‘Tis the Season…

Posted November 14, 2016 at 5:52 am by

Deb Lang­hans shares this invi­ta­tion with you…  

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

‘Tis the Sea­son… for hol­i­day cheer, light­heart­ed­ness and joy, right? Not nec­es­sar­i­ly. These dark­er, unpre­dictable days and longer nights can res­ur­rect and even inten­si­fy painful mem­o­ries of loved ones lost. For at least half of the Amer­i­can elec­torate, a new, present sense of dimin­ished con­trol, safe­ty and future well-being rep­re­sent oth­er sig­nif­i­cant forms of loss. 

There’s no eas­i­er time of year than the hol­i­day sea­son to indulge in some of the typ­i­cal cop­ing strate­gies for deal­ing with our suf­fer­ing. Hol­i­day shop­ping, cooking/baking, clean­ing, dec­o­rat­ing, par­ty plan­ning and attend­ing, spe­cial sea­son­al activ­i­ties… many of these com­mon, inevitable choic­es get amped into addic­tion, denial, sup­pres­sion, con­for­mi­ty and non­stop busy­ness and achievement–all ways of “anes­thetiz­ing” our­selves from the pain of loss.

For­tu­nate­ly, there is local grief sup­port for islanders choos­ing anoth­er way of cop­ing with loss dur­ing this won­der­ful and chal­leng­ing time of year: Lenore Bayuk recent­ly facil­i­tat­ed her annu­al “Grief and Loss: Get­ting Through the Hol­i­day Sea­son” work­shop at the Library; Gary Waters will be offer­ing a Fire­side Chat on Decem­ber 8th at PIMC to dis­cuss hol­i­day emo­tions; Rosa Blair will be facil­i­tat­ing Hos­pice of San Juan’s Spring Grief Sup­port Group.

Through­out the past year, I’ve had the priv­i­lege of part­ner­ing griev­ing islanders through the Grief Recov­ery Method®, a com­pre­hen­sive grief recov­ery pro­gram whose 35-year old cur­ricu­lum pro­vides skills and sup­port for com­plet­ing unre­solved grief over loss, whether that’s loss due to death, divorce, ill­ness, unem­ploy­ment, pet loss or many oth­er sig­nif­i­cant life changes. I’ll be offer­ing anoth­er 8‑week Grief Recov­ery Sup­port Group start­ing Tues­day, Jan­u­ary 10th, 2017 & con­tin­u­ing through Feb­ru­ary 28th. (Please see the attached fly­er for more details.) This pro­gram rep­re­sents over 12 hours of instruc­tion and includes The Grief Recov­ery Hand­book (text­book), hand­outs and ongo­ing email support.

Robert Frost once wrote: The best way out is always through. My stu­dents and my own per­son­al expe­ri­ence have taught me this is absolute­ly true. Recov­er­ing from grief requires the will­ing­ness to risk feel­ing deeply again as well as com­plete unfin­ished emo­tion­al busi­ness in rela­tion­ships. The pay­offs are huge. Acknowl­edg­ing our vul­ner­a­bil­i­ty and sum­mon­ing the courage to share our fear and pain with oth­ers can soft­en, open and heal our bro­ken hearts.

Here’s how some islanders have expe­ri­enced the Grief Recov­ery Sup­port Group process:

“I found a peace with­in myself after this process I didn’t think could be found… Deb is a mar­velous facilitator—never once did I feel judg­ment or sur­prise from her… I would encour­age any­one to take this sup­port group… the peace of issues resolved at the end is dra­mat­ic.”                                                                                                                                                          ~Kathie Forsyth 

“ I have found a new way of think­ing & feel­ing re: my par­tic­u­lar grief, includ­ing a new way for­ward with free­dom & a new, won­der­ful light­ness of spir­it & being… Deb & this method have helped me to be braver & more hon­est about myself & ALL of my rela­tion­ships!”                                                                                                                                                                                                   ~ J.T.

 “It was the safe, encour­ag­ing space to do the thor­ough work toward recov­ery which was most valu­able.  Deb cre­at­ed that space with grace and com­pas­sion.  She trained us as lis­ten­ers for each oth­er and shared her own work exam­ples with us.  This recov­ery work has been impor­tant to me; it’s allowed me to regain mem­o­ries and has soft­ened my heart.  I’m anx­ious to con­tin­ue.”                                                                                                                                                                                                   ~Lutie Parks

 “Deb’s facil­i­ta­tion played an inte­gral role in my under­stand­ing of the process & her com­pas­sion­ate guid­ance was the key for me to open my heart to the pos­si­bil­i­ty of com­ple­tion of my grief issue.”                                                                                                                                                                ~Mar­i­on L.

If this kind of grief recov­ery speaks to your heart or a friend’s or loved one’s, please let me hear from you as soon as pos­si­ble.  Because I offer this cur­ricu­lum in my stu­dio loca­tion, space is lim­it­ed to six peo­ple. The dead­line for reg­is­tra­tion with pay­ment is 12/26/16.

I’ll also be offer­ing anoth­er Alum­ni Group (month­ly, March-August, dona­tion only), to pro­vide addi­tion­al guid­ance and sup­port to alums con­tin­u­ing to work through unfin­ished emo­tion­al busi­ness with oth­er loss­es in their lives.  All who have com­plet­ed the 8‑week sup­port group are welcome!

One final thought: 

Amidst all the hol­i­day expec­ta­tions, activ­i­ties, mem­o­ries… the highs, lows and inbe­tweens, I encour­age you to give your­self the great­est, most ther­a­peu­tic gift pos­si­ble this sea­son: the gift of self-com­pas­sion and uncon­di­tion­al accep­tance. You deserve that, espe­cial­ly dur­ing dif­fi­cult times. Many bless­ings to one and all!

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Categories: Health & Wellness

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