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Whilst my son and I worked on a Christmas gift for his dad, I had to take a break to help my daughter to sleep. My son waited patiently and his mind began to reflect in the silence. I heard him start to cry and whimpered, “I’m afraid of what will happen to me when I die…I hope I die in my sleep.” I began to cry with him as I validated his worries and explained that up til a few years ago, I was afraid of dying too and that most people have the same fear. I described that the death of his sister really helped me to face my fears as well as realise that my greatest fear was leaving him and his sister in a world of pain and misery, that they’d be robbed of a mother’s unconditional love. It was during this awareness that I decided to dedicate my life to creating peace and love in the world so in the time of my death, my children would be surrounded in the love and light I had cultivated.

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Symbolically, on the same day of this conversation with my son, we received word that our dear friend on the other side of the world had chosen to end his life. The waves of grief were upon my family that holiday. A picture, a memory, a song triggered a wave. Sometimes the waves came fast and others slow.  Sometimes the wave felt in the hue of disbelief, or in sadness, and even in anger. All the waves validate the loss of a life source; the giddy laugh and bear hugs we miss.

Even more symbolically, about 2 months before this loss, my son was starting a new adventure: an experiential bio-dynamic farming and life learning group atop the island we live on. It had 360 degree views of the ocean, seemingly endless fields and bush country.  It is a Maori custom to give a gift to the land that you will work. This is done by choosing a treasured item and burying it in the land.  On separate occasions, both my partner and I thought of giving one of the heart-shaped, rose-quartz stones our dear friend gave to us as a wedding gift in 1999. When the day came to bury the stone, I felt a bit of sadness separating the hearts. I had read another Maori tradition is to hold a specific stone, put all your worries into it and bury it. My son and I held the heart stone and unloaded our worries. I wept as I handed my son stone to take.

When the waves of grief hit, parts of me wished I would have called our friend to share the story of the stone so just maybe we could have given his worries to the stone and buried his pain instead of him…What if his landlord would have allowed dogs so my sweet dog could have been his best friend…What if we connected with him when I ran across the envelope he sent 7 music CDs in… I know as the what if’s go on and on, that this fate was already dealt into the cards and his poker face we enjoyed too much. I have learned another painful lesson of how important it is to listen to my gut and risk reaching out, no matter how far or disconnected you may be.

I understand that an accumulation of many toxins played together to fuse this tragedy. Having personally considered this same end many times, I can also see that sadly this could have be the most “gratifying” end from his perspective as it ended the pain, the mental and emotional torment and he could feel in control, his fate in his hands. May he finally be able to see his brilliant reflection in all the tears and thoughtful actions of his loved ones. May everyone with breath left find the courage to share the pain, discover the inherent value we all have regardless of what life gives us, and use our  power to chose love instead of fear.

I am grateful my son is sharing his fears with me and continually processing his thoughts on pain and death. Every painful exchange with my children is a gift and opportunity to practice sharing negative feelings and grow together.

On Pain from The Prophet, by Kahlil Gibran

Your pain is the breaking of the shell that encloses your understanding.
Even as the stone of the fruit must break, that its heart may stand in the sun, so must you know pain.
And could you keep your heart in wonder at the daily miracles of your life, your pain would not seem less wondrous than your joy;
And you would accept the seasons of your heart, even as you have always accepted the seasons that pass over your fields.
And you would watch with serenity through the winters of your grief.

source http://www.katsandogz.com/onpain.html

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Here are some links of grief:

http://helpguide.org/mental/grief_loss.htm

http://www.childrensgrief.net/info%20-%20helping%20children%20with%20grief%20issues.htm

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“Strong feelings do not vanish by being banished; but they do diminish in intensity and lose their sharp edges when the listener accepts them with sympathy and understanding.”  ~Haim Ginott between parent and child

It is a sad myth that listening to one’s negative feelings or outbursts will reinforce their negative behavior. There is a huge difference between giving unconditional love and meeting vital needs versus “giving in”. I truly want to help people learn how to see this difference. To embrace the discomfort as well as genuinely accept, validate, and truly listen to another’s pain. I know it is not easy, more often gut-wrenching and you usually won’t get the ideal result you were expecting, yet it will make a difference. Imagine if more of our communications with loved ones and strangers were more supportive than critical, then just maybe a few less of us will be buried feeling alone, afraid, and miserable…

Because in the end, when we all see the ugly things that we see, and we think the ugly things that we think, and we sometimes even vocalize those things to the people around us, it turns out that we are all unknowingly screaming the exact same words to each other.

“I want to be okay, damn it. I want to be okay.”

If you close your eyes for a moment and listen, you’ll hear the world’s cry.

“I want to be loved. I want to feel normal.”

Listen closer.

“I want to not be judged.”

The more you are able to hear it, the louder it gets.

“I want what I believe to be okay.”

Louder. Louder. Louder still.

“I want to not be hated for who I am.”

Until suddenly it’s deafening.

“I am a good person. And I deserve to be loved.”

That’s what we’re all really crying.

Through the verdicts, and the odium, and the cries of foul-play. That’s what we’re all really crying.

“I am a good person. And I deserve to be loved.”

~Dan Pierce of Single Dad Laughing

click link for full article “The nine words that just might fix us all” http://www.danoah.com/2011/12/the-nine-words-that-just-might-fix-us-all.html

“there will be no end to the troubles of states, or indeed, of humanity itself, till philosophers are kings in this world, or till those we now call kings and rulers really and truly become philosophers, and political power and philosophy thus come into the same hands, while the many natures now content to follow either to the exclusion of the other are forcibly debarred from doing so. This is what I have hesitated to say so long, knowing what a paradox it would sound; for it is not easy to see that there is no other road to happiness, either for society or the individual.” ~Plato

A form of this quote appeared in the documentary, The Philosopher Kings which is described as an “an exploration of wisdom in the heart of America’s most prestigious universities. Wisdom is found in the most unlikely places.”  I had no expectations of this movie and was  blown away. I knew I was in for it when I started to cry at the sight of a grown man having created an exact replica of the Mystery Machine.

The picture that will forever be in my heart was toddlers in Haiti having to eat dirt cookies to satisfy their hunger pains. Yes, cookies made of dirt. Now sadly, these may be more nutritious than the processed cookies found in most super markets but still dirt cookies. And they even had to pay five cents for one because they couldn’t even afford rice. I tried explaining this to my seven year old and he couldn’t understand not affording rice. He said, “But rice is so cheap!” On top of this, a man had moved to US to work 2 full time jobs to support his family in Haiti. This man breaks down in tears because he feels he isn’t doing enough to help his people. I could feel the weight of the world on his shoulders and blown away by how much one man can do.

This film came from a Spiritual Cinema movie. I highly recommend checking out their service: http://www.spiritualcinemacircle.com/our-inspirational-movies

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