The Eleven Tenets of Companioning the Bereaved

From The Theory of Companioning the Bereaved by Dr. Alan Wolfelt

Tenet One:

Companioning is about being present to another person’s pain; it is not about taking away the pain.

Tenet Two:

Companioning is about going to the wilderness of the soul with another human being’ it is not about thinking you are responsible for finding the way out.

Tenet Three:

Companioning is about honoring the spirit; it is not about analyzing with the head.

Tenet Four:

Companioning is about listening with the heart; it is not about analyzing with the head.

Tenet Five:

Companioning is about bearing witness to the struggles of others; it is not about judging or directing these struggles.

Tenet Six:

Companioning is about walking alongside; it is not about leading.

Tenet Seven:

Companioning is about discovering the gifts of sacred silence; it does not mean filling up every moment with words.

Tenet Eight:

Companioning is about being still; it is not about frantic movement forward.

Tenet Nine:

Companioning is about respecting disorder and confusion; it is not about imposing order and logic.

Tenet Ten:

Companioning is about learning from others; it is not about teaching them.

Tenet Eleven:

Companioning is about compassionate curiosity; it is not about expertise.

Facing our Fears

The feeling of disconnection and numbness that afflicts so many people’s lives comes from  habitually absenting ourselves from our difficult experiences.  

Like a mountain climber that is stuck on their rope and would rather die there that way, we’re terrified of sinking down into those places within us that we refuse to inhabit.  The grief for what we’ve lost or never had, the longing for a worthiness that we don’t feel, the unknown of it all threatens to swallow us whole.  So instead, we insulate in the form of alcohol, drugs, sex or material objects; or we find a way to exist in an anxious suspension above our fears and loneliness.

We can undermine our own efforts to move forward, remaining in fear of becoming self; because to walk the maze towards our next selves means we need to face all that we’ve neglected or abandoned, and relinquish that which no longer serves us.

Sacrifice is a show of trust in the unknown.  Like quitting a job only to have a new opportunity appear that very afternoon, or ending a toxic relationship only to meet your true love two days later, there is magic in sacrifice.  Life is calling you, and the severance of the tethers that bind you to outgrown thoughts/ideas/reactions is you answering that call.

#growth #personalgrowth #psychology #cognitivebehavioraltherapy 

Underneath the Surface

Often, when we’re unhappy, we fall into the habit of thinking that, if only one or two particular things in our life would change, everything would be fine. We might focus on the fact that we need a new car, or a raise, or a change in our living situation. We dwell on this one thing and strategize, or complain, or daydream about what it would be like to have it. Meanwhile, underneath the surface, the real reason for our unhappiness sits unrecognized and unaddressed. And yet, if we are able to locate and explore the underlying cause of our discontent, all the surface concerns have a way of working themselves out in the light of our realization.  

Maybe we really do just need a new car, and maybe moving to another city would improve our life situation. However, it can only help to take some time to explore what’s going on at a deeper level. Sometimes, when we take a moment and stop focusing on external concerns, we get to the heart of the matter. We might realize that all our lives we’ve been dissatisfied, grasping at one thing after another, only to be dissatisfied about something else once we get what we want. Or perhaps we’ll notice a pattern of running away from a place, or a relationship, when things get too hard. We might then wonder why this keeps happening, and how we might work through the difficulty rather than just escaping it. The point is, slowing down and turning our attention within can save us a lot of energy in the long run, because it is very often the case that there is no external change that will make us happy.  

Once you’ve taken the time to inquire within, you can begin to make changes that address the deeper issue. This can be hard at first, especially if you’ve grown used to grasping for outside sources in order to quell your discontent, but in the end, you will be solving the problem at a deeper level, and it will be much less likely to recur. 

Fire Ceremony

A practice that can be done at year’s end to help usher in the new and escort out the old is to take some time and write (hand write) down some things that you want to release and then burning the paper in a fire.

It can be as simple as a single word, or as complex as you need it to be. But spend time on it; at least a couple of hours. You can do this over several days, but don’t rush or skimp on your writing time.

Then on New Year’s Eve, you can light a fire. It can be a small fire bowl, a fire-pit, or your fireplace. Safely light a fire and sit with the fire for a few minutes’ time. Don’t rush this. Close your eyes and sit with your fire and what you want to release for a few minutes. See what you want release, see how much you want to move on from it. Then see the smoke rise in your mind as you release what you need to.

When you’re then ready, safely drop your paper(s) into your fire. See the paper burn up, and the smoke rise, releasing you. Anything that’s held you back, it’s time to let it go. .Allow yourself to experience whatever you will about this as your paper burns away; anger, fear, anxiousness, sadness, loss, gratitude. Let it all out like the rising smoke from the burnt paper.

Close with an affirmation. Close your eyes again and say goodbye to the past once and for all, and to whatever has been holding you back. See yourself in your new life without what you released. Feel the relief, like a weight finally off your shoulders. Take a deep breath and let the exhale extend, like the last bit of release.

It can be helpful to write out your new intentions, something on paper as a reminder to create your new life. Re-visit in three months to check your progress. And finally, re-visit next year to see how you’ve done.

Let’s all make 2021 our best and most free year yet.

Healing

One of the most honest and powerful images.

Looking gently and deeply at oneself can be difficult, but it’s also one of the most courageous things that can be done; and can provide freedom from whatever the story is that we’re telling ourselves.

#psychology #innerwork #trauma #healing #courage #truth #honesty #letgo #moveon

What do you do with a Chance?

This is one of three short books of the NY Times Best-Sellers’ set called What You Do Matters by Kobi Yamada.
This particular book shows us how our inner dialogue can affect us acting on an opportunity that is before us, and what we can do to overcome it.

Highly recommend! 

Thank you to Sgt. Vierk of the Clawson Police Department for doing such a great reading job!

A Mother to the World

Mothers ~

Those that brang us into the world

Also those that perform the act of Mothering.


To be a Mother to the World, one needs to look no further for example than to the person that sacrifices parts of herself or himself in order to give the next generation a good chance; a better chance maybe than they had themselves.

Things like planting a tree, and knowing full well that you’ll never get to enjoy the tree’s shade or fruit. Still, you plant the tree for the next generation to enjoy.

Like this. You are careful to consider your words and your actions, and how they might affect someone else. Because you have this little life that depends on you now. Little eyes that look up to you to build their foundation from which they’ll see their world.

Being a Mother to the World is no different. You experience the connection between you and someone you’ve never met, someone you don’t know at all. And know that from that point on, you keep those connections in mind when you make decisions, and when you act, as you’re carrying out your life. You realize that you are a part of something much bigger than yourself. It becomes much more fulfilling and worthwhile.

Thank you to all the Mothers, and to the Mothers of the World. We literally owe our lives to you, and we’ll promise to give the next generation a good start-off.

#mother #mothersday #mothertotheworld

Earth Day 2020

Kennebunkport, ME 2015

Observing Earth Day and battling COVID-19 aren’t too far apart from each other.
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Both require attention to be taken away from ourselves and placed on something else. This is a good thing to do.
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It helps to realize our connection to each other, and our shared planet. That we’re all a part of something much large than ourselves.
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Becoming more conscious and aware of this connection can open a whole new dimension, perspective and a way of doing more than just existing here. A decision to step in and help where one can becomes a non-issue and an automatic response.
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So let’s do our part in both situations; lets all help to contain and understand this new threat to our lives; and at the same time that we’re becoming more aware of the virus, let’s also place awareness on our surroundings and our live. What is really needed and necessary and what no longer serves us. How we can live more simply, without so much stuff, and how we can lessen our footprints on the only home we share with so much other life.
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The future is coming soon.
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#earthday #protectthis Earth Day Network #coronavirus #covid_19 #futureiscoming KennebunkportMaine