Labels Don’t Define Us

"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 color 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.

A crisis in identity 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 what grief coaching does, it helps you find YOU after a loss.

If you’re ready to explore – please call me.  Let’s talk because your life is waiting for you but needs your participation.

 

 

 

 

Perfectionism Paralysis

I pulled this inspirational card today and it spoke volumes to me.  I’m the perfect example of perfectionism.  So much so I get into perfectionism paralysis!

It was no wonder that when it came my time to grieve, I’d worry if was I doing it right!

“There is no right way, I was told.  Everyone’s journey is unique and we get over our grief when we do”.

Ok, my nursing background kicked in and I thought.  I cannot imagine a doctor telling a patient that.  How helpful would that be to the person with cancer or heart disease?

No, indeed they wouldn’t, instead, they outline the prognosis and the journey they have evidence in seeing for patients with the same diagnosis.  Then they give helpful information for what they can do to help the person heal or suggest potential cures for them.  They are offering them HOPE.

This indeed is what I do, I offer, my clients Hope that they can heal their heartache and move through their grief. I offer helpful information and assist them to plan their own healing journey.

It isn’t about forgetting their loved one, or that they didn’t love them enough if they heal.  It’s about showing them what is possible when they work through their grief with guidance and support.

If you are curious about what grief coaching can do for you, please connect with me.

Healing from your grief is about moving your loved one into your heart and out of your head.

 

Poems from Beyond – Interview with Liza Ferrara DeStefano

Grief is universal, but individually we all have our own unique way of handling our grief.  Liz Ferrara DeStefano found very quickly after the death of her father, her own way was to create poetry.  The words would come to and the poems were born.

Liza wonders if she did grieve enough, she feels she did, her heart no longer broken, admits she feels sad and does miss her Dad but the poetry helped her process her loss.

These are some of the topics we covered

  • How soon after your Dad’s death did you discover your creativity had been awakened?
  • What is it about this activity that worked so well for you?
  • Have your poems helped your family members?
  • How many poems have you written?
  • You are now a published author
  • Did you publish them as a legacy to your Dad or as part of your healing journey?

Liza’s poems not only helped her with her grief but have helped others she has shared or written them for. In creating her poems she feels she is connected to her Dad and this brings her comfort

It doesn’t always have to be painful or anguish but a quieter letting go, and into acceptance.  When you listen to Liza’s story, you will find that family connection, closeness and supporting each other are what helped this family navigate their loss, their Dad, a husband, and grandfather.  They are all changed in many ways and these changes have brought the family closer together.

 

 

 

Dr. Sarah Kerr, Soul Passages – Interview

Dr. Sarah Kerr is a Death Doula and a Ritual Healing Practitioner and in the interview, she shares her work with death & loss and how she helps others in their process at a soul level.  Sarah states that “life gallops forward” and she helps to bring their soul along.  The body and soul can sometimes get separated especially in times of sudden death, it is a primal shock to the person.  It takes ritual or psychosocial support to help the person and soul accept and let go.

Here are some of the topics discussed

1. The scope of Dr. Sarah Kerr’s services at Soul Passages

2. How to have a good funeral and why you need one

3. Why honouring your family lineage is import

4. How parents can help teach their children to be comfortable around death and dealing with grief.

Dr. Kerr speaks compassionately about her experiences with death, dying and illness. Sarah speaks softly and with such dignity when she shares stories from her clients and families experiences.  Her very presence of quiet authority, you know she is a person you’d want to support you during this time of transition.

https://www.soulpassages.ca/

 

 

Summer went out in a Tornado

How was your Summer?  I do hope you were able to get away for some downtime and recharge?  It certainly was a hot one……..

A Friday Night to Remember

The last breath of Summer left us during the storm last Friday evening ushered out by 6 Tornado’s here in the Ottawa region.  The result of the storm plunged many into chaos as the power went out in homes.  across the region.  This was a small inconvenience compared to the people whose homes were destroyed by the storm.  The winds tore off rooftops, downed trees, and power lines, scattering debris over roads impeding travel and rescue efforts.

Neighborhoods Destroyed

It would take several days for the extent of the damage to reach the public’s awareness.  When it did, those watching were totally stunned and shocked by the devastation in many areas around our region. I’m certain there were a few hands over mouths as they took in the pictures they were seeing.  Trees on top of cars, rooftops gone leaving their contents visible and exposed.  Large trees on top of family dwellings.  Large power poles snapped in half downing the wires they were carrying.  One main power station feeding so many homes in the area was just another casualty of the tornado.

Grieving Enters

I couldn’t help thinking of how this external event could be linked to grief.  A death happens and throws everything into chaos. The once familiar becomes unfamiliar and how we mourn for what was.  A similar picture was unfolding.  Many were looking forward to TGIF, cooking super and relaxing at the end of the workweek, except for many there was no power and for others, there was no longer a home.

How quickly we can take people and places for granted.  In a blink of an eye, it can be taken from us and we are truly powerless.

The Clean-Up Begins

It is not just the homes that will need rebuilding or tearing down but the clearing of so many damaged trees.  The landscape is forever changed.  Everyday living last week meant restocking of fridges, and freezers after throwing out wasted food.  The rebuilding of their lives begins.  How did people cope knowing they would soon have to return to work?  How could you possibly be productive when your life is in chaos?

When a death occurs, you remain busy, stoic powering through the endless tasks and then when it is over you discover you’re not coping well, you are in mourning.  This is what those individuals affected by such loss will be experiencing.  The effects are not always apparent in the early days, however, once the shock and busyness wear off many will require close monitoring.  For signs of PTSD, severe stress and mourning.  This is when they will need support.  After the army of volunteers have left leaving them to cope on their own.

Reach out and Support

Just as first responders were there helping, grief counselors were also present.  Advising those affected to speak about what happened and to ensure they take care of themselves.  Good advice, however, when you are extremely stressed as they will be, it is hard to settle down.  Sleep when you are extremely stressed is normally the first to be disrupted and is so needed.  They may be unable to relax and feel agitated.  Making decisions may even prove a challenge.

If you know someone affected by the events of last week, please take time and invite them for coffee with you.   Take time to allow them to share their story with you.  No need to fix, just listen and acknowledge what they say.   This simple act can be healing.  Please don’t talk about your experience or share stories of someone you know.  This is not helpful.  Just listen.  If you don’t know what to say “say that”.   The important step is to allow them to talk and share.

I do hope you and your family were all safe and your power was restored quickly?

Take Time to Prepare

Truly how prepared are we for life’s challenges?

It takes something like mother nature to show us just how unprepared we may be.  Especially for those big events such as a death or loss that challenge us and stop us in our tracks. Much like the storm did.

This made me reflect on my mission to help others to not fear death and the grieving process that follows on its heels.  As a grief guide and coach, I am here to support and can help you understand the process so you will be prepared and know what to do.

Just as many people, I’m certain will be preparing to ensure they have certain supplies in place. Perhaps including a generator, definitely stocking up on candles or flashlights. A battery radio was recommended so you could be updated for the next time the lights go out!