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  • stallings2013terri

Landing On Your Feet

Recently, a very dear friend made an observation about me that keeps coming to mind during my quiet times. I have not been able to shake it. She told me that she has noticed when life comes crashing down on me, I always seem to "land on my feet." Now that has never been a conscious thought I have EVER had about my own life. And, my response to that was "Only by the Grace of God." However, something occurred to me this morning that I would like to share. The reason I could not shake her comment is because I failed to embraced the value of my experience of grief and how it has become my purpose. The pain and loss of my life's story has become part of the bigger picture of why I occupy space in this world. I had not connected the dots between turning my pain into purpose as being the reason I always seem to "land on my feet," as she put it. I realized that, in general, if we allow the painful parts of our life's story to motivate us to contribute to the well-being of others, we can find redeeming value in the pain and have the ability to "land on our feet." But to achieve success, we must be willing to share our pain in order to serve that larger purpose. People relate to those with similar life stories. Stepping out of the comfort zone of "private" is vital to utilizing the experience of loss for the ultimate good.

For those that know me, they know I am a private person. It is difficult sharing what I perceive to be private. Who cares about my experiences? However, I realized this morning that I have added no value to my life story by keeping it private. I do what I do because I believe that as humans, we should be available to walk with those going through difficult times. I want to be one of those people who help the hurting. I want to add value to those hurting by using my experience to help them find their way in the dark. But, I haven't been willing to share. My friend's comment made me realize that my opportunities and value lie in relating to others experiencing pain...knowing their pain, and being willing to be transparent in sharing how I relate...and why. Truly being able to empathize and offer genuine compassion makes a greater impact for those hurting and hopeless. So, in this post, I would like to share a bit about why I do what I do, and why I care so much about hurting people who have experienced loss. I want to share how and why I can relate to emotional pain at a it's core. So here goes...

At the age of 45, my 47 year old husband of 26 years died in my arms, very unexpectedly. My world came crashing down with the stop of his heartbeat. I was suddenly plunged into the darkest dark I could have ever imagined possible. For the following 3 years plus, I suffered tremendously. My husband and I had a great life together with our amazing son. We were happy and living life to the fullest. So when he died, I didn't know how to move forward beyond grief. I allowed it to consume me. I was miserable, hopeless, and had no vision for what I wanted my life to be without him. I went to one counselor after another. Of course, they were concerned and sought to help me with sorting through my thoughts and emotions. However, the only thought I was capable of producing at the time was, "I am miserable." The only emotion I felt was total and complete sadness. Sadness ruled my world and drove every decision I made. I did not want to be around people. I didn't want to talk about how I was feeling. I was completely overwhelmed, and I certainly did not want to spend mental energy thinking about how to survive the future without him. I just wanted someone to tell me how to start a life alone. I was too paralyzed by grief to even begin to know what to do next. I knew I had to find my way out of the pit of the darkness of grief. I would not survive if I didn't. I had a son. I had to survive for him. But before I could think about how to move forward, I had to capture a vision for my future. I had to overcome fear and find faith and courage. I had neither!

It was a long process which required I push through the fear of being alone and make major changes in my life, both geographically and professionally. I moved across country, returned to university and began the journey of re-education into a new career which was birthed out of the experience of loss and the desire to fine purpose in it. This motivated me to move beyond my fear. I was able to regain faith which eventually fueled courage...all of which propelled me into a new life. I have documented this process, and have labored to fashion it into a program I believe has helped many grieving women who have sought my assistance. I have worked with many women who have suffered loss in varying forms. Some have experienced loss as a result of death. Others grieved due to divorce, loss of relationships, unrealized dreams, loss of careers and financial status. All of these grief events, while experienced for different reasons, result in pain. If left unattended, pain becomes hopelessness. And courage is then unimaginable. I am familiar with the process!

Grief Recovery Support Service was birthed out of my experiences of grief. Landing on my feet was "Only by the Grace of God" and a desire to make something good out of something tragic. The Grief Recovery Coaching and Life Coaching programs I have developed work. They are difficult processes. These programs start where fear begins, and faith and courage are weak, if existent at all. But motivation is fueled by seeing something good come out of something unimaginably difficult. And the satisfaction and redeeming value of feeling your feet land under you is worth the challenge of moving through fear into faith and courage. The even greater reward is being given the honor of walking with someone who is hurting through their pain, and assuring them that you have experienced and survived the darkness in which they are walking.

My challenge, and encouragement, to those reading...find someone to walk with you through your grief if you are currently experiencing the dark journey. And if you are one who is reading this post and has "landed on your feet," be willing to share your experience. Allow your pain to be used for something good. Help someone who is hurting with the empathy and compassion which comes from knowing, first hand, what grief, fear, and hopelessness are. Set your mind on turning your pain into something of value. In some makes it easier to share...even if ever so slightly! Landing On Your Feet... It is definitely the better way.

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