After I told family & friends about my brother's passing, I kept being told the same thing over & over again: "if there's anything I can do, let me know."
I had to think about that for a second. What can anyone really do? My brother is dead. He's not coming back.
I know in my heart those words had the utmost intentions behind them. It's not nice to see someone you care about go through any kind of tragedy.
It's hard for me to ask for help. Like super-hard. So when my toddler tells me, "do it myself", I'm all over it.
Dealing with loss and grief is the exact same process as dealing with heartbreak. Don't say it isn't because it's all the same - something or someone that was once a presence in your life suddenly isn't anymore.
I wondered if all those people actually meant that they'd help me out. So I spoke up. I asked for food. Not because I was starving but I wasn't really in the mood to cook anything for myself and my son.
I'd be lying if I said I was shocked by the response I got. I got tons of food. Not just ready-made instant crap but proper home-cooked meals that literally fed my soul as I made funeral service arrangements for my brother.
I'm grateful for the support that's still coming in. Which brings me to the key point of this blog post: if you know someone who's going through a loss of any kind, follow up your "if there's anything I can do" statement with actual action.
Mean what you say. Because that person is going through a holy emotional shitstorm and can't think straight. They need you. So be there.
I love Halloween. All that candy on sale. I firmly believe chocolate is a food group. It's made from plants, right? Chocolate is practically a salad.
So now that Halloween is around the corner, it made me think of demons. Maybe the word "demons" makes you think about these scampish-looking red creatures with pitchforks and forked tails.
In this sense, I'm talking about our shadows. Unresolved issues. Limiting beliefs. Baggage. Our 'stuff'. Whatever you choose to call it, these demons like to hang out with us like some kind of celebrity entourage.
Demons follow us everywhere. They show up in every aspect of our lives. They're Instagram-esque filters since they affect how we see the world. Demons show up in our relationships. Plus they throw a hella great party when those relationships come to an end.
What do you do to get rid of these demons? Well, here's what NOT to do. Don't ignore them hoping they'll just go away. They're still be there like a bad rash. Don't bathe them in love & light. Demons love to have beach parties in love & light. They know full well you're trying to pretend they're not there so they'll just keep on keepin' on. Don't think medicating them away will do the trick. That'll just numb your ability to acknowledge their existence.
Listen up, people. The only way to get rid of your demons is to face them head on. Yeah, I said it. No amount of love, light, stronger meds or sailing down De Nile is going to make them go away.
You need courage and strength to go up to these demons when they're having a party, pour yourself a glass of punch and start chatting them up. Seriously!
Ask them what they're doing here.
What are they here to teach you?
How have they served you in the past?
Why are they still here?
What needs to happen before you can let them go?
What would it feel like for them not to be present in your life?
Why do you need them now?
Get your journal out and start answering some of these questions. Have some punch while you're at it.
Getting rid of your demons is a process. It won't happen overnight. But if you're tired of these demons partying in your subconscious mind, it's time to break up the party. You can't do that if a) you're not willing to do the work or b) you don't want to deal with them head on.
I got a call last Saturday that changed my life.
My older brother had passed away. He was only 45 years old.
I spent the following 2 days in complete shock. I felt numb. I didn't cry right away but eventually I just broke down.
I managed to pull myself together to gather his belongings and plan his memorial service. I volunteered to give the eulogy - after all, he was my big brother - the varsity jock, star quarterback, track star and truthfully, a bit of a player.
In my brother's death, I discovered I'd been suppressing my true self. I also realized we're truly not alone. My projections of the world weren't real. My brother was loved by so many.
I wrote this story for his memorial service:
A man looked up at the skies and asked them to acknowledge him.
Just then a meadowlark began to sing in a nearby tree.
But the man did not hear.
So the man yelled to the skies, "Is anyone there?? Answer me!”
Thunder rumbled across the sky.
But the man did not listen.
The man looked around and said, "Can anyone see me now?”
The sun peeked out from behind the thunderclouds, shining brightly in the sky.
But the man did not notice.
“Show me a miracle!” shouted the man to the skies.
A few feet away, a cocoon began to shake.
A beautiful monarch butterfly emerged, spreading its wings for the first time.
But the man did not notice.
His gaze was solely focused on the skies.
So, the man cried out in despair. "Is anyone here for me?”
The monarch butterfly fluttered briefly in front of the man and landed on his shoulder. But the man brushed the butterfly away and walked on.
In those first few days after the end of a relationship, it can definitely seem like the world is ending. Everything you knew to be true suddenly isn't anymore. That life you had - the life you shared with someone else is suddenly gone.
So what happens now?
First things first - breathe. You're going to make it through the storm.
It's easy to feel like a part of you has died because the relationship was a huge part of your existence. Now for the truth - you're fully alive and breathing. You were a whole and complete person before you met this person and you're still a whole and complete person now that they're gone.
Now that it's just you, what happens next? You begin to heal. You allow yourself to feel every emotion. You use this time to take a look at yourself, where you are and where you want to be.
The Universe has a funny way of getting your attention - especially when it's time to make changes in your life. This breakup that's come seemingly out of nowhere is actually a way for you to make room for something greater.
Take time to sit with this new reality of being unattached. Accept it. Take a few deep breaths and reflect on your next steps.
Need to talk to someone about what you're going through? Book a free Let's Talk session with me here. You don't have to face this alone. We'll discuss where you are and where you want to be. I'll also let you know how I can support you further.
It's not the end. Well, maybe it is. In truth, it's just the beginning.
Ain't love funny? We want it so effing bad - like a hit of some psychedelic that makes us see unicorns, rainbows and fluffy bunnies with cute button cottontails.
It's the sudden rush of endorphins that makes us all tingly inside. Those conversations where you dare to bare your heart out to that person who, here's hoping, feels the same way.
Deep down, nobody wants casual love - disposable love. People who say they do are lying to themselves and the world. We all want real, lasting, messy, makeup sex love that lasts a lifetime.
Does this kind of love exist? Or does it live next door to a rainbow-farting unicorn?
I do know love exists. It's what we're made of and made from. They say we're made up of the same stuff as stars... I believe this to be true but I also believe the stars are made of love.
So that one kind of love we so desperately want - it's out there. It's a force stronger than most. It moves us; inspires us to create art, music, literature... some of the greatest works of our time have been created out of love... and heartbreak.
A broken heart can manifest itself in immense pain & suffering. But it can also transmute into soul-stirring stuff. Ever heard a blues guitarist? Jazz singer? Hip-hop lyricist? Seen a freshly painted fresco?
We humans have this incredible ability to transform pain & suffering into medicine to everyone around us.
So yeah, love - romantic love between two humans - exists. So does heartbreak. It's a constant cycle between the two.
No matter how painful the heartbreak, it doesn't stop us.
We dust ourselves off and go back for more. We move on. We find someone else.
Then the sun rises again.
Those first few days after a breakup are definitely the hardest. Your emotions are running on overdrive. One minute you're seeing red and the next you're crying over that cute cat food commercial that you've seen a million times before.
Your girls keep telling you to move on! Suck it up, Buttercup - he's not worth your tears! Yes, they mean well. You've been through times like this before. Something's different though - this breakup is rocking you to your core.
As you open your eyes to another day, you're surrounded by a sea of dirty laundry, takeout boxes and dirty tissues. As you try to get yourself ready for the day, your mind can't stop replaying that conversation.
Yes, the relationship is over. Life isn't. In fact, it's just beginning.
Say what, Althea? I can't eat, I don't sleep and all I want to do is go back to bed and watch Notting Hill & eat ice cream.
While that may be a good short-term plan, it's not a permanent one. At some point you've got to face the pain and start moving through it.
Notice here I didn't say avoid it, ignore it or gloss it in love & light. The only way through the pain is to go through the pain.
So where do you begin to start to feel better? Start with basic self-care. Did you shower today? If the answer is no, then stop reading this blog right now and go have a shower. Do a load of laundry. Tidy up one room in your home. Do at least one thing every day that'll make you feel like you accomplished something. Then do 2 things. You get the idea.
Next, get a journal. Now that you're so fresh and so clean clean, go out into the world and buy a notebook. (no apps, people!) Make yourself a hot beverage and write down everything you're feeling in that moment.
Give yourself permission to feel everything you're feeling. Angry? Then scream into a pillow! Sad? Have a good, shoulder-shuddering cry. Let all those feelings out of your system.
In time you'll start to see things for what they are. You'll also start to get to know yourself from your journal.
Which one of these things is resonating with you the most? Share your thoughts in the comments below.
I've got this meditation app on my smartphone that's really made a difference for me. I can choose from a variety of 5-10 minute guided meditations depending on my present mood.
One quote from a recent meditation is playing over & over again in my head:
"At the most basic level, you are alive and breathing."
Close your eyes for a moment.
Let that sink in.
Powerful, isn't it? Especially when your whole world seems like it's on the brink of apocalyptic destruction - this phrase is vital to bring you back to the present moment.
Next time you find your emotions and feelings spiraling out of control, take a few minutes to breathe and repeat this to yourself:
"At the most basic level, I am alive and breathing."
How did that feel for you? What came up for you?
Share your thoughts in the comments below.
You're reeling from that emotionally-charged conversation with your ex... it's over. You're not sure what to think since your emotions are off the charts - ranging from sheer rage to complete despondency.
Immediately your mind turns to ice cream. All you want to do is spend the foreseeable future in your pajamas binge-watching romantic comedies on Netflix because hey, love only happens like than in real life to someone else.
Contrary to what the world tells you, it's perfectly OK to be in that space for as long as you need to.
Get those feelings and emotions out of your system - even if you have to have a few rage blackouts to do it.
You'll eventually get to a point where you can fully realize the truth about what happened. You and your ex aren't a couple anymore. It's a truth that's super-hard to accept but once you do, it changes everything.
Accepting the truth means you won't find yourself on a endless analysis-paralysis loop. You won't be living in the past, reliving every experience you had together.
Seeing the truth also means you'll be able to see the relationship for what it actually was. Maybe there were trouble spots you didn't want to see or acknowledge.
Accepting the truth also means you bring yourself to the present moment. Here you are - on your own with no one but yourself. It's not up to you to see how your ex is coping - your primary responsibility is to YOU.
Truth is something that's not easy to face let alone accept. It'll definitely take time.
I'll say this - accepting the truth about the end of the relationship is an important step in your healing journey.
Can you believe it's September already? I do love this time of year - the vibrant colours, the crisp in the air, fall clothes... it's time to start planting seeds for the year to come.
One seed that we all need to plant and nurture is the seed of self-care. Self-care is such an incredibly broad topic however we're going to break it down to this one concept - take time to figure yourself out.
After a particularly difficult breakup, it's easy to get yourself into an analytical mode where you're meticulously scrutinizing everything your ex said & did throughout your entire relationship; especially towards the end. Was there something that you missed that could've prevented this crushing heartbreak that you're feeling right now?
Take that urge to analyze your relationship to death and shift that attention to YOU. How are YOU feeling? How are YOU coping? Never mind your ex - they can take care of themselves.
Maybe it's the first time in your life that you've even considered your own well-being. Facing yourself can be daunting but here's one key thing things you can do to begin to figure yourself out after a breakup: write in a journal.
Journaling is an amazing way to help you process what's on your mind.
Get yourself a journal. I'm talking about an actual journal with paper pages where you have to use a pen to write in it. No apps on your phones, people.
Write down every thought that's in your head in your journal. Don't censor yourself. If it's driving you nuts, then write it down.
Do this daily for the next 7 days and see how you feel. Have you ever kept a journal before? Post your thoughts in the comments below.
Myth #5 - To be spiritual means to be wealthy beyond measure. If you aren't wealthy then you aren't aligned with the highest vibration of the Universe.
Let's get real for a second. Who doesn't want to be financially secure? Of course it would be great not to have to worry about paying the bills or if an emergency comes up. Some of us are there; others aren't.
I see a lot of spiritual teachings that go something like this - you're not spiritual if you're not living a laptop lifestyle. You're not manifesting enough. You're not vibrating high enough.
In short, you're not enough. Yikes!
This is spiritual materialism at its core. Chogyam Trunpa wrote a book in the 1970s called "Cutting Through Spiritual Materialism". He wrote that we are often "deceiving ourselves into thinking we are developing spiritually when instead we are strengthening our egocentricity through spiritual techniques."
Spirituality, or the pursuit of it, has become commercialized. Indigenous cultures are increasingly romanticized. Traditions from foreign countries are seen as "right", "better" and "the way". Then there's the 'laptop lifestyle' phenomenon - where you put in a few hours of work and you'll be a millionaire in a matter of minutes.
Besides, is it really plausible to work at the beach all the time? The Internet connection can't be that great - too many coconuts in the way.
There are people making millions from the rest of us - by selling a false sense of enlightenment that costs a fortune.
Spiritual enlightenment is a very personal & individual journey. Make purchases as you see fit but the minute someone tells you the only way to receive from the Universe is to give someone money, stop.
Think about it for a minute. Remember all of those disgraced televangelists who said if you give to their church, you'll be blessed but in the end, they bought planes & boats & cars? Same thing.
So what now? Find your own way to connect to the Universe. Listen to your own inner voice & intuition. If it doesn't feel good or land for you, don't do it.