The community of writers and artists that compose the loving online family I am grateful to be surrounded by here continues to make me feel blessed.
Today I have felt my heart melt and grow at the same time, and all of it is healing and wonderful. Amongst other delightful forays catching up with my WP community, I read a few significant posts that touched me so deeply I shed tears, for various reasons.
First stop in my heart-touching travels was DhammaFootsteps writing with such tenderness and skill on the topic of the passing of his friend, a Buddhist Chaplain. His writing talent and the depth of his lovingkindness continue to humble me and fill me with gratitude that I can read about his observations. My tears began flowing as I read of her clock radio going off and filling the area with classical music. Maya Angelou’s passing and my grief process has been a part of my recent absence from blogging, and Tiramit’s eloquence felt as soothing to my aching heart as refreshingly cool water on an intensely hot day. I needed to read this and plan several rereads of this powerful piece.
Next was Ivon reminding me of how young I was when I began my spiritual journey. At the time I thought I was just tracking the travels of snails and lovingly climbing (and communicating with) old trees. Before I was 10 years old I began feeling the power of God’s love for all of us… for me. I saw it in the beauty of nature and was able to understand, in my youthful openness, that it is His love for us that allows us to see beauty in the changing of the seasons or the brilliant colours on an insect’s wings, the melodious thrill of hearing a bird’s song and the glory of the full moon as it illuminates the night. So much beauty, everywhere we look, and this post reminded me of how deep my love for nature is, and therefore God, and how early it began for me. This is a part of my comment on his post: “Yes when we were little, following the antics of beetles and marveling at clouds, we were wise. This post helps me to remember that wisdom.”
DreamPrayAct was next, where I go to read wisdom shared from Reverend Mark. He posted an important sermon, again moving me to tears. His writing always touches my heart and this time especially I could easily imagine myself sitting in the pews of his congregation, feeling his love. This is part of what I wrote in my comment on his post: “Thank you for filling me with hope and speaking in such positive terms as “You will continue to be a witness to the love of Christ through your ministry presence in this community. You will continue to give spiritual nurture to children and people of all ages.” I adore the phrase ‘ministry presence’ and I deeply appreciate the positive form of your statements throughout this incredible sermon.”
And finally such kindness I discovered from a friend who offered me a tremendous gift: the dedication of her post today. And even beyond that great honor, was the image and poem itself that speaks to me deeply. Sweet Amy at Petals Unfolding (herladypinkrose) offered me the gift of friendship and love in her generous heart with the image of a rose reminding me of the unfolding of blossoms that only happen in their perfect time. This gift, her powerful poem with her incredible photograph of a new precious rosebud slowly opening, is one of the most beautiful gifts I’ve ever been given. Her popular blog sharing a shout-out to me, knowing I am blooming in my own way, doing the best that I can which appears to include some troubles with writing all that I want to share about. Sweet soul-sister Amy, your loving shout-out has been gratefully received, welcomed and embraced as the loving hug it is, and please accept in return my loving celebration of the gift that bloggers such as yourself offer from your endlessly generous hearts. You mean so much and your gift has brought me great love and comfort today, and for always. Thank you kindly.
Along with Tiramit, Ivon, Mark and Amy, there are so many of you who deeply touch my heart as I enjoy reading your kind heartfelt words on the screen. I hope you know who you are (and I do intend to make a Blogroll/Links page to share all your blog’s links) but here’s my shout-out in no order to some who quickly come to mind: Jamie, Joe, Cher, Cathy, Jonathan, Lorrie, Trini-Line, Wendell, Jeanne, Kenneth, Sue, Ihsan, Lillian, Paul, Val, Sriram, Diana, Jack, Eliza, Antonio, Kendra, Sheri, Russ, Ute, Sloan. And so many more who, along with these friends mentioned, I’ll share links to your sites shortly. Stay tuned and watch for the ProfessionsForPeace Links Page coming soon!
Bless your hearts, all you wonderful writers, for the generous lovingkindness you share. You are deeply appreciated and your kindness reaches further than you may know. And I am so proud and honored to be a part of this loving online family. With loving friendship and respect, Gina
[with gratitude to the creators of these unsourced images]
“The ordinary acts we practice every day at home are of more importance to the soul than their simplicity might suggest.” ~Thomas Moore, Care of the Soul
This spring has found me on hands and knees busily clearing clutter and polishing the precious pieces I want to keep. Having read and marvelled at the wisdom of Thomas Moore for decades, I know I am caring for my soul as I lovingly care for my home. A section from a Louise Hay prayer that I repeat often is, ‘I love myself therefore I provide for myself a comfortable home, one that fills all my needs and is a pleasure to be in. I fill the rooms with the vibration of love so that all who enter, myself included, will feel this love and be nourished by it.’ I encourage us all to take time to appreciate our homes and the loved ones we are blessed to share it with, even if they are company if we live alone. Let’s beautify our homes and help nourish our souls. Namaste.
“Rediscover the sacred soulcraft of homecaring. Creating a comfortable, beautiful, well-run home can be among our most satisfying accomplishments as well as an illuminating spiritual experience. Like sweat equity, channeling your time and creative energy closer to home will produce a big emotional return for yourself and those you love.”
~Sarah Ban Breathnach, Simple Abundance
[My gratitude to the makers of these lovely images found on Pinterest]
“Be a lamp, a lifeboat, a ladder. Help someone’s soul heal. Walk out of your house like a shepherd.” ~Rumi
“You cannot know where the pains and tragedies of life are leading. Sorrow is always near, whether it is touching you personally at this moment or not. Cultivate tenderness for all beings. The drama in which they may be trapped at the moment is the same as you have experienced in the past, or may experience in the future. Be a quiet and peaceful harbor for whoever might need you.” ~Ann Mortifee
“We are each of us angels with only one wing and we can only fly by embracing one another.” ~Luciano de Crescenzo
Some Suggestions To Help Those in Grief
I would sooner bring a blanket than flowers and cards to offer genuine comfort for someone in grief. A new cozy throw can say ‘it’s okay to be not okay’ without having to put it into words. As one who adores cards I have learned through my own grief that cards didn’t help (I read them, but not until much later). If you bring flowers, bring them IN a vase or be ready to find one and cut the flowers for it. Don’t let your grieving friend prep the flowers themselves because that’s not helping the situation; it’s making them work (of course they might love the distraction of doing it, so just be aware).
Bring them food but don’t expect it to be eaten right away. Offer it and if not wanted immediately, put it in their fridge. Bring sandwiches and fresh fruit for easy snacking, and small containers of casseroles or meals that can be heated later (label contents and add directions if needed). Small nutritious meals are the best but perhaps some decadent comfort foods can help get them to eat something. Also bring nutritious beverages like tea and juice (or good coffee, but it’s wise to avoid alcohol – in my experience anyways; hangovers just make everything worse).
Allow the silence. Words mostly fail during times of tragedy anyways but being nearby can help more than you may realize. Be there without fussing over them (unless of course that comforts them but for me and many others, please don’t fuss or be too busy). Let them cry if they need to, or sleep, or rant even. Just listen. Make some tea, watch something together or sit in silence. Read on your own, and let them stare or sleep. Perhaps even reading out loud to help them fall asleep on the couch. There’s tremendous healing to be found and comfort to be offered in just being with someone.
Pray. For yourself. For your friend who is in grief. For everyone in and around the situation. People you might know and those you’ve never met. Survivors who were there. The victims’ families and loved ones. Emergency responders and doctors. Everyone who’s been affected. Pray to find your connection with Source, with God. Whatever word you use and whether you turn to the scriptures or chime a bell and meditate deeply or spend time doing yoga or going for a walk. Whatever works to bring you closer in contact with the highest, brightest source of light and love within your heart, do that! Pray so that you may shine healing Love onwards and outwards. Radiate the biggest feelings of compassion you can generate. It’s important and it helps, I believe, more than we can comprehend or realize. Praying is one of the most essential things you can do to help after a tragedy.
Copyright © 2014 Gina ~ Professions for PEACE
“Faith is not belief. Belief is passive. Faith is active.” ~Edith Hamilton
Click to view images on a Pinterest board I’ve compiled about grief
From an excellent article on helping the grieving at HelpGuide.org:
Comments to avoid when comforting the bereaved
▪ “I know how you feel.” One can never know how another may feel. You could, instead, ask your friend to tell you how he or she feels.
▪ “It’s part of God’s plan.” This phrase can make people angry and they often respond with, “What plan? Nobody told me about any plan.”
▪ “Look at what you have to be thankful for.” They know they have things to be thankful for, but right now they are not important.
▪ “He’s in a better place now.” The bereaved may or may not believe this. Keep your beliefs to yourself unless asked.
▪ “This is behind you now; it’s time to get on with your life.” Sometimes the bereaved are resistant to getting on with because they feel this means “forgetting” his or her loved one. In addition, moving on is easier said than done. Grief has a mind of its own and works at its own pace.
▪ Statements that begin with “You should” or “You will.” These statements are too directive. Instead you could begin your comments with: “Have you thought about. . .” or “You might. . .”
Be the one who takes the initiative. There are many practical ways you can help a grieving person.
You can offer to:
▪ Shop for groceries or run errands
▪ Drop off a casserole or other type of food
▪ Help with funeral arrangements
▪ Stay in their home to take phone calls and receive guests
▪ Help with insurance forms or bills
▪ Take care of housework, such as cleaning or laundry
▪ Watch his or her children or pick them up from school
▪ Drive him or her wherever they need to go
▪ Look after their pets
▪ Go with them to a support group meeting
▪ Accompany them on a walk
▪ Take them to lunch or a movie
▪ Share an enjoyable activity (game, puzzle, art project)
Children are like wet cement. Whatever falls on them makes an impression. ~Dr. Haim Ginott
Remember that children, marriages, and flower gardens reflect the kind of care they get. ~H. Jackson Brown Jr.
Here are some fantastic one-page articles about teaching and encouraging kindness in children, even when they’re still toddlers. It’s really never too early to begin. May peace prevail. Namaste. Gina
8 Ways to teach kindness to toddlers and preschoolers, by Tabitha Studer at WhatToExpect.com
Kids and kindness: Can you teach compassion? by Holly Bennett at TodaysParent.com
Teaching Children Respect in 5 Minutes or Less, by Julie Hunt at SmartKids101.com