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Posts Tagged grief coaching

What If This is Life’s Biggest Lesson?!

Step into the Light

Earlier this week I shared with you about how some of the difficulties in my life are transforming into wellsprings of beautiful lessons.  As often happens, I have heard from friends and colleagues that they too are having significant growth from discovering the gifts that challenging times offer.  I just love when the folks around me are “getting” it at the same time I am.

For that very reason, I wanted to share with you some of the ways I am helping that process along.  I think we often feel like those parts of our lives have control over us and that we are out of control when they happen, but I am starting to believe that those hard times just might be the most blessing rich times of our lives….if we choose for them to be.

Broke Beauty 500

My Tips for Finding the Gifts in Difficulty

  1. Feel the Feelings:  There is nothing worse than being in pain, emotional or physical, and never getting to fully have what your are feeling recognized and witnessed.  As a Life Coach, this is some of the most important work that I do.  However, I have learned over the years that I don’t have to have another person witness my pain, although that is certainly invaluable.  When I don’t have that luxury, I give myself permission to express what I am feeling through art, writing, movement, or just by talking to the walls.  It may sound crazy, but it helps.  I am able to move the energy of those feelings out to make room for a more enlightened perspective.  This allows me to grow a deeper understanding of what I am feeling, where it comes from, and what it could possibly transform into that I might never get to if I am unwilling to look at it.  In fact, not feeling our feelings can lead to even more discomfort and difficulty.
  2. Softening:  At some point in the process of feeling the feelings, I become aware that I have gotten to some of the meat of the issue.  For me, I sometimes feel myself pull back from the “feeling session” a bit, there is a lull or a break where I can see from the point of view of the Inner Witness.  Instead of pushing out the emotions with strong intent, I will shift into a more receptive stance.  For me, this is often the place where transformation can take place. I may find myself at a crossroads where I have a choice to make.  Should I stay with the difficulty or encourage myself to move beyond it.  Sometimes I have to stay with it a bit longer.  That is definitely okay.  But, often, I will choose to soften myself, soften my anger or fear and invite something new to come in.
  3. Looking for the Gifts:  I learned early on in my life that I could….that we could….. ask to see the gifts of a situation.  The more difficult situations can take more willingness to open up to, but those often come with the most meaningful blessings.  I have encouraged myself to continue to revisit the potential gifts from the uncomfortable places in my life time and again, and as deep as something can hurt, that is as deep as the gifts go.  If a situation has layers of grief, anger, fear, or pain, I discover a morsel of love and goodness with each peeling back.  Sometimes the hurt of a situation is so deep that I can go back again and again for decades with new gifts showing themselves.
  4. Claim the Gifts:  It isn’t just enough to get a sense of something being good or positive from a difficulty.  Just as we find deeper understanding from fully expressing the feeling of hurt, so do we more fully glean the gifts when we name them, when we talk about them, write or draw about them….when we make them real and fleshed out.  Claiming our gifts can also be a gift that we give to others because we are modeling a way of living to others that is based on love of self and love of life.
  5. Expressing Gratitude:  This is definitely the bonus tip.  When we gather a gift from a difficulty, there is an additional grace (or gift) that comes from affirming that the gift would not have been ours had the difficulty not come.  Moving into a space of gratitude for the painful situation can inspire even further treasure.

I would love to hear how you have found gifts in your own difficulty or if this list has inspired any ah-ha’s for you.  Creativity takes many forms, but this kind of work is the creativity of better living and it is one of my faves.

Creativity is Courageous2

 

Keep creating!

Rachel_Payne

Surprise Birthday Gifts

UNT Mouth

While on my road trip up the middle of  America and back again, I had a birthday.  I had thought perhaps that I would make a bit to-do about it….because that is how I usually do birthdays on my blog, but instead I was busy getting my car fixed.  I made the best of it though….donuts and all!!

Birthday Donut 2

 I had been staying with my cousin Lori on a communal far just outside of Oklahoma City.  On the morning of my birthday, she took me to a donut shop and ambushed me with Happy Birthday at the top of her lungs…solo.  I was mortified and delighted all in the same breath…which I am sure is the exact reaction she was hoping for!  (This little bird was my car mascot for the trip.  Great listener, by the way!)

Birthday Donut

My birthday passed rather quietly after that.  I usually like to spend some time looking back and visioning the year to come, but my attention was on the trouble I was getting fixed on my car and the 4 hour drive to at night to my next destination, Springfield, MO.

Back to the Gifts

The work GIFT is one of my words for 2013.  It serves as a theme that I can focus on for self-exploration.  This last week, I have been working on understanding some of the more difficult areas of my life.  Why now?  Well, life has a way of doing a bit of Spring cleaning from time to time.  Now is my time.  Difficulites…..We all have them, the things we always come back to or that pop up multiple times over the course of our life.  It might be self-esteem, an old story about ourselves we hold onto, a fear we just can’t kick.

The difficult areas I am working on are about limitations that I have perceived in my life.  Some of them are physical limitations, others emotional….sometimes they are relational and even mental.   Some are stories about myself that were told to me when I was very young that I continued to believe.  Some stories about about what it means to be a woman in this society or to grow older as a woman.  Some are of my own invention, some circumstantial.

Over the last week or so, I have been challenging the limitations.  I think having driven to the other side of the country on my own has given me a new perspective on life. (Seriously, some days I am shocked that I did that. And never once since I got back have I regretted it!)  My new perspective isn’t just on life as it is, but I am looking back over my life and attempting to re-story-ing it.

I am specifically looking for aspects of my story that were overlooked before.  One of my mentors, Dr. Rose Knippa, has been visiting with me about how life is always in balance or moving back into balance…..and how we often don’t see it as such.  So I have been going back to look for how life was balanced when I didn’t see it as such.

For example, I discovered this week that one of the most difficult and painful parts of my life, losing my mom when I was 21, significantly shaped who I am today.  I have felt the limitations of it for a long time, and sometimes I could glimpse that good things came from it.  But this week I am more fully tapping into the many gifts my mom’s early death has brought to me and how I use those gifts with my clients.  Her death sent me looking for answers about pain management which sent me to massage school.  It sent me to study counseling and shapes my coaching practice.  It helps me to understand first hand the stages of grief, the process of dying, and the family dynamics that can shift as a result.  Her death was the catalyst for my shift towards visual art and has been the subject of most of my art journaling over the years.  More than anything, it has taught me that death isn’t the end. Even when someone dies, there is an alive-ness to what was between you and them that can grow.  You might call it cultivated memory or a spiritual relationship.  Whatever it is, it has been essential to the peace I am finding with her passing as I grow older.

Rachel Payne art

I just don’t know who I would be had I not had this extreme event to weave into my being.  For most of my life, I would not have even imagined that I might say I am grateful for her passing.  I would prefer that she be alive and happy, right here beside me. AND. I am grateful for the gifts that came from her death.  This week more than any in my life, I can see what those gifts are.

Later this week….

I want to share with you how I am moving from disgruntled about the difficulties in life to grateful.  In the meantime, I invite you to begin looking for the gifts you might have tucked away in your life that could make the hard times the most valuable times in you life.

Til then….keep creating!

Angels in My Studio 2013

Current Workshop: Angels In My Studio 2013

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Rachel_Payne

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Hi, I am Rachél.... the quirky, big-hearted soul behind Creativity Tribe, a sanctuary for your creative spirit. As a life coach and artist, I know the importance of community, celebration, and transformation. Creativity Tribe is abuzz with connections to other creative bloggers and offers tips and stories to inspire your creative lifestyle!
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