Thinking Out Loud: Feelings

John T. Catrett III
ONHL Hospice Chaplain

Would you like to be living on the corner of self-willed desires or would you like to stake your claim on a happy, peaceful life? A popular song from the '90s has the lines: "Some days you're the bug, some days you're the windshield." This is certainly a true sentiment that applies to people and their personal happiness and peace of mind. Some days we are enjoying the ride and then there are days we seem to be fighting the wind all day. Some days we are getting hit no matter which way we go, and other days we can see for miles with a strong tailwind helping us along. It will always be up and down, but how we feel inside about these events is a choice. Wouldn’t you say this true for you in your life?

What's Your Goal! Your personal goal should be to overcome grief to ensure that you experience a fuller, happier life. Let others be the bug that gets squashed by continuing to grieve, feel sorrow and misery. Health conditions and changes in your individual circumstances may require you to treat your new lifestyle as a retirement plan. This does not mean your thoughts are all about money. Spend time asking what you want to do - what you will do - how you will do it. Along your grief journey your plan will change and require necessary, yet constant, adjustments. It will be crucial for you to review and modify your plan as you experience change and healing.

Healing! The cause for your grief and its severity is uniquely yours. This exclusivity provides a wonderful way to personalize your healing. You can do this by taking the opportunity to exercise your preservative care, to choose what strategies will be most compatible to your individual healing. There are vital strategic tips to cope with and heal grief for you to consider. Remember… "Tears have wisdom all their own. They come when a person has relaxed enough to let go and to work through his sorrow. They are the natural bleeding of an emotional wound, carrying the poison out of the system. Here lies the road to recovery." ~ F. Alexander Magoun

You need to be aware of what strategies work best for you. What works best for someone else may not be best for you. The wonderful thing about your personal choice in preservative care is that you can declare your intentions to move to a happier place in your life. Then you can choose those strategies to aid you in implementing that on your path of recovery.

A Short Pause to Evaluate! Take a short recess and reboot. Take a breath of new air. Breathe deeply, pause and then fully exhale. Daily meditation is good for you, good for your health and your spirit. Close your eyes and focus on your breathing for 10 minutes 5 times a week or 5 minutes 10 times a week… whichever works for you. Even a few brief moments of meditation bring a calm clarity with acute peace to your whole being. In a time of trauma, you may be overcome with stress or anxiety and could easily act out in that moment of tension. Any time you feel yourself in any situation that is uncomfortable – and we all will feel these at times – we must step back, concentrate on the depth of our breath and exhale that pressure before we step forward to address those issues at hand. One may meditate or ponder as one of many helpful steps for you to consider in relaxation.

You can ponder as you listen to beautiful, peaceful music. Jogging or exercising, walking your dog, going regularly to your chosen quiet undisturbed place, are all kindnesses to yourself you might consider. Enjoy nature as you peacefully sit back or view a beautiful sunset or sunrise. Puttering in your flower garden is also a way to meditate. Prayers to God and silent pondering are vital to many. Finding your way to reboot your hope is essential to your happiness.

Always Remember! Don't let yourself be the bug that grieves and gets squashed by the windshield fighting the wind forever. Your grief retirement plan will require frequent adjustments as your circumstances change and you continue to heal. You can do this by taking the opportunity to exercise your personal preservative by choosing strategies that will be most compatible to your individual healing. Declare your intentions to move to a happier place in your life. As you declare, implement and move beyond grief you will again declare your next strategy and implement your next personal adjustment along your path of recovery.

John T. Catrett III is chaplain for ONHL Hospice. He can be reached at (918) 352-3080 or