What Grief Taught Me About the Importance of Perception

“No one ever told me that grief felt so like fear.”   ― C.S. Lewis, A Grief Observed

Shortly after I found out I was expecting my first child and just two weeks after I told him that he was going to be a Granddad, my dad died unexpectedly.  Although in hindsight there were several signs, I truly had no idea that was going to happen. I was the one who found him so I’m quite sure that added to the trauma. My dad and I were incredibly close and although it has been 15 years since I lost him, I can still see his bright smile in my mind’s eye, and I feel him with me. Having said all that it would seem that I’m probably doing well with the grief process… and maybe I am.

I think there’s a much bigger lesson here, though.

I’m finding that whenever a big change is coming where the future is unknown I get really anxious. Like I mean, super anxious. As in, I need medicine type of anxious. I have super high energy and then all of a sudden I’ll have the beginnings of a panic attack.

A couple of years ago my husband and I started to go through divorce proceedings and the way that started was completely unexpected as well. And it brought about unbelievable change most of which was very difficult at first. I’m coming to realize that when I’m on the precipice of something new, some change, especially where the greater part is unknown, the cells in my body seem to think something bad is going to happen because that’s what they’re used to.

“ … [T]he power of the new biology: we can control our lives by controlling our perceptions” (emphasis added). – Dr. Bruce Lipton

Now that I know what’s going on when I seem to be facing the unknown in my life, and that I can alter what I’m experiencing by altering my perceptions, I can do something productive about it instead of allowing myself to dissolve into panic attacks.

1. Recognize the flow of energy that begins to go through me I sense something big is going to occur in my life.

2. Channel that energy into productive action toward whatever that changed or goal is.

3. Exercise, dance or laugh … or play a game with my children. Anything that will use the energy productively.

4. Most importantly —  every single day, remind myself that change is good and that change is going to bring more positive, wonderful, abundant things into my life.

“Once you shift your thoughts for the better, your world begins to shift with them.”

Marcey Shapiro, Freedom From Anxiety: A Holistic Approach to Emotional Well-Being

A belief is just a habit of thought. And a habit is just something you keep doing. I can change my beliefs by continuing to force myself to think about change in a positive way, and by reminding myself of all the unexpected wonderful things that have happened in my life. 

dad and me

Miss you, Dad.  xoxo

Love and light,


When have you learned from grief?  How do you live differently now?  Share a comment below!

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