s known for its busy nature that can lead to quite a load of stress.  However, this year there is a different kind of stress due to COVID. We’re unable to have large family gatherings so our connection to others and support will be limited. Many grieving may feel isolated especially if they aren’t part of a “bubble”.

Instead of having several invitations to gatherings collected on your counter, this year it may be to connect virtually.  Perhaps a long list of people you need to send holiday cards to awaits you. Then the daunting task of braving the shopping mall crowds to find the gifts for your loved ones.  All of this, on top of your normal life, can be overwhelming, to say the least.

Use this year as an opportunity to simplify and let go of expectations of what the holidays should be. If you celebrate Christmas and you want it to be as it always was, then ask for help. When you’re grieving a loss you may not have the energy to do everything you used to do.  Please know this is normal and perfectly OK to not do what you feel you should do.  Permit yourself to revisit what you’d like your holiday to look like.

A few Ideas to Simplify

You might enjoy writing and sending cards and you could use it as an opportunity to take your mind off your grief.   There are easier ways, you could consider sending electronic cards instead. Simplify your gift-giving this year, draw names instead of gifts for everyone.

Here are some of my favourite ways to navigate this normally busy and stressful time of year. I hope to make it a little less stressful for you and the season easier for you to navigate.   You can still create fond memories and perhaps your new activities will stand the test of time and be ones you decide to implement again.  

These secret weapons of mine include…

Put forth great effort to be present

For sure it’s difficult, I understand.  It’s almost a reflex to pick up our phones and scroll through Facebook or our email when we have a free moment – do you do the same?  One way I like to dodge this is to leave my electronics in another room.  Don’t even allow yourself the temptation to pick up your phone and disengage from what you were planning on doing.  When I’m feeling particularly scatterbrained, what helps ground me is focusing on my senses.  What do I smell?  What do I hear?  What do I feel? 

Stopping and thinking through what’s going on around you at that very moment brings you into the present moment unlike anything else.  It’s a wonderful tool to use to dial in and be present – and is a great tool to use year-round, not just during the holidays!

Often when you’re grieving you can become so disconnected by being in the past and this exercise can help you in those moments.  Deep breathing is another way to connect you to yourself, breathing can also help to calm you down as it alerts your body that you’re safe. You may enjoy this short breathing meditation for those times when you’re feeling overwhelmed.

Give up those expectations as I mentioned earlier 

A lot of the stress we put on ourselves this season lies in the notion that we expect things to be perfect.  That’d be lovely, of course.  Therefore, dropping the expectations of perfection will allow you to be prepared for when something may spring up.  Joy can be found in each situation. When things don’t go exactly as planned spend your energy finding gratitude in your circumstances and enjoy your time as much as possible.  Tis the season to be loving and caring but perhaps extend this to yourself first by simplifying.

Find time to move

It’s incredibly important to keep movement in your schedule, no matter how busy you may feel.  Even if it’s just a brisk walk after lunch or dinner. Make it a habit to bundle up in your favourite scarf and winter coat to go for a walk alone to clear your mind, or with someone, you enjoy being around.  Being outside with others providing your social distancing and wearing a mask is acceptable and preferable during this time.  Having time outside in nature, breathing in the fresh air, while burning off some calories and keeping your heart rate is important self-care.

What are your favourite ways? 

  • How do you get some movement in during the cold months? 
  • What activities did you enjoy as a child?
  • Do you enjoy visiting new towns or being in nature?

For me, I enjoy taking walks in nature and I’m fortunate to have many that I can take a short drive to.  A good brisk walk helps clear my mind or I may take time to think about my loved ones who are no longer with me.  Walking is an opportunity for me to practice mindfulness and focus just for the walk on everything my eyes see.

Coming home and having hot chocolate, cheers me up knowing I’ve burnt a few calories so I can look forward to that guilt-free!

PS I’m holding additional Grief Movement Flow hours in the New Year. You can email at anne@understandinggrief.com to be added to the waitlist.

The benefits of grief movement help you get out of your head and stop the chatter and rumination as you move into your body. As you move back with awareness connect to your breath and move your spine in gentle ways you begin to connect to yourself. During grief, it’s easy to tense up in a protection mode creating shallow breathing and rigidity along your spine. Through these gentle flow movements, you connect to your emotions and allow them to flow through causing your body to relax and your breath to deepen.

Labels Don’t Define They Limit

Labels Don’t Define They Limit

"Too often we identify with our labels but labels limit us they are not who we truly are"

Labels Don’t Tell the Whole Story

Who you are is not defined by your name or even what you do in life for you are much more. Too often your self- worth is tightly tied to that of your work role or relationship label.

These are jigsaw parts adding colour and meaning to the whole of who you think you are. You wear many roles and hats but they aren’t who you are either.

The Sum of the Whole

It’s through your roles and relationships that form the sum of your experiences that shape you.  The cycle of life continues as you grow older and change,  0ften adding new labels as you evolve into the next stage of your life.

Your name is used first to identify who you are and the clan you belong to. You become a son or daughter, sister or brother, girlfriend or boyfriend showing the world more of who you are.  Then you marry and a  new label of husband or wife is given, followed next by mother or father.

No Longer Five

I’m no longer a girl but my age puts me in the category of senior or elder but underneath I’m still me.  The same me I was at 5. Somehow I got buried under the weight of the labels I used to define me or hide behind.  Doing so gave me a false sense of self-worth.

It isn’t until death or major loss occurs, the great equalizer and it doesn’t matter which label was used it doesn’t stop the cycle of life from occurring.  Underneath we are all too human and with any loss, grief pays a visit and stays for a while, perhaps even a long while.   It is during this time that we have an opportunity to shake off our labels as we are brought to our knees, for truly what do they matter?

A Crisis in Identity

We call out “Who am I” when the label no longer fits.

An identity crisis occurs when we allow our self-worth to be defined by labels.  It is so important that we take care not to do so as our labels can easily be taken away.

Relationships can define us but we can become lost in them.  Often meshing and melding with “others” in our lives to fit in. We do this also to be loved and feel loved.  Each time we do so another piece of us is lost.

When someone or something is taken from us we hurt, we’re upset and a temper tantrum at the injustice is thrown.  It is now we must learn how to live our lives without the person and our label attaching us.   This is your opportunity to rediscover the YOU underneath.  The one that got buried living life.

You may feel broken and worn down by this experience but there is a part of you that is always whole, is always you.  It is simply waiting to be discovered again, dusted off and brought out into the sunlight to play and to dream again.

This is how grief coaching helps you find YOU after a loss.

If you’re ready to explore – please message me and let’s talk.  Your life is waiting for you but needs your participation.

7 Areas Affected by Grief

7 Areas Affected by Grief

Grief Work Begins with Your Grief Inventory for Healing

When you understand these 7 areas your grief can affect, you’ll realize why they say grieving is hard work.  When a loss occurs such as the death of a loved one, it is expected for you to feel pain and experience intense heavy sadness.  However, there are 4 main categories with each one encompassing 2 or 3 areas within the category to give us the 7 areas.

Having this information can help you to understand why you are feeling or what experiencing is normal when a person is grieving.  There are many losses and many changes going on simultaneously.

Its no wonder you can feel so overwhelmed and at times alarmed.  Take out your journal or have a piece of paper handy and markdown any of these listed below that may apply.

Psychological

Emotions

What are you feeling?  Do you have bouts of sadness, increased anger, fearful, guilt/shame what ifs, could/should have?

Thoughts

Difficulty concentrating, forgetful, overwhelmed, confused, thinking the same thought over and over?

Feelings

Do you feel empty inside, in despair, lonely, even helpless, yearning for something but you don’t know what? 

Physical 

Body

Check-in with your body now and see if you are experiencing: low energy, general body pains, tightness in your chest or throat, dizziness, sleeplessness, digestive issues, weight gain or loss, low libido, frequent colds?

Spiritual

Are you religious, do you have strong beliefs, participate in rituals and traditions, have strong connections or are you blaming the church or the God of your understanding for allowing whatever has happened to have happened?

No faith, but have strong beliefs in life, have your own philosophy and spirituality that you can draw comfort from?

Social

Relationship

Do you have good social and family supports? Do you find yourself withdrawing or isolating from them?  Are you less social than you were? Do you prefer your own company now? Is your love relationship becoming strained with more conflicts than before? Fewer friends and family members around due to a move or the family home being sold?

Society’s Attitudes

These are the myths and beliefs, you believe to be true but have never questioned i.e., it just takes time or you never get over grief are just a couple of examples.  Do people avoid you, embarrassed because they don’t know what to say or they feel uncomfortable around you?  You share your story but they are more interested in sharing theirs.  Friends/Family or well-meaning people see you as a project in need of fixing?  They avoid you because you share your story too frequently?

Download your Grief Inventory Chart and check off the ones that are applicable to you.  I am sure you were not aware that a loss, could have such an effect on so many areas of your life?

You probably long for the time when you can tell your story without feeling the pain and have your joy of life return so you can live it to the fullest.  Just know that you can, it is a choice.  Are you ready to make a commitment to yourself and your life?  If, yes, let’s connect so you can begin your journey.

Here is my email anne@understandinggrief.com and looking forward to hearing from you.

Bell’s Let’s Talk campaign is on to

Yes, Indeed, Let’s Talk

This truly is a brilliant way to have us talking about Mental Health which affects so many and what better way to bring a topic that has been in the shadows for so long out and shed light upon it?

Let’s come together to find ways to help each other cope with depression or schizophrenia and the myriad of other symptoms our Mental Health professionals deal with daily.

One way is to talk about it so that the stigma of having a mental disorder is lessened.  There are so many people suffering because they don’t want to Talk about It out of fear and shame. Time for less judgment.

Clearly more needs to be done but this is a great way to create awareness.

Long-standing Grief & Depression

Another awareness I’d like to create is how grief can add a person to this ever-growing list for those requiring professional help.  Grief if not dealt with can result in severe depression or suicide.  It can sap a person’s life for years after the death occurred.  Grieving is a full body response weakening the immune system and causing health issues.

Not everyone grieving will end up with severe depression or with the symptoms outlined above.  However, that is yet another topic to be discussed and explored.

As science advances unlocking the knowledge to help explain why some mental health issues occur can we then take steps to help prevent the onset.

Mindfulness, breathing, exercise, walking or journaling are some of the tools being used.  Reframing and working on mindset are yet others. Eating healthy and getting more sleep.  Learning to relax and taking days off our electronic devices are just some examples of techniques being implemented or suggested.

Giving our brains a chance to daydream and take time out is another.

However, nothing is ever quite as simplistic and if you feel you grieving and have been for a while please seek professional help.

Regardless of grief, reach out to someone you know and talk to them about what you are noticing.  A simple kindness, someone to speak to can make the world of difference.

Please let’s talk……..

As a grief coach, I am available. Please Chose life and Chose you because we are all here to make a difference in someone’s life.

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