blogging a – z april challenge – p

p – pain

Did you know counseling is not to fix pain? Or solve problems? Or give advice? It is to help people build their capacity to carry their pain, live with their circumstances, and learn skills to work toward solving their problems. We are to be great collaborators and not so great advice-givers.

Sometimes I want a pill to take away my pain.

I guess I’m not alone because look around at the numbing with substances (drugs, alcohol, food), devices (screens), and other things (shopping, perfectionism). Because numbing does not work and causes additional problems, I guess that leaves me with facing this intolerable pain. And developing skills for coping with it.

I’d still rather there be a grief or discomfort pill…

But since there’s not, I’ll…

See my counselor

Be a counselor

Go to a group

Lead a group activity




Participate in Blogging A – Z April Challenge

Plan a trip

Take a road trip with girlfriends

Go on a hike


Get out my mat and do a Yoga with Adriene

Engage in numbing behavior like Facebook


One of my favorite movie scenes:


capture your grief, day 18: the grief shift


A picture I took on a recent afternoon “with Kade.” 

I recently had an opportunity to meet one of my favorite grief mentors for the second time at a book signing (the first was when I attended her retreat for traumatic bereavement). Joanne Cacciatore is the founder of the MISS Foundation and Center for Loss and Trauma, an academic researcher, professor, clinician, and bereaved mom. She’s an articulate and fierce advocate for the traumatically bereaved…and of peace.

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Louise, Patty, Dr. Jo, me, and Terri

Today’s quote CarlyMarie shared by Rumi, “Grief can be the garden of compassion. If you keep your heart open through everything, your pain can become your greatest ally in your life’s search for love and wisdom” immediately reminded me of my biggest takeaway from Dr. Jo’s book-signing:

The people who have felt pain are the peacemakers.

She explained: Here we are. So what do we do with that pain?

She illustrated the martial art of Aikido. It’s where you accept the energy of the punch, and redirect it.

My experience of grief has been one of mostly learning. Through the learning, I am feeling pulled to inhabit it more. Make no mistake, there have been times of full immersion, especially in the beginning (I felt a pang of anxiety just thinking of “the beginning”). Now…now that it has been five years, and I have been physically and emotionally able to attend to graduate school (and its demand of self-reflection), my focus has been being a highly engaged student. A very busy student. Though I will finish the last year of my program no doubt still busy, I am sensing a shift from these outward demands to inward ones. From school, clinical placements, and the field of counseling…to Kade. To my undying relationship with my first born. To my relationship with myself. To my relationship with this thing called grief. And to my relationship with my broader purpose.

CarlyMarie’s instructions for Capture Your Grief, Day 18, The Grief Shift: I have always loved this quote by Rumi – “Grief can be the garden of compassion. If you keep your heart open through everything, your pain can become your greatest ally in your life’s search for love and wisdom.”. What has your experience with grief been like? Do you think of your pain as an enemy or have you made friends with it? Do you believe you can transform the way you feel about it? Where are you currently in your grief journey? Have you had any enlightening moments that you would like to share with others?