I’m writing this on the anniversary of losing my beautiful mum.
Personally I like to write in the moment. I always think the feelings are so much more real, because you are experiencing them, not just remembering them.
So today I can truly share from the heart.
Going through repeated challenging times, or experiencing loss of any kind changes you.
Whether it’s losing a loved one, a relationship breakup, loss of our health...
Loss impacts us in a way that takes time to heal.
There is no quick fix, no shortcuts.
While each of us are different in the way we grieve our loss, and also the things that helps us cope, there is one common thing we all feel in this journey... pain.
So that we can cope, it's important to find some breathing space.
You are most likely not sleeping well, and I have no doubt you feel drained and exhausted by the constant pain you are feeling. In times like this the first thing most of us do is close our heart.
We close it to shield it from more pain.
But in closing our heart to pain, we also close it to feeling pleasure.
My message to you is:
YOU CAN BE GRIEVING…. AND STILL FIND JOY.
YOU CAN FEEL PAIN… AND STILL FEEL PLEASURE.
We can only cope with so much pain...
And it’s ok to give your body and mind breathing space from the pain by giving yourself permission to experience the opposite feeling... pleasure.
I can speak first hand about the effects of pain and loss, physically and emotionally, because the accident I had was just a few months after losing my mum, so I felt both.
After my surgery, while I was still doped up from the anaesthetic, I woke up feeling really fresh, and on a high of positivity. But that night in the hospital, the pain hit so badly that no amount of pain relief seemed to help.
Looking back, I think it was physical pain merged with grief.
I’d kept myself so busy after losing my mum.
I even opened our homewares store (I’m sure prompted in a big way by wanting to create big projects to escape the grief)
Now, as I lay there, I had time to think.
When I was airlifted to hospital it felt like following my mum's journey in the weeks before she passed away, and it just brought all the memories and feelings back. I couldn’t stop crying, and when the nurses asked what was wrong, all I could say was “I am in so much pain, I just want my mum!”
This experience, and also when I got sick for six months after my third surgery, really taught me so much about the effects of pain.
For me personally, I found the feelings of grief pain and physical pain so similar in the effects they have on your body and mind.
But one thing I learnt, was the importance of feeling moments of pleasure when you feel pain.
I don’t mean so the pleasure “fixes” you. I mean so it simply gives you breathing space from feeling the pain all the time.
It is common to feel guilt while experiencing pleasure when we are grieving.
You may feel that if you allow yourself to experience good feelings, you are not honouring the person you have lost, or that you no longer have the ability or the energy to feel good.
But finding pleasure honours the gift you have of life, by not sacrificing it to grief.
So when you are feeling exhausted by challenging times, ask yourself, "When did I last allow myself to feel pleasure so I can have some time to heal?"
We are lucky to have each day we do, and the life we have.
You are the only person you are guaranteed to travel through life with from start to finish, and you're also the only person who truly knows and understands how you feel.
Be your own "Best Friend" in life.. be kind to yourself, care for yourself, give yourself the love we all need.
Take some time in nature, have a hot bath, light some soothing candles. The little things can bring us so much comfort and healing. (Watch my video for ideas)
Allowing yourself to feel some pleasure and joy will also result in you being there for the people who love you and need you too.
So open your heart to this day...
Each day we have is a gift.
Happy memories on my parents 50th wedding anniversary.
We surprised them by bringing a massage therapist to our house so they could have a relaxing massage and a hot bath while I made them a beautiful lunch.(This was a tradition I started as a child.. Dad used to give me the money for the ingredients and decorations to make a "special dinner" for their wedding anniversary, and I would create "Little Naomi's pop up Restaurant" for them LOL)
I'm so grateful they got to enjoy this landmark celebration together not long before we lost my mum Kate. They were so in love.
Naomi Whitfeld is the Founder & CEO of iKOU.
Her passion for inspiring others to live a life of Wellness & Joy shines through in everything she does.
As an intuitive Aromatherapist, Naomi incorporates Mind & Body benefits into all she creates, believing we respond best when we treat as a 'whole".
Winner of the Telstra Business Womens Award for "Entrepreneur of the Year", Naomi has a particular interest in supporting busy women to enjoy rituals of self-care on a daily basis.