Archive for gifts journal

Last time I wrote about my “long siege” trying to settle a very messy estate situation, and how I got through it (mostly) intact.

Now I’d like to share what to do when your “long siege” is over.

Again, your “long siege” might be an illness (your own or a loved one’s, in which you were the caretaker), a divorce, a difficult family situation, or any number of other trials.

For many people, the pandemic and all it entails has been a “long siege” which may or may not be over.

It may feel like any long siege will never end, but it usually does, one way or another.

The time of closure when it does end can be a very rich time of receiving all the gifts from the experience.

It can also be a time of vulnerability.

It’s not uncommon for people to get sick after an especially stressful period, a phenomenon called “the let-down effect.” I was aware of this, and wanted to make sure I don’t get sick now.

(Although I have to say, perhaps God is already helping me in that regard. The very day I knew for sure how things would end with the estate, we took our car into the repair shop. Verdict: we need a new car. So this week was spent on getting that together. But, as a friend put it, “maybe I need new wheels for new adventures.” I like that! And maybe I needed another shorter-term, minor stressor to help me “wind down.”)

So here are some steps I’m taking to provide closure on the “long siege” so I can heal and reclaim my life. Read More→

Nov
21

Grief, Grace, Gratitude, and Grit

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My mother left this earth on November 19, 2020. Marie Boos Filakovsky was 88.

There is grief. It’s showing up as lethargy, insomnia, fatigue, and sadness. I am always amazed at how strong the mother-daughter bond is.

Mom and I had a complicated relationship. The product of Childhood Emotional Neglect herself, she passed that on. She married a good man, my father, and lived out the 1950s script of a good Catholic girl, wife, and mother.

Mom and me, Aug. 2017

I never knew who she really was.

Until she was 78.

That’s when I started giving her custom Healing Codes. And I watched her change.

The changes in my mother solidified for me the power of The Healing Codes.

I can still remember the day she asked me how I was doing—and meant it. Before that, our weekly calls were mostly about her. It didn’t feel like she really was interested in me. Until that day.

From then on, she opened her heart more and more. I discovered to my astonishment that she had a tender, sensitive heart. For most of her life, she had hidden it under layers of socialization. Once she said to me, “You are giving me what I should have given you,” i.e. emotional support.

Then she had a stroke. And a second one, in 2017. After that, communication was very difficult. In a way, I lost the mother I’d just found.

A few weeks ago she was put on palliative care, and it was really difficult not to go out there. But with COVID-19, I just couldn’t risk flying out, for her sake and mine. I was told that it was too taxing for her to talk on the phone.

It was so hard, being cut off from her in her last days. Read More→

“Just because things aren’t the same, doesn’t mean they can’t still be good.”

These words led me out of grief months ago. Now they keep coming back to me. They feel like the mantra needed for speaking hope into these turbulent times. They feel like the exact roadmap for creating a future that is built on hope, gratitude, and resilience.

“Just because things aren’t the same, doesn’t mean they can’t still be good.”

Things are not the same now. At all. As I’ve said a lot lately, we do need to allow ourselves to grieve that. We cannot paste a smile on and pretend things are OK, or that they will magically soon return to what they were.

Yet . . . the invitation is to believe that life can still be good. The challenge is to actively and consciously look for the good that still exists.

The foundation for this, for me, are certain very relevant promises from God’s Word:

  • The promise that God knows the plans he has for each of us, and that they are plans for good, not evil, to give us a future and a hope (Jeremiah 29:11).
  • The promise that he is always working things together for good for those who trust him (Romans 8:28).
  • The promise that “God is a very present help in times of trouble, therefore we need not fear, though the earth gives way, though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea,  though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains tremble at its swelling” (Psalm 46).
  • The faith that God is both before me and behind me: “the LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged” (Deuteronomy 31:8) and “surely goodness and mercy shall pursue me all the days of my life” (Psalm 23:6).

The great hope of faith is that even suffering is not meaningless. That a benevolent, wise God is always at work to redeem what was ruined, to restore what was lost. (Sometimes he restores even more than was lost, though it may take a very different form.)

See if you can test this from your own life. Can you look back on a difficult experience and now, in hindsight, see some good that came out of it?

I’ve mentioned before the tragedy of when my friend and her husband were killed. There was nothing good about that in itself. However, I saw some good come out of it.

For instance, some of what was given to me afterward (e.g., the vision of “King Jesus facing down evil“), sustains me now. I am learning how to deal with grief in a healthy way for the first time in my life, and that enables me to help others. I experienced amazing support from certain friends, which is precious to me. Their example has shown me how to “be there” for others in their pain. I could go on.

I encourage you to take some time to reflect on the positives that have comes from some difficult times in your life. If you’ve taken my earlier advice and started a Gifts Journal, write those experiences down. (You can even label them “disguised gifts.” They didn’t feel like gifts at the time, but now you can see how God fashioned something good out of them.)

my current gifts journal

 

Then, keep the positive momentum going by daily taking note of anything good you experienced in the day. Choose a nice-looking notebook or journal you will enjoy writing in. Make quick notes–just enough to jog your memory later. Your English teacher will not read this!

When you need a pick-me-up during these trying days (I know this has been a roller-coaster ride for me), take out your Gifts Journal and reread the chronicle of God’s good hand in your life.

“Just because thins aren’t the same, doesn’t mean they can’t still be good.” Capture the goodness!

 

Then, please share it! Comment below, or share on the Healing Codes Coaching Facebook page. Let’s together start a chronicle of witness to God’s compassionate hand guiding us through this time. He knows how hard this is, and he desires to bring us joy and hope to strengthen us and see us through to a miraculously Better Normal.

And it you need personalized help with the heart issues that block you from joy and seeing the gifts, please check out my coaching at HealingCodesCoaching.com. I’d be honored to be your healing journey mentor.

 

As I write this, many people from all over the world have been “sheltering in place,” to one degree or another, for at least a month.

In that time, we have all been thrown into collective grief and shock, because the changes have happened so swiftly, so totally.

Every aspect of our lives have changed—forever.

Things will never be the same.

We need to grieve that. There are some days when grief looms large indeed for me.

Grief not only for what I’ve lost, but as a Highly Sensitive empath, I also feel the pain of countless others who are suffering.

Suffering the loss of loved ones. Loss of work. Loss of a business into which they have poured themselves.

And I can’t even think of the children who are abused, trapped in homes with parents who formerly could not bear the stress, and who now are at the breaking point.

Or other victims of domestic violence.

For everyone, a way of life has been changed forever, more or less, in one way or another.

How do we cope? Is there any way to come out of this crisis stronger?

I believe there is. If we can embrace the hidden invitations of this strange time, we will develop strengths that we can bring into the “new normal” we will soon, we hope, be able to forge. 

What we need is resilience. Here are two steps  to develop your resilience.

Step One: Find the Joy Amid the Suffering

The first hidden invitation, and a big part of the healing process, is to learn to find joy even in the midst of the suffering.

Joy? In the midst of suffering? Is that possible? Read More→

A friend of mine said something to me I’ve been mulling over ever since.

This friend, Clare Masters, has had incredible health challenges (read her gofundme posts here). Botched surgeries, constant pain, and the pressure of trying to live on $4000/year could easily have stolen her life.

While every day is a challenge for Clare, you would never know it if you talked to her. She is always positive, always looking for ways to give back. She’s the kind of person you want to help out as much as you can. She never complains (though if you ask and really want to know, she’ll be honest), and she’s always looking for ways to give to you.

At a recent hospital stay, a nurse asked her how she is able to stay so positive. Why wasn’t she bitter about the cards life handed her? Read More→

After my daughter was born, in 1995, I fell into a pretty severe post-partem depression.

It was probably caused by a combination of taking my thyroid medication at the wrong time, hormone imbalances, and lack of sleep.

This was way before The Healing Codes came into my life. I didn’t know what to do. I did seek medical help, but oddly, I didn’t get any. All I remember is the doctor saying, “Your color is good” (did he ever hear of makeup?), and basically doing nothing. I was too exhausted and depressed to keep seeking help.

So what I did was pray. And God gave me His prescription, which was pretty simple.

God’s Prescription for My Depression

Just three steps.

1. Write “morning pages” first thing when I wake up. Three pages of longhand in a 9×11 lined notebook. Brain dumping, whatever comes into my head.

I’ve been doing that every single day, just about, since 1995.

The effect is wonderful. I get all the junk out, first thing every day. Sometimes I write down dreams. Only occasionally do I get a few good ideas that I can use in my work. Mostly it’s stream-of-consciousness dribble I doubt anyone would find remotely interesting.

I realized later, though, how clever and efficient God is. Not only did this practice stand in for a more expensive counselor; it also made me a better, more fluent writer. I have not experienced writer’s block for decades.

2. Walk every day in the morning. This is the second thing God told me to do for my depression. Later I read that many studies say this is at least as effective as medication. God knew that already!

3. The third thing was to notice the gifts of each day, and write them down. Many people keep “gratitude journals,” but this felt a little different. I was to deliberately connect God to it: What felt like a gift from God that day?

The more I looked, the more I saw. I challenged myself to find at least 3 gifts every day.

Many people keep “gratitude journals,” and that is a very good practice. But for me, thinking of it as a “gifts journal” makes it “gratitude plus.” Noticing and writing down things that feel like gifts from God–somehow it takes gratitude to a whole new level.

For me, it takes gratitude out of the realm of “principle” (gratitude is good for you because it focuses you on the positive, which of course is true), to the personal. When you keep a gifts journal, it’s all about noticing and fully receiving what the supreme Giver has given to you. These are connection points, in time and space, when you received something from a Person that you can’t see. The gifts are footprints of God’s presence in your life.

I started keeping that “gifts journal” in 1995, and in a couple of years I had enough to fill a book. The book of my heart, Abundant Gifts, was published first by Tyndale House in 1999 and then republished in 2004 by New Hope Publishers, after famous author Jan Karon said, “God speaks to me from Diane’s pen.”

Keeping track of the things that feel like gifts has been totally life-changing for me.

Just yesterday, I got another “abundant gift.” My office chair needed replacing; it was starting to affect my back. My husband also needed one.

Well, my son came home with two free chairs from his office! But here’s the real gift: someone in our neighborhood was giving away an office chair–the same day. That was the one that suited me best. God picked out my new office chair! In one day, God supplied, for free, office chairs for me, my husband and son.

Some people call these “gifts from the Universe.” If that’s your belief, fine. But to me, it’s much more personal than that. I’d rather receive from “the Father of lights”: “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change” (James 1:17). Isn’t that beautiful?

Keeping a gifts journal pulled me out of depression, and led to a book that blessed thousands. Whenever I’m down, I get back to keeping my gifts journal.

I hope you will consider doing the same. Look for at least 3 things every day that felt like gifts. The more you look, the more you’ll find!

And oh–don’t forget to thank the Giver. That completes the blessing. The Giver loves to be acknowledged and thanked, just as we do.

If you would like to download the same “Abundant Gifts Journal” I use, for free, go here.

And if you would like some coaching to make a better connection with the Giver and become more Aligned with your divine design, check out my coaching.

 

 

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