As we celebrate Spring and Easter, it is definitely a time for new beginnings. I wanted to share an Armenian tradition of new beginnings with you, taught to me by my dear Mother-in-law, Varna. It is a special church service, held on the anniversary of the death, called the Hokee Hunkis. The family reunites at the service to pray together and support one another, as they make a commitment to move on with life, after the “time of mourning” is complete.
Just a few weeks ago, Varna experienced the anniversary of the passing of her beloved husband, Hrach. Since she met him at age 16, he was part of her life for 71 years. It was a huge adjustment for her, when he was gone, as she had never know life as an adult without her husband. I made a promise to her, to support her by phone over this past year. Since I had several years experience as a widow; I knew I could understand her pain and fear, while rejoicing in all of the small victories that one experiences during the healing process. Every week, we talked about everything and anything. I kept reminding her that her sadness was OK to experience; and that every time she allowed her tears, she would find herself getting even stronger, not weaker as some folks mistakenly believe. I always remind people that tears are actually a tribute to how deeply you loved. Then people slowly begin to see their tears as a type of memorial gift to the beloved.
So when I called this sweet woman, on the Sunday afternoon that followed the day of the Hokee Hunkis service, I knew she had many guests at her house, so I kept my conversation short. I told her I had been thinking of her, and praying for her and the family on the anniversary day. I said I was thrilled to see Hrach’s picture on Facebook that morning, when his first-born grandchild, Lori, wrote about how important he was to her. Then I asked Varna how she felt after the church service. Her answer was powerful. “I feel a lot lighter, like something heavy has been lifted from me,” she replied. Since she also lost her younger brother, her only sibling, last year; I knew how heavy her heart had been.
Learning about the Hokee Hunkis tradition, to move on with life at the end of the year of mourning, was very helpful to me in Susanville CA in 2008. As I approached the anniversary of Rodger’s death, I knew I needed to do something to mark the occasion and celebrate the fact that I was able to do my grief work 2,600 miles from home, while working in a small town in Northern California. I invited all the friends in my support circle to my favorite Thai Restaurant. I called it my “Farewell to Widowhood Party”. At the party, I talked about Rodger and how he impacted my life in our 13 year adventure. Then I spoke about how scared I was, when financial challenges caused me to have to take a job in a town I had never heard of, 80 miles north of Reno NV. I expressed my gratitude to all the folks at the table, for supporting me and loving me for 10 months of that first year. Finally, I spoke of my goals for the next year. We ate great food and toasted Rodger’s picture in the middle of the table. I, too, felt a lot lighter at the end of that year of healing.
If you have any stories about the anniversary of the passing of your loved one, feel free to share them on this page.Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment 2014-02-14
Happy Valentine’s Day to everyone! The Full Moon is in Leo and it is a perfect time to demonstrate your Love for others. Let’s start a GRATITUDE PAGE in honor of our loved ones who have transitioned, for all the gifts they have given to us!
If you have lost a loved one this past year or so, you may feel the loss again, as you see all the reminders of Valentine’s Day in the stores, on TV, and on the internet. It felt strange, not being able to order flowers to send to my Mom this year. One of my favorite healing techniques is to shift from emptiness and loss to gratitude.
Have you noticed how many of our Olympic Athletes have said that their Dad or Grandmother or some other relative’s Spirit is with them as they compete in their sport? Some of our USA Gold Medal winners have mentioned that they carried a picture with them or dedicated their performance to the loved one on the other side. It is obvious that these athletes have stayed connected to that special person and continue to receive their Love, inspiration, and strength!
So I encourage each of my readers to post a GRATITUDE TRIBUTE to any of your loved ones who have crossed over. I will post mine below to give you an example. What a great way to celebrate Valentine’s Day!
It amazes me to realize that I opened this page a year ago. Soon I will be meeting with Eric Saxon, the Senior Marketing Consultant at Balboa Press to put the finishing touches on my book project! Keep those prayers coming. I have a big birthday coming up and this new year will be “the year of the author”!Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment 2014-01-20
Happy 2014 to all my special folks! Many people I know were quite happy to say goodbye to 2013, as many of them lost loved ones last year. My daughter, Julie, experienced the passing of two grandparents, a great aunt, and 2 great uncles. My dear Mother-in-law, Varna, said good bye to both her husband and her only brother. My Aunt Eileen buried her beloved husband, and then 2 sisters, each a month apart. I am learning to create a spiritual relationship with my Mom who made her transition in September. So here we all are, quite ready to make this New Year different than last year!
How do we begin anew? What can we use to shift the energy from what was, to what is NOW? My favorite New Year tradition is to have a Burning Bowl Ceremony. Each year on New Year’s Eve, my church uses this ceremony to symbolize “out with the OLD and in with the NEW!” I look forward to it every year, as a time to clear my heart of anything that no longer serves me.
All you need for this ceremony is a candle, a nonflammable bowl, some paper and a pen. You can also use your fireplace or barbeque grill, if you want. Last month at Unity of Charleston, we used the outdoor fire pit and some amazing flash paper that, when lit on fire, disappears faster than you can say flash paper!
Put on some relaxing meditation music. Sit in the silence for a few minutes, asking God to guide you in your decisions. Then, write on the paper whatever you need to release. It could be a concept like “negative thinking”. It could be a belief system, such as “Everyone I love leaves me”. It could be an event, such as funerals. It could be a feeling, such as loneliness. The wording is chosen by what is important to YOU. You have the choice to write one thing or several. Then you light the paper in the flame and drop it into the bowl, realizing it is now gone.
If you perform your ceremony with others, have a discussion after everyone has burned their papers. Talk about what you would now like to create in the New Year. For example, “I released the feeling of loneliness and now I want to create more quality time with those I love and even new friends.” Some people find it helpful to write down what they want to create in the New Year, and put it in their wallet to be read at the end of the year.
Feel free to share your experiences with the Burning Bowl Ceremony on this page, as I would like to make it more interactive. It can be a place where folks can love and support one another, by sharing their stories.Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment Newer posts →