One of the things that continually fascinates me is the interconnection between body, soul and spirit. If we want to live well-balanced lives, we, and our children need to nurture and be nurtured in each of these areas. My own children are all adults now and one thing I can vouch for is that childhood passes very quickly.
For some school-leavers (and their parents) the next few weeks will be a tense time as they await their OP results. Some will have planned what they want to do for a career and know exactly what OP they need to gain entrance to a specific course. After that, comes the wait to find out which course they’ve been accepted into. Tense times, indeed for some.
This Friday marks a very special day for our graduating year 12 students. Having spent more than 2/3 of their young lives at school, on Friday, they say farewell and start the transition to the next season of life. Like all changes, there are multiple sides. Change can be exciting, scary and stressful at the same time. As they wait to hear news of their future options, some may start to feel quite stressed.
If I were to conduct a poll among parents about how they’re feeling today, I suspect I would have more than one person tell me they were feeling overwhelmed, stressed, tense, anxious or even drowning in all the things currently happening in life. Some might say they feel scattered, fragmented, torn in several directions at once, have too much to deal with or that everything is just too hard.
When a person loses somebody close to them, friends may be unsure of how best to respond or help their friend. Most people don’t need professional help when grieving, but the love and support of good family and friends is valuable. Don’t be afraid of crying with your friend, you won’t upset him/her because they’re already upset. Your presence, love, practical support, listening ear are the most precious gifts you can give.
Last week, we explored some of the myths and realities of grief that are included in Grief is a Journey: Finding Your Path through Loss: by Dr. Kenneth J Doka (2016). This week, we’ll continue with these. Grieving people are often told after a loss that they need closure. It might be suggested that some particular action or event will bring closure. While rituals and memorials can be meaningful steps in the healing process, they will not close the emotions experienced by a bereaved person. Dr Doka points out that grief involves a lifelong journey and nothing changes that.
Loss is a universal experience and I didn’t feel adequately equipped to help clients in their loss, so last year, I undertook studies in Bereavement Counselling with the Australian Centre for Grief and Bereavement. A lot of my preconceived notions about loss and grief were turned on their head. The evidence did not support some of those beliefs – beliefs about stages of grief and the like. Over the next couple of weeks I’d like to share some of his findings with you.
Loss is a universal experience – if we live long enough, we’ll all lose someone. When we lose somebody close to us, we grieve, so grief is also a universal human experience. Even though it is something everybody experiences, no two people experience loss in the same way. Every person is unique, every relationship is unique, every loss is unique and each of us grieves in our own unique way. Grief has been said to be the price we pay for loving others.
Like everybody, I have times when I get stressed and overwhelmed. Life can feel a bit like a crazy cycle of ongoing busyness and we sometimes just want to run away. One of my favourite ways of de-stressing, is to get out and go for a walk. When I get out into nature I feel calmer almost right away. Since I love the outdoors and know the effect it has on me, I’ve become very interested in the idea of “wilderness therapy”.
Over the last few weeks we’ve been looking at the topic of contentment and specifically at what Dr Robert Lustig calls the “4 Cs of Contentment”. So far we’ve looked at Connection, Contribution and Coping. Dr Lustig is an American Paediatric Endocrinologist who states that he considers the single most important key to contentment is to cook real food for yourself, for your family and your friends. Interestingly, this “C” incorporates the other three. When we cook, sit down and eat together, we are connecting with those people we love and like. We’re contributing to their health and well-being.