Q & A - WEEK OF SEPTEMBER 6, 2021
Q. HOW DO YOU HANDLE THE SUDDEN DEATH OF A SPOUSE?
Q. WHEN MY HUSBAND IS HURTING, DEPRESSED OR UPSET ABOUT SOMETHING, IT AFFECTS MY ENERGY AND MOOD, AS WELL. WHAT'S A WAY TO SUPPORT HIM, AND BE THERE FOR HIM WITHOUT LETTING IT AFFECT ME?
Q. I DO READINGS BY PHOTO AND HAVE BEEN VERY CONFIDENT WITH MY INNER KNOWING FOR OTHERS. HOWEVER, I DO STRUGGLE FROM TIME TO TIME WITH INNER KNOWING FOR MYSELF. I AM DOING BETTER, BUT HOW DO I FULLY TRUST MY INNER KNOWING FOR ME?
* Please note that all answers are based on the limited amount of information obtained from each question and Ally's personal opinion, experience and interpretation of the question, and should not be construed as medical, mental health, legal, financial, or advice. Ally always encourages you to make your own health care decisions based upon your research and in partnership with a professional.
A. First let me say that I am so incredibly sorry for your loss and what you are going through right now.
I know that there is nothing that I can say that will take the pain away, but I hope to offer you some helpful suggestions that will support you as you navigate through this season.
Sudden loss and grief is different from what you experience when you know that a loved one is going to pass, because there is no time to prepare your heart or your mind for it.
Therefore, it is probably more overwhelming and jarring to your entire system than if you had know he or she was going to pass.
I could go on an on about this topic, but I really want to break it down into manageable bite-sized pieces so as to not further overwhelm you right now.
I believe that deep love, bring deep grief.
And when I think of depth, I think of all of the layers of grief that you will have to allow yourself to go through.
First and foremost, please be gentle with yourself in this process.
Recognize that your grief and healing journey is uniquely your own and that there is no prescriptive formula for how to grieve and everyone has their own timetable.
Grieving is a process, not a one time event.
Give yourself time and compassion, just as you would a friend.
Because your process will be uniquely your own, I want you to encourage you to tune in to your emotional needs on a regular basis by doing emotion check ins, and be honest with yourself and others about what you need.
Learn to acknowledge your feelings and emotions as they appear each day.
Being present with your emotions and your grief will allow you to work through it as it comes and goes.
You honestly may feel a whole range of emotions on any given day and as out of the blue as some of these emotions may seem, they are completely normal and healthy.
Allow yourself to lean into these feelings and see them as a messengers that are just letting you know what you need in any given moment.
Recognize that some people in your life may not know how to respond or care for you which does not mean that they don’t care.
Other people may surprise you by how they are able to be there for you in ways that you never expected.
It is important to not ignore your grief and find ways of expressing what's coming up for you, either with a close group of friends and/or family, a spiritual leader, a counselor or a support group.
Seek out those people who create a safe space for you to acknowledge ALL that you are feeling - the ups and the downs - and who you do not have to censor yourself around or tend to or manage their emotions about your emotions.
And what I mean by that is that sometimes people can have a strong reaction to our emotions and then the tables turn and instead of them being able to care for us, we have to caretake them.
Avoid people who are disapproving or who try to tell you how you should grieve.
You may notice you feel more worn out or fatigued than usual or that low energy levels slow you down a bit.
Pay attention to what your body and mind are telling you.
Rest as much as you can.
Eat well and ask for support around food prep if you need to.
Do not feel guilty about lightening your schedule as much as possible.
This can be a great time to tap into and/or strengthen spiritual practices that bring you comfort and peace like prayer, meditation, journaling out a conversation to God/The Divine or even a conversation with your spouse.
I’m a big believer in still being able to energetically and spiritually being able to have communication with people after they’ve passed.
A book I would recommend around that would be Signs: The Secret Language of The Universe.
I don’t believe that we actually ever "get over" losing a loved one.
However, I do believe that as time passes and we move through the grief, we learn to live with it and healthily integrate the memory of our loved ones and our emotions around losing them into our lives.
I hope that this was helpful and I am sending you massive amounts of love as you navigate through this and please don't hesitate to reach out to me if you feel like there's anything else I can do to support you.
A. Thanks so much for your question, I feel like this is pretty common, so I feel like this will be really helpful for A LOT of people.
And it makes sense because I don’t think any of us want to see someone we love upset.
First, what an amazing gift he has in having you as a partner who is able to sense and wants to tend to his emotional needs.
What this comes down to is the ability to healthily differentiate within the relationship.
And what that means is that you are able to maintain autonomy while also being intimately connected or the ability to remain close without being reactive.
Here’s how I’d recommend you practice healthily detaching from his emotional state:
1) Clarify that his mood has nothing to do with you.
If it does, and you feel like it would be appropriate to process through it with him, then by all means address it.
If you ask him and it has nothing to do with you, thank him for sharing and then move onto the next step which is…
2) Ask him directly how you can best support him.
I am a big believer in direct, open and honest communication.
If we don’t know how someone wants to be supported, we may feel like us energetically or emotionally joining them in what they're feeling is the best way to support them.
So ask him directly if there’s any way that you can support him.
He may… just need you to listen, need some space alone, etc.
The important part is to ask.
If he doesn’t know, because sometimes people just don't know how they want to be supported, let him know that if at any time he does know, you’d be happy to hear from him.
3) Now the hardest part of this process…
Let it go and recognize that he’s got to have his own internal process around his feelings.
And you joining him energetically may not actually help him, in fact it could...
My encouragement to you would be to redirect your energy and attention to something that brings you joy or that you can get lost in on your own.
The thoughts / feelings around his emotional state will probably resurface and in those moments you have to remind yourself of a few things:
4) The last part of this process is to check back in.
Let’s say you spend some time apart and give him space.
You may notice a tangible shift in his energy or you may not, but I’d encourage you to check back in to see if anything has shifted or changed or if he needs anything else from you.
This could sound like: “Hey, I just wanted to check in again and see how you’re feeling around X situation and if you’re feeling like you need anything different from me now that you’ve had some time and space to process on your own?”
Revisiting the topic after some time has passed lets him know his feelings matter to you even if you don’t have any direct or active involvement.
I hope that this is helpful. Feel free to email me with any follow up questions you may have.
A. A common thing I see is that people can be REALLY great at trusting themselves to help others with something or providing a service for someone else, but when it comes to offering that same thing to themselves, it can be challenging.
Think of the doctor who tells his patients to eat healthy and exercise, but doesn't do that himself, the financial consultant whose own finances are a mess, the therapist who is amazing at helping her clients, but feels stuck in her own life.
The reason for this is because we are not as emotionally attached to other people’s situations as we are our own.
Of course the hope would be in the examples that I gave, is that these people would be actively working, to come more in alignment with what they are offering to others in their own lives.
I share this for a couple of reasons:
1) How beautiful is it that you are able to offer this gift of trusting your intuition for others.
2) It is proof that you can do it and continue to strengthen it in your own life.
3) It sounds like you have great awareness and are wanting to make that shift to come more in alignment for yourself.
I sometimes struggle with this in my own life as a therapist and coach, and so I’m going to offer you the same encouragement I offer myself in those moments.
I often think of myself as my client and I say to myself: if I was my client, what questions would I ask myself? What encouragement, exercises, advice or guidance would I give them?
And I even sometimes visualize me sitting with me and offering that up to myself.
In your case what would it look like for you to use your own photos to tap into your inner knowing, in the same way that you use photos with your clients.
I also feel like there could be a deeper rooted issue with trusting yourself, that potentially comes from past mistakes.
It’s easier to separate that out with clients because you haven’t lived their lives and you’re only working with what they're bringing to the table in that moment that you’re doing a reading for them.
So for that I would say that trust is kind of like a bank, there are moments when we make withdrawals and moments when we make deposits.
Sometimes we do something in our lives or something happens that is a huge withdrawal.
In those moments, we have to recognize that it’s going to take us consistently making deposits in our lives to build that trust bank back up.
So start with smaller deposits, spend a full week or month only saying “yes” when you really mean yes and “no” when you really mean no.
Then build from there, bring a small decision you’re faced with to your mind:
And here are some questions you can ask yourself:
Finally, I don’t know that we ever 100% FULLY and completely trust that inner knowing, because it’s a natural part of being human for some doubt to come up.
If you believe in a higher power or Divine being, I believe that that is where faith comes in.
Can you trust that the Divine fills in the gaps where you might not have full trust in yourself? Can you believe that there is a Divine love that is holding and carrying you.
So maybe let go of that expectation of 100% full certainty and focus on continuing to strengthen the relationship you have with your inner knowing in order to continue to move forward more confidently in the future.
I hope this was helpful!