(818) 788-HOPE (4673)
Grief Support Groups Serving West Los Angeles, Encino and Agoura Hills

Self Compassion

By Andy Smallman

Andy Smallman is a long-time educator, advocate for healthy human development and founding director of the Puget Sound Community School.

People who have experienced the death of a loved one understand what it means to feel as if one’s walls are closing in. The more recent the death, the more significant this feeling often is, although emotional reminders of the loved one sometimes surprise us years later by how powerful the feelings are.

Empathy vs. Sympathy

There is a reason that the word Connection is part of our name — Hope Connection. You could easily make the case that Connection is, in its own way, just as important as Hope.

Nowhere is the power of connection more apparent than in the difference between two seemingly similar emotions: Empathy and sympathy. Dr. Brene Brown has a wonderful video where she explores the difference between the two emotions, which she says “are not just two different approaches to confronting the emotional challenges of others; they are diametrically opposite responses in many important ways. Sympathy places another’s problems at a distance from us, places us in a position of superiority, and ‘drives separation.’ Empathy, on the other hand, requires that one internalize the feelings of another. That shared experience drives interpersonal connection.”

Me, Myself and… Who Am I?

Take a moment and ask yourself an important heartfelt question: What is my purpose?

There may even be many parts to that question. What links me to community? Who am I now? Where do I belong? What is important to me?

These are all very important questions, and perhaps until now you’ve been someone who knew yourself, or at least thought you did. Now your grief, the loss of your loved one, has zapped your confidence. As you begin the next step on your unexpected journey, you may not be sure who you are, nor what your purpose is or what that purpose could be. It’s not easy to see your evolving identity and purpose through the grief, yet creating or re-creating purpose is a worthy goal. If you are asking yourself questions about what your purpose is, perhaps you are also saying you want to find meaning in your life now.

Shoulder Taps

Do you ever get an intuitive feeling, a little voice in your head, that tells you to do something, say something, that is completely out of your comfort zone? Have you ever acted on that feeling? Maybe you should, says Bill Hart, in this short but compelling video — Shoulder Taps.

Living Life In The Improv Zone

Skim through any adult education bulletin and you will see every kind of subject imaginable with a couple exceptions. It is next to impossible to find a listing for a course in Improvisation. This is not a big surprise. Unless you are an actor, you probably would flee from a class where you are in the spotlight without a clue of what will be happening or how you are supposed to respond.

Smaller Footprints

“The belongings she has collected during her lifetime are her footprints left behind.”

The thought of going through your loved one’s possessions, acquired over the course of their lifetime, can be daunting and emotionally overwhelming. The thought of letting go of these acquired belongings may feel like you are erasing their footprints. How does one stay connected, while also letting go?

A Moment’s Peace — Through Laughter Yoga

Using humor as a tool to cope with grief is closely associated with another movement: laughter yoga. A medical doctor from India, Dr. Madan Kataria, developed the practice of laugher yoga and it has spread across 100 countries. Adherents say that the scientifically proven benefits range from reducing blood pressure to strengthening the immune system. You can learn all about the techniques at the Laughter Yoga University.

Humor – A Tool For Coping With Grief

When dealing with grief, many of us experience three of the four basic human emotions: madness, sadness and fear. The fourth one, “joy,” is not very popular during mourning because it’s deemed inappropriate, in bad taste and unacceptable in the midst of grieving. Wanting to be culturally sensitive and socially correct, we tread lightly because oftentimes we don’t know what to say, and most of all, we don’t want to offend.

Just Another Day

The morning comes and you look for a reason to get out of bed. 
You want to linger for hours but force yourself to rise and take a mini step to join the day.
That is courage.

The toothbrush you hold feels like a heavy hammer but you manage to brush your teeth, wash your face, fix your hair.
That is determination.