Mindfulness is a practice individuals and groups can do on a day-to-day basis. It can enable people to change the way they think and feel about their experiences, especially stressful experiences. As a mind-body approach, it can increase one’s ability to manage difficult situations and make wise choices.
A growing body of evidence has found that when people intentionally practice being mindful they feel less stressed, anxious and depressed. Research also shows positive effects on several aspects of whole-person health, including the mind, the brain, the body, and behavior, as well as a person’s relationships with others.
At a gathering of mutual acquaintances, I found myself in conversation with a quiet, unassuming man. I couldn’t help but notice he seemed sad and depressed. To protect his privacy, I’ll refer to this gentleman as Daniel. As we conversed, he shared that he recently lost his wife in an accident and was having troubling accepting her passing. As our conversation deepened, I shared a bit about the nature of my professional work and offered to share a few resources and a book he might read. As I explained more about the work I do, he asked if he could make some appointments with me.
Daniel recognized he was only going through the motions of making it though the day without being truly engaged in a meaningful way. My challenge was to help Daniel accept his grief and find the courage to rebuild his life and and once again find joy.
THE INTERVENTION: FINDING JOY AFTER PROFOUND LOSS
Throughout our sessions, I assisted Daniel in learning to sit with his feelings of grief and loss. This nourished his ability to be at peace with himself, whatever emotion showed up.
One of the things Daniel came to appreciate was that it’s okay for a man to cry. While this didn’t come easily, it allowed him to begin the process of letting go of the grief he’d kept locked inside. As he started to feel more comfortable expressing his feelings, the more he talked the more he shared. Once the floodgates were open, healing began.
For over two decades, Daniel had imagined a future that included growing old with is wife. As painful as it was, through our work, he began to find the courage to reimagine life differently in the months and years ahead.
What Daniel really desired was to be heard, understood and appreciated. By personally modeling mindfulness and nonjudgmental acceptance of who he was and how he felt, Daniel was able to move beyond his grief and suffering. Slowly but surely, he began to feel more alive, finding joy and connection with his family and friends.
When Daniel first came to me he was very sad and depressed, feeling hopeless and alone. What I realized more than anything, this kind and gentle man needed a compassionate, listening ear with whom he could share his deep feelings of sorrow and loss. Daniel’s developing practices of mindful awareness, supported to his ability to move beyond his grief and remain open to life’s beauty. It brought me tremendous personal and professional joy to recently watch Daniel give his daughter away on her wedding day. The sad, hopeless man I met several years ago was completely transformed into a proud, loving and joyful father of the bride.
“The purpose of this testimony is to relay in a brief way the incredible professional, brilliant, and loving support I received from Lorrie Jones during my time of need. Following the loss of my beloved wife of 26 years, I recognized my need to talk with a professional to help me sort out my feelings, emotions, and intellectual conflict I was having with this tremendous loss. I approached Lorrie for help and after our first meeting I knew she was the one for me! The result was a tapestry of puzzle pieces falling into place in a beautiful picture of loss, love, grieving, and building a positive approach to life without my life partner. The best part of being with Lorrie was her ability to listen without judgment, validate my feelings, recognize my struggle and recommend gentle steps toward an inner peace I had not known for a long time. To summarize my time with Lorrie, it would be the development of happiness, and joy amongst the trials of this life. She helped me to reconnect with my ability to make choices in my life and this helped me in my entire approach to the challenges I face each and every day. This is a life skill that I had buried into the back of my mind and when it resurfaced through Lorrie’s expert skills I felt a renewed hope, courage, and confidence to face each new day. In closing, I would highly recommend Lorrie to anyone who needs a professional who offers “simple serenity” and would like to achieve peace in this challenging world. Just like I turn to my medical professional for health concerns, I was so blessed to have able to turn to another professional, Lorrie Jones for my emotional quality of life. For this I will be eternally grateful.”