Let’s welcome the holidays with compassion!

Let's welcome the holidays with compassion!

Hello Everyone,
As the holidays near Grace On You LLC’s phone line is lighting up with requests from callers requesting practices to ease the pain of suffering from disappointment, heartbreak and the anxiety over what is or is not to come in the new year. The following are some of the practices that I have found to be most useful in helping others (myself included!) during stressful times.
Grief and Loss
Five years ago presenter’s father passed away. Six weeks after presenter’s father died. Yes – when major events happen to us our body goes into shock. Initially our ability to process the grief and loss is virtually non-existent. At any time we expect our loved one to walk through that door. Add to this if we had a distant relationship – (where we never had the close relationship we yearned for) we not only experience the grief and loss of the person but also we grieve over the potential of the relationship that never came to pass.
While working at the Hillsboro Boys and Girls club I witnessed a lot of grief and loss when staff left with little to no notice. This compelled me to create a process titled “Understanding Grief and Loss by Saying Goodbye with an Orange!” Tears and laughter are shared as this process continues to touch people’s lives during very difficult times and sometimes years after the event. Loss comes in many different forms – loss of a loved one through passing– heartbreak– deportation (we shared tears as a young boy shared how his uncle was taken during the night – “I didn’t even get to say goodbye.”– Job loss or a miscarriage – the orange we used for this exercise had a tiny little wedge in it – this served to solidify our belief system that life begins at conception.
Please… Do not skip over this pain. Some practices that have been helpful are;
1) put together a memory book – this could also be in the form of a music video.
2) First thing in the morning put on a CD of the saddest music you can find – allow yourself to cry from the deepest part of your heart. Cry you a river. Just don’t drown in it by making an agreement that when that CD is done you will pull yourself together and make it the best day possible. The tears will bring forth the healing!!!(see below Tears are healing).
3) Check the internet for grief and loss support groups in your area.
4) Ask for help – talk about it -journal about it – blog about it.
5) Sometimes the grief is beyond us and we feel the only way out is suicide. Please reach out to people – if the person you reach out to doesn’t get it or wants to skip over it by saying something like “We have all felt this way…it will pass.”– look for another person.
Additionally if someone comes to you in the depths of despair find the courage to ask them “Are you thinking about killing yourself?” If they answer yes follow it up with a question like “Do you really want to die or do you want the pain to stop?” If they answer that they really want to die or you are unsure how to help the person encourage them to call 1-800-SUICIDE – these are wonderful people who care and are trained to help. Offer to help them make the call.
Our ability to have a voice or to listen holds the power to save a life.
Tears are healing.
Dr. Darryl Inaba author of Uppers, Downers All Arounders – set out to prove there was something in tears that brought forth healing. We all know it but he wanted to prove it scientifically. So Dr. Inaba went to the University and collected tears from students. He looked at those tears through a special microscope. He found nothing – only saline.
He did not give up. He thought maybe it’s because the tears didn’t flow so he set out to make the tears flow by cutting up a bunch of Walla Walla Onions. He put the students’ faces in front of the onions and the tears began to flow! Still – nothing out of the ordinary was found in these tears. Dr. Darryl Inaba was getting frustrated (I can still see him showing his frustration by gesturing with his hands as he shared this story at one of our trainings!)
Instead of giving up Dr. Inaba put together a tool kit with instructions on how to collect tears and wrote a script of what to say and sent the students to funeral parlors where people were grieving over their dead loved ones.
The students were stopped from collecting the tears because it was found to be unethical. But before they were stopped they were able to collect enough tears to show true results.
Dr. Darryl Inaba shared how he literally fell off of his chair when he saw through the microscope that the tears were filled with endorphins and enkephalins -both very good and necessary for our healing. So please give yourself permission to cry – with boundaries.
Sometimes people fear if they begin to cry they will not be able to stop. Another tool learned at a training was to have the individual think of a soda pop! Ask them when you shake it then remove the lid! What happens? Yes – it over flows and the room is filled with spray. But emphasize how it does not last forever. Neither will your tears. In fact it is by holding our tears back that causes the greatest harm. It is toxic to hold our tears in or numb out about it. We use to get numb – we numb out to be free. This comes at a price. Please pay now so you won’t have to pay later.
Pain plus Suffering
A man is walking down the street. An arrow comes shooting through his midsection. The physical pain is palpable as the man looks down and blood gushes from the wound. The pain is real and cannot be denied.
Now the man begins a thought process – “Who would do this?” “Why would they do this to me?” “What did I do to deserve this?” This thought process is the suffering.
We have an event – someone hurts us deeply. Perhaps they break a promise, miss an important event or appear indifferent. We feel pain in the form of deep disappointment.
“How could they do this?” we ask. “Why would they do this?” “What did I do wrong?” or “What is wrong with me?”
We may even come to the conclusion that “I don’t matter.” “I’m not loveable” or “I am not worthy.” These thoughts become the ultimate suffering.
The messages we make is what matters most because it is the place where we can make the most difference. We cannot change the other person. But we can change how we respond to their behavior.
Don Miguel Ruiz author of the Four Agreements does an excellent job demonstrating agreement number one – be impeccable with our words. This includes the words we say to ourselves. Don Miguel Ruiz’s agreement number two – do not take anything personal.
My mother used to say “En cada cabeza hay un mundo.” In every head there is one world. I have never found this to be truer than when I am trying to understand or change other people’s behaviors.
And every time the true healing comes from us looking directly into the mirror for answers. We hold the key to the peace, love and understanding ourselves.
If we are looking externally (people or things) to get our feel good then it only works as long as those people or things are around us – behaving as we want them to behave – behaving as we need them to behave.
But if we look internally – no matter what is going on externally we are okay. We are – in fact better than okay because we will not be like a leaf in the wind being tossed to and fro. The greatest reward is that there will be more of us for people to love! And we will attract to us people that are worthy of our love. So it’s a win-win situation!
Speaking of winners vs. losers – If we are in a heated debate and feel that we must win to feel good about ourselves – please be careful. Think about it if we win that makes our partner the loser. Do we really want our partner to be or feel like a loser?
Thích Nhất Hạnh
I was invited to a Sangha at a Darmha where Opera interviewed this beautiful being. He shared the greatest words you could say to your loved one is “Darling I am here for you now.” “Darling I know you are here for me now” and when we are very upset and want to run into another room and slam the door to punish the other person – instead sit with them. Look at them in the eye and say “Darling I am suffering.” Watch the magic happen my friends!!!
Life is truly a miracle gifted to us. Make the most it and our time together here on this earth! This holiday be a blessing and the blessings will come back 100 fold!!! If you are suffering – use that suffering to propel you to love more – if your heart is breaking allow it to break open! What you are looking for in others find within yourselves!
We close with some simple breathing practices.
Reclaim your space because you do belong. Say out loud.
This is my breath in. (inhale)
This is my breath out. (exhale)
This is my breath in. (inhale)
This is my breath out. (exhale)
This is my breath in. (inhale)
This is my breath out. (exhale)

Another wonderful breathing practice when your emotions have you instead of you having emotions is;
With my breath in I notice my emotions. (inhale)
With my breath out I calm my emotions. (exhale)
With my breath in I notice my emotions. (inhale)
With my breath out I calm my emotions. (exhale)
With my breath in I notice my emotions. (inhale)
With my breath out I calm my emotions. (exhale)

And finally – when our mind begins racing and we are unable to stop the internal chatter within us practice the following;
With my breath in I acknowledge my thoughts. (Inhale)
With my breath out I smile at my thoughts. (exhale)
With my breath in I acknowledge my thoughts. (Inhale)
With my breath out I smile at my thoughts. (exhale)
With my breath in I acknowledge my thoughts. (Inhale)
With my breath out I smile at my thoughts. (exhale)

If you are new to breathing and are wondering if you are doing it correctly- lie on the floor and place one hand on your chest and the other on your belly. Breathe normally. Notice – which hand rises higher? The goal is to have your hand on your belly rise more – because this means you are deep breathing – this means you are breathing from your diaphragm. This is the most beneficial because deep breathing releases serotonin. “Serotonin is popularly thought to be a contributor to feelings of well-being and happiness.”Wikipedia. I call it our Happy Juice!!!
As the holiday season quickly approaches we could use all the Happy Juice we can get. My heart smiles knowing that our happy juice does not have to come from a bottle or a substance. Also please don’t leave out the sadness of tears that derive from our pain – for that will make space for the happiness you deserve! They are both equally viable to our existence and our ability to thrive beyond a mere existence!!!
Please consider sharing a favorite practice that has helped you get through the holiday season!!!
So grateful to be on this earth today,
Guadalupe Aragón, BA, CADC1
Certified Transformative Life Coach

I am a Life Coach/Brief Interventionist. My emphasis is on trading in our relationship with alcohol, drugs and negative thinking for an amazing relationship with others and most importantly developing an extraordinary relationship with our self!

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Guadalupe Aragon
Grace On You

(360) 334-2626

Self Care Is Imperative For Caring Professionals
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