You must do the thing you think you cannot do. – Eleanor Roosevelt.
IF YOU LIVE LONG ENOUGH, LIFE IS GONNA KNOCK YOU ON YOUR BUTT.
No matter how amazing you are, no matter how strong you are, no matter what your track record of success, something WILL come along that will completely derail you.
For me, it was the death of my daughter, Grace, twenty years ago.
The details of that story aren’t important with the exception of this – although I had had smack-downs before in my life – and some BIG ones, too – the death of my baby was the one life situation that completely neutralized all of my Comeback Superpowers.
Before we continue, I need to apologize.
You see, I am no longer traumatized, saddened, bereft, or wounded in any way because of the death of my child. I have done my grief work. I am complete with that loss.
I made it my business to extract EVERY piece of learning possible from that experience, and I have found a way to turn a seemingly meaningless tragedy into something profoundly useful for others.
And because I have done that, I am free of my sorrow.
Often though, when people hear me share about Grace, it triggers a place of unhealed suffering within them, and it smarts a bit. I’m sorry for that, except for the part of me that isn’t.
Because you see, love, if my story of loss triggers suffering within you, that means there is something within you – some loss, or fear, or trauma – that isn’t completely healed.
And that is completely normal.
Before Grace, I too had unhealed wounds. Before Grace, my unhealed wounds created a Spiritual Limp that kept me dragging My Story forward into every new opportunity for joy. My unhealed wounds cast a pervasive gray cloud over every day.
But I didn’t know it.
Because, when you live with unhealed stuff, you get so used to the overcast sky that greets you every morning, you can’t remember what the sunshine really looks like.
So, if – right now – the death of my child triggers an assumption in you that I must still be suffering, or triggers a deep pain point in you, I invite you to stay with that feeling for just a bit. Because I’m going to share with you the secrets to how you can heal, too. The secret strategy begins with this:
You have to decide to heal. You have to decide you want to get better. You have to decide that you want healing more than you want suffering and the socially approved attention that your suffering brings. That means you are going to have to:
LET GO OF YOUR STORY.
Yep, you have to stop dwelling on your story of loss, injustice, abuse, etc. You have to give up your seat on the VIP train of martyrs and those who suffer. Moving forward, you can only share “your story” in a way that brings healing to others – never for attention. To do this, you are going to have to:
You are going to have to decide that you are enough. That you are capable. That you can and will stand on your own two feet again. This means that, while you can and should lean into your healthy friends for support, you have to be willing to heal, too. You are going to need to do your Spiritual Push-ups to get back in the game. To accomplish this, you will need to:
DEVELOP MENTAL DISCIPLINE.
That means you are no longer allowed to dwell on your worries, your sorrows, your misadventures. “Shoulda, Coulda, Woulda” are no longer acceptable thought-tracks for you. We are able to abandon regret because we do everything we can TODAY to make our lives better. And this means you become willing to:
LOOK FOR WAYS TO USE YOUR EXPERIENCE TO BENEFIT OTHERS:
This piece is an example of how I use my experience, strength, and hope to serve others. In this way, we attach both meaning AND meaningfulness to our losses. Every time we use our suffering to create a space for healing for others, we mitigate our loss.
Grace’s 32-minute life is no longer pointless, meaningless.
I use what she has taught me about healing to serve others. And, if I am able to do that – for even one of you – her life’s legacy is fulfilled.
So, now, if you can, it is your turn to help.
If Grace’s story has moved you or given you hope, please share about it in the comments below. If you have your own story of Triumph over Adversity, please share that as well.
And, finally, please pass this story along to others.
THE ONLY WAY OUT IS THROUGH.
And those of us who know the way through need to show others the path up and out. Together, we will create a circle of healing that brings hope and possibility to anyone who comes across our stories.
Jennifer Boykin’s vision is to help women recapture their Mid-Life Mojo. She speaks, teaches, and writes as the Creative Visionary and Chief Rabble-Rouser of the MidLife Reinvention site, Life After Tampons.
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