What exactly IS a grief ceremony?

Around November of 2017, I heard about a grief ceremony for the first time through my Nature Based Coach Training. I had inquired about grief work because I had never heard of it but was intrigued when one of the founders of the program described for me a grief ceremony he had attended. My body shivered and I got that deep sense of knowing in my gut that said, “you must bring this to life here in your community.” It took a few months but eventually I held my first sacred grief ceremony. It was powerful and moving. Not just for the ones participating but for me as well. I decided to hold another one, then another one and now, I continue to host these sacred ceremonies the first Saturday of every month at The Seed to Star Collective.

The first question I usually get asked is, “what exactly is a grief ceremony?” followed up with “what do you do there?”

A grief ceremony is just that, a ceremony that honors your grief and allows you to express it freely without judgement. Most times the grief that wishes to be released has little to do with a loved ones passing. It is often a deep sense of who we thought we would be, or what we expected our relationships to look like when they are not that at all. Sometimes it is loss of an opportunity and other times, it can be loss of a physical location or thing that we held emotional ties with.

At these ceremonies, we all sit in a circle around some candles and whatever else I feel called to include in the center, maybe some nature or crystals. I set up a pillow in front of the candles and whoever is expressing their grief sits in the honored space. The rest of us sit quietly by and witness. Occasionally, myself or another in the group receives a message for the griever and we will share that, but mostly we sit in silence. This is a judgement free, safe space. What is shared here, stays here.

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I begin and end the ceremony with breathwork/meditation and gratitude as these feel like essential components in a ceremony to me. There is a short break near the end as the amount of energy that grief takes up can be overwhelming and sometimes we just need to walk it off. The ending meditation is just one more piece to ensure that we come back to ourselves and get grounded before heading back out in to the world.

As far as what to expect when you grieve, every persons share is different. One person may cry throughout, another may rage. There has been laughter, howling, whispers and even letters written. This is an anything goes space. I am not here to tell you how to grieve, just give you the safe space to do your own version of grieving, whatever that looks like.

My intention is for the ceremony not to be completed until I feel that the energy surrounding each of us feels lighter. That you feel freer and less congested. That the weight of your grief is relieved, even if it’s only by a small bit. Sometimes, the grief we carry is so large, it can only be unpacked little by little. And, that is ok.

Over the year since beginning this work, I have seen incredible shifts in the people that have had the courage to show up. This work is not for the faint of heart. When you are ready though, know that I will be waiting with open arms, a warm blanket, and compassionate witnessing.

To sign up for next month’s grief ceremony, purchase your ticket at Eventbrite here.

Let’s talk about Larry Nassar’s innocence

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As we continue the conversation about sex abuse and harassment, it is our natural inclination to want to place the blame on someone.

“The Harvey Weinstein’s of the world are bad.” “Larry Nassar is a monster.” “Any man who can treat a woman with such little respect is no man at all.”

Oh my God, yes, these men must face the consequences of their actions, no doubt.

But, once a movement comes along like #metoo, a general blame begins to happen. We begin to see how society has created a space where women are not to be treated as equal. We see how it has become generally acceptable for men to treat women like objects and disregard their needs. Women have adapted to this society by silencing our voice and treating ourselves the same way. Being made aware of this we will tolerate it no longer. This leads to all men being scrutinized and potentially regarded as ‘the enemy’.

Movements create change, and I thank God for the brave women bringing awareness to this inequality.

We must be careful, though. This can also lead to so much blame. Blaming the society, blaming those in power, and possibly even holding some silent blame toward our neighbors and friends. Maybe even our spouses.

Blame only leads to one thing. Shame. Shame doesn’t want to be acknowledged or seen. It wants to hide in the shadows and play a magic trick of ‘you can’t see me’. And, it wants to redirect your attention by showing you who else to accuse for your pain. Men may become ashamed of the ways in which they were raised and question their own integrity which leads to more blame of society. Women may become ashamed that they allowed anyone to treat them as inferior which leads to more blame of those who treated them this way.

It is our time now more than anything to bring shame to light. To acknowledge as women when we are blaming others blindly without acknowledging the humanity of who they are. For men to acknowledge that they can and will do better now that they know better.

We owe it to the next generations. Look at the face in this picture. This is my son. (With my other son behind him.) Look at his sweet innocence. The Harvey’s and Larry’s of this world once lived in this sweet innocence too. We must not forget that.

Together with my husband (whom I have placed so much blame on that at times I forgot the truth of who he was) we will teach these boys to listen to and respect women. To listen to their own hearts. To follow what they know to be true and in integrity with themselves regardless of what society wants them to believe. We will have hard conversations with them about the current state of the country right now, how it got to be this way, and what we can do to make the change.

Hopefully in the next 10 years, men and women together can bring enough shame to light that my boys will be encouraged to treat everyone they encounter as equal. But, if not, my husband and I will know that we have done what we could to change the course of history and create a new society.

A new society where we truly see one another’s hearts, not gender, not race, not religion, not stories about who the other might be, but their hearts which reflect their oneness with us.

How to create change:

  1. Feel your pain.
  2. Acknowledge your shame.
  3. Speak your truth.

Together we can do hard things.

All The Feels

I was talking with an intuitive coach who I admire the other day. I reached out to her for guidance and help because starting a business is tough. Starting a heart-centered business, even tougher. We had a great chat and I feel grateful that I was willing to be vulnerable and reach out to her in the first place.

As we were talking, I asked if she felt the way that I do after having a session with a client. I then proceeded to tell her what that felt like for me. She said, “You should write about that! People would love to know that.” Huh. I have been going crazy wondering where I would get content for my site and sometimes the thing we are looking for is right under our noses.

I have worked with over 50 clients with a total of over 75 hours. It truly is my happy place. I get nervous before I begin. What will I recommend? What if I don’t give them what they want? What if I’m not enough? What if I can’t connect with my intuition? Then I move into my breath and remember that the work does not come from me.

As I move into the session, I allow for Spirit/God/Energy/Love to work through me. There is no thought just compassionate listening and guided advice. The conversation is fluid, loving, and peaceful. If I recognize a disturbance in this peace, I return the two of us back to our breath. For, it’s in the breath that we remember who we are.

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When the session is over, I feel more alive than at any other time. I feel an immense swell of gratitude, for my client, for the universe, for my gifts, and my purpose in this world. My heart feels so full it threatens to spill over. My energy soars and I feel in that moment like I could run a marathon. I often take a moment to sit with that feeling. To savor it and create a memory that I can return to when things inevitably get tough in my life.

I know that I am meant to lift others up. To heal, inspire, and gently nudge them into a higher state of being. What a gift I have been blessed with. I thank God everyday for this life I have been chosen to live.

In light and love,

Melinda

 

Fleeing from anger

Anger can feel so uncontrollable at times. I meditate, I find peace, yet one minor thing can set me off again. It’s times like this that are so frustrating. I’m taking all the right action steps to align with myself and find serenity, so why am I still so f’ing angry?

I had one of these days yesterday. I thought to myself, “fine. If an hour long meditation isn’t going to cut it, then maybe I can become physical enough to remove it from my self. I decided to go out for a run. I knew it couldn’t be just any run. It had to be more than I had ever done before. (which was 7 miles) I ended up running 13.2. A full half marathon and then some. As I was running I kept thinking when this is all over I will feel so accomplished. I will know that I have no limitations. There will be nothing left to feel angry about.

Boy was I wrong. The thing with anger is, it has to be felt. I hadn’t wanted to feel it because I was afraid of taking it out on someone. So ironic because in denying it, I was taking it out on my kids, my husband and other drivers on the road. When hubby got home he asked how the anger was. I let him know it was still there, but that I didn’t know why and I didn’t know how to release it. I was beyond frustrated at this point. I just wanted to go to bed and ignore everyone. My body hurt, my head hurt and my spirit hurt.

It wasn’t until I began expressing the anger that I realized my error. It wasn’t anger I was feeling. It was fear. Fear that in order to live the life I want, I have to change too many things about my current life. I had attachment. I had ego. I had a desire to control not only how to achieve the things I want in life, but also what that outcome looked like. I cried. I released that fear. Not because I am giving up on the things I want, but because I know that the things I want do not come from me. They come from the Universe. From God. From Energy. Every time I try to control, that reminder that I am not in control bubbles up and in that fear, I get angry.

I don’t know what my life is going to look like a year from now, 5 years from now. I don’t know if I will get all the things I want out of life. All I know is that I am not in control and if my past is any indication of how the future will pan out, then the Universe has plans in store for me that are so much greater than I could create for myself. It’s time to surrender and allow for that once again.

In the meantime, I will cry when I need to, run when I need to (maybe not another 13 miles though), get angry when I need to, and find comfort when I need to. When all is said and done, I will lift my head high, release my future to the universe, be grateful for what I currently have and plod on, one foot in front of the other.

In light and love. xo

But, it wasn’t my fault, it was hers!

Don’t take things personally. Become nonreactive to the people who offend you. Every reaction someone has to you is a reflection of their story and has nothing to do with you. Great. Got it. But, what to do in the meantime when you get really pissed off?

Like everything on our spiritual growth, this is a practice. The first step is awareness. Become aware when you are being triggered by someone else’s actions. This may not happen right away. As a matter of fact, you may not even recognize it happened for days or weeks! But, regardless of how long it takes to recognize, congratulate yourself when the awareness happens. This is the beginning of non-reaction.

The next step is to practice becoming aware sooner. The more you recognize your triggers, the quicker you will recognize them until you are able to realize in the moment that you are triggered. How do I recognize I’m being triggered? A trigger may feel like an irrational anger or finding yourself repeating the story of what happened over and over again. The reason we get triggered is because the aspects of ourself that need to be healed have been touched. (I will dive into the practice of healing in a future blog)

Next, we can begin to practice deep breathing in the moments when we are triggered and this is where we begin to witness our Truth. We see that the reaction we are having has nothing to do with the story and everything about a need to be healed. We witness that the other person’s reaction has nothing to do with us and everything to do with their own experiences and need for healing.

Finally, don’t be afraid to ask for help.

This has been a practice I have been working on for a few years. This morning the perfect opportunity for growth presented itself. I was out for my daily run and as I was crossing a main road, I noticed a woman making a right hand turn in my direction who didn’t appear to be slowing down. Fine. I slowed down. But, then she did slow down, so I continued running across until I realized slowing down was all she was willing to do. She continued coming in my direction and I knew if I didn’t race my way across I would be hit and it was too late to let her pass. I was livid! Who does this? She clearly saw me and had no respect for my right to cross. She wasn’t obeying the unspoken rule of stopping a fair distance away to allow me to cross.

I yelled and cursed at her as I continued to pray not to be hit. After safely crossing the road, I let out a few more curse words and then recognized that I was triggered. Of course, who wouldn’t be in that case, right? The thing is, was I willing to allow that to take up any more time out of my day or was I willing to see that she was in her story and I was in mine? I knew I didn’t want to waste any more energy on wondering why she did this or continuing to curse her for her actions and I wasn’t sure I could do this on my own, so I prayed to the angels. I invited the Angel of Light to shine some peace on this woman’s heart and heal whatever was inside her that caused her to feel she needed to rush her way through life. I then asked for the same thing for me. Within seconds I felt chills run through my body as I knew the work was being done.

That was over 6 hours ago and this is the first I have thought of that situation again. I know that my practice led me to the place of being able to be nonreactive. And, it was only in this nonreactive state that I remembered the Angels are always available for assistance. Practice and ask for help. Before you know it, peace will become your natural state of being.

Blessing you all with light and love,

xo