I am sitting down awhile to get my bearings. So much to take in! So much fear, anger, and stress arising from the many places of chaos on Mother Earth. I wrote about global grief in my book “The Gifts of Grief: Finding Light in the Darkness of Loss,” It is a phenomenon that grows larger, and closer, every day. Though the horrors of war and terrorism throughout the world raise our stress levels to unheard of heights, the tragedies of Texas are closer to home and we are inundated with the losses around the clock—many have friends and family living there. But there is also a fear level that tells us something else is going on here. We are told it is an “eight-hundred-year event” or a catastrophic development that is not going to go away in today’s climate. We live in a constant barrage of statistics that create fear.

(IMAGE: David Gonzalez comforts his wife Kathy after being rescued from their home flooded in Orange, Texas. Reuters/Jonathan Bachman)

As I promised last week in my article on health, my desire is to help you learn to use the most abundant and least costly healing available to you—starting with your breath. Whether you are an active participant or watching on television; whether you piloted a boat in Houston or sent a donation, you were pulled into the stories of people fleeing for their lives. These people looked just like your family. They could have been you.

Another source of grief is the absence of empathy in some of our leaders. Ego is in the number one place. The attempt to remove health insurance from the poorest and sickest among us was only the beginning. Now Texans are being told to apply for disaster assistance before the end of this week as new, more restrictive laws go into effect on the 1st of September. These are victims without phones, clothes, paperwork and shelter being told to hurry up before it’s too late. The cold-hearted are full of logical arguments about why disasters like this are not the responsibility of government. You can tell by their tone that they have not yet experienced the grief that others are experiencing. They are devoid of empathy.

The writings of Therese Tappouni… “One Woman’s Window” Series

As I write that part, my heart rate rises and a pulse of anger enters me. It’s time to stop and follow my own advice. My high blood pressure assists no one. I visualize the armies of good people who have helped those in need. I breathe their goodness into my body. I would hope that the others who have closed their hearts to the results of their action or non-action—especially our elected leaders—would heed the following words from psychoanalyst Eric Fromm:

To spare oneself from grief at all cost can be achieved only at the price of total detachment, which excludes the ability to experience happiness.

In order to feel joy, we must be open to empathy and sorrow. This is Truth. Last week I shared the following information about how your breath breathes your body and can aid in healing the body and healing grief. I’ll repeat these steps here, along with an addition from Lance Ware’s Somatic Intuitive Training™ program (S.I.T.). Instead of going through the steps every time, once you store them using S.I.T.™ you can simply activate the places in your body where the feeling of relaxation is stored. This process involves training, and this is a small piece that works with the breathing exercise I shared with you.

  • Somatic—referring to the body’s memory.
  • Intuitive—finding and trusting inner resources such as wisdom, guidance and inspiration.
  • Training—learning to replace traumatic memories.

Harnessing your Breath

  1. Focus on your breathing. Is it deep or shallow? Rapid or slow?
  2. As you become aware, find your breath in your chest and visualize it around your heart. Choose a color—green is always good.
  3. Deepen the breath, breathing in, exhaling out, and being aware of both actions.
  4. Ask yourself if your body is relaxing as you breathe deeper.

Add S.I.T. Steps

  1. As you relax into your breathing, feel where the relaxation is in your body. Allow the feeling of relaxation to spread into your whole body.
  2. Now think of a time when you were feeling fully relaxed or peaceful. Visualize that time in every way you can. Imagine yourself in that place, revisiting the beauty, the peace, the gratitude of that time. Remember the smells, tastes, feelings and emotions of that time. Breathe it into your body, feeling it bathe you from head to toe.
  3. When you feel comfortable with that sense of relaxation, put together your thumb and forefinger on each hand, gently, feeling the little pulse of energy between the finger pads.
  4. Imagine the feelings of peace and calm flowing through your body, into your arms, down your arms into your hands and into those fingers. As you do, count backward from10 to 1, slowly, storing those feelings in your fingers where they touch.
  5. When you finish, release the fingers, and slowly come back to the room. Walk around or think about your dinner or an activity you have planned.
  6. Come back to your chair, sit down slowly and close your eyes. Breathe deeply and bring those fingers—thumb and forefinger on each hand—back together and feel whatever emotions rise up in your body as you activate that feeling.
  7. Practice this every day several times. Name the finger position “calm” and whenever you want to be calm in a situation, bring them together and breathe in calm. The action will become stronger with use. Now you have a fingertip method of relaxing your body and mind instantly.

If you sense a connection here, it is the truth of your body’s intelligence. You alone, no tricks or expensive gizmos, can control your reaction to specific events. There is much more to be learned from these processes, but I hope you will begin here and move your life “from stressing to blessing.” If you make one small change in your emotional life, you can live a more relaxed and, possibly, a longer time on this beautiful planet. Until next week, I pray for peace for each person on who is suffering, and for the planet herself.

For Further Insight:
The writings of Therese Tappouni… “One Woman’s Window” Series

(This, and many other exercises and meditations, can be found in the store as the Gifts of Grief  MP3 at www.theresetappouni.com.) If you don’t have it, put on some quiet music, or just stay in silence.

“The Gifts of Grief: Finding Light in the Darkness of Loss”

Therèse Tappouni is the author of six published books—four of which have received major awards—and creator of two meditation/visualization CDs. Her latest book is The Gifts of Grief: Finding Light in the Darkness of Loss. Therèse is the founder of the company Whole Heart, dedicated to helping people live a balanced, loving and creative life. She teaches workshops for women in mid-life, grief workshops, women’s history classes, resilience workshops and one-on-one coaching created from her certification as a HeartMath® Trainer. She has also trained in many other modalities, including Somatic Intuitive Training™ and Time Dimension Therapy™