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

A New Day

A New Day

This is a new day for Salubrity and Soul. It’s the day that I have chosen to revive the passion that I have for the content that I want to share with the world. It is also the day that I have chosen to release any subliminal fears that I may have had about my ability to follow through with my intentions and goals for this blog.

I am starting anew, but I have quite a few changes planned with regard to content and some of the physical aspects of this site.

Also, at this current time I am not exactly the slightest bit fully prepared or satisfied with every aspect of the changes that are planned for this blog site, but I have decided to continue moving forward anyway. I guess you could say that springtime has definitely put it’s spell on me because I am so excited to get started.

” Don’t wait for everything to be perfect before you decide to enjoy your life.” – Joyce Meyer

When I started Salubrity and Soul I knew that the content that I focused on at that time might be considered somewhat controversial because it was quite heavy. I am aware that it probably left some feeling uncomfortable. Death and dying seem to have a way of doing that, but that never hindered me.

The reason why it never hindered me is because it was a part of the story that I wanted to tell. I wanted to portray my story as accurately and authentically as possible.

It was extremely important for me to show my perspective of what grief looks and feels like for some. For many.

That is the only way I knew how to ensure that my content would be as honest and real as possible – even if that meant that I would have to expose myself a little and place myself in an extremely vulnerable position.

It was more important to me to have content that was realistic and less about “instant healing” because we all know that true healing does not happen over night.

“Seek to be whole, not perfect. ” – Oprah Winfrey

Now that “that” part of my journey has passed and I am truly in a much better place, emotionally, with regard to my loss and Im’ ready to keep moving forward.

New year.

New energy.

New strength.

New focus.

New courage.

New opportunities.

New determination.

New peace.

New wins.

New blessings.

New you.

Give thanks.

– Lalah Delia

Salubrity and Soul will be celebrating it’s first anniversary in June and all changes can be expected to be completed by summers end 2019. I will still be posting and updating along the way, but I deeply apologize for any inconvenience and I ask for your continued support and patience during this time.

My hope is that the ideas that I have planned for Salubrity and Soul will continue to maintain your interest, encourage you, inspire you or even spark some delightful conversation, because I am still deeply inspired to share with you, my readers, and be a “shoulder to lean on” when needed. After being around so many other “grief warriors” I learned that grief is one of the loneliest and most misunderstood conditions we will ever have to endure as a part of our human experience, and we need more people who are willing to be there for us during those times. We need more people willing to listen more and who will try “curing” us less.

I am so grateful for all of the encouragement that I have received from some of my followers here and on Instagram who believe in Salubrity and Soul as much as I do. I hope that you know that you have kept me strong and inspired every day for the last several months. You guys are so awesome and I thank you so much!

I can’t wait to get started! I am so so excited that I think I’m going to start working on some of the projects that I have planned right now.

Thank you for reading! Until the next post…

Take care + Be well,

Carol

Gratitude

Gratitude

“Gratitude soothes and heals the soul.”

– C.c.m.

Some days won’t be as good as others, but there will always be something good in each day. The key is to keep looking up!

Until the next post…

Blessings, love and light,

Carol

Welcoming 2019

Welcoming 2019

Happy New Year! December was an engrossing month for me. Not just because of Christmas or because the spirit and activities of the holidays were in full effect, but because in addition to all of that loveliness I had the opportunity to experience a few things that brought me just a bit more added holiday cheer, profound happiness and joy.

For starters, I received exciting news that one of my children had plans to get married and I also received news regarding my son’s accident which helped me to gain some closure with regard to the details of his accident and eventual passing. Both of these occurrences were blessings and really helped to make an otherwise stress laden, but truly wonderful and exciting month a much more rewarding experience overall. In fact, those were the best Christmas gifts that I could have ever received…but, enough about my December. I hope that you had a great Christmas and were able to enjoy the holidays with those you hold dear to you… and for my fellow grievers, I hope that you know that your loved one(s) were with you sharing every moment of the beauty of the holidays with you.

“There are 365 days in a year and you will meet all the colours of life throughout the year: The blue, the black, the pink… Only blue is not a life only pink is not a life, only black is not a life! Life is all the colours!”

Mehmet Murat Ildan

Now that 2018 has passed I know many of us have made resolutions for the new year. Some of which will be successful throughout the year; and some that will probably fall to the wayside in about three months or so. Just remember that the good thing about new year’s resolutions is that you can always begin again if yours did not work out this time; but if you can stick with yours for the remainder of the year (and possibly thereafter), even better and think about how wonderful that feeling of accomplishment will feel!

The reason why I mentioned the possibility of not fulfilling a resolution is because, in all honesty, it is a common reality. We can promote positivity and motivation tactics until the sun falls from the sky, but the truth is that sometimes sticking to our resolutions can be difficult, not just for the bereaved, but it can happen to anyone and for any reason. Sometimes it just isn’t the right time to start something no matter how much we may want to do it and that does’t mean that that person is a failure or lazy, it just means that maybe there is something else that might need to be that person’s central focus at the moment. What I know is that if someone wants something bad enough, they will do everything in their power to try to achieve it – in such an instance the question is never “why not?”, but “when?” and the answer to that is always when they are ready. So “Cheers!” to the new year and to success in all of our resolution endeavors!

“Another chapter in our lives has begun and as our thoughts all turn to improving ourselves we ought to remember that this book holds 365 pages and only we are responsible for what is written on those pages, so let’s all make sure that our books are worth writing, reading and publishing. “

– Carol C.M.

Until the next post,

Blessings!

Take Care + Be Well,

Carol

The Last Mercury Retrograde of 2018

The Last Mercury Retrograde of 2018

Greetings everyone! Today is the last Mercury Retrograde of 2018.  If you are familiar with astrology or the metaphysical side of spirituality then you are probably familiar with the term Mercury Retrograde.  If you are not familiar with this phenomenon, it is a planetary event that takes place 3, (sometimes 4), times a year in which the planet Mercury appears to travel in a backwards motion when viewed from earth.  It has been determined, though, that it is not actually traveling backward but is just moving very slowly which gives the illusion that it is moving backward. Scientifically, this process is known as apparent retrograde motion

Mercury Retrograde dates for 2018 were 

March 23rd – April 15th  (In Aries)

July 26th – August 19th  (In Leo + Scorpio)

November 17 – December 6th  (In Sagittarius + Scorpio)

It’s About Communication

How all of this relates to this planetary event is that since the planet Mercury is associated with communication, whenever mercury goes retrograde it tends to wreak havoc by causing errors in all forms of communication and it can also affect human behavior, cause delays, issues and problems.  The types of communication that can be affected include, but are not limited to:

  • Speaking + listening
  • Reading + learning
  • Editing + researching
  • Selling + buying

With this in mind, as you might guess, whenever this event occurs the likelihood that you may be misunderstood, get into an argument with someone, misinterpret things, not pay good attention to things or make mistakes is high.   A few other things to be wary of are:

  • Starting anything new 
  • Merchandise purchases 
  • Agreements + contract signings
  • Dating + relationships
  • Having surgery
  • Mailing important documents
  • Equipment breakdowns
  • Travel issues
  • Sudden + unexpected change of plans
  • Email + social media mishaps
  • Losing things + forgetfulness
  • Etc…You get the picture don’t you?

Pseudoscience?

Is this just pseudoscience?  Maybe… but for anyone who has experienced the results of mercury retrograde or believes in the influence of planetary alignments it is an actuality.  Mercury is not the only planet that “retrogrades’, but it is the most popular type of planetary retrograde event.

Not So Bad…

Whenever mercury goes retrograde it is a good idea to pay close attention to the possibility that problems may arise and trouble may ensue. So, it is probably best to steer clear of agreeing to anything or making any important life changing plans until mercury retrograde has ended.  There are some people who consider mercury retrograde somewhat ominous, but there are many others who choose not to view it in that way and see this event as a time of opportunity. 


The good thing about mercury retrograde is that we can prepare for it and work around it or decide to carry out an action at a later date  – Thankfully.   

A key thing to remember about mercury retrograde is that it always involves another sign and the element associated with that other sign. What does that mean? Well, if mercury is in an earth sign at the time that it retrogrades any problems can usually be eased by applying a bit of practicality instead of  wishful or hopeful thinking. If in an air sign analyzing and careful thought or discussion can be helpful. If in a water sign it’s all about using your intuition, and if mercury is in a fire sign, the best thing you can do is use your creativity and be daring and bold in your approach to attempting to fix any retrograde related problems.  

This current and last mercury retrograde was actually the first time, (that I really noticed it having an effect on me and my life.  Initially, I had not even considered that all of my recent miscommunication issues and delays were  because of mercury retrograde. Yet, when they kept happening over and over again that is when I began to get a little concerned – and then earlier this week it hit me… Of course! Why had I not thought of this sooner?  It was just a little planetary interference.

As you can see, mercury retrograde is not all doom and gloom. It is a time to:

  • slow down a bit and set or reassess any intentions, priorities and goals.
  • Tune into your intuition.
  • Change any bad habits that you may have.
  • Set new personal affirmations.
  • Express your creative side.    

Goodbye For Now

It will be a while before the next mercury retrograde event:

The Mercury Retrograde dates for 2019 are:

March 5th – 28th  (In Pisces)

July 7th – 31st  (In Leo + Cancer)

October 31st – November 20th (In Scorpio)

So, smile! If this is something that you follow and believe in then there is plenty of time to prepare for any commotion that the next events may cause you.  Now we can all focus a little more on holiday meal planning, gift giving, thinking of new ways to remember and honor lost loved ones and all of the cheerful loveliness of the holiday season – for me – that is a gift in itself (thank you for that experience mercury retrograde) and what a great way to welcome the Christmas season and ring in 2019! 

Until the next post

Blessings!

Take care + be well,

Carol 

Eating Healthy While Grieving

Eating Healthy While Grieving

One of the things that happens to the bereaved right after losing someone is that we tend to seek out things that will help us fill our recent void. Our bodies begin to crave more rest, and a host of other things – one being great tasting foods.  Grief often tends to cause our appetites to change; and while some will experience a loss of appetite, others may experience an increase in appetite as the need to gravitate towards foods that elicit a dopamine release from the brain cause us to feel all warm and fuzzy inside and completely comforted.  This is all due to the stress that comes with grief, and just as with any other form of stress we may know of our own “go-to” foods that we find personally healing.  In fact we can all probably conjure in our minds right this very moment, (I am sure), a dish or recipe that we know has the power to make us instantly happier at any given moment.  For me it’s my Mom’s curried chicken recipe or just about anything with, garbanzo beans, dark leafy greens, avocado or Italian. Those foods always go straight to my soul and make everything better. 

But, back to how grief either increases or decreases our appetite.  In the days weeks and first few months after losing my son, I lost my appetite which resulted in my losing 12 lbs.  Food was the farthest thing from my mind and I remember every time that I did eat, regardless of whether or not it was breakfast, lunch or dinner, I felt as though I was forcing myself to eat.  I was forcing myself to eat, because I knew that eating something was the only way that I was going to have any energy to keep running back and forth to the hospital, plan a funeral service and take care of all of the lose ends and important tasks that must be taken care of after someone passes away.  

Even though my appetite was not there I knew that I had to eat in order to stay somewhat healthy.  Sadly, though, I found myself in a bit of a fast food whirlwind grabbing unhealthy, easy, non-nutritious foods to sustain myself which as you probably already guessed, left me feeling even more depleted.   

Something had to change and I needed to find a way to get back to normalcy and start eating healthy again.  So, I began by gradually increasing the days that I would cook healthy meals at home instead of eating out or grabbing fast food. Starting with two days a week at first, and eventually leading to making healthy home cooked meals 6 days a week – it took me 4 months to return to my usual healthy eating schedule. 

One thing that made it easy to do was to cook in bulk so that we would have leftovers available, (either from the previous day or frozen), if something came up and I was unable to cook one day.  Another trick that I used was to pre-make healthy juices, smoothies, vegetable and fruit plates, soups and salads and I kept them at hand so they were easy to grab from the refrigerator for a quick snack or lunch.      

It is not uncommon for the grieved to receive food from friends and family after the funeral has passed, and this practice can be such a wonderful blessing when you are too emotionally and physically and weary to cook anything. I can’t stress enough how much helping the grieved in this way can mean the world anyone who has just lost someone. However, that is not something that we can rely on for the long haul. 

Therefore, having and idea of how to implement a healthy meal plan and and what to include can be invaluable not just to the bereaved while adjusting to a new way of being, but it could also be helpful to anyone who might be feeling overworked, over stressed, just plain tired or for any reason. 

During the spring and summer months we will usually feel satiated after eating just about anything light, but for a lot of people there is something about fall and winter that moves us toward craving comfort foods such as stews, hearty soups and casseroles. There is something about the cooler months that have us reaching for foods that warm our bodies as well as our hearts. The good thing is this, we don’t always have to abstain from enjoying those delicious comfort foods. 

For example, one way to still eat them and avoid adding extra pounds, or eating unhealthy, is to change a recipe so that it becomes healthier, but still tastes great. This is what I did with my lasagne recipe when I stopped making it with meat and all of the extra, delicious, but unnecessary cheese. It is absolutely scrumptious!  I will post a recipe for that lasagne this week in what will be Salubrity and Soul’s new recipe section, and it will also be posted on the Salubrity and Soul Instagram account.   

If you have found yourself in the same unhealthy conundrum and feel the need to eat healthier after loss or just prefer eating a decent home meal try:

  • Asking friends and family for help with obtaining home cooked meals. 
  • Creating your own home cooked meals by making larger amounts of precooked meals and either freezing them for later, or to enjoy as leftovers during the week. 
  • Avoid fast-food by buying pre-packaged meals.  Many of which can are now vegan, vegetarian, low-sodium or gluten free. 
  • Make homemade soups, stews and casseroles in a crock pot or instant pot to save time and your energy.
  • Order food from a good restaurant instead of grabbing unhealthy fast food and have it delivered.    

As you can see, there are several things that you can do to help ensure that you are eating as healthy as possible while dealing with loss, and I will have more tips and tricks for maintain your health while grieving in the coming weeks.     

Until the next post,

Take care + be well,

Carol