Addiction, Alzheimer's, Ambiguous Grief, compassion, Divorce, Grief, Grief Support, hope, loss, Resilience, Uncategorized, wellness

AmbiguousGrief.Com

Screen Shot 2018-09-25 at 8.15.40 AMReally excited for the launch of ambiguousgrief.com. In collaboration with my research partner, Dr. Sophia Caudle, this site features everything Ambiguous Grief (AG):

🌱the AG Process Model   🌱the AG survey and  (interesting) survey findings 🌱an Assessment Tool- to help determine if you are experiencing AG 🌱links to helpful articles and meaningful personal stories.

It’s my hope that this website will serve both patients and clinicians alike, and help them to recognize and name this grief. Doing so is the start of a positive pathway to healing, and I know it’s important. 

Also, whaaaaatttttt?! 🙋🏻‍♀️this girl learned to build a website! 🙌🏻 Yes! hashtag#ambiguousgrief hashtag#grief hashtag#resilience hashtag#posttraumaticgrowth hashtag#recovery hashtag#mentalhealth hashtag#mentalhealthawareness hashtag#addiction hashtag#divorce hashtag#discovery hashtag#deathofarelationship hashtag#healing 🌱

Addiction, Alzheimer's, Ambiguous Grief, betrayal, compassion, Divorce, Grief, Grief Support, hope, Resilience, wellness

So It Turns Out I’m Resilient. Who Knew?

The capacity to recover quickly from difficulty is known as resilience, and we hear a lot about it today.  Or at least, those of seeking to understand grief and healing do!  It’s a cornerstone block in the building of life, and has proven to me, to be a valuable tool that I’ll strive to keep sharpened.   Undoubtedly, we will all face adversity in life.  But, I’ve recently learned,  it’s our ability to find and hone our resilience that determines how we get through that adversity and come out the other side. Or not.

As I came out of the shock phase of my discovery, (which was many months after D-Day), I began looking for tools to feel better.  Showering and meditation helped, but only momentarily.  I needed more sustained reprieves from my grief.  It was about that time, two friends sent me the then new book, OptionB by Sheryl Sandberg and Adam Grant.  It’s a beautiful, candid story about love and loss, hope and healing.  In it, the authors speak of the importance of resilience.  Working on it daily, building it like a muscle, they said, was key.

“I thought resilience was the capacity to endure pain, so I asked Adam how I could figure out how much I had. He explained that our amount of resilience isn’t fixed, so I should be asking instead how I could become resilient. Resilience is the strength and speed of our response to adversity—and we can build it. It isn’t about having a backbone. It’s about strengthening the muscles around our backbone.”

– Sheryl Sandberg

I devoured the book, reading it like a text book, complete with notes and margins and plenty of highlighting.  Ok, I get it. I need to get resilient, and fast.

But how?

Thankfully, the authors offer suggestions that I immediately instated into my daily practice.  It was one in particular, that made a huge difference for me:

At bedtime, write down 3 things you did well that day.

For me, this started out teeny tiny, I struggled to identify 3, and my list looked like this:

“Got out of bed”, “Brushed my teeth”, “Packed school lunches”.

But I stuck with it, and night after night, I noticed the list was growing. I had 5 things, then 7, then 10 things that I could list that I didn’t just DO, but DID WELL.  A year after beginning this practice, I saw just how far I had come.

“Ran 3 miles”, “Folded and PUT AWAY 3 loads of laundry”, “Booked flight for family trip”.

I wasn’t just taking baby steps back into reality, I was now living in the moment and able to dream (albeit just a little) about my future.

This exercise provided me with a way to build my resilience muscle.  All in a 1-minute mental exercise, laying in my pajamas.  (If only my abs could be built that way!)

Over time, it’s precisely that resilience that teaches us so much about who we are. It shows us our capacity to love, our determination to heal, and the inspiring human ability to find joy after heartbreak.

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I call this “Resilience Selfie”. It took me 16 months to get here, but I made it. Took myself (and kiddos) on a trip to Hawaii, where I found joy every hour!

If you would have asked me about my own resilience 3 years ago, I would have shrugged not knowing.

Today, I own it, embrace it, and celebrate it. I have worked so hard to learn about my particular kind of grief and take control of my healing.  Along the way, I’ve met my own resilience, an unexpected part of me that I’m so glad I’ve gotten to know.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Check out my own 7 ReRooting Tools,

including Resilience.

OB_book_new.pngTake a look at OptionB.Org to learn more about adversity, resilience, and finding joy after heartbreak.  I highly recommend buying the book, too!

 

 

 

 

#divorce, #hope, Addiction, Ambiguous Grief, betrayal, compassion, Divorce, Grief, Grief Support, hope, loss, Uncategorized, wellness

The Sacred Act of Holding Space

Last summer, deep in grief,  I was exchanging texts with my dear and wise friend, Robin. We were supporting one another through difficult life transitions, and connected often. During one particular exchange, she signed off with a sentiment unfamiliar to me.

It was a simple salutation, but I didn’t understand it.

I’m holding space for you…”, she wrote.

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Not entirely sure what that meant, and not yet inquisitive enough to ask, I shelved the comment.

Until a few days later, when she wrote it again.

 

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As I understood it, she was telling me in her own way, that she was thinking of me.  

Awww.  So nice, right?

Wrong. Way wrong.

I finally did ask her what she meant by it, and as it often happens, I started to hear and read about other people using the same term as well.  

Now, months later, having space held for me, and holding space in return, I get it.

I truly get it.

I understand that holding space is one of the most important gifts we can give those we love and care about.

It’s far more than just “thinking about you”.  It’s seeing a friend in distress and making a commitment to stand grounded in empathy and compassion.  

Holding space is quiet and strong, and it doesn’t rush in to try to “fix” anything.  

Holding space doesn’t offer advice or make suggestions.  It certainly doesn’t compare their pain to yours.

Rather, it acknowledges that a person is experiencing deep, even complicated, feelings.  It recognizes that such emotion must be felt and endured, not numbed and buried.

Holding space invites conversation, it listens and affirms.  It honors the human experience through the most difficult and trying times.   In doing so, it acknowledges our shared humanity.  Which feels so “right”, yet is so counterintuitive in today’s fast-paced, multitasking, solution-oriented society.  

Here, we want to ease the suffering of our brethren, so we are often quick to offer advice, make suggestions, and even relay stories of others in similar situations, hoping the connection will provide comfort.  

It’s hard to see those we care about in pain, so for some, it’s natural to want to help.  

For others, seeing loved ones ache is a scary mirror to our own struggle, so we offer nothing and simply go away.  

But holding space gives the gift of understanding to our grief and struggle without any pressure to “get over it”, or “move on”.  Holding space doesn’t abide by a timeline.

In having this done for me, I have been able to do so for others.  In this practice, I have come to learn that holding space is indeed, a sacred act.  I am so honored to hold space for others.  

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Still not sure what this looks like?

Here’s a handy dandy reference guide to get you started:
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So, who could you hold space for today?  Or perhaps you are someone who would benefit from the love of space being held for you?  Reach out and share space, and watch it come back to you.

Lastly, I wonder what our world would be like if we showered one another with this seemingly benign salutation, and really meant it.

I have to believe we would feel as seen as supported as I have.  (Thanks, Robin)

Holding space,

Stephanie