Archive of ‘Healing’ category

Crystals for Healing, Health and Wellbeing throughout your Grief

By Jill Hochman

 

Do you like stones? Rocks? crystals? Do certain ones of them have special meanings for you? Well, there could be reasons why. I am writing this to help explain what many people believe are healing powers of crystals.

Like with other spiritual healing methods, crystal healing is NOT medicine.It can be complementary to traditional medicine or it can just be something to help you cope with overwhelming emotions. To be fair, there are many people who claim crystal healing is pseudoscience.

Here is why I think they may be wrong:

  • Crystals are made up of chemicals and each has a unique structure. Their chemical structure reflects a balance of their electromagnetic fields or their energy. It is like with colors. The colors are the way that light bends when it hits a chemical structure. So if you take it as true that everything is made up of energy, then each crystal’s own energy can impact the energy of the things around it.

 

  • Each of us has energy centers in our bodies. These are called chakras in yoga, Reiki, acupuncture, and other forms of alternative healing. Each chakra has an energy flow to it that needs to be balanced in order for us to feel our best. So, the energy of a crystal can impact our chakras and can have an effect on the way we feel.

For a more scientific explanation, see this from the Book of Stones:

“When we bring the crystal into our electromagnetic field, two things occur.

The electromagnetic frequencies carried by the stone will vibrate with related frequencies in our own energy field through the physical law of resonance, creating a third larger vibration field.

The nervous system is attuned to these shifts in energy and transmits this information to the brain. The frequencies stimulate biochemical shifts that affect the physical body and shift brain function.(Simmons & Ahsian 2005, 28)

Each of our chakras and it’s energy flow is related to a color. These colors follow the colors of the rainbow: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and violet. Red is our root chakra located at the base of our spines. Violet is our crown locate at the very top of our head.

The color of each crystal can help balance our energy flows by interacting with the energy of our chakras. If a chakra’s energy is blocked, the energy of certain crystals can help free it or vice versa if the energy of a chakra is overactive. It makes sense that the color of the crystal can be a reflection of the electromagnetic energy flow that it has. Some colors go together well, some conflict. Do goes the crystal energy.

There are lots of books and information on the web about which crystals can help with particular health or emotional issues. I find that a few crystals help me more than others.

 

  • Rose quartz (a nice pink stone) makes me feel less out of control with sadness when I hold onto one or hold it while trying to meditate.

 

  • Amethyst helps me realize my grief is real and that I can let it ce without feeling guilty.

 

  • If a day is especially sad and I feel I need some humor or something to perk me up a bit, I will hold sunstone.

 

Sometimes I put these stones in my pocket or bra (you know that extra picket we have) while going about whatever needs to be done.

Another helpful experience I have had with crystals is going to a crystal sound bath. Crystals can be shaped into bowls and played with a soft flannel type pointer that gets rotated around the top of the bowl. Each crystal bowl emits a different frequency which can help change the energy flowing through our chakras. The sound baths are extremely relaxing and one of my favorite treats.

Feel free to look up healing properties of crystals to see what may help you. Or, take a trip to a crystal shop near you and hold different stones. If one feels right, chances are it is something that might help you feel a bit better.

That Doggie and The Widow

By Julia Steier

Those nights, the dreadful, pain wincing nights staring up at the vast whiteness of the ceiling listening to the sweet low breaths of my dog Bodie. In the days immediately after my husband George died, I would stay up crying wondering how I didn’t know he was dying. Love is blind, you can trick your mind into imagining something is not real, although everyone around you can see the truth. The rose colored glasses protected me from the barrage of agony so I could stay hopeful and optimistic in his final days and hours. Though I am so angry at myself, I now believe my ignorance allowed for him to transition peacefully.

Bodie felt the emptiness and was grieving too. His favorite thing was to perch atop George’s belly while he laid on the couch. Gazing around and supervising his two bi-pedal housemates. But in his death Bodie would recover to the empty side of the bed to keep me warm and press against my chest to help heal the dead space behind my ribs.

On weekends, George would pull his guitar out and make up songs about Bodie and his infatuation with his squeaky ball. This little critter would wag his tail so hard his back legs barely touched the ground. George even made a Meetup group so Bo could make other terrier friends. This dog really hit the jackpot when he adopted George.

Though, I didn’t realize George was dying, Bodie knew. Bodie begged to stay with him one evening and was being rather contentious about it. I’d pick him up and put him on the bed and he would hop off and run back into the living room to be with his favorite man. I wasn’t in the mood to fight with a 20lb cairn terrier. So lifted him up onto the hospital bed which was the newest addition to our living room set up. He circled around twice then rested his head on George’s knee. I kissed both of them goodnight. The next morning our man was gone and our pack was down to two.

Those days afterwards were brutal, almost like a constant ringing in my ears, but there was no sound to lock into and it became maddening. I felt like a stranger in my apartment, living amongst weapons that cut me so deep but never enough to kill me. Pictures on the walls laughing at me and showing me once upon a time I had it all. Cancer stole George and my life.

Bodie started jumping off the couch or bed and tuck behind the door, whimpering. His high squeals were like a fire alarm. I’d rush over to him, collecting him in my arms and rock him like a baby. Kissing his head while my tears fell on his snout. I’d call my parents or my sister, because the pain was so profound. Never realizing the hour of the day it was. 3am or 8pm, it all seemed the same to me. Time stopped being time, it was just wasted moments where I had to figure out what happens next and spin around the same thought of “why am I still here?”

I didn’t know what to do, but Bodie knew what I needed.

My social worker wrote a note for me to bring my little guy to work to help comfort me. I was coaching lacrosse at a small university in New Jersey. I went back to work a week later because, well, because I didn’t want to stay in the apartment that no longer felt like home. Sitting in the living room where I had to watch my husband die wasn’t exactly my idea of paradise. So I went to work with my most precious cargo, my dog.

Bodie loved going to work. When we went into the office, he’d run laps greeting all the other coaches. He was like a loose piglet at a rodeo, running around and around. Having him with me made days more bearable, and I became more social. I talked to people simply because Bodie would run up to them to say hello. Bodie re-socialized me after the trauma of losing George.

Though, driving to work I battled with mental demons of whether to drive my car off the bridge or not. But looking at my bearded passenger and how eager he was to see all his bi-pedal friends, my fantasies of bridge driving stayed locked in my head. These wonderings were real and consumed my thoughts more often than I would like to admit.

At work, when grief got the best of me I’d take him out for a walk in the forest and he would chase squirrels and other rodent things. One time a ground hog refused to run away and nearly two feet from it, Bodie stopped barreling towards it and ran back to me. The ground hog was fearless and my little guy showed mercy and it made me chuckle. I started developing a routine and Bo gave me a reason to wake up each day.

We moved to an apartment across the street from the school and there we rebuilt our lives. My insomnia was more productive in a safer neighborhood. Those nights staring at the ceiling listening to him breathe, I’d wake him up and take him for a walk. He pounced at the opportunity, regardless of time of day.

Wrangling an excited cairn for a walk is tough, but once the leash was secured he’d grab it by his mouth and walk me instead. In the morning when I had 6a practice, Bodie would be hopping and running in circles ready to make the practice plan and see the players. He adopted all 20 players that season and chased them on the lacrosse field. I couldn’t help but laugh. Bodie helped me realize it was okay laugh.

On weekends, we would walk to grab a cup of coffee at a local shop and the owner allowed me to bring him into the store. He’d lean against my legs as I ordered, like a scared little kid trying to hide behind their mother. The kindness of the owner showed me how to be grateful even on the darkest days.

Parents would stop us on walks to see if their kids could pet him, and Bodie always sat down at my feet, gazing up at me with his big brown eyes while little hands patted him all over and sometimes tugged his ears. He taught me patience and acceptance.

I needed to accept this new life because the old one was never coming back. As many tears I shed, tantrums I threw, nights I stayed up wide awake, my old life vanished. But I can take the lessons from the past and apply them to bettering my new one.

We would go on 3-5 mile walks a day, and our bond became stronger. Even those days where it was pouring rain, he would look at me earnestly and knew leaving the apartment would be best for both of us. Walking wasn’t just for his stimulus and exercise, it gave me the opportunity to look around me. Soon enough, I felt my head lifting a little higher toward the sun and finally allowing the shadows to fall behind.

Bodie trained me to accept the fact life pushes forward and everyday there’s two options:

  1. Hide behind the door whimpering. OR
  1. Grab the leash and take control.

But then one evening while at the dog park, he wandered away from me. When I caught up with him, he had adopted a new man. And that’s when I realized all those painful nights, staring up at the ceiling, barely breathing, it would lead me here. Lead me to finally feeling at home and falling in love.

5 Reasons Why I Will Not Remove His Pictures If I Remarry

By Sabra Robinson

Hearing something a hundred times isn’t better than seeing it once – Chinese proverb.

It’s been five years since my husband passed away but honestly, it still feels like five days.

It still feels like I’m still sitting in the front row of the funeral home staring intensely at his handsome made-up face which beautifully neglected his lupus scars and bald spots.

It still feels like I’m at the hospital the night before he received his wings, laughing away at corny jokes, eating chicken and sipping down the strawberry jello.

It still feels like the day in the bedroom when he realized the severity of his illness and cried in my arms like I’ve never seen a man cry.

But most of all, it still feels like the day we both apologized to one another for the wrongs we’ve done and vowed to forgive and forget.

But it’s not.

Today is a different day.

Today is a just another day of living, and I have vowed to keep his memory alive in plain view. And by doing so, I’ve vowed to never remove his pictures from my home, no matter what, no matter who asks, no matter if I remarry, which led me to write 5 reasons why I will never take them down.

1) For Me

A picture is worth a thousand words. This Chinese proverb (some versions vary) exemplifies so much truth for me and I’m sure for many others. Each picture, including the frame, presents a unique memory for me, like the picture of he and I on the Spirit of Baltimore cruise where I showed off my favorite white shirt or the one of he and my dad toasting champagne at my wedding.

I need to see his pictures. I’m a visual person; I always have been because hearing something a hundred times isn’t better than seeing it once.

2) For the Children

I attempted to remove his pictures about three years into my widowhood because I just couldn’t bear the grief and depression. I didn’t want him to see me emotionally unbalanced. But that lasted two seconds because my kids quickly shamed me. I vowed never to remove them again.

3) For the Resilience in me

Staring at his face on a daily basis reminded me of how far I’ve come since 2012. Recently, I found a stack of photos that I had finally removed from the poster board that was displayed at his funeral. My sister, my sister-in-law, and sons rummaged through many photo albums to find just the right photos to showcase for that day. The photos helped to captivate the very essence of who he was. I knew that the appearance of normalcy if only for that one day, was necessary for others to see; at least for the sake of the kids. But it soon ended shortly after the calls, texts, and visits. Today, I can honestly say that my grief is no longer held hostage; healing helped launch my resilience.

4) For the In-Laws

The pictures will always be a gentle reminder to his family that he will never be forgotten.

5) For My Future Husband (If I decide to remarry)

Some may view this as a selfish act towards my future husband. It’s not because if he should receive his wings before I receive mine, he would be honored the same way. I would only hope he would do the same.

It’s not like I’m stuck in a time-warp – I’m not.

It’s not like I haven’t dated – I have.

It’s all about celebrating his memory no matter what phase I am in life.

If I decide to remarry, I pray that my new husband is able to withstand his memory with me, too – that he can also relate to how deep the depths of grief can reach, go away, then come back again.

I pray that he understands that I may sometimes recall the good times, not comparing the two, but simply and respectfully embracing the unexpected flashbacks that so easily may make its way into my thoughts.

I pray that he also understands that a tear may shed here and there and he will understand.

I pray that he will understand that grief is a part of life and it will never end, that it will recede over time, and that a portion of it needs to be memorialized somehow.

But the truth of the matter is, there will always be that one memory that will still feel like it happened just yesterday.

This is my story and I’m sticking to it.

Triathlon of Grief, Fear then Strength

By Julia Steier

My first race after my husband passed is so vivid. Pulling up to the waterfront, watching the Hudson River lap against the shoreline as my friend and his wife unhooked our bikes from the back of his car.

I can’t believe this is happening.

At day break 10 months and three days earlier I was at my husband’s bedside wiggling my hands underneath his body. Cancer stole him. His final breath escaped him and I was trying to absorb his warmth before he was taken away from me forever. I needed to feel him because time was precious. And when one area became cold I would try to find another warm spot. I held on to his warmth until they took him and that’s when the nightmare commenced. It would be the last morning with him.

I didn’t want this, I didn’t ask for this. This wasn’t supposed to happen. Not to me. How was I supposed to breathe without him? We had our lives to build. And now — and now I’m alone.

At the riverfront, the sky blazed with a magnificent glow as the sun woke up. The thick cool air twisted my stomach and my heart pounded in my throat like a metronome as time pulled closer to the start of the triathlon.

I set up my station alongside other experienced triathloners. They zipped up their wetsuits with their cycling gear underneath. They weren’t going to waste time between moving from swim to biking to running. If you cut down the time between changing, the better your overall time would be. I didn’t own a wetsuit, instead I wore bright purple yoga pants, a sports bra and then threw my swimsuit over the whole thing. It seemed practical to me. But I stood out as inexperienced, and I saw the side stares, shoulder shrugs and heard the whispers. But my friends were there for support and guidance. They believed in me.

But I didn’t know what I was doing.

Everyone could see I didn’t belong there. I was different. I had gone through months of hell preparing for this moment. My limbs twitched with excitement, my palms were sweaty like it was my first date. I was ready.

The race organizer corralled all the participants to the riverfront to jump in and get ready for the start. Some gingerly approached the water, others stretched their shoulders out before slipping in. But me, as if it were a hot humid summer day I leaped into the water. The girl in the bright purple yoga pants, the one without the wetsuit, the girl borrowing a bike that’s too big for her, the girl who doesn’t belong, the girl who’s the third wheel.

I was the girl who lost her way.

The river was colder than what I was anticipating. It felt like someone was pulling apart my ribcage. The sun was hanging low and the reflection on the river was blinding. What am I doing here? I started wading in the water to fight the current. The force of the current was pulling me downward as river water choked me. I tilted my head up, gasping for air, barely staying afloat. It was unforgiving and the current kept tugging at me. The safety rope was within an arms length and I reached for it to keep from drifting away. But my chest continued to feel like it was pulling apart, as if a larger force was filleting me like a fish to rip my guts out. I couldn’t hold on for much longer. Blow the fucking horn, start the goddamn race.

Because I was about to drown.

Like a steam whistle on a training passing by, the race began. I let go with a flurry of other swimmers scratching at my legs and their feet inches from my face. I had to get away from them, I needed to be on my own so I could stretch my stroke in open water. I wanted to be alone so I could find my stride. With every reach and kick, I was one stroke closer to getting through this mile swim before clipping in and lacing up for 31 more.

I did it, I finished and I survived.

On September 28th, 2014 in 2 hours and 58 minutes and 39 seconds, my entire life shifted. I felt unstoppable. I wasn’t just a widow, I became a triathlete.

And it wasn’t supposed to happen.

At least not to me.

I never wanted to be a triathlete.

The hardest situation is watching your entire life fall apart and not being able to stop it or slow it down. All you can do is watch it come undone and see your future engulfed in flames, your dreams vanish, and your purpose and worth disseminated.

And then it’s time to reassemble. Whether you want to or not.

A broken path reveals itself covered in bramble and shards of glass of a life you can no longer return to. It’s a path I didn’t want to travel down, but what other option is there?

Everything has changed. So now it was time to begin to believe I was as strong and brave as others perceive me to be. Even though I knew deep down I’ve been burned alive and was just a shell of a person I used to be. But somewhere between the grief there’s hiccups of pride. I found support in people I never expected and I began to feel a love that was missing. So I continued marching forward on this lonely journey, one mile at a time.

My husband George fought cancer, and as he was fighting he enjoyed life to the fullest. I felt him pushing me to become stronger than I could’ve ever imagined. And that summer when I was on the trails running, zipping along the streets on my bike, pulling myself through the water, I started learning how to appreciate life again. When my body ached, I thought of him and his courage. And to honor him I kept on fighting too.

I embraced the discomfort because how much further outside the comfort zone could I possible get? Through everything I’ve gone through I felt different. And I should— because I am different.

I’ve done 15 total races since September 2014 and this October 2017 I’ll be running my first marathon. I never thought I would be capable of this kind of exertion. But I had to lose everything first, and then rebuild. No physical pain could ever match my emotional trauma. And I accept that. I bear the W and I’ll continue forward and discover inner strength only George knows I have.

What Really Matters Now?

By Wendy Simpson

What really matters?

I’ve asked this a hundred times over the last 3 years since my husband’s diagnosis of cancer.

Before he passed, in the early stages of cancer diagnosis shock, what mattered was fighting it. Our lives were consumed with appointments and treatments and side effects. I didn’t even think of sadness or defeat.  We focused on victory and being warrior strong.  Oh we loved each other and what mattered was fighting the enemy, the big “C”.  Then came the big “T” the word “terminal.”  What mattered shifted to making time slow down, still fighting but the enemy was now… time, and somehow we needed to make every second count.  Life became more and more precious as we had long conversations without words. Then suddenly, there was our last dance and good bye. All that mattered left with my beloved that day. And, for a long time, nothing mattered.

It was in this dark place of death, that I saw what I couldn’t see in the light of life.  I saw how precious and life-giving relationships were.  In the midnight of my loss the lights of frienship and sisterhood stood out more intensely.  It was as if God had placed beautiful night lights along the path I must walk, so that, even in the deepest darkness of my grief I’d see a way through it all.  In the valley of the shadow of death, I was not alone.

So… what matters now?

I am asking that question again… it’s been 2 and half years since my beloved husband and I had our last dance and I saw him into heaven.  I’d have to say, along with the beautiful relationships God’s given me, I’d add…  purpose to what matters.  We do not find purpose alone.  Purpose is in the moment you reach out into the stories and lives of sisters and friends.  It’s looking into their eyes and seeing their heart.  When someone took the time to look into my eyes, see my heart and hear my grief… I mattered.  And… when I mattered… I had purpose…  and meant something to someone.

It’s when I realized that God gave me life so I could speak life into someone else that this journey mattered.  It’s when I could stand in the gap for someone hurting and pray for them that I found the ache of my grief lessen.  It still aches terribly, but I have hope, that one day it will soften.

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Wonder Widow

By Michelle Miller

I first realized I had superpowers about two months after my husband’s death. I was out of state at a birthday party for a good friend whose other friends only knew me from a distance. Last they had seen me was years ago with my (alive) husband and our two children at a wedding.

Word spread quickly through the party that day that I was now widowed to (gasp!) suicide, after a party go-er casually asked me, “So where’s John at this weekend?” and I responded with, “In an urn in his parents living room…that’s where bad husbands who shoot themselves have to go.”

And gradually as the whispers and stares begin to increase (along with the vodka in my fruit punch), I felt a cold sensation ascend my body. I was morphing into: Wonder Widow, and my first super power was the cloak of invisibility. I think I even sprouted a cape…an invisible one of course.

No one could see me once they heard I was widowed, let alone talk to me and they liked it this way. I did not.

I proceeded to get drunk and talk to my reflection in the bathroom mirror every fifteen minutes or so for the remainder of that party. I don’t remember what I said to drunk Michelle, but I do remember feeling small that entire weekend and completely inhibited by my invisibility. I wanted so badly to be normal; to have normal conversations with The Norms (Norms:normal people living normal, non-traumatized lives), but I was no longer normal. I was Wonder Widow, able to repel humans and become invisible in two sentences or less!

As widowhood dragged on, the next superpower that was brought to my attention was flying; which wasn’t nearly as graceful or cool as it sounds because when Wonder Widow flies, she’s basically just catching air as she falls from the bar stool to the sticky, old-beer floor.

Worthless invisible cape.

Years went by with my superpowers overpowering me until I discovered the superpower that changed everything: My Super Strength.

It started slowly at first with the discovery that my ability to become invisible could be a good thing. The Norms didn’t want me around? Well good, I don’t want to be around them either! I began to use my super strength to take my power back as I dropped the widow bomb in conversations as early as possible with strangers to gauge if they were a Norm or a Cray (Cray: crazy, traumatized people with dark senses of humor). The Norms would thankfully make me invisible and the Cray’s would laugh at my dead husband jokes.

If I could use my widow super powers to weed out The Norms and create bonds with The Crays, what else could I do?

I could fly. Eloquently this time.

I realized this last Tuesday when I was flying down the Pacific Coast Highway with the windows rolled down and Courtney Love blaring on my car stereo. Courtney Love always makes me think of flying off of bar stools. Try as I might though, I could not recall the last instance in which I flew off a bar stool. As of late, I had been too busy soaring above my drunken depression and looking down at the buildings of my past traumas that seemed so very surmountable to me now. It was 78 degrees, not a cloud in sight, and the smell of the ocean intoxicated me. As I thought to myself, “I still can’t believe I get to live by the beach,” my cape not only became visible, but also became covered in glitter.

On that Tuesday, I was an eloquently flying Wonder Widow on a secret Wonder Widow mission.

The mission? Gumballs. Yes, I Wonder Widow, was following a guy around San Diego county who is selling me his Gum Ball machines. I really want to make a “ball” joke right now, but I wont because I am a fucking lady.

Why was I buying some guy’s gumball machines? Because widowhood is fucking weird, that’s why! Five years ago I was living in a tiny little desert town that no one has ever heard of, working a 9-5 with dreams of going to seminary and growing old with my husband. Now I am living in San Diego with my best friend, five kids, a dwarf bunny and a beta fish that has icks disease, with dreams of owning five-hundred gumball machines so that I never have to go back to working a 9-5 again.

If that’s not flying eloquently, I don’t know what the hell is.

Widowhood takes. It doesn’t care if you are down so low that you are buried; it will kick you anyway. It doesn’t care about your open wounds; it will salt them. Widowhood will take your power from you, and any power you do have, it will use it against you.

The power you once had over your emotions? Gone. The power you once had over how people perceived you? Gone. The power you once had to say no to that cocktail at 8am? Gone.

But once widowhood has beaten you down, broken you beyond recognition and unmercifully buried you under twenty-five tons of shit, you will be presented with a choice. You can go deeper, stay where you are at, or put on your damn cape and fly.

Living through widowhood means that you have been forced to hold your head up high among the whispers and stares. It means you have tied your toddlers shoes while crying. Widowhood means you have felt the physical weight of his old shirt at night as you sleep in it and you still kept right on breathing. Widowhood means you have carried his burdens and yours and possibly those of your children every damn day since you heard the words, “I’m sorry ma’am, he’s gone.”

Widowhood though, also means you have super strength. It’s there whether you have taped into it or not. Over time, you will have muscles the size of the universe that have been built over sleepless nights, and screams, and tears, and a necessity to survive. Flex them  my little Wonder Widows! Thrive.

If She Were My Widow (In honor of National Widows Day)

By John Polo

Michelle,

It’s National Widows Day.

May 3rd.

I know you don’t pay a lot of attention to these type of things.

But I also know you heard.

I see you cry. Every single day.

It hurts me still.

I wish there was another way.

You know I fought so hard.

With all of my might.

I didn’t want to stop.

You and your daughter.

Both worth the fight.

My body was tired.

My mind so weak.

I had to stop fighting Michelle.

There was no cure to seek.

I want you to know, that you were always the one.

My love for you never went away.

It still hasn’t.

It never will.

By the way, the baby we lost.

I have him.

Yes. A son.

He looks just like you.

Thank goodness for that.

Although he has my cheeks.

Nice and fat.

I know you feel alone.

You’re sad and scared.

You cry out to God angrily, and ask him why I could not be spared.

The answers you are looking for, won’t come to you now.

Just know that eventually, you will see why, and you will see how.

I want you to know that I was there at hospice.

Through the sleep, I saw.

What you did for me.

The tears

The love.

That was pure.

That was raw.

I heard the eulogy that you read to me.

Yes, I listened.

Yes, I saw.

I love you so much.

I always will.

You are my soul mate.

Past, future and still.

You can do this Michelle.

You are stronger than you know.

Happiness. Not survival.

That should be the goal.

Our love is more than that world.

It is soul to soul.

Copyright 2017 John Polo

 

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