Motivational...I think so!  

Saturday, 3 January 2009

Tony Robbins

Something Dave and I did while we were away was to go to an Anthony Robbins seminar. It was brilliant, insightful and exhausting. And it allowed me to let go of some of the guilt I feel over losing Aaron, even though I didn’t know I was carrying it…if that makes any sense.

We went to our first Anthony Robbins seminar a few months after Aaron passed away. I was still at that angry stage of loss and grief when I wanted to punch out complete strangers for looking even slightly happy…because how could anyone be happy, did they not realise that Aaron was gone??? Going to the seminar, helped me let go of some of that anger, and I will be eternally grateful for that. Of course at the time, I didn’t realise there was too much more to it that anger, as that was all encompassing at the time!

I know that motivational speakers, life coaches e.t.c. are not everyone cup of tea, and I respect that. I also believe that whatever will help someone, give someone some peace of mind, some motivation, is a good thing. If I decided that to help with the grief, I wanted to spray myself pink and run around the block naked, there are those that would talk me out of it, laugh even. And those who would ask me what shade of pink I wanted and help me get an even coat as not to embarrass myself with a streaky paint job! I of course would be in the later category for any of my friends.

So while we were talking about life, what drives us, what makes us happy, sad e.t.c. I realised that I had some feelings of guilt about losing Aaron. I guess as a mum I felt that my main job was to keep my children safe. So I also felt like I’d failed because I didn’t do that. Of course any intelligent person knows that at some point in our lives, we will lose someone we love…but intelligence doesn’t come into the grieving process all that much!

I know, I know… using logic, I understand that things were totally out of my control, Aarons condition was nothing I could have done anything about, and I kept on telling myself I did all I could, and I know in my heart that I did, we all did, we kept Aaron fighting as long as he could, I know this in my mind…again, logic, intelligence…of no use to us here!!!

The reality is, is that Aaron still passed away and deep down, I think I should have been able to do something about that.

I know that anyone I know and love, anyone who knows Aaron will be reading this and may be a little surprised. And for that reason, I considered what I was going to write. But the best thing I can do, the most honest thing, the thing that may be able to help anyone else coping with loss, is to just tell it as it is, to put my feeling out there and let you make of them what you will.

For a long time I felt like I had failed Aaron, Dave, the kids in some way by not keeping Aaron, and in coping with that I began to control everything else in my life, Dave and the kids mainly, but also the housework, the amount of work I did, the writing, the company, the charity. I had to over achieve in every way to satisfy to myself that I wasn’t a failure. I failed in one thing, the most important thing, so I could allow myself another failure, no matter how small. It was a mixture of fear of losing everyone and the need to be in charge, to make myself indispensible, to make sure I was the most important and significant thing…that was my own way of insuring I kept everyone close and safe.

The insomnia, the two hours a night, were in some way a self punishment for me. It was me feeling like I didn’t deserve to get lots of lovely sleep. After all, if I failed Aaron, why would I be sleeping soundly at night? It is really amazing what our subconscious mind talks our body into isn’t it. That’s another reason I never spent time on myself, never allowed myself to relax and just do something for me.

Of course in doing this, not only was it hard to keep up for everyone around me, it wasn’t helping. In fact in acting so possessively, being so shattered, I was shutting off a part of myself to everyone. In my quest not to feel the loss, not to ever have to feel the loss again, I was shutting of the fun, spontaneous part of me that makes me the ‘kick arse’ mum and wife/friend/sister/daughter that I am. (Modest…who me???)

Someone called Alex at the seminar (a grief councillor), gave me the best analogy, it helped me more than I can say and helped me get things into perspective.

I’m going to share it, and if it helps one person in some small way, it will be worth it.

Alex drew me three glass jars, all the same size…each jar depicting my life.
He drew a big red balloon in the first one, completely filling the jar. The red balloon depicted all that is Aaron, his love, his life, the grief…all mixed up together, as it inevitably is. My life as it is now!
In the second jar, he drew a smaller balloon, depicting time passing, the balloon getting smaller.
In the third jar a tiny balloon in the bottom of the jar.
This was exactly what I was afraid off. I had somehow got mixed up, that in feeling the pain and grief less acutely, I was letting all the good stuff go too, that everything about Aaron would diminish.
Then Alex drew me three red balloons in a row, all the same size, all depicting Aaron and all that is Aaron.
Then he drew a jar so the first balloon filled it. My life as it is now!
The second jar was bigger, the third bigger still.
The jars were now depicting MY life and the life of all of us being bigger and richer and more.
Our love and feelings for Aaron and the loss didn’t have to diminish; of course that’s why the balloons were all the same size. Our lives just had to grow around them.

This simple analogy allowed me to foresee a different and better future.

This seems over simple, but it does explain how I feel. I am so terrified that by letting go of the grief, I let go of it all. But I don’t need to, I need to understand that to feel the grief means that I must have loved and been loved fully and undeniably. We all need to know that Aaron and everything that goes with him, the love, the laughter, the adventures, and yes, the grief, stays, it always will, I don’t have to set myself goals of the pain easing, instead I need to embrace life, love, adventures and in doing that, the grief wont be so all consuming.

But I also don’t feel like I have to work to a timescale, live by a set of rules that tell me how to go on with life. Really I just need to let life go on around me, embrace it, and allow myself to feel whatever I need. Feeling grief is what makes us human, if we didn’t care, we didn’t love, we wouldn’t grieve. So I for one am glad I can grieve, because it is the measure of my love.

I have no idea if this makes sense to anyone, if it will help anyone. But it has helped me, Dave and the kids. I guess its how we associate with grief. I will miss Aaron every single day for the rest of my life, but, I will not allow that grief to diminish Aaron’s memory. Aaron would not want me to be miserable, to turn our lives into a military run exercise, rather than the adventure we used to treat it as.

So I learned a lot, whether I wanted to or not. I feel like I and move forward in a different way now, allowing to love and to be loved, allowing the children to grow and let out their own personalities. We are planning our next adventure, and I know Aaron would be very proud; in fact I can almost hearing laughing in my head now (but not in a hearing voices, need to be committed way, I hastily add).

I also have been sleeping six, even seven hours some nights…incredible. I’ll be taking the piss next and having a lay in! and Dave tells me off every time I moan about there really being less hours in the day “poor, poor you,” he whines back at me, “fancy getting some sleep, its terrible.” to which I kindly reply “naff off.” but he has a point.

Well, for anyone who ever has the chance, Anthony Robbins is an experience and a half. It’s not for everyone, but it certainly helped us. So if you want to know more, just ask, I’d be happy to point you in the right direction, even recommend some of his books. He doesn’t sell himself as some mystical guru. He’s just an ordinary guy who has seen a lot, learned a lot and has found some great ways of making people achieve their potential. We’ll be going back and taking as many people with us as we can.

Better go, it must be nap time!!!

Take care

Sal xxxx

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