This weekly column seeks to help educate our community about emotional healing through grief. People may write questions to Golden Willow Retreat and they will be answered privately to you and possibly as a future article for others. Please list a first name that grants permission for printing.
Dear Dr. Ted:
I woke up this morning and a new year had arrived. The big 2021 with everybody so grateful that 2020 was completed, and yet I turn on the TV and the news is still showing how bad the world is and how mean everybody can be to one another. If this is a new year what are we supposed to do with it and where do we start to recover from all the havoc of this last year?
You are so correct. A new year does not mean that there has been a magic wand that means everything is okay, and all the difficult aspects of life have been lifted and only serenity and peace is now present. It sure would be nice! Change, healing and recovery from trauma and loss takes time and is an incremental process of slowly scaffolding out of the old, while building a new definition and foundation of where you stand today, in this present moment. From this foundation, there is the opportunity to build and strive for a better future. Benchmarks such as a new year or other significant moments in time open an opportunity to look back and evaluate what has worked and what has not worked.
When in this reflective state, you can recognize and bring the strengths and victories forward while evaluating how to improve areas within your life that are challenging and difficult. It is also a time to assess from a micro (internal and personal) point of view as well as from a macro (external and worldly) point of view. Finding the victories, within both the micro and the macro, may be the motivational factor to have passion after loss and trauma.
Politics, bad behavior, financial pressures, systemic social injustices and COVID-19 have caused an enormous shadow over most people and are real. In the midst of these issues there have been magical moments of heroism, working together and collaborations which allow healing, science being pushed to its limits, but having breakthroughs, injustices and bad behavior being called out, rather than being ignored, families finding new ways to connect, outdated social behaviors challenged and changed, amazing stories of survivorship and resiliency rising to the top, and love and kindness being remembered and displayed. This does not take away from the trauma, fatigue, loss, mistrust and separation that has been magnified to an excruciating level, and yet, it does bring in some fragments of strongholds to build a new world consciously.
On the micro level, this reflective time can be focused on what you can do to change behaviors, situations and experiences that you faced and have the power to start changing from the micro, which can ripple into the macro. Getting vaccinated, wearing a mask, being gentle, being mindful and other ways that allow more safety for you and your family, and help bridge differences and establish new levels of safety can be the stepping stones of a better future. Most importantly, I'm hoping we can remember to be gentle, kind and loving to one another and build a place to celebrate humanity and community, one step at a time.
I wish you well. Until next week, take care.
Golden Willow Retreat is a nonprofit organization focused on emotional healing and recovery from any type of loss. Direct any questions to Dr. Ted Wiard, EdD, LPCC, CGC, Founder of Golden Willow Retreat GWR@newmex.com