I started this letter at a time when nobody was writing about grief, or even about grief and the Holidays.
And those who were, were not discussing the elephant in the room.
The deep sadness of the Holidays.
You see, happy seasons, are the saddest seasons for people who are grieving.
Even the sun shining brightly in the winter, can feel like loss.
Even bells ringing.
People with gift bags walking down the streets can set you off.
The triggers are so many.
I put together a small list that can help just a little during the next few weeks.
1- Make this the most untraditional holiday you have ever had. If you normally celebrate with the tree, the big dinner and the works, try something completely different this year. Go to the beach instead, or stay in bed all day if you need to. Choose your way of the holidays and don’t feel guilty. This is YOUR life.
2- Speak the truth every day. Let it out. Scream it if you have to. It is YOUR voice.
3- Make a wish, but don’t stop there! Take one small action and use the Holiday season to begin something new. To make that wish come true. That is when you will start seeing the impossible become possible. Time does not heal all wounds, action does.
4- Change something inside your house. Even something that nobody else can see but you.
5- If you get invited to dinner and you don’t feel like going, say NO thank you and go and do whatever you want. Yes, whatever you want.
6- Stop buying gifts for people you don’t care about. As a matter of fact if you don’t feel like buying gifts don’t buy them. Don’t be trapped in that fake polite space after loss. You don’t need this pressure. Free yourself from the gift expectations and send an email to the people in your life telling them that you are going to do holidays your way this year.
7- Remember, it is just a few days of craziness and you have survived much worse, you can do this.
8- Buy something for yourself that is very unlike you. Building your new identity can start as a holiday gift to you.
9- Above all find a moment to say a prayer for yourself.
10- And in that prayer ask for what you need not just for the holidays but for every day after that.
This holiday season be true to you.
Even if it means people won’t like you anymore.
You have been through really hard times, who cares what they think.
I am not the most popular person, I don’t pretend to like people, or visit with anyone I don’t really want to see.
Loss has taught us that life is short and we should not be wasting trying to please other people when we are dying inside.
The Holidays for those who are grieving is like feeling the regular pain you normally feel times 100. (Click Here to Tweet!)
Treat yourself to special things, and if it means your special thing is the Hallmark channel, then let that be your companion during this time of the year.
You get to say how it goes, it is hard enough as it is.
With selfish wishes,
PS.WHERE DID YOU GO is nearly here. I can’t believe it.
PPS.This is where you can find this letter on the blog
Maybe I will stay inside the ups and downs.
The highs and lows.
After all, the roller coaster makes you a good writer.
Did you know?
It makes you brave.
It makes your hair look crazy too. 🙂
Your heart beats as if there are two hearts inside of you.
You don’t have time for any kind of small talk.
And you hold on tight.
Just lots of back and forth between low and high.
Between grief and love.
Yes and no.
Risk and safety.
But that is when so many people leave the roller coaster.
They are done with it all.
The highs are not worth the lows.
Love is not worth the grief.
Having two heartbeats instead of one takes its toll.
But for those of us who stay, find themselves in the most beautiful skies.
Flying in and out of clouds.
Breathing in the crisp air.
And yes finding ourselves inside the very low places too.
When there, we check in with our soul.
Learn. Process. Feel. And write.
Oh the writing from the lows is magnificent.
I am writing you from there today.
Just experienced rejection back to back.
Basically double low.
When the roller coaster stays down low for longer than normal the heartbeats also slow down, almost as if they are gone.
You find yourself inside the low but also inside the silence.
And when there is only one low and not a double one, the silence doesn’t have time to arrive. Inside the silence you have a chance to find yourself.
You see, you can’t find yourself inside the highs. It’s too wild.
Your mind is too busy thinking about the greatness of the high.
Everyone is cheering you.
And you may even forget your humility. Your mortality.
And your high risk of loss.
Who would I ever be without my roller coaster?
Certainly not a writer.
Not a helper.
I think I would have good hair though. 🙂
And I would fit in.
Fitting in is not part of our life after loss. Tragedy makes us stand out, whether we like it or not. (Click Here to Tweet!)
With love to all of my roller coaster riders,
P.S. Registration for the 2019 Life Reentry Practitioner training is now open: https://lifereentry.com/life-reentry-practitioner-program-home/
I moved from Greece to England when I was 18 years old.
My english was ok but certainly not fluent in writing or speaking.
And I was attempting to get into college.
It took me three years to pass the exams and get language fluency.
And because of that everyone else in my classes, in my dorms and in my everyday college experience were 3 years younger than me.
I used to hide my age.
When everyone was turning 21 I was turning 24.
I was always 3 years late.
Also, always older than all the boys I knew.
And no matter what I did, how hard I worked that ‘3 year later than everyone else’ feeling was always there.
Then for a few years that feeling was gone, I had moved to the US, started my own family and things started to feel ‘normal.’
Then he was diagnosed with late stage cancer and died, and I lost a whole decade.
I nearly lost all of my 30s.
I was 30 when he was diagnosed.
We battled the cancer every day for years.
I was 34 when he died.
And I battled devastating grief for years.
38 when I started to get back on my feet again.
This woman had never been here before.
I believed for the first time that I could be a builder, a founder, an author, someone who had something to say to the world.
But that old voice in my head came back running.
But aren’t you really behind?
Like at least 10 years too late for anything of this magnitude.
You are about to be 40 soon and you want to start from scratch?
Yes I do.
The faint voice of the new woman would say.
No you don’t.
The loud speaker kind of voice would respond back.
And it went like this for the first few years.
The battle of the voices.
I have been quieting the voice of ‘you are late to the party’ for most of my life now.
I am now 46 years old and I finally learned something that I did not know my whole life.
And it’s not it is never too late.
But it is arrive late, and leave early.
In the last 8 years I have lived many lives in one.
I have done work that it takes people lifetimes to do.
And I know that if I was not late to the party I could have never ever become this version of me.
Now I look at my life very differently.
As long as my hands can type, my eyes can see and my brain can guide me I will be creating until I die.
Later than everyone else.
With a language that arrived in my life also late.
But I will always have an advantage, I experienced tragedy sooner than everyone else.
And received the wisdom of it at least a decade or two before most people.
The combination of being late with wisdom that comes from tragedy you can almost step outside of time and space and create from there.
Time is irrelevant to people like you and I. However late to the party you feel, know that the wisdom you have because of your loss adds time to your clock. (Click Here to Tweet!)
You are early.
And always will be.
Here’s to creating until our last breath.
With being very late and proud of it,
P.S If you are a therapist, social worker, coach, nurse, pastor, divorce attorney, biz leader who cares, doctor, oncologist, hospice volunteer, medical field leader and in a profession that serves the people who are suffering from loss, a medical diagnosis, tragedy of any kind, join me for a live video webinar about the Life Reentry Practitioner training on November 6th here: https://lifereentry.com/life-reentry-practitioner-webinar/
But we live inside a room with no windows.
A room that keeps us thinking this is the only room.
There are Infinite rooms.
I didn’t really understand this fully until the last couple of years.
You see, all of us are capable of occupying many rooms.
Some of us can live in many different ones at the same time.
Others can move linearly from one room to the next.
And some stay in the same room forever.
These rooms are separate life paths.
When we go through a devastating loss we are told the room we occupied all this time is no longer available to us.
This is harsh, but true.
We are then told to pack our things and move into a different room.
A lot of us go back inside the room and try to stay.
We think that we can make it work.
Sure it is darker than before but it is better than a new room.
Or no room at all.
Our mind lies to us.
It tells us this is the only room that exists.
Exploring is a waste of time.
And we stay.
Stay in the dark room.
The lonely room.
The room with no future.
The room of ghosts. Silence.
In there, the loneliness lady lives.
In there, the anniversary train visits.
In there, the room becomes the Waiting Room.
At this point, the lock turns.
The door closes more permanently.
We go to bed. And we die there.
Yes so many of us never find our way out.
I am going to now pull you out of this picture.
Give you a bird’s eye view.
Imagine I can take you up from your room, like a drone would.
See yourself inside that room, laying on the bed.
As we pull higher up, you start to see all the other rooms right next to yours.
Some of them are big.
With incredible views.
Others have many rooms in one space. Floors even.
And they connect to other rooms.
We keep going higher up.
And we see a whole city of beautiful rooms with many lives, and new dreams, breathtaking landscapes.
I am going to stop us for a second right here.
Take it all in, it is the truth.
The truth your mind has been trying to hide from you.
You have so many new possibilities.
There are so many choices.
Now we are going to go back, back to that room.
We descend slowly, with tears in our eyes, knowing how we nearly missed all these other rooms and lives we could have had.
You are now inside the old life, in your room.
You look around you and you now know this is no longer your life.
You grab your things. Not all of them, just enough.
And walk out.
Your next room won’t be visible at first as you come out of the old room.
But keep taking the steps.
All of a sudden you will see not just one new room but a few.
You will learn that in this next chapter after your loss, you have choices.
Options. You get to choose from a variety of rooms.
You get to be a room walker.
As you keep moving forward you find out what I found out.
That your life belongs to many rooms, and your keys in your pocket can open more doors than you ever thought were possible.
To thousands of rooms,
P.S. I heard your voices read your messages and I am bringing the Life Reentry class back. Live weekly with me teaching it alongside two incredible practitioners. We open registration here: https://lifereentry.com/life-reentry-class/ We have 100 spots. I hope you grab yours. Class starts September 25th.
I hide inside moments.
I literally hide there.
I am so afraid of change.
Whenever something new is on its way to me, I hide inside time.
Do you know why I created the Life Reentry® work?
Because I needed it to get myself out of all the hiding I was doing.
I am the master hider.
The master waiting room resident.
It’s not even that I am stuck but I like to hide from life, from big things, from new things.
I still do.
But I realized lately that I can’t be so afraid anymore.
Hiding is a luxury I can no longer afford.
Fear is something I must start to reject. (Click to Tweet!)
I used to shake like a leaf when I would step on stage.
I hated myself for saying yes to such big responsibilities and dreams.
“What were you thinking?”
“You should have been hiding Christina.”
“I know, I know. I will hide better next time.”
Next time I hid so well, I didn’t even know I was hiding.
That is how I became masterful at it.
Oh you have no idea how deceiving is my own waiting room.
It has a whole life in it.
The life inside the waiting room has me living an overweight life, a life inside possibly 2 miles radius.
It is a life but not my life.
Not the life my destiny has chosen for me.
I am furious with myself for letting fear guide me inside of it all, even as I was climbing out.
I was being ushered back in.
I let my fears take the lead.
I didn’t try to stop them.
Well, no more.
I have learned that fear will occupy your brain like a drug addict.
I realized that hiding is not for the living. I was killing myself and didn’t know it.
I saw how easy it is to choose the wrong things.
It is almost automatic.
The wrong snack.
The silly use of time.
The lack of movement.
At first it is a choice, but very quickly it becomes a default setting.
Getting out of that is almost impossible.
People have died there, inside the default.
The waiting room. The not living.
This letter is for you if you have been afraid, in hiding and in a default setting you don’t even remember choosing.
And do you know when it all starts?
When our heart has been so badly broken that hiding is a life savior.
We think it is.
And when we realize it never was, it is too late.
Yesterday it was Bjarne’s 47th birthday.
He only made it to his 35th.
He would have been furious with me if he knew that I chose moments with no life in them. That I chose to hide instead of flying.
“Come to the edge,” he said.
“We can’t, we’re afraid!” they responded.
“Come to the edge,” he said.
“We can’t, We will fall!” they responded.
“Come to the edge,” he said.
And so they came.
And he pushed them.
And they flew.” ― Guillaume Apollinaire
May we fly.
PS. Today we close registration for our out of towners. Come be with us. Let’s all conquer our life after loss together. Arizona, June 1-2.
REGISTER HERE: https://lifereentry.com/the-life-reentry-weekend/
A friend asked me the other day.
Do I still feel grief when I write these letters to you.
And I said yes I feel it.
But not in the way most people think.
I feel loss deeply.
But not just for one person, experience, moment.
I write from this infinite place of loss every week.
It is a treasure chest.
A place where everything lives forever.
A place where I feel ageless.
Where nobody is gone and nothing is lost.
I go and remember there.
And by remembering them, I remember myself, how I was.
Who I was.
How it felt to be me, then.
I am turning 46 tomorrow.
And as I look back I realize how lucky I have been.
To have had so much to lose.
I lost my health and found it again.
I lost friends.
I have had a couple of embarrassing moments this last year too.
Oh my let me tell you, those were tough.
But when you step on a big ladder some of the steps will be missing along the way,
and you will only find out as you are stepping on them.
I gained and lost weight. Over and over again.
I found myself and lost myself a few times.
This year I learned that I like to hide inside the space in between moments, and stay there hiding from the world for as long as I can.
I learned that writing is the only thing I have never hidden from.
I have never hidden from it either.
I even made it into a treasure chest.
I go there when I need to choose the true things for my day ahead.
I go there to be inspired and to not be afraid of the ladder.
But most of all I go there to remember who I am.
Why I am here.
What I love. Who I love.
To get my perspective back.
To celebrate the many loves I have had.
To remember the ocean that was by my side when I was growing up.
The friends I made when I moved to a foreign country who saved my life.
My friends who saved my life after he died.
My family who loves me.
My girls who are my soulmates.
My two husbands. Up above. And down below.
And my very long and unforgettable 46 years of life.One thing is for sure, nothing is permanent. Click To Tweet
Nothing is ever mine.
Even the people I have now, maybe I have them for a thousand more days.
Maybe more, maybe less.
But my treasure chest lasts forever.
And is a grounding force in my life.
I hope you visit yours often too.
Even when you are celebrating, loving new people and having new experiences.
The treasure chest of loss belongs to us more than any other thing.
It holds together all of our lives. It is meant to stay.
And visited. Until, forever.
With birthday candles and new things to love
PS. Please join me this June in Arizona for the Life Reentry® Weekend. It will be an amazing, full two days of life reentry and being surrounded in a comforting environment, where your peers have been through the unimaginable like you have. Register here.
I jammed my thumb in the door of my car last Saturday.
The door closed completely.
Not just a little bit. But all the way, shut.
As if my thumb was not inside the door.
I nearly passed out but I had to find the strength to open the door to get my thumb back out.
In those seconds, I was overwhelmed with the pain.
But I was able to get my other hand to open the door.
Then the pain got so much worse. I iced it. I steadied myself.
I lost all color from my face.
And waited it out.
I am very quiet when I am hurting a lot.
If you were there, when the door closed on me you would have never known it.
Pain that severe makes me quiet.
I bet your pain is quiet too. Like mine.
I bet most people who suffer a lot…
Suffer in complete silence.
I listen for those.
I listen for the reader that never writes to me.
I read all the emails you never send me.
Did you know?
I know the quietness of your pain.
The pain you never write about.
Not to me, not to anyone.
Pain of that kind has no words.
It is so deep that it can’t even find its way to human expression.
It is still made of sound. Vibration.
I listen for it. And find my way there.
(Click to Tweet!)
So I could find the words to write to you, the reader who is quiet.
Living with the pain that has no words.
This letter is for you.
Because I heard you.
I heard the sound the pain makes inside your heart.
With listening for you,