The most valuable lesson I have learned is that the most meaningful journey is the inner journey.

From Grief to Growth

How to recover from loss and nourish your soul through positive rituals

Jean Edelman: Great to be with you this week. This week I want to talk about our routines. We are bound to our rituals and our routines. We start our day in a certain way, and we end our day in a certain way. We have tasks and commitments that fill our day, our week, and our month. But what happens when we have a major life change, and our rituals and routines are disturbed? We’re never fully prepared for these events, but they happen. That’s because life is not stagnant, and events are thrown at us. And the challenge is to learn how to adjust and grow from that event. I know, easier said than done.

But for illustration purposes, I just want to share a little bit. It’s been about two months since I said goodbye to my beloved Blue. She was a 27-year-old quarter horse. My life routine around her and her pasture buddy, Shadow, well, that was my routine. It was a big part of my life. They were happy and I didn’t see the event of saying goodbye coming. So now I just want to share because there’s a major change in my daily routine. I know that we’ve all experienced loss, and when it occurs, it is traumatic. When we lose a partner, our life routine is gone. And when our partner passes, it’s like we must learn how to breathe again without them. And that can take another lifetime to adapt to that loss.

In speaking about our routines, I wanted to share something about our beloved friend Anne Marie. It’s three years since she’s gone. I know her family experienced an unfathomable loss, and not a day goes by that she’s not thought of. But you want to know how that family filled that routine, how that family filled the void? They filled it with children. And now there’s three beautiful grandbabies. We they can still feel the absence of Anne Marie. But the joy from the new children is wonderful.

But I wanted to bring this topic up because in my own observation, there’s been a definite effect on my physical and emotional being with the loss of my horse, as you have experienced with the loss of a loved one. But just personally, my illustration is, here I am, two months into that change. I’ve actually gained some weight because I’m not moving around so much in the evening like I used to. I’m walking the dogs, but it’s not the same. I want to talk about this change and have us look at how it does affect our physical and our emotional health. Even Ric, when he talks about retirement, that ten hours a day at the office, well, when that chapter ends, what and how are we going to fill that time?

The goal is to create new routines and activities with something healthy and fulfilling. We want to be fulfilled, we want to be busy, and we want to have purpose, but we want healthy activities that hopefully extend our lives. We don’t want to be depressed and we don’t want to just stop living. We’ve got to move forward.

So the truth is, for me personally, for 20 years I had horses in my life, caring for them, riding, planning, figuring out what they needed and how to make it happen. I think that’s why I’m still connected to Shadow and supporting her family that she went back to. I enjoy it. It makes me feel like I’m contributing and I’m accomplishing something. I think when we have these life events, we feel as if the air has been sucked out of the room and our life routines are disturbed. It’s so important to find a way to contribute and feel accomplishment in our day. And the goal there is to create new rituals and routines.

So the action item for this week is: let’s look at what our day is. Think about when something changes. Is there something new we’d like to do? Do we have some plans in the back of our mind? I probably should have been thinking about, well, I’m not going to have horses forever. Is there something else I wish to do? But I didn’t.

And so here we are. And all those losses. We never planned them. But it’s always nice to think about and have some plans in the back of our mind. But are things that we’ve put on the back burner? Maybe go take that art class. Maybe go take some dance lessons. Maybe find our area of creativity. It’s all a challenge and it’s all life. We’ve just got to learn how to be flexible and flow with what’s coming our way.

So my word of the week is going to be Blue.

The B is for Begin, to start, to initiate. This is what we need to do when our life routine changes. This can be a herculean task when the loss of a loved one occurs, but at some point, we need to begin again.

The L is for Life, vitality, the quest for vitality. After our life routine has changed, we can start with a simple meal or a walk outside. Breath and movement will help us bring vitality back into our health and our being.

The U is for Unfold, to reveal. If we can have patience, what is to be will unfold before us. For example, for myself, I decided I now have time to cook a simple meal and invite a friend over to enjoy it with us. This is fulfilling and fun for me. No dessert please. I don’t need to add any more weight on.

The E is for Enable to activate and make possible the void the change. It’s an opportunity for possibilities that we probably don’t even know yet. Patience, patience is the key. Let life unfold after these life events occur and we will find wonderful, healthy, happy ways to change our routine and our rituals. Have a wonderful week everyone.

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