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.

1. Take time to ponder—and celebrate—the lessons. Dr. Mark Virkler says that you know you are healed when you can see the gift in the experience. Looking for the gifts, the lessons, the ways you have grown, can greatly accelerate your recovery.

Photo by Emma Frances Logan on Unsplash

2. Process any unhealed emotions and provide closure. Thankfully, I have been “processing” all along—feeling the feelings, asking for prayer, journaling about my experience, and learning the lessons. But now it’s time to consolidate and provide full closure.

This can take the form of some physical act. I’ve decided that I will go through all the estate files and throw away anything that clearly is no longer pertinent, and remove the other files to the basement in case they need to be accessed. I don’t want them in my office. Stephanie Bennett Vogt calls clutter “stuck energy.” I don’t want to have that energy of what I went through in any space that is about moving forward.

You might do something else to process and provide closure. Writing a letter to someone and burning it might be one ritual, if your “long siege” involved a painful relationship that’s ended. Doing something physical and symbolic works wonders. I had to block certain people from calling me. This did not feel good. However, it felt necessary; all they want to do is continue the abuse.

Intentionally seeking closure will allow you to be transition smoothly, and open you up to new beginnings. I’m so ready for that, as I’ve had some great ideas brewing for so long!

3. Listen to and take care of your body. As I mentioned, after a stressful period is often when people get sick. Your immune and nervous systems have been revved up to deal with the siege.

Photo by bruce mars on Unsplash

Now your body needs some extra TLC, especially if you’ve been ignoring its signals.

Go to bed earlier, take more time to rest. Lover your body by providing it good nutrition. Exercising in short, intense bursts is best, with rest in between. The bursts get the stress out of the body that may be stuck, and the rest allows you to assimilate.

Drink plenty of water. As you focus on healing, your body will be releasing toxins built up from the emotions of your stressful period. Flush them away. Taking baths with essential oils and Epsom salts will also help.

If you do experience a flare-up of old symptoms, ask your body what it’s trying to say. Heed the message.

4. Slow down. Literally. You need to re-calibrate your nervous system and immune system, which have been used to being revved up all the time. It’s imperative to change that now.

This involves listening to your body, yes. It also helps to intentionally do as many things as possible more slowly and deliberately.

Walk more slowly. Chew more slowly. Breathe more slowly and deeply.

Speak more slowly.

This slowing down has, frankly, been one of the hardest changes for me to make. But I feel it’s the step that came from God. When I announced to my husband that I would be doing things more slowly, he almost broke out in applause. Throughout the siege, he kept complaining that I talked too fast. Yes, that’s what I do when stressed.

Now, post-siege, I am consciously taking time to speak more slowly, look at him, and listen better. When stressed, I tend to be half listening, half engaged with the “next thing” I have to be doing. Slowing down everything is the way to break this bad habit.

5. Make your healing work priority. If you’ve been doing this during the stressful period, don’t let up now! In fact, you might want to double down, especially in the first three days, which is the window of most vulnerability to the let-down effect. If you’re doing Healing Codes twice a day, for instance, add a little more time to the sessions, or add another brief HC session.

As you have been processing in order to bring closure, and listening to the messages from your body, use The Healing Codes and prayer to address the issues that have come up, especially if you haven’t been able to do that during your siege.

Photo by Toa Heftiba on Unsplash

6. Reconnect with joy, and your values. You may have jettisoned a lot of pleasures and even compromised your own values to get through your siege. Refocusing on what gives you joy, and recommitting to your own values will center you again in who you are.

If you’ve become distant from God during your trial, ask Him to open your eyes to the graces that I know he gives. (My book, Abundant Gifts, and the practice of keeping a “gifts journal” can really help here.)

7. Reconnect also with healthy relationships. During a long siege, you might have lost touch with people who were important to you. Now is the time to rekindle those relationships. We’re never meant to go it alone.

8. Take time to catch up on all the things you’ve neglected. Clear some clutter. (I cleaned off my desk top and found an uncashed check for $227 from 5 months ago! Shows how long I’ve been neglecting my office, but also that when you do clear the clutter, something good can happen!)

I’m still working on my list of neglected personal and household projectsslowly of course. Savoring each little task completed enhances the “finally it’s over!” celebratory energy. So don’t just complete the long-neglected tasks—celebrate that that too is finally completed!

9. Consciously create your “new normal”–and guard it fiercely. I am even making a list of things I now refuse to do, based on the lessons learned during the siege.

  • I will no longer allow myself to be drawn into anyone else’s “Dreaded Drama Triangle.” (Seeing this pattern has been one of the biggest gifts of my trial.)

  • I will continue to make my healing work, listening to my body, prayer and key healthy relationships a priority.

  • I will continue to slow down and savor.

  • I will continue to remove on a regular basis all clutter (emotional, physical, relational, mental), and seek at all times to Align with my Divine DesignTM by listening to God and choosing to focus on only my Clear Next Step.

I hope these tips have been or will be helpful to you. Pass this on to a friend who is ending a long siege. Or point them to the Part One article, on getting through. Bookmark the link for future reference. L9ng sieges certainly stretch you, but they need not crush you.

And if you would like some personalized help either in getting through a “long siege,” or recovering from one, check out my coaching at HealingCodesCoaching.com.

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→

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