Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Can Loneliness Be Healed?

To transform the emptiness of loneliness to the fullness of aloneness. Ah, that is the secret of life.
Sunita Khosla

We've all been lonely at times, but some of us live with it constantly. We cry in the night and hold back tears in the day, hiding it from others. Sometimes we try to tell someone about it, but they don't hear our pain. They just offer empty remedies when all we want is to be heard with understanding and compassion so we don't feel so alone. Must we live like this forever? Or is there a way out, a way to be whole? Yes. Yes.

Identity: The first step to healing is to identify why you're lonely. There are some who really don't know why. They've tried all the remedies, but it's still there. Loneliness can come from many sources; loss of a loved one, divorce, illness, isolation, rejection, loss of a job, etc. Maybe you've been lonely as far back as you can remember, and it feels like a piece of your heart is missing. Perhaps it's the result of childhood experiences that left you feeling unloved and alone. But once the reason for loneliness is identified, something can be done about it.

Inner work: It's important to stop resisting your loneliness and allow yourself to be where you are now. You must do the work from where you are. Whenever you feel lonely, it's your inner child that's crying, so take some quiet time each day and talk to that child about the feelings--more often when you think of it. Reassure your inner child they are never alone; that you, the adult, are always there with love and comfort. This is especially important when you're loneliness is the result of a childhood experience from you which you never fully recovered.

Creativity: While doing the inner work, use your God-given gift of creativity to help you feel more alive. There's something uplifting in seeing, hearing, smelling, touching, or tasting something you've actually created and saying, "Wow. I created that." Plant a garden, make quilts or wind chimes, write stories, make something to eat that nobody else knows how to make--anything creative. Better yet, join a group that's doing something you like to do, or used to like to do before you got lonely. Lonely people are usually tired a lot, so begin slow until your energy picks up. Creativity will bring it back.

When I was working, I had a patient who could no longer bend or stoop due to a back injury. He felt lonely and useless until in therapy, he found a way to lie on the ground, rest his head with one hand, dig in the dirt with the other, and grow a flower garden. One day he brought me a beautiful lily plant he'd grown, and his face was alive with joy. He grinned and told me he didn't need to cry anymore.

At times our own light goes out and is rekindled by a spark from another person. Each of us has cause to think with deep gratitude of those who have lighted the flame within us. Albert Schweitzer

Let people in: You've heard that a lonely person just needs to find some friends, be around people. But usually lonely people don't want to be around others. They can't face pretending they're okay when they're not. But it's important to be around someone who can listen and understand. If there's someone like that in your life, swallow your fear, and go to them. If not, find a therapist or clergy to at least be heard and validated. Go slow, and as the loneliness lifts, open your heart and reach out to others. They need you too.

You may always miss someone or something you've lost. But you don't have to spend your life feeling the pain of loneliness. You have the ability to "create" a new kind of life with people you love and many happy adventures ahead of you.

I wish you peace in your heart and a smile on your face.


Tuesday, January 13, 2015

The Healing Power Of Music

Music is the voice that tells us that the human race is greater than it knows. Napoleon Bonaparte

Healing music fills our world and runs through our lives everyday. But we're so busy we miss the beauty that comes with meaningful music that touches our heart and makes a difference in our daily life. And health issues, anxiety, and depression either take us down or run beneath the surface hidden from the world as we struggle to function.

A few years ago, I developed a chronic health challenge that kept me wired up, and I was in a constant state of anxiety and depression. Then I discovered two sources of healing music. And oh, what glorious sounds.

Stephen Halpern's incredible music is like nothing you've ever heard. He uses music for healing, without melody or continuous rhythm, and it draws you into a natural state of harmony and balance. When I sat quietly and listened to the Chakra Suite, I was embraced in the quiet relaxation and peace I longed for. This music touched my soul, and helped me through a difficult time.

Then there was Il Volo, three amazing young men who brought their glorious music and Italian voices to the world. I didn't understand the Italian words in most of their songs, but their voices spoke to me about life, and life was meaningful. They are unique, and I felt alive when I listened to their wonderful music.

But as time passed and I felt good again, I forgot and drifted away from my daily music routine. And fatigue, anxiety, and depression crept back in. So I've returned to Halpern and Il Volo. Perhaps my angels are teaching me a new lesson, because listening to those two now, I've become aware of other voices in the world, the ones we don't hear as music. But sometimes that music we don't hear can fill our hearts with joy and heal our deepest pain, if we listen to its songs.

If the sight of the blue skies fills you with joy, if the simplest things of nature have a message that you understand, rejoice for your soul is alive.  Eleanor Duse

That healing music is all around us; a song in the wind blowing through trees, waves hitting notes against the shore, bees humming around a flower, or children's laughter. Now I even whistle with birds in my back yard. Yes, really. It's all music. And our most important song is inside of us. We all have our own voice, the unique way we express ourself. And we have the power to choose our songs.

In the grocery store, one of the clerks always smiles, asks how I'm doing today, and if I want paper of plastic. She sings the same words everyday, and the title of her song is, I care about you. I know this because I feel her caring voice expressing the words. (Some really do care) My niece sings with smiles from her wheelchair, and I know writers who put their songs on paper. Ah, the music.

Michael Jackson said, "To live is to be musical, starting with the blood dancing in your veins. Everything living has rhythm. Do you feel your music?" It can lower your stress level, help heal your body, and lift your unhappy soul to new levels of peace and balance. Each day listen to the music your world has for you, and express your own music to others. You have the voice within you to choose your song. Sing it to the world. There's healing and happiness in sharing the music.

I wish you songs to sing and joy to share.


Tuesday, January 6, 2015

What Do You Do When The Party Ends?

When I was a teenager, we had what we called "pajama parties" where a bunch of us got together at someone's house and stayed up all night. We ate, laughed, danced, shared our innermost secrets, and felt the joy of being together. But then the party ended, and we returned to our own homes to get some sleep. When I finally woke up, I felt a sense of loneliness, lonely for that complete freedom to be myself with no strings attached.
You've had those times, when you left your work-a-day world for a little while and embraced fun times with people you love. I hope you experienced that during the recent holiday season. But now that it's over, do you really want to get back on the familiar road you've been on all year? Or would you like to create something new and different for yourself?

Life as it happens to us, is always a reflection of our own state of mind. We truly are the architects of our reality.  Milan Karmeli

You still have to pay bills, wash behind your ears, and tend to your daily responsibilities. But what can you create this year to add more light in your life, more of what you really want to have, be, and do? And create is the key word here.

Imagination is the beginning of creation. You imagine what you desire, you will what you imagine, and at last you create what you will.  George Bernard Shaw

There are several ways to achieve this wise advice.
1. Decide what you want more of, what you want to change, or something new you want in your life. Think along the lines of have, be, and do. And be specific.
2. Now create it in your mind with imagination. Use all of your senses. See it, feel it, taste it, smell it, and hear it. Do this while you're busy and also take some time to sit quietly and embrace it. Know it is yours.
3. Will it to be, and believe that it will manifest.
4. Make a list of what you can do to make it real, alive, and in your life.
5. Take your time. Be patient. And work on one thing at a time.
6. Believe in yourself and your ability to create whatever you want. And include others if you need to. That does not diminish your own ability.
7. Feel joy and express gratitude each time you see what you want manifest.

You are unique, and if that is not fulfilled, then something has been lost.  Martha Graham

You don't need to take the same path you've always taken. Each new year can be a new beginning. And you can create your own joy and express in unique ways. Choose your own path. Climb your own mountain. You are the light. And you can make it shine.

I wish you many joyful discoveries.