A friend recently shared this quote with me, “Your pain is your rocket fuel.” I think she heard it in a movie preview, but even without fully understanding the context, the words resonated with both of us. That quote led to a fascinating conversation about the choices people make when faced with difficult situations. I commented that loss and pain can either paralyze you or propel you forward – but ultimately the power is yours to decide.
Something happened yesterday that perfectly illustrated that point.
My operations manager showed me two emails that had come in just moments apart. The first was from a student letting me know how she had been inspired to take my new course, Awaken the Writer Within, by the recent death of her maternal grandmother. The student had enjoyed a special bond with her grandmother from the time she was a young girl. “Grandma would spin these incredible tales and I would sit there, mesmerized by the fantastic worlds she created for us…when I got a little older, she encouraged me to write my own stories and illustrate them. I’ve been journaling and telling tales to my own kids for years, but I never had the confidence to take my storytelling any further. When my grandmother passed, I was looking at your Facebook page so I could feel closer to her, and your writers course caught my eye. It struck me that we all have such a short time on earth, and that writing my own book would be a beautiful way to honor my connection with Grandma. I took the leap! I’m halfway through chapter one of a young adult novel and I feel my grandmother’s presence with every word I write. I’ve never felt closer to her, and I just wanted to share that with you.”
At the same time another email came through from a student who was asking to withdraw from the same online course due to a death in the family. She explained that she had been working on a Historical Fiction novel for years, and had thought my program would give her the motivation she needed to complete it. But just as she was getting started, her mother had unexpectedly passed, and she couldn’t imagine being able to apply her energy toward her writing while she was grieving the loss of her mom. I encouraged her to allow herself to heal, and when she was ready, to decide upon her next step by tuning into her soul’s wisdom.
There’s no “right way” to deal with loss. Whatever the crisis you’re facing – the death of a loved one, divorce, serious illness, career setback – my advice is always the same. First, look for the lesson. Ask yourself, “How can I grow from this?” Second, give yourself permission to work through your grief in a way that is authentic to you. If your mother passes away of cancer, friends might suggest participating in a walk for a cure, or joining a group to raise money for cancer research. You might get comfort from those activities, but be sure to check in with your own inner knowing to determine the best, most healing action to take. And, as you navigate these waters, keep these things in mind:
- Take time to breathe. Your soul has the answer, but you have to quiet your mind to receive it. In the midst of chaos, take a few minutes to meditate, read a favorite poem, or take a mindful walk – and the answers will come.
- Stick to your own timetable. Don’t let anyone rush you into making decisions. Trust yourself to know when the time is right to take the next step.
- Encourage yourself with positive self-talk. Post an inspiring phrase or affirmation on your mirror, computer screen or phone, and keep yourself moving forward by celebrating the small victories.
- Seek out like-minded, helpful people. You don’t have to go through this alone, the right friend, counselor, or mentor can be invaluable.
- Even in grief – be grateful. When you’re dealing with loss, take a moment to give thanks for what was – the good times, love or education you received from that person, job, or relationship.
If you need help fueling up for your own personal rocket launch – I’m here for you. Join me on Hay House Radio every Tuesday at 11:00 Pacific time, or check out my Facebook Community for a daily dose of fun, inspiration, and education!