Yesterday, I had an experience that opened up a wound I thought had been healed. The fact is, grief never ever goes away. It creeps up and grabs hold of your heart when you least expect it. And, sometimes, in the presence of an absolute stranger.
Without boring you with all the details of how this came about, I’ll simply explain what triggered this response. The woman simply asked me about a favorite childhood memory with my dad. I couldn’t think of one positive memory.
In the (short) eight years I had with my dad, the time where I would have any memory is when he was sick. My memories are of going to the VA hospital to see him. And because I was a curious kid, I recollect smell that filled the bathroom when he cleaned his ostomy bag (due to colon cancer). My memories exist in the few pictures I have. It’s the snippets of frozen time that make me feel connected to him and imagine my childhood differently. But, what his voice sounded like, what he smelled like (although, I remember he used Old Spice aftershave), how he said my name, how he interacted with me – the normal childhood experiences children often remember with their parents, simply don’t exist for me.
So, I was asked to create a favorite memory. Just like that, my chin began to quiver; fighting to hold back the tears until I couldn’t hold them in any longer. It was as if a band-aid holding in deep-rooted feelings had been ripped away.
For the first time, I had understood why my grief has been so difficult and why it’s so difficult for children, who, like me, suffer in silence well into adulthood. And all the while, I could’ve been helping myself heal deeply rooted emotions by using visualization to heal.
The Power of Visualization
The act of visualizing my dad walking me down the aisle, as if it truly happened was healing for me. When we visualize something, for example, giving a speech. Before giving that speech, you play it out in your mind. All the while, taking in your surroundings – the sounds, the faces in the crowd, the lights, the smell in the room, what you’re wearing…all of it. In the moment of visualization, and utilizing all five senses in great detail, our minds, at that moment, do not know the difference. And that is what makes visualization so powerful.
Studying various personal growth methods over the years, I’ve used visualization from time to time; however, never in the way it presented itself to me as it did yesterday.
The end-of-the-day lesson I got from yesterday’s experience was this: I MATTER. And, those two words sure make me feel all the feelings. Deep-rooted feelings emerge of just never being enough. And, not necessarily for someone else (although, sometimes), but more so for myself.
It is easy to be your own worst critic. I’m an expert, so I get it entirely. But, I felt a big shift yesterday, which sparked this blog post. Perfection exists – neither in ourselves nor in others. It’s an unattainable quest. stop expecting it from yourself (or others). That’s just way too much pressure. In 2018, being a parent, making a living, and wearing all the other hats thrown our way, the last thing we need is more pressure.
Maybe you’re ready for a shift in your life, too. Maybe you’re in need of the same mantra I’m adopting for myself: I MATTER.