The path to peace is more than just getting by

peaceThe Path to Peace.

How is it November already?The beginning of the holiday season is ripe with opportunities for healing and gratitude, however the struggle to find the path to peace and growth is real for many. While festive, the last two months of the year are also the perfect time for old wounds to reopen and emotions to resurface.

For the past few months, my focus and efforts have been fixed on working through the unpredictable maze of grief and loss. It has not been pretty, but beautiful all the same. My friends fear, anger, and regret have been gracious enough to tag along on this leg of my journey and have forced me to step back and take my own advice too many times to count. Yep. Moving though.

This portion of my journey has been necessary due to relatively recent events in life. However, this is not always the case. How many out there have truly moved through past hurts, situations, or negative events in life? Here is another point to ponder. What is the difference between moving through and just getting by?

Step in to the Healing Space

So many struggle to have peace in their lives because they have not examined, faced, or addressed lingering issues. Getting by is a survival skill which serves an immediate purpose, but it is not the end goal. So I ask, are you moving through, or just getting by? Everyone has areas in their lives which require attention if healing is to commence. Spending time in this healing space has become my new hobby. More on that later…

Mustering the strength, and willingness to process the surfacing emotions is step one. The decision to go deep and begin the work is the first step. Step two is learning to identify and begin to process the feelings. Doing the work is step three. How long it takes differs depending on the situation. A good rule of thumb is it takes however long it takes. There are no timelines for achieving the healing process or finding peace.

The only requirement is staying on track, regardless of how it feels. Honestly, this is not an easy sell. Being uncomfortable is not something most enjoy, but it is in this discomfort that the healing can begin. Acknowledging, feeling, and processing emotions is leaps and bounds better than continually carrying around feelings of not being good enough, worthy, or whatever negative dialogues may have been created in your life.

The majority of Moving Through…Lessons in Grief, Love, Courage, and Making Peace with the Past refers to this in detail. The assumption for those who know the background of the story is that it is a book about the death of a spouse. Partially true, but it is so much more than that.

Moving Through also includes subjects everyone can relate to and identify with. Fear, courage, authenticity, loving yourself, as well as how to identify and begin to break through the layers of defenses formed early in life. Understanding how trauma affects our ability to feel peace is also covered. It is a manual about how to stop just getting by and begin to move through.

Embrace the Journey.

My own journey has been equal parts getting by and moving through. Publishing the book was cathartic but also helped reveal areas where my own efforts to heal were stuck. Ugh. Specifically, I learned a valuable lesson about letting go. Now for the story part.

What few know is that the night before Yvette was taken to the emergency room I had a complete emotional breakdown. I was exhausted and felt like something was not right with her. I kept this to myself because I did not want her to worry about how I was doing. At 2 a.m., hyperventilating and through tears, I broke and finally shared my fear of something being wrong and having to get used to not holding her hand every night before I fell asleep. Her response was to hug me and tell me that she was right here, and not going anywhere.

The next day all hell broke loose for her and our family. When she died, I followed her wishes and she was cremated. She wanted to be laid to rest in the water. However, the path to peace for me experienced a detour. Until last Saturday night, she remained safely in the pelican case in our home. Many attempts were made to carry out her final wish in the past two years. But I could not do it. Until I could. 

Enter the work and all the things. Through intense EMDR therapy I realized my inability to let go and return her to the universe was rooted in that messy 2 a.m. conversation. “Keeping” her was how I made certain I had control of “her not going anywhere”.

peaceLetting Go.

In life, I had zero control over my worst fear coming true. Losing her. Seems reasonable right? I had no awareness of this until I processed many layers of emotional junk. Without a doubt, the sessions dealing with this imprinted trauma was among the hardest emotional work I have ever done. Every minute was tear filled and raw. I dreaded the appointments but went anyway. The work is hard, but worth the peace in the end.

The truth is she is still here with us all. She did not go anywhere really. I have a jar filled with unexplained pennies to prove it. This reality helped make it possible for me to let go of her cremains, without heartbreak and even laughter at times. That story is for another time, but rest assured it was quintessential Yvette.

While the trek through the valleys may differ, the journey to healing is consistent. In order to move through the valleys, you must do the emotional work. There are no shortcuts. Sorry.

Reflect on your progress on the path to peace and begin to consider those events which may have been addressed with a “get by” strategy. Begin to entertain the idea of replacing it with a moving through mentality and prepare to do the work. Then do the work like your life, and peace, depends on it. The work is places us firmly on the path to peace. As usual, be gentle with yourself as you begin the process of healing.

Of course, if you want to learn more about the experiences of moving through, please consider reading the book Moving Through…Lessons in Grief, Love, Courage, and Making Peace with the Past. Paperback is available on amazon and other retailers for $12.95. Ebook is available only on Amazon for $5.99.

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