2019 - Oct - CDT - Active Life - Healing with Love
Healing with Love
I recently had a conversation with a friend about the draw of the woods. I explained that I feel them call to me, and when I enter I take a few deep breaths, taking in the fresh air and letting go of worries. All is well.
For our daughter, it is the ocean. She is a child of the sea and feels a draw to visit it on a regular basis.
Nature is such a powerful force. We see that in the catastrophes it can cause and the healing it can create. It has many lessons to share with us.
One lesson is our ultimate lack of control. I learned this firsthand when whitewater rafting on the Arkansas River. My husband, John, and I were on a guided tour with three of our friends, Liz, Keith, and Patty. We were having a great time navigating the rapids when our guide cautioned that we were about to enter “Widow Maker Falls.” Excited for the bumpy ride, we heeded our guide’s commands and paddled hard. The next thing I knew, I was underwater. Our raft hit a large rock, buckled and threw me and Liz overboard. Liz’s head was above water and she started yelling for help. John heard her, went to that side of the raft and lifted her back in. What John didn’t know was I was in the water too. I was behind him out of his eyesight and caught under a rip current. No matter what I tried, I could not get my head above water. Patty was holding my arm to keep me next to the raft and the water was holding me down. I vividly remember thinking, there is nothing I can do; this is the power of nature. Thankfully, after rescuing Liz, John became aware of where I was. As I looked up at him through the water, our eyes met and in one fluid movement, he pulled me into the raft. With gratitude that we were all safe, I understood in a new way that some things are way beyond my control. This knowledge has helped me journey through my own loss and grief and that of others. When you realize you can’t control a loss, you often become more open to it. It doesn’t make the loss without pain and suffering, but it does make you resist it less.
Nature shares other lessons about loss and grief with us. The seasons show us life and death. Spring offers new life, and summer, life in abundance. The fall offers letting go and the winter more darkness and less life. The message is life and death are both parts of the natural order of things. Deaths will occur and new life will arrive; it is the circle of life. This can be a comforting message for someone who has lost a loved one.
Nature also enables us to experience connections, connections with animals, plant life and scenery. In addition, it helps us experience connections with deeper parts of ourselves. When we see things in nature that mirror something in our lives, it is affirming. For example, when you see a green sprout growing out of a fallen tree, you realize life can come from death. This too can be comforting for someone grieving.
Our upcoming Healing with Love Retreat will be held in nature and is designed to be comforting for those who have lost a loved one. Morrie Schwartz once said, “The most important thing in life is to learn how to give our love, and to let it come in.” The Healing with Love Retreat is about this. It is a time to be gentle with yourself, open your heart to the healing help that lies deep within and experience the truth that you’re not alone. You are invited to join us from 1 to 4 p.m. on Saturday, October 12 at Black Bear Pavilion, State College. The cost is $15 per person and light refreshments will be served. Please RSVP by emailing Jackie@JackieHook.com, calling 814-404-0546 or by visiting the Koch Funeral Home Facebook page by Monday, October 7. Space is limited.
In addition to the Healing with Love Retreat, other upcoming events are:
- Monday’s Moments Complimentary Luncheon – “Self-Care is Unique,” Monday, October 7 from 12:00 to 1:30 p.m. at the Courtyard by Marriott, 1730 University Drive, State College
- Death Café, the third of Monday of the month, October 21 from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m. at Webster’s Bookstore Café, 133 East Beaver Avenue, State College with Complimentary Desserts Provided by Webster’s
For more information about these programs, please visit Koch Funeral Home website’s Bereavement Gatherings and Events section under the Local Resources tab. All of these events are open to the public and space is limited.
We hope you can join us at one of our gatherings.
Jackie Hook, MA, is a spiritual director, celebrant and end-of-life doula. She coordinates the Helping Grieving Hearts Heal program through Koch Funeral Home in State College. For more information, please call 814-237-2712 or visit www.kochfuneralhome.com.