Lessons Learned From Grief And Trauma (Part 3)

August 25, 2008 · Filed Under Healing Wisdom, The Power of Love · 1 Comment 

8. The pain of a loss or trauma is locked into your cells. Healing requires that you balance your pain with thoughts of a lighter energy. Give yourself permission to focus on what makes you laugh, even if you do not feel like laughing! Balance your pain with time to watch a comedy or time to meet and be with friends (push yourself if you feel you can’t or don’t want to do this). By doing this, you are helping you immune system recover and be able to better protect you from the aftermath of your loss or trauma.

9. With grief and trauma, often come an outpouring of expressions of care, compassion, kindness, love, and prayers. Allow yourself to be deeply touched by such a showering of love. This can forever transform you so that you become more aware of the choice you can make to be equally caring, loving and kind. You may find that you are becoming aware, also, of the power of your own love, appreciation and gratitude for your blessings. Take time to express your heartfelt thanks. This, too, expedites your healing process.

For example, patients and friends have frequently shared with me how moved they are when they are ill and another close and dear friend who just sustained the loss of a loved one calls to see how they are doing. When you step out of your own pain and are present for another in pain, you heal yourself and contribute to the healing of others.

“We either make ourselves miserable or we make ourselves strong. The amount of work is the same.” Carlos Castaneda

Susan Barbara Apollon
Author of “Touched By The Extraordinary”

©Copyright 2008 Susan Barbara Apollon

See Part 1 of Life Lessons Learned In Healing From Grief And Trauma

Life Lessons Learned In Healing From Grief And Trauma – Part 2

August 8, 2008 · Filed Under Healing Wisdom · 1 Comment 

When we come to the last moment of this lifetime and look back, the only thing that’s going to matter is ‘What was the quality of our love?’” Richard Bach

2. Be open to changing your perspective! The experience of grief and trauma can contribute to your changing your thinking about what is truly important in life. For example, following the occurrence of a significant tragedy or loss, you may find yourself amazed at the decreased importance and attention you give to what were formerly valued items, perhaps a fancy car, china or clothing, or to participation in previously favored activities, such as sports, your job, traveling or entertainment.

3. Recognize the importance of Love in your life’s journey. You may even learn from your pain and suffering that the only thing that really matters is the person you love and your loving relationship with this individual. My husband taught me this years before we married (some 44 years ago!). Walking along a boating dock, the little bag I held that contained his rings and watch slipped from my hands, went through the boards and into the water, never to be seen again. I cried profusely, feeling great guilt, and will always remember his words: “Don’t worry, Susan. The only thing that matters is you. I can replace the jewelry; I can’t replace you.” His love touched, healed and soothed my pain of disappointing him!

4. In dealing with the pain of a tragedy, loss or grief, healing occurs as you discover that you are much stronger than you thought you were. Suddenly, being forced into roles that your ill or deceased loved ones once held, be it holding down a full-time job, paying the bills, maintaining your home or car, or creating your social life, you may find that you are now taking responsibility for areas of your life that you previously felt you were unable to handle.

5. With your new- found sense of personal strength, you may learn that you are more powerful than you had thought, more capable and more resilient. This new awareness may enhance your self-esteem, self-confidence and your belief in yourself. All of these are gifts because they come at a time when you are left feeling powerless, frightened and worried about your ability to survive. Tragedy often validates your ability to be a survivor, one who can handle whatever curve ball may come your way. My patients have repeatedly shared their awareness with me of how much braver and more courageous they feel they are, having proved to themselves they can survive without their loved ones

6. You learn that there are questions that better serve you than asking “Why did this happen?”, a normal response to such events. By asking “What is this teaching me?” and “What is the lesson I need to learn here?”, you find that you have an enhanced ability to cope with such stressful experiences.  For example, such questions often move us from perceiving ourselves as victims to realizing that we have the resources to deal with such challenges. They also move us along in our having a sense of purpose, despite our angst and pain.

7. View the events as challenges or opportunities to learn valuable life lessons; patience, courage, compassion or forgiveness. Asking the previously mentioned questions helps you become more conscious of which life lessons you are here to learn. This, in turn, again, leads to a stronger sense of connection with your own Higher Power or God, as well as a change in your perspective about the meaning of such losses and traumas. Allow your perspective to become broader, inviting in more wonderful possibilities about life, its purpose and whether life continues in a somewhat different form; allow this change in perspective to soothe and heal the pain of your broken heart. (TO BE CONTINUED)

Susan Barbara Apollon
Author of “Touched By The Extraordinary”

©Copyright 2008 Susan Barbara Apollon

Life Lessons Learned In Healing From Grief And Trauma – Part 1

August 7, 2008 · Filed Under Healing Wisdom · 1 Comment 

Recently, our good friends’ son, a young man we watched grow up, died in a freak accident and another dear friend was hospitalized with septicemia and was suddenly fighting for her life. My patients, friends and family can testify to the quirkiness of life – one minute all is well and the next, your life is totally upside down. Each time you experience a loss or trauma, you are reminded that life is a precious gift. This awareness is the first lesson learned in dealing with any type of loss or tragedy.

However, when difficult situations with others arise, you often fail to remember that you have a choice as to how to view the meaning of the loss or trauma. Frequently, tragedies, losses (of any kind, including loved ones, home, health, job or dreams) and life-threatening events are viewed from the negative perspective. While this is understandably part of the initial grieving process, you slow down your healing by spending needed energy viewing the situation as negative rather than positive in the months and years that follow the crisis.

Why is this? Perhaps, it is the fear that what has happened to another can happen again, and, perhaps, it is because you focus on the experience as a loss and, therefore, you spend more energy dwelling on the pain of separation from your loved one or anything you particularly value. The nature of human beings is that we tend to obsess more about our worries, anxieties, losses and negative life events than we do about those that are positive, joyful and which we may consider to be our blessings.

The truth is that the way you perceive a situation powerfully influences the healing of your body, mind and spirit. Remember that how you perceive a situation is a choice. How you choose to view or think about your situation dete rmines the path your healing will take.

“In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity.”…Albert Einstein


I offer you the following suggestions to assist you in healing from grief and trauma. They are based on the lessons learned by my own patients.

1. Give yourself permission to truly feel your pain. Healing from trauma and grief does take time. It is an experience that affects every aspect of you, including your identity, thoughts, feelings, body and spirit. No matter how you try, your Higher Self will demand that you do the work of grief. Trying to escape the pain does not serve you. Healing is expedited when you do the best you can to express it, feel it and let it go. (CONTINUED)

Susan Barbara Apollon
Author of “Touched By The Extraordinary”
©Copyright 2008 Susan Barbara Apollon