Awakening to the sound of birdsong, the smell of evergreen and the deep peace in my rested body, I stretched. In that moment I remembered the words of Earnest Holmes ”There are no enemies external to our own mind.”

The thoughts between my journey from bedroom to bathroom would determine the tone of my day. Would I allow the song of the birds to bathe my fearful mind and activate my resilient heart? Would evergreen fragrance calm my mind coiled to trigger thoughts of loss and lack? Could I stay in the luxury of my relaxed body to swim in the softness of summer? Or would my mind shatter the beauty, power and promise of this glorious day with the heaviness of depression as so many around me were experiencing?

We plant the seeds of returning to aliveness one thought at a time. After decades of discovering how people deal with setbacks and loss of all kinds, psychologist Martin Seligman found three P’s that can stunt recovery:

1) Personalization- the belief that we are at fault;
2) Pervasiveness – the belief that an event will affect all areas of our life; and
3) Permanence – the belief that the aftershocks will last forever.

How I wish I had had this research when I began my odyssey through grief. After seven years of carrying the guilt-ridden belief that my son’s death was my fault, it was my body that revealed the truths: Loss is a natural part of life. Grief is a universal consequence of loss. Grief lives in the body. When we feel it we heal it. Depression is anger turned inward.

When I realized that there was something bigger than me at work in what felt like the worst thing in the world, I stopped believing I was alone in my grief, guilt sadness and despair. As I listened to the wisdom of my body – that still, small voice within – my sorrow dissipated. I sat still and became aware of all that I had been given. My son had left a legacy.

Who was I going to be as one of the millions of mothers who had buried their child?

It became clear that my legacy was to inspire others to re-turn to living a radiant life.

Joy is my birthright and yours!

Tips for Today:

  1. Do not take this loss personally. Life is hard. Pain is inevitable. Suffering is not. Are you causing your own suffering? Look at the three P’s.
  2. How can the sunshine and summer breeze in this very moment shift your sorrow? When you pause, breathe and look around at all you have been given, how do you feel? What happens to your anger, despair and sadness as you feel the sun on your open hands and breathe into its warmth?
  3. Be mindful during your walk from the bedroom to the bathroom tomorrow morning. Feel grateful that you have a bed and a bathroom inside. Connect to yourself in this short walk setting the mood of your day.

I would love to hear your experiences with using these tips to uproot the three P’s.

I invite you to share them with me so I may share your wisdom with others in the Suicide Bereavement Support and Grief Relief groups I co-facilitate.