Posts Tagged ‘Grief’

Here Be Dragons ~ And Faeries, Too!

Like the otherworldly birch tree in my last post, I’ve been waiting to blog these photos and stories for awhile. Some over the top synchronicities at last Tuesday’s Township Board Meeting let me know it would soon be time. Background: a very active neighbor and I compared notes a few weeks ago and discovered that she, her daughter and I are really in this sidewalk battle to preserve our trees. Others love our mature tree lined streets, but for the three of us, it goes much deeper. Trees, nature spirits, the Fae … for us, these represent something spiritual, the link between spiritual and material realms. The passion fueling each of us arises from the core of our being.

On that evening, our neighbor showed me her nextdoor neighbor’s yard, the apparent center of an old apple orchard from 50 years ago. She pointed to circles of thicker, greener grass and said, “Those rings drive them nuts because they can’t get their lawn to stay even after mowing. They’re the circles around old apple trees that have been gone for half a century. The Earth remembers.”

“They’re faery rings!” I said, “Apple trees are sacred to the Otherworld.”

My neighbor said in a hushed, amused voice, “That’s what I told them! Faery rings. They think I’m joking.” Continue reading

Alternative Tim Martin Remembrance

Thank you to everyone who’s left comments, emails or caring texts about our sweet friend’s sudden journey into the Otherworld. David and I are doing as well as can be expected. I feel so blessed to be able to use my gifts, skills and experience to help support Tim’s daughter Eimhear (“ever”) through this process. For me, this has been so helpful in my own grieving, as I know I am giving the greatest gift I could possibly offer Tim. She’s doing surprisingly well now that she knows her dad is very much in her corner, giving her signs and support and messages during this difficult time.

Eimhear’s mother (Tim’s lovely ex-wife Kathleen) started a GoFundMe site that explains how and why they’re going about things in a non-traditional way. Because of Tim’s reverence for the Earth, they’re allowing no chemicals into his body, which means no viewing, a cremation, and for now, they’re having just a private family ceremony. Eimhear and Kathleen initially contacted me to help plan a very “Tim” kind of wake or send-off, but as we’ve discussed options, a less “out there” ceremony for family members feels most supportive right now.

Kathleen started the GoFundMe page because a lot of people really loved Tim. So many people have contacted her asking if they can send flowers to the funeral home. As Kathleen says, “We understand Tim touched many people who are left shocked by his sudden passing who would appreciate the opportunity to express their grief in some manner, so we have opened this Gofundme in lieu of flowers that may have been sent to a viewing. Any funds donated will go exclusively to help cover Eimhear’s college expenses that Tim had previously taken care of.”

Please understand this is not a “please give money” post, but rather an option for those who loved Tim to be able to do something tangible in their grief. I know being able to offer tangible support to Kathleen and Eimhear has made this a beautiful, though difficult journey, so I wanted to share this opportunity for anyone who feels so led. Whether you knew Tim or not, if you’ve read this blog for the past 2.5 years, you’ve been touched by Tim. He was a huge presence in our lives and a rich source of inspiration and ideas, which he continues to be in so many ways. You can read more and/or donate by clicking here.


Rejection, Projection and Reflection

Ah, rejection! No one likes it, but everyone has felt it at one time or another. Rejection comes in many forms: romantic relationships, contests, writer’s group critiques, friendships, job interviews or credit applications. Some people feel depressed about it, while others grow angry or challenge themselve to rise above the snub. Besides sadness, by far the most common companion of rejection is projection. Although the “p” word can initially offset your hurt, it doesn’t help you move forward.

This article explores projection and helps you to recognize it in your life. For the projectee (anyone unlucky enough to stand in line of the projector’s fire), I also discuss the concept of reflection. Many projectors mistakenly assume they are, in fact, reflectors. The distinction becomes especially confusing for people who do reflect most of the time, yet still have a tendency to project when they feel challenged or rejected. This article gives tips to help you tell the difference.

You might be projecting if:

1)  You assume someone must have massive issues, complete ignorance, a guru complex, psychosis, arrogance or hubris, control issues, or a secret evil agenda if s/he has gently or firmly declined your advances. If you feel these things about people in your field who have experienced greater attention or success than you have, it’s also time to look at your own tendency to project.

2)  You consistently encounter people who (you think) get a sick pleasure out of devaluing your gifts. These people initially seem like helpers, supporters and encouragers. S/he may be a counselor, coach, minister, or yoga teacher, perhaps just an acquaintance whom you very much admire. All seems well when you ask them for advice, which they give freely. But then they inexplicably “turn on you and devalue you” by not buying your book, linking to you on their website, or otherwise returning the favor of asking you for advice and guidance. How dare they think they’re better than you! They must not want you to succeed because they couldn’t handle your competition! They’re not evolved, and they don’t want anyone else to evolve either.  In fact, they want to suppress and enslave, feeding off the energy of their unwilling and deluded fans. OMG! You have just narrowly escaped from one of the most controlling and insidious creatures on the planet!  …

If this scenario has happened to you to some degree even once, then you may have a tendency to project in two ways. First, you’re likely giving someone higher status as a guru than s/he wants. You give away your power to your own idea, rather than to the person. This is your responsibility, not theirs. No one can take your power.

When things shift and s/he rejects you, you may suddenly”recognize what’s happening.” This recognition often involves controlling you or using power to manipulate you and hold you down. Although cults and narcissists do exist, if the initial description sounds valid, then it’s more likely that you’re superimposing a plot on a simple yet hard to swallow fact: as the movie says, “He’s Just Not that Into You.” Or s/he’s busy. Or s/he has other things going on. Or s/he feels compassion rather than passion.

Ego will go to great lengths to find any other explanation. If the reasons for negative things occurring in your life routinely involve a conspiracy theory or the hubris or complete ignorance and depravity of those from whom you have received help or sought favor, then it’s time to explore your own patterns and projections. 

3 )  Someone else is always responsible for your failed intentions.

4 )  You believe busy people spend their free time exploring ways to sabotage your business, personal growth or reputation.

5 )  When giving “constructive criticism” or “enlightenment,” you feel the need to hide behind your degree, your diet, your religion, your bank balance, or “Anonymous.”

6 )  When you try to reveal this “insider information” to the public, no one you admire has any interest in spreading your gossip, but they do offer you “lots of love and healing.” If compassionate people sense you are projecting, they may not always come right out and say so. They may instead try to offer you support for what they see as the root cause of your behavior: grief, frustration, insecurity, envy.

Of course, they then run the risk of revealing their own “evil, controlling guru complexes” by devaluing your insider information. Some people are willing to run that risk, though, if they sense you’re really struggling or have temporarily lost touch with reality.

7 )  If you have ever had or suspected you currently have B-12 deficiency, you really might want to get that checked or start taking a sublingual or spray B-12. “B-12 madness” has been linked to cases of acute psychosis and paranoid delusions. Slightly low levels can also cause general, unwarranted suspicion.

8 ) You view the world as a constant battle between good and evil.

9 ) You feel the need to launch personal attacks in areas that have nothing to do with the situation at hand. Examples include: suggesting someone’s a bad spouse in order to bolster your argument  that they’re unqualified to teach seventh grade or drive a truck; calling someone arrogant for buying organic food; extracting tidbits from people’s blogs or websites and assuming you know their entire life and motivations; refusing to consider context as a factor when assessing character or causation; citing gossip magazines as a way to judge acting ability.

10 ) If your primary emotions are anger, rage, disgust, fear, judgment or hatred, you are not “reflecting so brightly that no one can handle your radiance and truth.” You are almost certainly projecting, at least in some areas.

You might be reflecting if:

1 ) Despite someone accusing you of horrible character and actions, you primarily feel love, compassion and understanding for them. If you can recognize the hurt beneath their anger and send love to it, then you are likely reflecting.

2 ) You do not feel afraid to look at the criticism and use it as a means to explore your own character, skills, talent and motivations.   Are there areas where the comments ring true? Can you learn something even from mean-spirited feedback? Might there be a tiny bit of truth to the accusations and if so, how can you improve your technique, delivery or presentation in the future? What blind spots does this encounter reveal? Bright, shiny people are not afraid to look inside themselves or to ask for honest feedback from people they respect and admire.

3 ) Before anyone asked you this, have you already explored ways in which you might be projecting? Hint: reflectors ponder the possibility. Projectors rarely go there first, if at all.

4 ) Have you recently received recognition for long, hard effort on your part? Has your visibility ramped up? When reflectors suddenly become brighter reflectors on a bigger stage, they often experience a backlash from those who feel left behind.

5 ) Do the accusations seem 180 degrees away from truth? Examples may include: someone calling you “fame hungry” when you’ve always tried to stay in the background; people saying you took away their power after you showed them their own responsibility in their lives; friends assuming you’re “too good for them” or “too high and mighty” now that you’ve “made it big,” when you just want to share your joy and tell them you believe in them.

6 ) You’ve worked through a lifetime (or many lifetimes) of issues and finally accept your calling/mission/dream/bliss, only to have people attack your character for doing so. They tell you, “you’re not so special,” and you agree. You tell them they could live their dreams, too, but this inexplicably fans the fire of their rage.

7 ) None of your other clients/friends/lovers/colleagues can fathom the accusations.

8 ) You had a funny feeling about getting involved with someone, but compassion led you to help them anyway. When you created and maintained boundaries, the person freaked out.

9 ) You harbor no ill will to the person(s), but you do hope they get the help, support and love they need.

10 ) You choose to defend yourself without attacking the other person.

11 ) You can recognize this experience in a larger context, perhaps as an indirect answer to your own prayers and intentions to leave a relationship, move, change careers, or make some other shift. Reflectors understand that the universe always responds to their own energy and intentions. They accept appropriate responsibility and know when to stand firm and when to go with the flow. They choose to embrace, while projectors react. Reflectors rejoice in a chance to polish themselves and shine even brighter. 

Many Blessings on your Journey!

Sat Yam Meditation for Depression/Anger/Grief Release

So many people have asked me for a copy of the meditation mentioned in my talk, “Maximize Your Brain Function,” that I’ve decided to post it here:

When grief or loss overwhelms us, we instinctively choose fight or flight–both forms of denial. According to Elizabeth Kubler-Ross, denial marks the first stage of a five-part process, followed by anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. If all recovery requires a progression through at least two of these stages, then how can we move through them faster? So many of my coaching clients remain stuck because of current reactions to very old grief. They don’t want to dissect their experiences; they want to move past them. Now.

A meditation using the syllables “sat yam” (rhymes with “but” “hum”) offers a powerful way to do just that. I first discovered this ancient technique on Yogiraj Alan Finger’s wonderful CD, “Life Enhancing Meditations,” in which he leads listeners through a seated process. I found it effective in moving through my own emotions and began to share the method with clients whose reactions to grief continued to get the better of them. To my delight, they started practicing the meditation for a few minutes each day, and their anger and attachments began to fade. I’ve recommended it so many times over the years–and with such good results–that I decided to share the meditation here.

If you think of the old saying, “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade,” this meditation gives you another option. It functions like a garbage disposal for old emotions that no longer serve us. What happens when we throw lemons in a garbage disposal? All the old, nasty smelling junk that sits in the sink and makes it stink, suddenly smells fresh. The lemon completely disappears, leaving only a fresh, invigorating scent and free-flowing water.

To begin the process, get as comfortable as you can without falling asleep. (Yogiraj Alan Finger recommends sitting upright; however, I encourage clients to use this meditation in the moment, whenever a new betrayal, loss or irritation threatens to turn into lasting grief or anger.) So, get as comfortable as you can and preferably close your eyes. Gradually bring yourself into your heart. If you can’t get out of your head, imagine a ladder descending from your brain to your heart, and step down each rung with each breath, until you can step into your heart center.

Once in your heart, concentrate on your breath, imagining it flowing directly in and out of your heart center (at the center of your chest, not actually your physical heart!). Breathe like this for a minute or so.

On your next inhalation, inhale through your heart center and imagine you’re dragging all your old grief, anger, loss, betrayal and attachments in with the breath. If you have a lot of emotions, you might imagine them wrapped in cloth that you drag in with the breath. You might also think of them as barnacles attaches to silk. Use whatever image comes to mind most easily. Inhale deeply, dragging all this old junk up to the crown (top) of your head, silently saying to yourself, “sat” (rhymes with “but”).

Once you reach the end of your inhale at the crown of your head, exhale through your crown and imagine all that old stuff releasing out the top of your head. As you exhale, silently say to yourself, the sound, “yam” (rhymes with “hum”), imagining the sound carrying away all your grief and emotions. (I like to imagine huge wings opening up to the sound “yam” and taking flight with all the things I no longer need.)

Return to your heart and repeat: inhale, dragging all the remaining emotions into your heart with the sound “sat,” dragging all that stuff up to your crown, and then releasing through the top of your head with an exhalation and the sound “yam.” Inhale, release, repeat.

(You need not worry about “polluting” the world with all these “negative” emotions, because when something releases through your crown, it undergoes a spiritual transmutation and simply becomes uncharged energy.) Continue to repeat the sat yam inhalation/exhalation process until you feel light in your heart and have difficulty finding enough “stuff” to drag in with your inhale. Once you’ve reached a good stopping point, enjoy this lighter, cleaner space of your heart and know that you can return here any time by inviting the grief into your heart, transforming it through breath and sound, and releasing it through the crown of the head.

This meditation works, in part, because it reconnects the head and the heart, reversing traditional sounds associated with their chakras. “Sat,” meaning “truth” or “true identity,” usually corresponds to the seventh chakra, while “yam” represents the sound of the fourth (or heart) chakra. By reversing these sounds, this meditation encourages consciousness in the heart and a connection between “hridaya” (gateway to the highest level of reality) and our point of union with the Divine. Head and heart become an integrated whole.

Because this meditation involves a bit of multi-tasking (concurrent breath, sound, visualization), people often wonder if they can practice isolated parts of it. “Can’t I just breathe deeply? What if i forget the sounds?” My own and others’ experiences find the whole greater than the sum of its parts in this case. Deep breathing will help anyone deal with stress, but without the mantra and visuals, deep breathing does not act as a grief eater. Deep breaths will relax you, but they will not cause “lemons” to disappear, leaving only a fresh, clean, invigorating scent. If you have trouble memorizing the instructions, record part of this article for yourself, or buy Yogiraj Alan Finger’s “Life Enhancing Meditations.” With regular practice, you’ll find it becomes natural and easy.

One client uses this technique so much, she’s turned it into a verb! “So and so really got on my nerves today, so I satyam’ed for five minutes while he was talking to me. I can see I’ll have to satyam some more because I can feel a little sadness clawing at my heart strings.” She uses the meditation proactively, as a means to avoid latching onto negative emotions. Whether used for removing old grief or to prevent future attachments, sat yam offers a powerful way to keep moving forward. By embracing grief–literally inviting it into our hearts–we allow the energy of unconditional compassion to heal our wounds. Instead of dodging the emotions, we love them. As the saying goes, “If you love something, set it free.” Love your grief, so that you CAN set it free!

Lessons from Kali: Goddess of Destruction, Time and Change

I decided to reprint this 2007 article and excerpt from “If I Only Had a Brain Injury,” because I know that so many of you are struggling in these turbulent times.  I have lost track of exactly how many souls I’ve helped “cross over” this year, but it’s definitely far into the double digits.  Some of you have lost a lot of money; some of you lost loved ones; some of you may feel as though you’ve lost yourself.  I’ve been there.  More than once.  This article came to me in Fall 2007, but it still resonates today, perhaps even more so:


Black and naked (except for a necklace of 50 human heads)-hair wild and tongue out, Kali certainly knows how to make an entrance! Brandishing a sword and a human head in her two left hands, she destroys everything in her path and then dances maniacally upon the dead. In terror, awe and morbid fascination, we stare. Fight or flight?

But how can we fight she who destroyed everything we thought we knew? Cut to the core, how can we run? No matter: in a battle against the universe itself, where would we run? Old instincts flare, but they no longer serve. When Kali appears, life as we knew it ceases to exist.

As a Medical Intuitive and Life Coach specializing in transitions, I receive many “post-Kali” calls. Individual traumas vary: life-threatening illness, disabling injury, divorce, job loss, natural disaster, financial emergency, or-sometimes even more disturbing-an uncanny sense that things are about to change. (Kali phones ahead with her party plans.) Despite variations, these experiences hold one thing in common: they demand attention. What little warnings, gentle nudges, intuitive hits or lesser traumas did not accomplish, Kali has. Distractions, whether silly or sophisticated, just can’t compete with complete annihilation.

In order to begin rebuilding, we first need to examine the destruction. Doing so takes courage. Even though we ultimately need to look at the mess ourselves, it helps to have a Kali-survivor involved in the surveying process. Someone who has already faced Kali knows the pain of loss in a way that well-meaning friends or family sometimes cannot understand.

There are losses and then there is what I call a “Kali loss”: the sense that our entire reality was an illusion and nothing real remains. This feeling does not respond to typical cheer-up methods because those methods, too, reveal their illusory nature. Alone and scared, we yearn for deep, unchanging truth. Anything less just adds to the overwhelming carnage. Most people cannot afford to witness this level of destruction because doing so might crumble their own comfortable sense of reality. Instinctively, they put up walls to protect themselves, fighting us when we try to share the magnitude of our experience. When our usual support system fails, we’re supposed to turn inside, but inside’s a terrifying mess right now.

We cry out to the universe for help and Kali herself arrives-in the form of someone who has already witnessed his or her own destruction and rebuilding. Someone who honors the beauty and life-giving force of such experiences. Someone who can afford to look at our mess because his or her reality has already crumbled and reassembled in a powerfully expansive way. Non-attached to our previous conceptions or enculturations, s/he can more quickly and easily sift through the rubble, drawing our attention to pieces ready for new construction. S/he also helps us to look Kali in the face, recognizing our own prayers for change and ability to manifest the answers. When we paradoxically turn to Kali for help, she reveals herself not just as destroyer but as Mother-Creator.

Initially we might find Mother Kali in a book, a synchronous new friendship, a spiritual advisor, or Life Coach, but eventually we begin to recognize her in ourselves. By witnessing our own destruction, we find those parts that cannot be destroyed. We find our Essence, “that” which defies all labels and runs through everyone and everything. Kali’s black form absorbs all color and all vibration: she contains it all. The sword and head in her left hands symbolize Divine inspiration striking down our ego. The 50 human heads around her neck represent the 50 sounds of the Sanskrit alphabet-the root of all language. “In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God.” “But the Word is very near. It is in your mouth and in your heart so that you can do it.” We feel Divinity surging through body, mind and spirit, and we, too, begin to dance. “Let the dead bury their own dead. Come, follow me.”

Only then do we notice Kali’s two right hands-ready to bestow the blessings. As a Mother, Kali does not shelter her children. She throws us into the fire and lets all illusion, enculturation and attachments burn to a crisp. We scream as costumes turn to ash, railing against a universe that allows such suffering. And then it happens. We emerge from the fiery, bloodstained pit. Lighter, easier and full of Grace. We no longer fear death because we’ve already been through it. Signs of life sprinkle the horizon as green shoots push their way through now fertile soil. We learn that some trees will not plant seeds until the searing heat of fire tears through their casings. Pain and sorrow reveal themselves as parts of Life. Freed from the limitations of fear and resistance, we can revel in naked existence. Recreating ourselves in ways that express the fullness of our being. When ego goes up in smoke, we turn ourselves inside out and let our Light so shine.



Copyright 2007 and 2008 by Laura Bruno.

Related:  “Why Telepathy Makes People Mad