It struck me out of nowhere. I wasn't ready for its power. Here I was jogging on a suburb sidewalk, no more ordinary than the houses next to it. As my feet took turns hitting the pavement it started to lightly sprinkle. Then it started to rain. And out of nowhere, with no reason, no thought in my head, unconditional love and beauty washed over me. It was so powerful that it even seemed the birds above paused with me as I stopped dead in my tracks and started to cry.
These were not tears of sorrow or grief. They were an unfamiliar friend, not the normal visitor of tears that has frequented my eyes over the last six months with waves of suffering. No, these tears were tears of ecstasy. I can't explain it, but I will try. It is as if in that random moment on the ordinary sidewalk in the ordinary suburban neighborhood, on an ordinary Midwest summer day, that beauty became me. And for a brief second I understood the weight of the world, with all it's lightness of love we often overlook. It's as if heaven was inside me.The feeling of it was so powerful and so unexpected, that I could only hold onto it for a moment. It's as soon as I acknowledged that it was there, that ruined the magic and it left. I hope it was a glimpse of enlightenment because I could die happy knowing that the feeling of that moment will one day become me. Maybe the feeling could have stayed, the enormity of its beauty was too powerful for my small mind to stay in. I think it is my soul that had the courage to go visit this divine place.
I believe this all happened because of my conscious choice as of late to CHOOSE BEAUTY! Choosing Beauty is a philosophy I have been learning about from Liv Lane's online e-course The Art of Choosing Beauty. Each day I get an e-mail reminding me that looking for beauty can help open up parts of us that might be closed off from life by depression, anxiety, trauma, grief and loss, and basically anything that causes suffering of the soul.
She reminds us that there is power in not just seeing the positive or finding what we are grateful for (because that can be hard to do when life hands you a bunch of lemons) but, seeing the beauty in the folds of the lemon, or the ordinary beauty of your doggy's smile or nature's flower, reminds us that even during suffering, beauty is blooming. And if we rewire our brain to notice it, to revel in it, to take it in, even for a second, then by golly, you have moments of everyday miracles that open you up to unconditional love, like I had on my jog the other day.
I'm not going to give away Liv's little beauty secrets as they are hers to share (and there are plenty more little miracle makers she has up her sleeve). If you are interested you can sign up for her next Choosing Beauty course.
But, I think even on your own you can see how noticing the beauty in the world around us, no matter how small, helps soften our grief. That's what my moments of Joy While Grieving are all about if you follow me on Instagram. Just taking time to find a small amount of joy will remind us of the abundance of love surrounding us even during our deepest sorrows. I even like to imagine these moments of joy are sent to me by Nora, trying to connect with me and remind me of all the love that is still there for me to dance in.
Finally, if you don't believe me then let's look at research. Research shows that when we force our brain to look at positive things such as beauty and moments of joy, we are working to rewire our brain away from the negative pathways that we have relied on or automatically go to. Resulting in us creating new neropathways in effort to notice joy, and then hopefully, see it more often. Ultimately, changing how we feel about ourselves and the life around us.
Okay, Let's be real, this philosophy won't erase the pain of losing our children or serve as a silver lining. (I don't believe there is one to the death of a child.) But, it might help you get through another day of grief, but this time with a moment of beauty and joy to comfort you. If only for a moment.
Find a moment of joy or a thing of beauty that you believe is a gift from your deceased child. Take a picture, write about it, and then thank your child for the precious moment.
This was one of Nora's gifts to me.
A mama bird living in the birdhouse
I made in remembrance of her.
Liv Lane's The Art of Choosing Beauty E-Course
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And add your moment of Joy while Grieving with the hashtag - #JoyGrief. Make sure to check out my moments of Joy in Grief below: