Sunday, March 23, 2008

Earth Hour - Turn out the Lights on 3/29 Prevent the Loss of the Planet

I am taking a bit of a digression from the Normal Grief, Loss & Transitions postings to post a blog about Earth Hour, a Global Event on March 29 to raise awareness about Climate Change.

The topic of Climate Change does relate to this blog topic of Grief, Loss and Transitions. We are seeing a transition in the global climate, which may lead to a loss and grief of things we have previously taken for granted.

Do Something While We Still have a Chance
Al Gore's quotes from an Inconvenient Truth really got to me
as a Mother of two young children:

Future generations may well have occasion to ask themselves, "What were our parents thinking? Why didn't they wake up when they had a chance?"

We have to hear that question from them, now.

I want to make sure that my daughter's get to enjoy hiking and being out in nature the same way that I have been able to do.

Lights out on Earth Hour 2008, March 29
On March 29, 2008 at 8:00 pm millions of people, businesses and governments around the world will be switching off the lights for one hour during Earth Hour 2008.

I've been trying to spread the word and get people to sign up and turn off the lights on March 29 to do something good for the planet.

Earth Hour a simple one time act, but it's away of getting people, families, businesses and governments involved and thinking about Climate Change. Hopefully by raising awareness people will start doing other things in their daily lives to make a difference.

More Information:
You can read more about Earth Hour and more simple things you can do to make a difference in the various articles that I've posted on the topic on Squidoo, "
Earth Hour 2008 on March 29, 2008 Turn off the Lights" on Type A Mom "Turn out the lights for Earth Hour March 29, 2008" on the Lensroll "Earth Hour 2008 - Turn out the Lights for One Hour" and on Momshare "Lights Out for Earth Hour on March 29, 2008 and for the Planet."

Sacred Life Sunday
This is a Celebrating Sacred Life Sundays Post, a weekly celebration of what is sacred and special in our life.

For me there is nothing more Sacred than ensuring my daughters get to enjoy hiking and being out in nature, something that I have done all of my life.

Dyer KA. Earth Hour 2008 on March 29, 2008 Turn off the Lights.
Dyer KA.
Turn out the lights for Earth Hour March 29, 2008. Type-A Mom.
Dyer KA.
Earth Hour 2008 - Turn out the Lights for One Hour. Lensroll.
Dyer KA.
Lights Out for Earth Hour on March 29, 2008 and for the Planet
. Momshare.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Life Transitions - Challenges that Test the Soul

In the last blog, I looked at the definitions for Loss, Grief, Bereavement and Mourning. This time I'll look at the concept of Transitions since this blog is dedicated to "your times of transition."

What is a Transition?
Transition is a…

Passage from one state or stage to another;
especially: an abrupt change…usually accompanied by loss…

Transitions in life can result from many different events. Some may be happy occasions such as births, marriages, new job or home or career promotions.

More often than not transitions are sad occasions like the end of a relationship, career, experiencing a traumatic event, child leaving home, loss of a loved one, being diagnosed with a life-threatening or terminal illness, or the ultimate transition-death.

Many of these "passages from one state to another," especially the challenging ones, are accompanied by a loss, by sorrow and by a grief response. These are the tough transitions, the ones that define a person.

Transitions - Life Defining Moments
Martin Luther King Jr. once said, "The ultimate measure of a [person] is not where s/he stands in moments of comfort, but where s/he stands at times of challenge and controversy."

Frequently, these times of transition become a person's major life-defining moments—moments after which a life is forever changed. Elizabeth Harper Neeld writes, "Tough transitions are time we have lived that will remain part of who we are forever. The very person we are has been changed by these experiences." They are often some of the most significant times in our lives. (2)

Transitions - Times that Test the Soul
John M. Schneider writes,

When we are grieving, we often believe that no one else has ever suffered as much. Feeling utterly alone in the agony we experience and in our struggle to keep going, no words of solace can comfort unless they come from one who has walked our path. When such words come, we can begin to discover just how universal the process of grief is.

Eventually, we discover that humans have grieved throughout history and that grief's wisdom transformed people long before we came along. (3)

No mater what your source of loss or grief, whether you have experienced it personally as a patient, a parent or family member or professionally as a health care provider, these times of transition are often the moments that define a life. Schneider also writes that these moments are "the times that test the soul. Facing loss and experiencing grief can result in profound transformation." (4)

Journey of Hearts - A Place to Share the Sorrow
I have believed for years, it is in the sharing of our losses that our own heart begins to heal. The Journey of Hearts website and the Grief, Loss & Transitions Blog are here to remind visitors that we are not alone in our losses or our feelings of grief, that someone else will have experienced similar losses (or worse) and survived.

Slowly as you begin to recognizes that others have lived through loss and survived then you too will begin to realize that can survive your own loss and live through this life transition.

Coping with Transitions by Sharing the Sorrow

According to a Swedish proverb,
"Shared joy is doubled joy. Shared sorrow is half sorrow."
By sharing we can half the sorrow and feel less alone with the intense feelings of loss or grief that accompany difficult transitions. Therefore, we invite you to half the sorrows by sharing your what worked for you when faced with one of life's difficult "transitions."

Sharing the losses and supporting one another during these challenging times of transition helps the heart grow stronger and more able to cope with life's challenges and helps us to feel less alone in our grief. (5)

Some of my own greatest challenges, the times that tested my soul, I have written about and shared in the NICU Parent Support Blog, most recently reliving our Easter NICU experiences.

More on Grief, Loss & Transitions:
Dyer KA. Loss, Grief, Bereavement and Mourning Defining the Terms
. Grief, Loss & Transitions Blog.
Dyer KA. Journey of Hearts - A Source for Grief, Loss & Transitions
. Grief, Loss & Transitions Blog.

Our Easter NICU Experiences:
Dyer KA.
An Easter Healing Blessing in the Intensive Care Nursery. NICU Parent Support Blog.
Dyer KA. Creating a Circle of Healing and Support
. NICU Parent Support Blog.
Dyer KA. An Easter Wish for NICU Parents. Type A Mom Website.

1. Definition of Transitions. Merriam-Webster's Medical Dictionary, © 2002 Merriam-Webster, Inc.
2. Neeld, EH. 2005. Tough Transitions: Navigating Your Way Through Difficult Times. New York, New York: Warner Books, p.223.

3. Schneider JM. (ed) 2000. Grief's Wisdom: Quotes for Understanding the Transformative Process. Traverse City, Michigan: Seasons Press.
4. Schneider JM. Transforming Consciousness While Embracing Change and Experiencing Grief. John M. Schneider, Ph.D.
5. Dyer KA. 2002. Welcome to A Healing Place. Journey of Hearts.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Loss, Grief, Bereavement and Mourning - the Terms

Loss, Grief, Bereavement and Mourning
This blog focuses on the topics of grief, loss and transitions, but people may not realize what these terms mean. In this entry, I look at the terms Loss and Grief and the related terms Bereavement and Mourning. In another entry, we'll look at the concept of Transitions.

Loss is the disappearance of something cherished, such as a person, possession or property.
  • A brief definition of Loss is the the disappearance of something cherished, such as a person, possession or property.
  • The definition of Loss also includes "the act or instance of losing; the failure to keep or get something valued; the harm or suffering caused by losing or being lost; losses a.k.a. casualties occurring during wartime; destruction; and a measurable reduction in some substance or process."
Loss is a common experience common experience that can be encountered many times during a lifetime; it does not discriminate for age, race, sex, education, economic status, religion, culture or nationality.

Most people have experienced some type of personal or professional loss at some point in their life as a byproduct of living.

Grief, Bereavement and Mourning
Grief, bereavement and mourning, are often used interchangeably, however they are not the same.

I like to think of Grief as the entire response--mind, body and spirit--to a loss.
  • A brief, short definition of Grief is "the normal reaction to loss."
  • A slightly longer definition of Grief "the normal process of reacting both internally and externally to the perception of loss."
  • A more complete definition of Grief comes from Stroeb M, Stroeb W and Shut H. Grief is "a multifaceted response to loss that includes psychological, behavioral and physical reactions combined with cognitive, emotional, behavioral, social, spiritual and somatic elements."
Bereavement is the often term used when the loss is due to the death of a loved one.
  • Bereavement is an objective state of having lost someone or something. The term is generally used to describe the state of having suffered a loss due to death.
  • Bereavement is the also considered to be the loss (by death) of someone important to you and the process caused by a loss or a death.
  • Mourning is the process by which people adapt to loss the public expression of grief, which is shaped by social and cultural expectations. It is how an person tries to incorporate the loss into life and keep living.
  • Mourning is also the behavior expected by those in the cultural group following a death or loss.
  • Mourning is often considered to be the outward expression of grief that is influenced by a person's culture, customs and gender.
Dyer KA. Loss, Grief & Bereavement on Squidoo.

Image Source: Anka Draganski.
Grieving. Royalty Free Use.

American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition. (2000) Houghton Mifflin Company. Definition of Loss.
Childs-Gowell. E. 1992. Good Grief Rituals: Tools for Healing. Barrytown, N.Y.:Station Hill Press.

Dyer KA. 2004. Understanding the Impact of Loss & Grief on our Patient's Well Being: Learning How to Take a Loss History.
Dyer KA, Thompson CD. 2000. Journey of Hearts: From Idea to Reality A Website for Web-education Grief and Loss. ITCH 2000 (Information Technology in Community Health) Conference Preceedings. University of Victoria, School of Information Health Sciences.

Dyer KA. Identifying, Understanding, and Working with Grieving Parents in the NICU, Part I: Identifying and Understanding Loss and the Grief Response. Neonatal Network. May/June 2005; 24(4):35-46.
Casarett D, Kutner JS, Abrahm J. Life after Death: A Practical Approach to Grief and Bereavement. Ann Intern Med. 2001;134:208-215. 24 October, 2006.
Rando TA. 1993. Treatment of Complicated Mourning. Champaign, IL: Research Press, 22-3.
Stroeb M, Stroeb W, Shut H. Gender differences in adjustment to bereavement: an empirical and theoretical review. Rev Gen Psychol 5: 62-83.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Light a Candle for Sacred Life Sunday

The first Sacred Life Sunday post is dedicated to Carla and her amazing candles. (If you haven't tried any of the Zena Moon Candles be sure to order some for your own sacred ceremonies.)

Creating a Mini Sacred Moment
I find during times of stress or duress or when I want to focus my thoughts on something, I will often light a favorite candle and just sit, watch the hypnotic flames and thing about Chandogya Upanishad's quote that
There is a light that shines
beyond all things on earth,
beyond us all, beyond the heavens.
This is the light that shines in our hearts.
Stopping to light a candle helps me to reconnect with the light that shines in our heart. Thanks to Carla, when picking out a candle to light I can choose one with a soothing, calming scent and combined with a favorite quote. (The one picture, intuition is the amazingly soothing scent of rain and plum.)

After lighting a favorite candle I can then sit for a few moments, watch the flame, focus on the quote and recenter myself as part of a mini sacred moment.

Creating a More Elaborate Sacred Moment
You can read about the A Cleansing, Healing Candle Burning Ceremony for suggestions on ways of creating a more elaborate sacred candle burning ceremony.

About Zena Moon Candles
Carla has made the
Zena Moon Candles since 2000. Her unique hand-poured candles honor your journey, delight your senses and feed your spirit. I have a collection of her candles around my desk with "Inspiration," "Radiance," "Take a Risk," "Protection," "Faith," "Angel Blessings" and "Beyond Fear" are those closest at hand.

Sacred Life Sunday
This is a Celebrating Sacred Life Sundays Post, a weekly celebration of what is sacred and special in our life.

More on Lighting Candles:
Dyer KA. February 2008.
A Cleansing, Healing Candle Burning Ceremony Grief, Loss & Transitions Blog.

Dyer KA. July 2007. Restoring Moment: Light a Candle. Type-A Mom Site.
Dyer KA. November 2007. Worldwide Candle Lighting Lens. Squidoo.

Friday, March 7, 2008

Celebrating Sacred Life Sunday

Carla Blazek at Zena Musings has come up with a wonderful idea for celebrating what is special or sacred to you in life by blogging about it weekly on Sundays.

She describes Sacred Life Sunday as follows:
Sacred Life Sunday isn't really a challenge -- that sounds too strenuous -- it's really more of a softening ... into a moment, a treasured possession, a companion -- people, parts and places of your everyday life that you cherish. Whatever is sacred to you.

For me, it might be my altar, a candle I'm burning, my dogs, the garden, a friend, a book I'm reading, nature, something I did, someplace I went, something important to me, or, who knows, maybe just my morning bowl of Cheerios!

The idea is to creatively connect with the holiness of my everyday life, plus I also need gentle kicks in the butt to turn OFF the game of Hearts and away from
shadow comforts and turn towards God, life and others.
Grief, Loss & Transitions Blog Joins Sacred Life Sunday
The main idea of Sacred Life Sunday is to share something that is sacred to you or helps you connect with your spirit on a weekly basis.

So I'll be joining the Sacred Life Sunday with the Grief, Loss and Transitions Blog and sharing something that is special, sacred or healing to me or just helps me reconnect with special restoring moments.

Source: Carla Blazek. Welcome to Sacred Life Sundays. October 2007.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Grief, Loss & Transitions is Now a Passionate Blog

The Small Is Beautiful ManifestoIn my Internet blog searchings, I came across the Small is Beautiful Manifesto and immediately signed up the Grief, Loss & Transitions Blog as a Passionate Blog.

I have been following my passion with creating and maintaining the Journey of Hearts site and now the Grief, Loss and Transitions Blog for more than 10 years. (At least we've seen more than 600,000 visitors to the Journey of Hearts site.)

The Small is Beautiful Manifesto

We believe stories are valuable, no matter how many people read them.
We believe following your passion is more important that watching your site meter.
We believe in the handmade, the first try, the small start, and the good effort.
We believe that small is beautiful.

Source: Small is Beautiful. Magpie Girl.