My special guest blogger today is Suzie Kolber, who is an expert in coming up with just the right words we can all use when we wish to offer words of sympathy to bereaved friends and work associates. Sometimes it can be a real challenge to say something other than a cliche or platitude, and so I know you’ll enjoy Suzie’s ideas for how we can be more supportive during those unsettling and precarious times everyone encounters in life.
Here’s her article:
Common Mistakes People Make When They Offer Condolences
Talking to someone who has just lost a loved one is never easy. In fact, many people avoid the situation by staying away or sending a generic card. They are afraid of saying the wrong thing. While there is no one right way to offer condolences, there are a few mistakes well-meaning people often make. Learn from others so you don’t make the same errors.
Saying “It will get better.”
While you know the person won’t always feel like they do right now, telling them so only trivializes their feelings. Instead, you want them to know it’s okay to feel this way. You have no idea how long it will take for their heart to mend and for them to feel like resuming life again.
In place of telling someone to cheer up or that they will feel better in time, you may say something like “I’m here for you if you need to talk.” This lets the person know they don’t have to pretend to feel better if they don’t.
Trying to cheer them up
Everyone moves through the stages of grief at their own pace, and you can’t hurry it along. If the person is feeling sad, they don’t necessarily want you trying to make the smile or laugh. They may not be ready to move forward with their daily lives because it feels like they are leaving the deceased person behind.
You don’t want to avoid talking about the person who passed away because it may actually make them feel better. Hearing stories about that person from your point of view may be the healing they need. And you might be surprised to find it does cheer them up. While you may not enjoy talking about sad things, forcing conversation on superficial topics because they are happy or neutral won’t ease the person’s pain or make them forget about their loved one.
Pretending nothing has changed
Many people feel awkward talking to the loved one of someone who died. They aren’t sure what to say, and so they try to avoid any mention of the person. They will talk about the weather, what’s going on at work or other normal stuff. While this may be helpful, don’t purposefully avoid talking about the person who died.
The family member knows they are gone, and they will feel the silence as you struggle to avoid mentioning the person. Instead, mention them as it feels normal. Talking about the person is one way the loved one has of keeping their memory alive. Don’t be afraid to talk about serious and sad subjects. Ignoring them won’t make them go away, and the discussion can help the person deal with their emotions.
Knowing the right thing to say can be difficult, but knowing what not to say can be even harder. Just know that if your heart is in the right place, the person will understand what you can’t find the words to say. Your presence means more than any words, so don’t avoid interaction with the family just because you aren’t sure what you should say to them.
Suzie Kolber is a writer at Words of Condolences
Today, fifteen years after the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center, I invite everyone in the personal development and spiritual growth communities, supporters of a free Tibet, and our like-minded friends — We the Peaceful – to join together and create a global manifestation of a different variety: the power of love.
The face of peace: His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyatso
Who in all the world represents the principles of love, compassion, kindness to a higher degree than the average? Answer: the Dalai Lama.
We’ll use this powerful truth of the law of attraction to send the Dalai Lama home to a free Tibet. The book includes all you need to get started with a daily meditation to manifest Restoring Tibet.
On 9/11/2001 a small group of people created a hate-based demonstration with repercussions felt around the world. The face of fear: Osama bin Laden and those who followed. Their rallying cry: Destroy! There are those today in USA who promote fear-based political agendas and the building of walls. Their rallying cry: Return to greatness–Keep our country safe from strangers!
Those born on and after 9/11/2001 entered a world drenched in anxiety, cautions, warnings, amber alerts, and a sense of powerlessness.
I hope you will join me in creating a higher level of peace in the world.
Get the book here: Restoring Tibet: Global Action Plan to Send the Dalai Lama Home
One of the most famous quotations from The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupery is: “One sees clearly only with the heart. Anything essential is invisible to the eyes.”
For more than sixty years, this quote has been repeated by countless readers and fans. Despite the passage of time, it retains its freshness to help us understand more about our true nature.
All too often we look around us and judge life by what we can experience with our senses. Living a condition-based life is the result of that sensory training. In part, of course, we do want to enjoy our senses. This is a physical world and we are not meant to suffer and experience privation, no matter how many times we’ve been taught it is somehow noble to be poor and destitute. That’s Old Worldview thinking that says “Life happens to you—you’ll just have to endure!” When we constantly look at what’s going on outside of us, however, we start judging ourselves and others based on material things. Feelings of inferiority or superiority can result.
In addition, putting our faith in what we can see gives us a distorted view because we are actually viewing the results of old thoughts, not the new thoughts we have right now which are still in the invisible stage of manifesting their matching results.
If you’ve been practicing affirmations and meditating and wonder why something bad just happened, understand it’s not a result of the affirmations you are doing today.
We don’t manifest instantly. Instead there’s a much needed time-lapse between our thoughts and the results they produce. This is a good thing, because that buffer allows us to keep finetuning our desires, and to catch ourselves when we’re on a tailspin.
Think about what is essential to you in your life. At first we might focus on material comforts and necessities like food, clothing and a place to live. But go beyond that and allow yourself to recognize what is most important to you. If all of the material things were stripped away, what would still be essential to you? Love, family, the ability to create joy? It may surprise you how much the other parts of life simply become icing on the cake, while the true substance is what you are seeing clearly with your heart, as in The Little Prince.
Did you ever stop to think about what kind of habits you’ve inadvertently created over a lifetime when it comes to your beliefs about yourself? Most of us did not grow up in the kind of environment where we were taught to think deep thoughts and really get into the inner workings of our mind. Instead, well-meaning parents and teachers passed along the same instructions they were given about getting along in life, and so it goes generation after generation.
But we live in a time of great transition right now, and more people are interested in accessing the power of their minds to create a better life than what seems to happen at random.
I think this advice from self-help guru Wayne Dyer, who passed last year at the age of 75, is particularly appropriate if you’re looking for a good place to start in changing your beliefs.
From Wayne Dyer: “Believe you are an infinite spiritual being having a temporary human experience. The first step to learning to manifest your reality is you must create a new concept of yourself: as an infinite spiritual being having a temporary human experience. The I that I use to describe myself is not so obsessed that he insists in staying in one body. In fact, that I that is me finally recognizes that ancient spiritual truth spoken by Divine masters since antiquity: None of us are really doing anything, rather we (our bodies) are merely being done. This I that you use to describe yourself isn’t the physical form that you occupy and take with you everywhere. The I is your higher self, changeless and real.”
There are times in life when we really are afraid of doing something, and yet we bow to the logic of those around us and those who trained us in our thinking habits, and we go ahead with it anyway. Then we feel proud of ourselves for defeating the fear. But if it’s really been defeated, why is it there, in that swirling anxious feeling inside? Why does it return in the face of a similar project or condition? And then you’re supposed to defeat that too, and be proud again?
Let’s stop and look at how irrational much of our actions are in the face of working with the law of attraction to deliberately create an expansive, joyous, happy life. When you feel bad inside and take action anyway, you’re pretty much guaranteeing that something will go wrong. It might not be with that particular project—because we can often force results with sheer will power—but there will be repercussions in your life to match the energy of all that fear. Perhaps you’ll have a car accident on the way home from the meeting that engendered all that nervousness. Or catch the flu that’s going around and be violently ill for several weeks.
There’s a difference between wanting something very much with the understanding you’ll need to step out of what feels comfortable in order to attract it to you, and being terrified or uneasy because you really don’t want this at all. It’s a false goal. One that others imposed on you and you accepted the burden.
Take a look at your life and see where you are using force to get things, force to make yourself go to a job that does not utilize your gifts, force to keep going through the motions in a dull relationship.
And then, make a new choice. Love and fear are opposites. Go for the love. It’s a great choice, every time.
In keeping with this lesson, Abraham-Hicks reminds us, “There are those that say, if you do the uncomfortable thing long enough, it will become comfortable. But we are really not encouragers of that. We are encouragers of coming into alignment, and then taking the action. We are encouragers always of getting rid of the fear; we would never want you to keep doing things that you feel fearful about. And maybe the path of least resistance is just not get on the horse. Maybe the path of least resistance is to get on a different horse—but we would never move forward in fear.”
If anyone has the justification to feel hopeless, we might imagine it would be the spiritual leader of Tibet who was run out of his own country nearly sixty years ago and has been in exile in northern India ever since.
However, the Dalai Lama is the embodiment of compassionate understanding of the ways of the world, and his thoughtfulness is reflected in every message, speech and teaching he offers us. What can we learn from his words? To look at each situation not from the perspective of finding the pain in it, but to find the seeds of growth and optimism.
It is always our own choice how we view every incident in our lives, both private and public. We can take the position of fearing that the world is falling apart and there is no hope for future generations, or we can realize that we are always in a time of growth and evolution and change. When we look to ways to evolve in an upward direction, we make world peace an eventuality instead of simply a wistful wish.
Please enjoy the following excerpt from The Washington Post, Opinions, dated June 13, 2016.
Why I’m Hopeful About the World’s Future
by The Dalai Lama
“While it would be easy to feel a sense of hopelessness and despair, it is all the more necessary in the early years of the 21st century to be realistic and optimistic.
“There are many reasons for us to be hopeful. Recognition of universal human rights, including the right to self-determination, has expanded beyond anything imagined a century ago. There is growing international consensus in support of gender equality and respect for women. Particularly among the younger generation, there is a widespread rejection of war as a means of solving problems. Across the world, many are doing valuable work to prevent terrorism, recognizing the depths of misunderstanding and the divisive idea of “us” and “them” that is so dangerous. Significant reductions in the world’s arsenal of nuclear weapons mean that setting a timetable for further reductions and ultimately the elimination of nuclear weapons — a sentiment President Obama recently reiterated in Hiroshima, Japan — no longer seem a mere dream.”
The following excerpt is from the book Seth Speaks by Jane Roberts.
“Your rate of learning depends entirely upon you, however. Limited, dogmatic, or rigid concepts of good and evil can hold you back. Too narrow ideas of the nature of existence can follow you through several lives if you do not choose to be spiritually and psychically flexible.
“These rigid ideas can indeed act as leashes, so that you are forced to circle like a tied puppy dog about a very small radius. In such cases, through perhaps a group of existences, you will find yourself battling against ideas of good and evil, running about in a circle of confusion, doubt, and anxiety.
“Your friends and acquaintances will be concerned with the same problems, for you will draw to yourself those with the same concerns. I am telling you again, therefore, that many of your ideas of good and evil are highly distortive, and shadow all understanding you have of the nature of reality.
“If you form a guilt in your mind, then it is a reality for you, and you must work it out. But many of you form guilts for which there is no adequate cause, and you saddle yourselves with these guilts without reason. In your dimension of activity there appear to be a wild assortment of evils. Let me tell you that he who hates an evil merely creates another one.
“From within your point of reference it is often difficult for you to perceive that all events work toward creativity, or to trust in the spontaneous creativity of your own natures.”
We get confused between compassion for someone we like who is easy to get along with and loving, and a higher level of compassion that invites us to remain compassionate for all people, no matter how they behave. Often, the love and compassion we feel for our family members and spouse get tested when challenges arise, and we realize a lot of the things we believed about the other people were just part of a façade. Here is how the Dalai Lama explains compassion:
“True compassion is not just an emotional response but a firm commitment founded on reason. Therefore, a truly compassionate attitude towards others does not change even if they behave negatively.”
With our cultural emphasis on instant gratification, if the people around us don’t act the way we think they should, the relationship usually falters or the marriage ends in the divorce courts. However, here is another way to look at compassion, from the perspective of learning our lessons in the real world. The Dalai Lama says, “I must emphasize again that merely thinking that compassion and reason and patience are good will not be enough to develop them. We must wait for difficulties to arise and then attempt to practice them. And who creates such opportunities? Not our friends, of course, but our enemies. They are the ones who give us the most trouble, so if we truly wish to learn, we should consider enemies to be our best teacher!”
Is there some person or situation in your life right now that is an opportunity for learning? It doesn’t mean we are supposed to stay in an abusive or unpleasant or detrimental relationship purely for the reason of practicing our principles of love and compassion in a difficult situation, but rather to use the situation for growth. I think it feels natural to want to shut the door on a bad relationship or experience, but take time to extract the lessons it came to teach you, and with this practice, you’ll find an easier way to detach from the pain and upset feelings.
For many of us, we grew up being told that faith means believing in the unseen, and it was used as a way to explain why we should accept certain religious dogma and teachings without the proof that we were logically requesting. For many people, faith still is synonymous with their chosen religion. And for that reason, people of a more secular mindset will find themselves ignoring or pushing away lessons that include the words “have faith,” in the assumption the lesson is a religious teaching of some kind.
Faith is belief in the power of the universe, God, Source, Universal Mind, One Mind—we have many names we use for the unexplainable force of creation. Of course there are many millions of people who doggedly believe that “God” is an old man with a long white beard sitting on a throne off in the blue yonder, ready to punish the wrongdoers and reward the faithful. That conception was based on the image of Zeus when early Christians were seeking ways to convert “pagans” away from their beliefs in multiple gods and into a belief of their own three-in-one godhead.
When you have faith in manifestations, it means that you understand the mental process of creation: first form an image—that is always based on a desire for expansion, for joy, for more beauty—then have full faith in the process that says believe it is yours, expect it to come, and it will be yours.
We tend to falter in the “faith” segment of the creation process because of the challenge of believing in the unseen and understanding unseen doesn’t mean it’s not on the way, and that is how we end up with so many undesirable results in life. But with practice, we can and do get better and better at manifesting happy and healthy lives.
One of the core principles of using the law of attraction to our advantage instead of unconsciously magnetizing results that we don’t really like or want, is to understand the power of focusing our thoughts so that we appreciate what we want to experience even before we get it.
When we enter into a practice of being appreciative of all that we already have, we set up an internal vibration that brings us into harmony with a higher quality of circumstances. We thus draw those conditions and circumstances and relationships into our life, simply by being grateful. And then, to take the practice even further, if we start being grateful in advance for all that we desire, being thankful we have already received it, the law of attraction will match our energy with what we want to get.
Here’s an excerpt from my book GET HAPPY TODAY: No More Excuses! that explains more about building up an attitude of gratitude.
Chapter 5 – Action Steps: Cultivate gratitude
- Don’t expect yourself to be a magical mystical being who doesn’t have fear and who dances through life with a song on your lips every moment of every day. That’s not what being “happy no matter what” means. Happiness is an intention to accept the ups and downs with good humor.
- Be grateful for every chance to love someone who is, at this point in time, acting in an unlovable way. Isn’t that what love is all about?
- There’s no mystery to how I went quickly from panic to acceptance in the dentist chair. But there is indeed a secret that I will share with you, and here it is: I used gratitude as my path.
- Make gratitude a habit in your daily life. It works.
- From now on, in everything you do, even the mundane tasks, find ways to say to yourself, “I am grateful for this situation because…” Try it. With practice, it leads you to feel more empowered about your life. As well as happier.
I started writing books and blogging on the topic of stress relief and the law of attraction some years back, and I know that both topics are still very applicable to all our lives. It’s far too easy to feel stressed-out and overwhelmed with all the demands on our time.
I hope you enjoy the following excerpt from Chapter 8 “Chill, Baby – Learn to Relax, No Matter How Crazy Everybody Else Is” in my book “Forget Your Troubles: Enjoy Your Life Today.”
Your “Simply Being” Meditation
Meditation is a way to quiet your frantic mind and find peace for a few moments. It’s an excellent way to keep your heart healthy and your stress level manageable.
This is a simple meditation that even a young child can learn.
–Turn off the TV, loud music and computer games.
–Lie down in a restful place with minimal distractions.
–Relax your muscles, close your eyes, visualize yourself as floating on a raft in a gentle stream.
–Take deep, slow breaths.
–Imagine fluffy clouds overhead. A soft summer breeze embraces you.
–Enjoy the beauty of being part of this world. Rest for a few moments, quietly and calmly.
–Silently tell yourself: “I am here.”
If you are new to meditation, a few minutes might seem like a long time. With practice, you will look forward to ten or fifteen minutes of “Simply Being.”
There’s a reason you are called a “human being” and not a “human doing.”
Take time for the human “being” portion of you. It drives all the rest.
Your days will be more fulfilling when you take time to relax. Feed your body and spirit with a dose of contentment time.