Friday, October 2, 2009

Room for Change:Supportive Spaces

Oh, the places you'll go, as Dr. Seuss exclaims! With the many new and awakening choices you are making in grief, some are demanded of you and some are chosen by you. One of the choices you have is to discover what kind of environment, besides your home, do you choose to surround you.

In your solitude, a local library , may be a public space that provides you with movement of people yet not forced interaction. It will have fresh new magazines and publications awaiting your perusal or travelogues or reviews to engage you. Remember that what you do today, you do not have to do tomorrow. Often simply trying something is enough to lead you somewhere else with better or more appropriate footing.

Look at the space you choose to go. If you have enjoyed community theatre in the past, maybe a subscription to the next season is in order. I have frequently bought two tickets and then invited different friends. If I did not feel like going I gave them away as a treat for someone else.

The classroom, whether it be local school evening sessions or investigative classes at the community college are possibilities for you. Your mind can be stimulated and the rhythm of a weekly class gives some semblance of order to your week.

Do not underestimate the power of volunteering when you are in grief. I volunteered at the local soup kitchen and smiled when I thought I could not. There is much to be said about appreciation of others, on both sides of the counter. I also volunteered with preschoolers during their " gym" session. How can one not see the grace and love in the little children? One particular 4 year old asked me," How old will you be on your birthday?" I replied , I am 49. She retorted back," That is not what I asked you." Hm mm, I learned a lesson in listening. She then told me that was a big number and that when my birthday came my head would hit the ceiling! Of course she was referencing the fact that I was already 6 feet and with every birthday came getting bigger and taller. Her precious words stuck and the smile did too.

Maybe you like to dance but without a partner are reluctant. Line dancing, ballroom dancing, contra and square dancing , all provide solo opportunities to step out in a safe and encouraging space. If art has been a passion for you and has been laid aside, maybe a pottery or photography course will fit the bill. There are many short term class schedules in most community arenas.

The quest is to place yourself in spaces that support your authentic self and the opportunity to use your talents or the opportunity to try on new activities. This is a time of self discovery and also a time to test the waters in your own boat. What floats your boat? It may be something different these days. Give it a try. The shoreline is not far away and the breeze is fine! Happy sailing.

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