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I dare you in 2017

This is for you, my mourning friends, who are beyond 'early' or 'new' grief, which can't be measured in time. It's different for each of us. What I'm talking about, though, is when you get to a place when your mourning is not consuming and predominate day after day after day. During the exhausting time of new grief, you need to spend whatever energy you have left taking care of you. If you're like I was, though, even if you're in early grief, you may still appreciate reading this down-the-road advice. I certainly wanted to know what I could expect and what was possible. I wanted to read hopeful words even when I doubted that my heart would ever feel hope again.

Even though I will always grieve, my grief doesn't take up all the room in my heart now. I honor my son by channeling my love for him into others now - my family, bereaved friends here and elsewhere, strangers. If you are grieving and looking for a message of hope, today my message for you is to channel the love you have for your loved one on the other side into others here. Otherwise, you may live *in* your grief (versus *with* your grief) as the only outlet for your love.

You have people here to express love to, and your loved one on the other side of the veil will always be near, giving you strength. Spirit has validated this to me in sessions. A daughter in spirit once showed me that she wanted her mother here to see her in the faces of others here. (This was so beautiful.) A father in spirit from Africa showed me his daughter here dancing with older men in her family at what I learned from her was her dowry celebration. Her father in spirit said, "You will see me in the faces of the other men, though none will be as handsome as me." (Poignant, loving words infused with humor... oh my heart, I fell in love with this father in spirit.)

I know this isn't an easy message to hear at Christmas when our grief is more prevalent, but when you feel the waves recede, please don't bring more pain upon yourself by anticipating the next wave, nor by counting the days until the next hard day on the calendar, nor by telling yourself, "This will never go away." Yes, you will always live with grief if you have experienced a great loss. But grief changes and if you don't tell yourself, "Grief changes" as much as you tell yourself, "I will always grieve", then grief may not change so much for you. Your internal dialogue has more power than you realize, and platitudes, even within the grief community, are sometimes one-sided. Pay attention to what you are mentally digesting and ask yourself if it brings healing or just temporary comfort. Temporary comfort is like instant gratification... it soothes but leaves us feeling just as empty on the next go-round.

For 2017, I dare you to set an intention to heal, even if you're going on blind faith that it is possible. I dare you to look outside of yourself and see if there are others who you can love on or help out. I dare you to ask yourself how you can channel your love for your loved one in spirit. Who can you pour your love into, sprinkle it onto, or scatter it among? Don't be surprised, when doing so, that you find yourself feeling even closer to your loved one on the other side.

Please radically love and care for yourself this Christmas. It's such an emotional and exhausting time for us who are mourning. Slow down and give yourself space. Pay attention to your grief when it comes to the surface. Release it however you need to, and when you feel the lightness of pain's absence, get back to the present moment and present pleasures. Try not to over-indulge your grief, but please indulge on yourself, and as the song goes... love the ones you're with.

Much love and peace to you and your loved ones surrounding you in body and in spirit.

Rachel and Perry


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