Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Prayers and Healing to our friends and family in Boston, condolences to the families of the victims

I know I can say that we are in a cumulative shock over the events in Boston that took place on April 15 at the finish line of the Boston Marathon.  I have an ongoing love affair with Boston, and count it as my second city.  My sister Jenn and her husband Brent live in Cambridge, and my daughters Jess and Julia both received their undergrad degrees there.  I've made many friends in Boston.  I have spent countless hours on the Amtrak, driving 90, walking the town, on the T, and visiting the many wonderful places that Boston and Cambridge have to offer. 

The JED Foundation posted a good resource from  for all of us. 

If you or a loved one is having trouble coping with the tragedy in Boston, feel free to visit http://www.halfofus.com/pages/?ID=6313http://www.halfofus.com/pages/?ID=6313

We are lucky; our family and friends are all okay and in one piece.  Let's reach out to everyone we love today and let them know that we are with them, that we care, no matter where they are.

Here are some suggestions from the JED/MTV Love Is Louder site:

Don't hold it in.
It's normal to feel sadness, anxiety, fear, anger or a mix of those emotions, in the aftermath of a tragedy or disaster. It's important not to hold it all in. Talk to a friend, family member or a counselor. If you don't have anyone you feel comfortable talking to, call 1-800-273-TALK for a confidential chat with someone who can help.
Turn it off.
24 hours a day, 7 days a week – news of tragedy and details of its impact come at us from every angle. Sometimes you need to flip off your tv, computer or phone, and focus on something else. When you do follow the news, stick to reliable sources and avoid rumors or speculation.
Get up and get out.
Tragedies like this can weigh so heavily on us that it makes it hard to move. The simple act of taking a walk, hitting the gym, running some errands or playing a board game with friends, can help us cope with tough feelings and feel better. When we feel overwhelmed by an act of hate, it can help to do something good to help others. Volunteer in your community, do a favor for a friend or get involved with efforts to support Boston at loveislouder.com.
Look out for friends.
If you notice a friend or family member is having a hard time dealing with news about a tragedy, reach out and offer support. Look out for warning signs that they are feeling hopeless. These could include not wanting to see other people, not sleeping or sleeping all the time, increased use of drugs or alcohol, or talking about death or dying. It is natural for people near a tragedy to feel anxious and have some difficulty concentrating or sleeping for a short while. These feelings should get better in a few days (or weeks for those very closely impacted). If they are not improving, seek help for yourself or a friend. Get more tips on helping a friend here.
Turn feelings into action.
It's so easy to be overcome with sadness, anger or anxiety after acts of violence that cause pain for so many people. It’s healthy to express those feelings, but we can also choose to turn them into positive action. Neglecting your own physical or emotional health could make things worse.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

What nice feelings and realizations at the end of yoga class today!

At the end of yoga class today with Camille Monro at Room to Breathe Yoga in HoHoKus, NJ, we were asked to assume the savasana, or corpse pose, which is lying on your back, keeping eyes closed, staying quiet and still, and breathing gently. Camille covered us up with cozy blankets and asked us to receive. Today's reception was a bit busy. Camille asked us to invite our deceased loved ones in, and my mother, Jeanne, and Grandmother, Bunny immediately popped into my mind and heart, very close. They were both there to assure me that loved ones who are very sick are already being cared for by them. Then I focused in on those two ill loved ones and sure enough, they are open and are receiving from Jeanne and Bunny. Sometimes the gap between life and death can take time, so we never really know when we are going to leave our body, but it was comforting to me to become aware of these particular transitions, even if they are only in my own mind and heart.

My suggestion to help those who are very ill is simple. Send them as much love as you can muster, whether near or remotely. They will feel it. How do I know? I know and I can feel the love of those who have passed, or who are alive but no longer in my life. They are alive in my heart. I feel it.

This does not negate missing those who have passed, nor does it negate the despair or sadness about loved ones who are very ill, but it does give us something positive to focus on. As we send love, we receive love, and it helps ease the pain.

Ultimately, regular quiet time can be helpful to each of us. Gentle, guided practice can gently ease your own pain and serve the needs of others. For those reading this, please know that I am not trying to tell you I know how you feel. I am not discounting the size of your pain, but know that I am sending you my unconditional love and hope for your strength and healing.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

What is real freedom?

Many of us struggle with being free. What is real freedom? Is it freedom to make your own decisions without input from others? Is it financial freedom? Freedom from having to work at a 9 to 5 job every day? Freedom to create? Freedom from personal demons? Living free in a free land? Is freedom the space to believe in whatever you want and say it out loud without fear of retribution or judgement? Is it knowing that others can also be free, or having the freedom to help others? Is freedom pursuing education, becoming educated, having the resources or support to pursue education?  Does freedom change as you achieve it? Is it elusive?

What is your dream of freedom? Close your eyes and imagine what life would feel like, look like, be like with this freedom achieved. If you are an artist, draw it or compose it. If you are a writer, describe it. Say it. More than anything, feel it, in your heart and imagine it in your mind. Believe it can happen.