How Are You Doing? A Message of Hope and Solidarity.

How Are You Doing? A Message of Hope and Solidarity.

As we have all been affected in one way or another by the coronavirus, (COVID-19), as it is known as a novel disease; and as a virus by the name SARS-CoV-2 I just wanted to take a moment to check in on you and say that I hope that you are doing well. I hope that your loved ones, too, are doing well. If it happens that you are not doing well or someone that you know is not, or has not fared well as a result of of this pandemic my heart goes out to you and please know that even though you may not know it, there are people who are thinking of you and praying for you every day. I am one of those people. What we are experiencing right now is heavy to bear, but it is something that we will overcome.

I would like to remind you of the importance of being present – especially when life may seem to be unraveling at the seams. Let me share with you a quote by R. Wayne Willis, author of Hope Notes which says, “To grow some hope, take a hope-full step. That first step is the most difficult.” There are times in our lives when cultivating hope can be a hard thing do, but in reality we should never really expect it to be something that will happen overnight. Some things need time. So take it day by day if you need to. Keep the faith and know that we will all get through this together.

If there is anything even the slightest bit positive about what we are now forced to endure, it the opportunity to come together as one as we work through our concerns, fears, losses and patiently await resolve.

As always, thank you for reading.

Until the next post…

Please take care.

On Meditating

On Meditating

Meditation is one of those things that, when thought of, is often considered to be something that is rather easy to do. Yet, some people may find that once they get into position, (which is usually some variation of the lotus position, but can be just about any position that you find comfortable), they tend to have difficulty maintaining their posture, maintaining a still mind or both.

I used to be one of those people, until I attended a yoga class, one of which meditation was a part of; and I quickly discovered that it’s actually quite common to lose focus while meditating. It was my instructor who, ever so graciously, helped to put my mind at ease and made me feel less uncomfortable about my ability to meditate – and to do so in a way that I could actually benefit and grow in my meditation practice.

I learned that meditation doesn’t have to feel as initially intimidating as it often does for many. Nor does it require that you clear your mind of your thoughts. Instead, it is more important that you learn to work with the thoughts that come through your mind. Why should you do this? Well, because your thoughts are likely going to keep coming. So, in lieu of fighting your thoughts, it would be better to accept that they are there and say to yourself, (mentally, of course, especially if you are meditating in a class with others), “I am in control of my thoughts” and then simply practice controlling them.

One way to do this is to continue to relax, close your eyes, try stilling your mind, (you can do it!), and then pretend that your thoughts are on imaginary clouds. Place your thoughts on clouds that are floating by, in your mind while your eyes are closed, and while maintaining your focus on the task of meditating. Lastly, observe each thought as they float away – far away.

Another similar option would be to put your thoughts in imaginary balloons and observe each thought as they are being released into a sunset filled sky and then – just let go.

I have tried both methods and they have worked well for me. I found that they keep me from being distracted by any thoughts or concerns of the day to where it makes getting through a complete meditation session much easier and without feeling as thought I am clearly focused one minute; and then losing my concentration the next.

So, it is considered acceptable if you find that you have to keep trying again and again to maintain your focus while meditating until you are able to get to a point where your mind no longer feels the need to wander. With a regular meditation practice you will likely find yourself becoming less of a meditation amateur just like I did.

One of my favorite things about yoga and meditation is the philosophy behind the practice; and how they offer so much in way of self-compassion. My holistic living journey over the past several months has been quite the eye-opener and I am excited to see where else it takes me. Thank you for reading.

Until the next post…

With love. Take Care.

Losing a Pet is Like Losing a Child

Losing a Pet is Like Losing a Child

Good Monday to you!

This one is for pet owners.

It’s also for anyone who can’t understand why people grieve the loss of their pets.

We lost our family pet during the first week of January. He was the sweetest, funniest (yes, pets can make you laugh hysterically), “little ham” ever – and a big part of our lives. When you’ve had a pet for 14 years they tend to grow on you and their loss can really “sting”.

Whoever said, “Pets are like Family” obviously owned, cared for and loved one themselves, because they sure knew what they were talking about. We found our little guy , a chihuahua mix, at a local pet store — but he was a shelter dog. One that if not for our youngest child, ( our son who passed away), asking us repeatedly to get a dog, we would not have had. Which would’ve meant that we would have missed out on some very special moments.

Just as with the family members and friends that we have lost, we have memories in the form of photos; but there also the stories. Oh, how I love the stories.

They remind us of the reason why “he” had to be the one to come home with us and become a part of our family.

It hurt having to say goodbye to him forever, not just because we loved him, but because having him around after losing our son allowed us to still have a little bit of our son around.

If you think about it… our pets lives are very much like that of the life that we have with our children, or anyone else that we may be taking care of on a daily basis. Their lives become intertwined with ours as we wake each day, on time, to ensure that they are fed.

We play with them, talk to them (yes, I said “talk” to them), we socialize them with other pets at pet establishments or dog parks; and sometimes we even set up play dates for them. We take them to the veterinarian to keep them healthy, or when they become ill.

Many pet owners, like myself, watch what our pets eat to ensure that they are eating foods that will benefit their health needs and keep their bodies strong.

We make sure that they exercise – usually with a nice walk, and it’s not unusual to hear a “pet-parent” talk about how their pet is often their source of motivation to get off the couch and to get a little exercise.

It’s no wonder that pet owners are considered healthier than non-pet owners, (even though recent research concludes that there is not enough evidence to support that belief). Yet, as a life-long pet owner I believe in the benefits and positive effects of pet ownership; and I challenge you to become a pet owner and judge for yourself!

Our pets keep us going and moving through life, while also adding positively to our livelihood. But, it’s their unconditional love that we probably benefit from the most. As that part of pet ownership has been shown to support emotional health and well-being.

I am sure that every pet owner will agree that there is nothing like the warm welcome and excitement that your pet shows when you walk through the door after being gone for a while.

Here is the thing… A loss is a loss. It doesn’t matter if it is a family member, friend or pet. It’s about how those we lost had an affect on our lives, and how much we will forever miss them.

So remember this the next time that someone thinks you are being dramatic because your pet died and you are grieving their loss; and keep grieving until you feel better. It’s not your fault that they don’t understand. Nor is it your responsibility to make them understand. But, feel free to send them a link to this post in hopes that they may one day learn to understand that pet loss is just as realistic and significant as human loss.

Thank you for reading!

Until the next post…

With love.

Take care,

xo

Welcome 2020!

Hello friends! Well, we’ve officially entered a new decade…and a new year! Happy New Year!

I have not posted in while because I decided to spend time with and focus solely on family this past holiday season. So, since I wasn’t able to wish you a Merry Christmas, I’ll do so now… Merry (belated) Christmas to you and yours! I hope that you had a wonderful holiday season!

We are 6 days into the new year and I have to say…I feel a slight sense of relief that the holidays have ended. Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love the holidays, but there has to be at least one person reading this that can agree with me that the holidays, as great as they can be, can also be very, very tiresome. So, it feels quite good to feel a bit of relief from all of the excitement that comes with that time of the year. Now we just have 11 more months to go until we get to create more special memories with those we hold dear once again. That is always definitely something to look forward to. Those cherished moments are the best!

Many of us are returning to work and/or school this week as we ease back into our schedules and personal versions of “the familiar” and the “the everyday.” I for one am looking forward to “getting back into the groove of things”.

2019 was a transformative year for me personally and for Salubrity and Soul. With my having begun a new wellness journey, and the rebranding of Salubrity and Soul, I am very excited about the road ahead!

So stay tuned if you’d like to see what I’ve been up to over the last several months because over the next few weeks I will be picking up where I left off, and delving deeper into the process of sharing my discoveries through a series of daily, weekly and monthly posts.

Before I end this post I have to inform you that there are no words that can fully express the gratitude that I feel towards you- my followers- thank you so much for your readership whether new or old. This has been one rough journey. Thanks for journeying with me…still. You’re amazing! Stay beautiful.

As always, thanks for reading.

Until the next post…

With light + love,

Take care.

10 Ways That Suffering Can Help You Grow Spiritually

10 Ways That Suffering Can Help You Grow Spiritually

Well…we have survived yet another Monday my friends! Happy Tuesday! Today on “Talk-about-it-Tuesday” I would like to discuss spirituality and how suffering can contribute positively to personal growth.

“Don’t put your soul in the wrong hands, mindset, or environment.

– Lalah Delia

Spirituality means a lot of different things to a lot of different people, and my intention with regard to this particular blog post is not to focus on the different types of spirituality or get into the topic of religion; but rather to look at how it (spirituality) can be beneficial in the instance of grief.

One thing that I have noticed is that all spirituality carries with it is the ability to bring us back to our “center.” Back to our “home base.” Back to a phenomenal place where we’re able to develop a deep connection with something that is many times greater than ourselves, and perform rituals that make our spiritual practice (whatever it may be) special and meaningful to us.

“Spirituality is a supreme inter-communication between you and everything.”

-Bryant McGill

Spirituality is often the thing that we’re reaching our for when we experience loss because that is a time in our lives when we tend to really seek answers to the most perplexing questions about life… and death.

I have found so much comfort in discovering and implementing the guidance that I’ve received from my spiritual practice(s). They have brought more peace, tranquility and inspiration into my life making it easier for me to heal.

Suffering can be as lonely as it is painful; and it feels wonderful to have something in my life that I can do to alleviate the pain and loneliness that can also be practiced in very personal and intimate way without infringing on anyone else’s personal comfort level. I can express what I am feeling without any worries because I know that I am in the company of a power that understands my grief, and who is ready to assist me in performing my soul work and growth.

“Part of the spiritual work is remembering who you are – when triggered.”

– Lalah Delia

I have compiled a list of 10 ways that suffering has helped me to grow spiritually. I believe that this list could help you too.

  • Suffering makes your appreciation for life more profound because you get to observe closely just how precious every single moment is. You get to see it’s worth up close and personal.
  • You learn that life comes with limitations – and you learn to accept that reality.
  • You learn that no matter how much you think that you have control over your life… you do not.
  • You gain a greater understanding of the gift of vulnerability and you become more fearless and courageous as a result.
  • It can help you open your heart and mind to the gift of “storytelling”, authenticity and self-expression.
  • It can help gain insight of your life purpose and find meaning in life.
  • It helps you remain focused on the important things in life and you become more grateful for everything.
  • It can help increase your interest in fostering an intimate relationship with a higher power.
  • It can help you prepare for and manage life’s ups and downs.
  • Suffering teaches you to have more compassion and empathy in all of your relationships.

If you have any thoughts about this post please share! I would love to hear all about it!

Thank you for reading!

Until the next post…

Take care + Be well

Grief Rituals

Grief Rituals

Hi Everyone! I hope that your week is off to a wonderful start! I also hope that you had a great weekend. Well it is Monday, which means that it is “Memorial Monday” here at Salubrity and Soul.

Memorial Mondays are days that I will discuss topics related to grief and loss, and on this first Memorial Monday I’d like to begin this series by discussing healing rituals for grief and loss, or “grief rituals”.

A ritual, (although it may sound like something having to do with witchcraft or something), is actually just a task or activity that is performed, and is considered proven to be personally effective as a means of helping the bereaved move through their grief.

“If you have lost someone you love this year, or if it’s the anniversary of their death, you can celebrate their life by creating a ritual that is meaningful for you.” – Dr. Margaret Rutherford

After my son died I began stocking up on candles because I found that lighting a candle every Friday night beginning at the last hour that he was physically at home, until the hour that we received word of his accident helped me adjust to losing his physical presence within our home. It also helped me to gently process losing our mother/child, mother/son relationship and connection.

That was almost two years ago, and I still practice that ritual, but now instead of lighting a candle every Friday evening, I now light one every evening after dinner at which time I call out my son’s name and declare that this candle lighting is for him and then I go on to say a few words to my son and close with a prayer or some other wording that holds special meaning. I then end each nightly candle lighting by blowing out the candle and then telling my son “good night”.

Another ritual that I have is that I watch, (or rather continue to watch), my son’s favorite television shows. There are several shows that my husband, son and I used to watch together regularly and we would have in-depth conversations about each episode afterwards. That was really hard to adjust to losing by the way…

Continuing to watch those shows helps to remind us of his opinions, perspectives and personality. He used to have his own special spot on the couch and now when we watch those shows it is healing because it’s almost as though we can still feel his presence.

“All healing is first a healing of the heart”. – Carl Townsend

I guess I would probably also include my journaling practice as being one of my grief rituals as well since the writing that that I do for my grief is within a journal that is reserved specifically for expressing my personal feelings about my son, how his loss has affected me – and our family. It is also another way that I speak to my son as well.

The ritual examples that I have just discussed are daily and weekly rituals. However, there are also grief rituals that can be performed monthly or yearly as well; such as memorial rituals. I will talk about those next week so if you are a part of my fellow bereaved tribe, stay tuned for those other helpful ideas.

There are many things that can be done to ease grief. Grief rituals are just a part of the many ways to do so. What makes these rituals so special is that they are often quite personal in nature, and can be created to be very unique representations of the relationship that we had with the person we lost; and our connection to them. So much so, that it can become a way for us to continue feeling that connection – even after they have passed on.

Grief rituals can be helpful in providing, us, the grieved, with some sense of of normalcy during a time when everything seems to be out of control. I like to think of them as a way of “making the burn sting a little less” when you’re needing the world to just slow down a bit because your grief is making it so hard for you to keep up.

That is what grief rituals have done for me. They helped me to re-frame my thinking by making me feel as though what has passed; hasn’t completely passed and it gave me the chance to view my loss in a more positive light by helping me remember that there are so many things that I can still be grateful for within my experience with loss.

One important thing to remember during your grief ritual is to let yourself feel whatever you need to feel, and don’t feel bad if you find that you need to express any anger, or need to cry. Just let it out because that is going to help you get through your pain – even though it may not feel like it. If you don’t find that you need to express any emotion that is fine too. There is no right or wrong way to feel during a grief ritual – or through any aspect of grieving.

Here are a few daily and weekly grief ritual ideas:

  • Write in a grief journal daily.
  • Visit your loved one’s burial or accident site weekly.
  • Light a candle daily or weekly during a specific time of the day to remember and honor your loved one.
  • Watch your loved ones favorite shows, sports or movie.
  • Create a playlist of your loved ones favorite song(s) and play it during a specific time of the day or week.
  • Put fresh flowers in their room weekly.
  • Say a daily prayer for them or recite their favorite quote or other reading.

Do you have any thoughts regarding daily and weekly grief rituals? If you know of any additional grief ritual ideas please feel free to share them with me. I would also be very interested in hearing any stories telling how you were helped, (or not helped), by a grief ritual.

Thank you for reading!

Until the next post…

Take care + be well

Food + Family + Friendship and The Ties That Bind

Food + Family + Friendship and The Ties That Bind

Have you ever noticed how meals, when shared with others, can make us feel all warm and fuzzy inside and create a sense of community? Throughout our human history sharing meals is one thing that has always brought people together. Over the holidays I was reminded of how it is one thing that has also always sustained us through good and bad times alike.

It doesn’t matter what the occasion is, or what food is being served; there is something special about “breaking bread” with others and sharing a moment of gratitude for just being able to have such a moment in our lives – all while satiating and nourishing our bodies, (and minds), as is the case with delicious food that either reminds us of good times with those we have lost; or stirs and excites the senses as we share thoughts, smiles and laughter at the dinner table.

Although a good meal sustains us by providing us with the vitamins and minerals that our bodies need, you have to admit that we also, generally, have a love of how a simple taste or smell can bring a great big smile to our faces; or even take us back down memory lane – and if you love to cook like I do – then I’ll bet that you, too, have also had the pleasure of watching someone’s face light up from a meal that you cooked. These are smiles created by meals that were made with full hearts and love; and sometimes those smiles are created by the connection created from just being a part of something that warms the heart. A meaningful togetherness. What a truly beautiful aspect of life that is.

Until the next post.

Blessings,

Take Care + Be Well,

Carol xo