When we are sad, lonely, angry, grieving or bitter, we often look for something to make us feel better.
In 27 years of nursing, I witnessed and traveled through the deep trenches of grief.
I have found the greatest ways to warm my heart, and to heal myself.
It’s easy, it’s free, you can do it anytime, you don’t need anyone to do it for you.
Here’s the Secret:
Acts of Kindness! Do something for someone else, with nothing expected in return!
This is time-tested and true. When your heart is hurting, just let it be - for now. Go do something nice for someone else. What it can do for your broken heart is amazing!
Here is a must-read book:
Have You Filled a Bucket Today? A Guide to Daily Happiness for Kids.
I say it is a guide for everyone. Carol McCloud writes beautiful books explaining how we all carry an invisible bucket. And when we don’t have love, kindness or self-esteem in our lives, our bucket is empty.
Some people with an empty bucket try to dip into other buckets to feel better—those who bully or who are unkind. But that never makes them feel better. It actually makes everyone feel worse.
When my kids tell me that someone was being mean I ask what they think is going on.
They reflect and answer, “They have an empty bucket.” They are reminded not to allow someone to hurt them, but to be compassionate. Carol shares these priceless lessons all over the world.
She has known grief, and chooses to be a master bucket filler and help heal the world. www.bucketfillers101.com.
We all have empty buckets at times and don’t know how to fill them, how to feel better...
Try this: Acts of Kindness and Bucket-Filling.
What Can You do Today, to Bring Joy to Someone
and Fill Your Own Bucket too?
I lost someone, my son Kyle. He was the first. The first child, the first grandchild, the first nephew, he was special. He was loved by far more people than I ever realized and in his death I held a bigger appreciation for who he was as a person and he most certainly made me proud.
People from far and wide wrote stories on his Facebook Memorial page. Over nine years later, there is still close to 1,000 people on that page. Teachers told stories of how he influenced them as a teacher, friends wrote how he influenced their decisions in life...how could you not be proud.
I was sad, very sad. Your children aren't supposed to die before you. Our whole family’s hearts were torn to pieces, but we picked those pieces up. We don't dwell on death, we celebrate his life with much joy. Every year on the anniversary of his death, we celebrate together. Even if it was only for 23 years. He lived.
Should I stay sad? What good would that do? Would that be what my son would want? Of course not. I had a business to run, a family to be strong for and a multitude of his friends who were looking to me for guidance. They'd never lost someone so close to them, a friend.
Who's happy if I'm sad? Would it make my family happy to see me wallowing in my loss? People die.
Just read the tragic stories of other peoples losses. We're not special.
Our loss is no easier or harder than their loss.
You can't change what happened and I'll guarantee you that your loss will change you. But you have a choice on where that loss takes you, how it changes you. You have a choice to be happy, to see the joy in the life that was, not the sorrow in the life that isn't.
We have a song in his memory, Life is a Highway by Tom Cochrane. When that song comes on, sometimes at the most poignant times, we celebrate. We smile, we turn it up and we sing along. We feel the joy of the opportunity to think of my son, smile and be happy.
Who's happy if you're sad?
As I help people—and myself—navigate their way through the maze we call life, I am called to tend to broken hearts. I am not flinching, this is why I am here. I am so deeply honoured and privileged to be invited share someone’s most private time; when they are grieving or in the dying process themselves. Imagine being there and making a difference.
Once we understand and accept what choices we have, we can move forward, just a little bit at a time. And if we are called to be present at end of life, we can make the choice to give our whole heart and soul. We always get it back! We can laugh, we can cry, we can be a hot mess. And that’s ok. We can’t cure death, we can’t avoid grieving. It is the only path to healing. But we can be there, be present, and just love as much as possible.
We don’t always have the choices we wish we had. We can’t stop death.. But we can choose to leap out of our anger, our comfort zone, our need to “fix it” and be there, really be there.
What do you need to change, to have the courage to be there at the end of someone’s life? (or your pets, like we did with our dog Kuba) Knowing that your heart will ache, that you will grieve deeply, but that you can choose to see this most precious invitation, as an honour and a privilege. That you can make a difference by being there in love and gratitude.
These are my children sharing beautiful last moments with their great-grandmaman.
They showed her toys, ate popsicles while sitting on her knee and loved her.
They were little when she died and don’t remember a lot.
But they remember this, and these pictures remain treasures in their rooms.
What will you need to change?
Can you allow yourself to be there, to be present at the end of someone’s life?
The roller coaster ride of emotions is over…yeah right…wouldn’t that be nice.
Yesterday was the day we loved Kuba until his very last breath.
We held him, cried, snuggled, he ate so many treats…and we said goodbye.
As I write these words the tears are streaming down my face.
And that’s OK. I’m really sad.
I’m taking this day slowly, one hour at a time, doing what I need to do and figuring that out as I go along.
I don’t really want to talk much. I just want to be OK with how I feel.
I’m happy he is not suffering anymore, then feel guilty for the things I wish I did differently,
then I forgive myself. I can’t believe our dog is gone.
I’m all over the place. And that’s OK, because then I remind myself that Kuba lives in our hearts forever.
And that his spirit is free.
Jadyn and Tanner knew this day was coming, they said their goodbyes to Kuba,
and went on holidays with family. It’s going to be hard to see their faces tomorrow
and hold their broken hearts. But I know deep down, our hearts will heal.
But right now, I’m just sad.
We held him and loved Kuba till the very end.
We created a scared pet space, where we can sit and talk to him.
He was a really good dog.
“Thank you, Kuba."
I know, I know. I’ve heard it. I’ve said it. I’ve lived it.
There is no time for great self-care.
I urge you to find a way to change that—immediately if not sooner. You have value, you have worth.
Do you want to bring your best self to the table? Do you want to take good care of the people you love?
Are you a great example to others so they become great self-care givers as well?
But for most of us this has never been a priority. It will take a change of heart and some re-structuring.
In the meantime, I want to share a few ideas, so you can start taking good care of yourself today-
with baby steps. Lean into it. Don’t dive in or it won’t stick.
I promise, you can make a difference, and really start loving your life, and yourself!
10 Ways to Rejuvenate in 5 Minutes or Less
When "I Don’t Have Time!”
Stand bare feet in the grass, close my eyes, take 5 deep breaths and listen.
At work or wherever, hide and do yoga, stretching, tai chi...whatever.
Stop at the beach and stand in the water.
Sing really loud in the car.
Play music and dance.
Call a friend who will lift your spirit.
Play with play-doh, colour a picture, take a picture.
Have a heart-to-heart with your pet.
Eat outside at lunchtime.
Be absolutely still, silent, go within.
to just stand in the grass or leaves, bare feet, close my eyes and
feel a deep connection to nature, to the earth.
It rejuvenates my soul.
Yvonne Heath is Canada's Proactive Living Consultant. She is a Speaker, Television Host, Award Winning Author
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