My New Year’s Gifts for You

Happy New Year. This first week of a New Year is the perfect time to do a little bit of self-assessment and to consider making different choices for the New Year. I would like to share with you my favorite process to do at this time of year, which I learned from New Thought minister Christian Sorensen. I also want to share an idea that I love about Resetting rather that making Resolutions. Here are my New Year’s gifts
to you:
Reflect on the past year and make the following lists:

  1. Three triumphs you had.
  2. Three things for which you are grateful.
  3. Three things you are ready to leave behind.
  4. Three things you would like to forget or be forgiven for.
  5. Three things you will forgive and not carry into next year.
  6. Three things you are planning to do.
  7. Three things you are looking forward to.

Reset instead of Resolution
Once you have done the above please consider my alternative concept regarding New Year’s Resolutions. Instead of Resolutions let’s consider the concept of a New Year’s Reset. I think it is a brilliant idea with a lot more potential for success than New Year’s Resolutions.

You know how when your computer or your phone starts behaving in a really wonky manner, you just turn it off, or click the restart button? That concept of pausing and resetting everything is brilliant!

Let’s explore this idea.

Isn’t it cool to think that when we reach a point where we have become frazzled, overwhelmed and minimally functional, we can just hit the restart button and reset everything?  It’s like a course correction when sailing… no guilt, no wrongdoing…just a better, improved idea that isn’t based on where we failed or let ourselves down last year.

Life only happens one day at a time, so how can we know on January 1 what will be right for each day of the rest of the year? We haven’t lived into these days. We haven’t yet navigated the balance between effort and surrender, dedication and flexibility. And this balance is key. For everything, there is a season. That’s an ancient truth, which should be one of our guiding thoughts as we traverse the year ahead.

As we step into the year, I love the idea that we have a plan, a general direction for each day but are always open to a reset; a course correction if a better idea presents itself. We need to be clear and powerful about what we desire but always open to the better option or goal that might emerge. This reset might be a change in our eating plan, our exercise regime, the way we are engaging in our careers or relationships. It could be many things.

The important points are these:

  • There is no guilt attached. You didn’t screw up; you just have a better idea.
  • Implement the better idea as quickly as possible. Go forward fully. Don’t waste time on regret.
  • Be fully into the present moment and fully alive. If we aren’t in the present we are either in the past or the future. One is gone and the other doesn’t exist yet, so not much pay off there. Just,
    be where you are and stay open to allowing a reset when the
    moment presents itself.

So, down with resolutions that imply a prior screw-up and usually set you up for another failure. Up with living in the moment and being open to allowing a Reset whenever appropriate. Let’s do this and make it a truly Happy New Year.

What Do I Say To Grieving Kids? Part 2

The following are some important things to note about helping children with grief.

1. Create a safe space for children to talk about any feelings they are having and to express them openly and honestly.

2. Remember that the child’s perception of their reality is their reality.

3. Each child will grieve in their own unique way and according to their relationship with the loss (e.g. ‘Dosing’ which means that a child innately knows how much sadness they can handle and after a time they will return to seemingly normal functioning.

Word of warning: this does not mean that the grief is healed or over. It simply means, this is the maximum dose of sadness that the child can handle in that moment.

4. While children are capable of experiencing feelings that are similar to an adult’s feelings, their thought processes are quite different. (I.e. Magical, Egocentric thinking)

5. Empathy, warmth, non-judgment, and acceptance are critical to successfully helping a grieving child. (There should not be consequences when the child honestly expresses feelings once the invitation has been given.)

6. Play is the natural method of self-expression and communication for a child. Using play scenarios to encourage expression of feelings can be very effective. It is also helpful to keep your inner child at the ready to assist you. Be willing to share stories from your childhood experiences to encourage them to express their feelings openly.

7. The behavior of a grieving child teaches us a great deal about what they are experiencing. (i.e. Aggression, anger, violence, regression, withdrawal etc.)

8. Remember that children are Spiritual beings and offer them help from that perspective as well.

9. While the emphasis of your conversations with them may be on the present and the future, don’t rob them of their right to remember the past. Honoring what was can be an important part of the healing.

10. Help children realize how they are changed by the loss and give them hope for the future.

11. The ultimate responsibility for healing lies within the child. Be responsible to them…not for them.

12. Guide them toward helpful actions they can take to express their thoughts and feelings and access their strengths. (i.e. artwork, scrapbooks, journaling, story writing etc.)

Children are little people with human emotions. Never assume that they are too young to grieve or that they are too young to understand loss. Even babies pick up on the energetic changes that take place when their caregivers are going through a loss.

It is never easy to have this kind of interaction with a child you love but if you remember to be honest with your words and your feelings, while not deluging them with your drama you will do so much toward helping them move through it. Just keep in mind that they don’t do things the way we do, nor do they think like we do. Know that, and allow them their natural process without your judgment or expectations.

Let your heart lead and when you don’t know what to say, remember that hugs are great.

I would love to hear your experiences or tips on how you handled discussing loss with
your children.

What Do I Say To Grieving Kids? Part 1

Auntie Paula, Auntie Paula.” I heard those words a million times yesterday as I spent a lovely afternoon with my friend Mindy and her 4 year old, son Jeremy, who refers to me as Auntie Paula. We romped around the Torrey Pines Reserve and beach for several glorious hours. A more perfect setting could not exist for an inquisitive child who loves nature.

Watching Mindy and her son racing and playing on the beach made me think about how much we all love our children and how hard we try to do everything perfectly, so that they can grow up healthy and well adjusted, able to live perfect lives.

And yet, we all know that in spite of our best efforts, life happens. Natural disasters occur, people and animal friends die, and unexpected moves spring them selves upon us. There are so many imperfect parts of life that can’t be avoided.

So what do you do when life imposes cruel reality on your perfect plan?

Clients with children ask me all the time, “What do I say to the kids? How do I tell them this horrible truth?

Let me share with you what I have learned over the last 27 years of working with this situation:

Our emotional responses to loss in adulthood are based upon losses we experienced as children and what we observed going on in the people around us. The behaviors, attitudes, and emotions expressed, or not expressed, by our family, friends, acquaintances and people in authority, teach us most of what we know about dealing with loss. These first experiences are powerful teachers. They create beliefs about the way things are and they demonstrate what seems to be the “right way” to deal with loss.

When interacting with bereaved children it is very important that we remember that they are learning from what they observe in us. Remember they are children and don’t deluge them with too much information or too much drama. It is helpful for them to see the reality of grief, that it is sad and that we need to cry and express our authentic emotions but it is not wise to overload them with a lot of adult emotion that they can do nothing about.

Help them realize that grief is the normal, natural result of loss and that if we express the pain, in acceptable ways, as it comes up, it will soon dissipate.

Remember that children hear words in a very literal way. Don’t use phrases like “The doggy doctor put Fluffy to sleep.” Or “God wanted Daddy to be in heaven with him.” This kind of statement can create fears and anxiety in children around sleep or God’s arbitrary decisions.

People often ask if children should attend the funeral in the case of a death.  My response is that unless the child expressly states that they don’t want to go, they absolutely should. They need closure experiences just like adults do. Caution…Do Not force them to go up to an open casket unless they desire to.

We will look at more dos and don’ts in part 2.

Breast Cancer Month Part ll

“Even when others might empathize with our pain, there is little time in their busy lives to truly support us. The result is that most people stuff down the emotional traumas or experiences and don’t deal with them, so they end up manifesting themselves in a variety of diseases.

“Also unhelpful is the general practice in the corporate environment, which usually allows only three days of bereavement leave. This gives people the idea that they should be back to normal within that amount of time. Rarely, if ever, is anyone fine in three days; but when you think you should be, and you’re not, you end up feeling defective, inadequate and alone. In an effort to try to look like they are doing better than they are, most people repress the emotional traumas or experiences instead of feeling and healing them. Again, this unhealed, negative energy can end up manifesting itself in disease.

“It is interesting that the Heart Chakra is the energy center that processes feelings and it’s the area in which breast cancer develops. Too many painful, unhealed feelings create ‘fertile soil’ for the development of this disease. Many years ago Dr. O Carl Simonton, head of the world renown, Simonton Cancer Center, showed a direct connection between un-reconciled grief and the development of cancer. Heart chakra…feeling center…breast cancer…it’s an obvious connection.

“It is also problematic that collectively, women are not nurturing themselves. This also causes the energy of the Heart Chakra to become congested or depleted. We are a nation that has, since the 1960’s, seen women trying to fill every hole in the proverbial ‘dike’ by being mother, father, leader of the pack, contributing in the work force and being everything to everyone. We are supposed to have perfect bodies, be ultra intelligent and look like we just stepped out of the beauty shop at all times. These unrealistic expectations were bound to manifest in some diseased way.”

LH: When a woman with breast cancer comes to you what can you do for her?

PS: “Balance and expand the flow of her energy, which is usually vastly depleted and congested. I teach her how to keep it at a higher, more consistent level, through some simple Energy Psychology processes that strengthen and amplify energy via visualization, breath work, chakra/meridian work and through the setting of daily intentions for health and wellbeing. I also help her shift the depleting energy created by grief, limiting beliefs and a lack of self-nurturing.

“These women are often in a state that is akin to having low blood sugar when we are hungry. You know how you get irritable and more emotional when you have gone too long without food? In that state you are much more vulnerable to the surrounding events. Everything seems to impact you in a big way. This is very much how women become when life is filled with constant demands and pressure.

“Coming into the present, and getting calm and centered, makes everything look and feel better, much the same way that having a meal when you are hungry, gives a feeling of satiation, stability and well-being.

“When you are in the present, you aren’t concerned about what took place in the past or what’s going to happen in the future, so a state of bliss becomes possible. I teach women to just be in the moment. Those moments become ‘deposits in the Bliss Bank.’ Shifting to this more present state of consciousness is no small thing, as most of us have been taught to be everywhere but in the present.

“Teaching a woman how to quiet the mind, breathe deeply and shift her energy, can work wonders for lowering stress hormones such as cortisol. Look at what we do when we’re stressed! We hold our breath and tense up our muscles. Stress is a very contracted state and in that state, we end up holding in and pushing down our emotions. I find that expansive breathing, calming techniques and the opportunity to express and dissipate suppressed emotions, are some of the most critical tools we have to help women create a total mind-body-spirit environment that is conducive to health and healing.

“Two other components that I feel are essential to health and well-being are: setting intentions about where a woman wants to go in her life and doing daily visualization work. Quantum Physics has taught us that energy shows up in accordance with the expectation of the observer, so it behooves us to let the energy know what we want it to do.

Secondly, we now know that the brain thinks in pictures and it doesn’t know the difference between what we visualize and what we actually experience. Therefore, visualizing ourselves in the healthy state we ideally desire is one of the most powerful things we can do, in helping ourselves to stay healthy or to heal. We are far more powerful than we think, and my goal in working with women, is to really be sure that they know this and that I give them the tools to help them utilize their power to heal themselves.

“There is so much preventative action we can take to assure ourselves that we will never end up in the oncologist’s office hearing the words, “You have Breast Cancer.”

Breast Cancer Awareness Month Part l

It’s Breast Cancer awareness month and everyone is getting passionately pink for the cure. In an interview with Nutritionist, LoRayne Haye, I discuss the role that grief plays in the development of Breast Cancer and then how Energy Psychology methods can assist in healing it.

Although we think of Breast Cancer as a physical problem, I believe that its roots are emotional. Author of You Can Heal Your Life, Louise Hay, says that it’s about being tired of life and about not nurturing yourself. Author of Your Body Speaks Your Mind, Deb Shapiro, believes that Breast Cancer tends to indicate a conflict between being both an object of desire and a nurturing mother. Sometimes years of self-consciousness or discomfort with breasts, even, actually hating them, precedes breast cancer.

As far back as the 1970’s, O. Carl Simonton M.D. published work and spoke prolifically on the connection between grief and the onset of cancer. In the majority of the patients studied, cancer was linked with a significant loss experienced six months to a year before the cancer appeared.

It is my belief that one of the most important preventative measures we women can take to avoid breast cancer is to nurture ourselves and to deal with and heal the emotional issues and losses in our lives. I discuss this in much more depth in my book, Grief…When Will This Pain Ever End? Here are some pieces of the interview with LoRayne that I think you will find it quite interesting.

Emotional Stress: The Landscape of Female Energy

On an energetic level I wanted to find out where women stood in relation to the energetic landscape of unprocessed emotions such as grief and loss. The following is an interview with noted grief counselor and Energy Psychology specialist, Paula Shaw. She is the author of Chakras-The Magnificent Seven and Grief…When Will This Pain Ever End?  She has her private practice and residence in San Diego. 

LoRayne Haye: From an energetic point of view what’s going on with women and breast cancer?

Paula Shaw: “I am convinced that underneath all illness is un-reconciled grief. It all tracks back to this. Everybody experiences loss and grief, but most people don’t have an opportunity to process and heal the grief they experience, so it gets pushed down into the energy system and the physical body.

“With every illness and every emotional disorder that I can think of, the root cause is a disruption in the energy system, caused by loss, resulting from trauma. It might be emotional, environmental, physical or mental but trauma creates loss, loss creates grief and grief creates a disruption in the energy system.

“Culturally, we seem to be better at processing certain kinds of loss, perhaps because there is more societal understanding of those losses. For example, if we had an earthquake right now everyone would band together, support each other and have some sort of an understanding of the emotional/physical difficulties that others were experiencing. However, when we lose something or someone through death, divorce or a separation of some sort, the circumstances are unique to us and others don’t necessarily understand them, so we end up feeling alone. It is in this isolation that we generally ‘stall out’ emotionally.

Call Paula Shaw for a complimentary 20-minute consultation at: 858-480-9234
To experience immediate relief from the inner turmoil that can sabotage your life.

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