The Soul Garden

When Life Changes

January 19, 2024 Georgina Langdale Episode 42
The Soul Garden
When Life Changes
Show Notes Transcript

When life changes and someone we love, or maybe its us, is given bad news, we need to dig deep to find ways through it all. In this episode I share with you how recent bad news within my own family prompted me to write a book to offers ways to help those I love navigate the times we find ourselves in. 
There are three things that I think are at the heart of finding resilience, compassion and courage when we face change and challenges and they are breath, nature and ceremony and I share some ideas in this episode.

50 Things to Help when Life Changes - contemplative & nature-based teachings for navigating life transitions.
Author: Georgina Langdale
Available on my website

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Hello, and welcome to the soul garden, where we explore the inner and the outer workings of living in a connected world. And I'm your host, Georgina Langdale, founder of the Archeus. apothecary, and I'm delighted to have you here today is it's a very candid episode. And it's kind of vulnerable and delicate. And I think, though, that what I'm going to talk about is happening to so many people in so many places, and so maybe, in me sharing what I'm going to share with you, there may be some things to help you as well, if you're going through something similar. So life can change. You know, in an instant, we, we can plan for everything, but we can really plan for nothing. When we least expect it. Things can just completely change and become a new reality. And we have to figure out how to navigate that. We have to find our coping mechanisms, and our ways of showing up for other people. And that can be very, very hard. So this week's episode, I'm talking about all of that stuff. Anyway, so I'm married. And my beautiful husband has adult children who all have beautiful children too. It's a gorgeous family. And I feel very lucky to be part of that family. I don't have any children. And I don't have any family here in New Zealand since both my parents died over the past nine years. So it's a real gift. You know, I'm a woman in midlife, postmenopausal and I love so much of that. I think it's a fantastic time of life, but to be given the gift of this wonderful family through meeting my husband and falling in love and getting married and all those sorts of things. It's been really delicious. And I love them all. Anyway, a few weeks before Christmas, his son was diagnosed with cancer, stage four. And it's metastasized. And this is the news that no one ever wants to receive. No family ever wants that news to land in their midst. But here it was, and his son has a gorgeous young family of his own, you know, so basically, all our hearts broke that day. He gets this terrible news, we all get this terrible news. And, man, did I learn a lot about seeing love in action. Everybody rushing to his side to help him in any way they can. It's kind of why I'm not used to this, you know, I come we my family is 12,000 miles away. I'm an only child. You know, when my parents were ill it was just me and them. And so seeing this amazing care coming around, being wrapped around was just has been is extraordinary. But also, I could see everybody imploding fear, heartbreak, panic, all of these things. They're really hard to deal with. And they're very, very real emotions. You know, when something devastating like this hits a family, it is very, very difficult. Anyway, so I was seeing all of this going on around me. And I thought, there are so many things that I've been teaching people over the last few years in the work that I do in contemplative and nature based care, but either I realized there were too hard to get it. A lot of the information was in a course I've been running code, the natural carer, but I took a step back from it about 18 months ago, because I was feeling pretty burnt out. To be honest, I'm in the process of refreshing all that content to have it available on demand online again, soon, but soon isn't now. And, and I needed something for now. But the other thing that really hit home to me was, over the last few years, yes, end of life care has been my thing. But that language doesn't work for someone, when they just get a diagnosis, or for their family and loved ones and their friends. No one wants to hear about end of life at the beginning of a diagnosis and treatment journey, when someone you love has just been given a diagnosis, when you've just been given a diagnosis. And you're focusing on how do I get through this, you don't want to read about endings. The curious thing in this for me as well is when I was teaching, I kept saying to my students, who are all amazing and inspiring by the way, you know who you are. I kept saying, death has so much to teach us about life. And a lot of the stuff that I'm teaching to help us navigate end of life is helpful in life right now, why don't we all do it earlier? Why don't we do these things? Why don't we have that insight and capacity for compassion, and understanding and being in the moment, and finding resilience and creating connection and all of these things. So it was quite a lesson. The other thing about the situation is when you have a parent of young children who is suddenly seriously ill, you're thinking about those young children who need a parent who need their parents who need their home life to be as stable as possible. So I realized that while I've been telling my students, you know, it would be really good to back the truck up and talk about what death shows us about life, I realized I needed to back the truck up even further back down the road. The first thing I thought was, I've got to do something and I need to do something quick. I want to create a resource for my beautiful family that they can use that might help any one of them in the way that they manage themselves and navigate this new reality that we're in. So as with any family, every single person in the family is an individual and every individual is different. And so I realized that I had to whatever I created for them. I had to meet them where they are. I'm quite prone to deep and soulful communication. And, you know, healthy dollops of esoteric knowledge and I needed to tone all of that down. And I wrote down a list on a piece of paper of 50 different techniques I have used either by myself or with clients through all sorts of transitions, including death and dying, but not only death and dying. These are transitions like relationship changes, career changes, health changes, menopause transition, a whole whole bunch of stuff. And then I thought, right I'm going to write really short, quick easily digestible things that give people something to read and possibly use quickly, I didn't want to bog them down and a big, heavy tome of a book, I wanted to make it light and nimble, it was a really lovely thing to do all the time, keeping my family in my mind, and all of their different characters and personalities and, and trying to make something easily accessible for them all, and writing it in a way that they could see it from the position that they were in, in this reality. And again, because time, felt time just felt so pressing and urgent, I wanted to get this information into their hands as quickly as possible. But I also started to see that if it was going to be good for them, it will be good for other people, too. I have had it published as a book, and it's available on my website. There are 50 different things in this book. And I'm certainly not going to go into them all here. But just flicking through one of the things that pages opened up here, in my head on number three of 50 the Wisdom of don't know mind, when life changes, it's okay not to have all the answers. And often when a situation new situation arises, or we're trying to help someone, or we'll be giving given information about a situation, we kind of want to think that we know the answers, or that we know exactly what to do. But the reality is that this approach can actually make us miss out on a lot learning to work with a practice of don't know mind can change the depth and nature of of any discussions you can have in any part of your life. It is personally and professionally. Very, very helpful. And it's very helpful for the person you're talking to. So what it means is, don't assume you know anything by assuming a don't know mind, beginner's mind, you're then able to ask more curious questions. Because if you going okay, I don't know. And I don't know what this person's thinking, I have no idea. I don't want to project any of what I would think in this situation kind of stuff onto them. I'm just going to have don't know mind. And then I'm going to ask them, How are you feeling right now? What are your main concerns? Or how will you and what is it that you understand is happening for you right now? What are the things that you're afraid of? or other questions you have or things that you want to know that you're not being told? What is the help that you would like from me at this moment, these are all don't know mind sort of questions. And they can really, really open up very beautiful and deep conversations. Don't know mind helps you stop projecting yourself on to the person that you're talking to. Another one that I've just flicked on and opened up it is called being the tree. So being out in nature, whether it's a park or off in the mountains or by the sea, or where wherever it can be incredibly healing. But also it can become such an ally for us and these really difficult times when I write about being the tree what I'm saying is if we imagine ourselves as a tree, we can find roots to send down deep into the soil to help us feel grounded you know, when life changes we can feel very, like we kind of blown across the landscape. You know, there's, we're, we're at the mercy of everything else around us. That's what it feels like quite often doesn't it? But if we think like a tree we can send those roots down into the ground and really feel the sense of being grounded when all around as a storm. Trunk is tall and strong. Joan Halifax wonderful woman she says, as a strong back, soft belly be Seeing the tree gives us that strong back. So that we can soften our belly soften and open to what is around us. The other thing I think about being a tree is when there's all this clamor around us and noise and people dogging and kind of getting really overwhelmed. I feel like I'm, I picture myself as a tree, my feet are grounded, I've got roots into the earth, I've got this strong trunk, strong back, soft belly. And then I've got my branches going up into the air and all my leaves, and they're all going as well, the wind of all this stuff is whirling around me. But the wind moves through those branches and through those leaves, and they move and bend with the wind, nothing breaks, nothing jars, everything is fluid. So I find that really helpful when everything is just all getting too much. The noise can be going on around me, but I'm still okay, or the emotions can be whirling around me. But I'm still okay. Another thing in this book is about that very Buddhist idea of being in this moment. Now, when something happens or when things change, we can immediately find ourselves pulling on the past, and maybe wishing for it and creating scenarios about the future, usually quite negative ones. And we can find ourselves kind of catastrophizing away or all the way around, really. But being in the moment just helps us just focus right here. Right now, in this moment. Now, I have this information, we're not in the future yet. We're not in the past, we're just here. And it is this moment, I am going to deal with being in this moment now unhooks us from the future, which is not real in the Course of Miracles, one of the lessons and that says what is not real cannot hurt me. What is not real, cannot hurt me. So in this moment, now, future scenarios are not real. And because they're not real, they cannot hurt me. I talk about breath a lot. You know, for me, there are three really helpful things to navigate any life transition, and that is breath, nature. And often some form big or small of ceremony or ritual breathwork just helps us get centered, and find us center get our equilibrium, that nature gives us a place to let go of things to bring things in to find our allies, to look for signs to release energy and to gain energy. And then ceremony or ritual can be very potent tools for transformation, again, for the bringing in and letting go of things. And then the ritual might be as simple as the way that you make a cup of tea for someone. So in 50, things to help when life changes. I mentioned ceremony, I talk about plant essences. And I talk about the gift of open questions and how one might work with the flow of the stream of water to help manage things. So talk about finding a safe place to land in the middle of things. The transformational power of an alter the power of thought, meeting people where they are handing back the wounds that are not yours to carry blessings for your body holding healing space, talking to children bringing nature into the room, the whole host of ideas. Now, I know that not every one of these ideas are going to resonate for every single person but there's something in there that might none of us ever want to receive bad news and then that future scenario building we we have this picture and I had of how life unfolds from here and usually it never does. unfold in the way that you've gotten in your mind. If we have techniques that we can learn and start using them, they are going to walk with us through anything that gets put in our paths. I found writing this book and it's a small book, incredibly liberating. Not least because one of the things I'd put in my past was a kind of writer's block, I've been offered some wonderful opportunities and to write, and I love writing. But I kept thinking, I had to do this big, weighty tome that really showed the range and depth of what I wanted to talk about. And yes, there is room for a book like that. But 50 things to help when life changes is small and nimble. Don't wait to start to live life fully, compassionately, and connected Lee, do it now. Don't wait to really look deep into yourself and think about the things that make your soul sing. Do it now. And if you want to tell someone you love, that you love them. Don't wait. Do it now. Celebrate life, celebrate love, celebrate connection. And if you even think, well, I don't have any connections with anyone. Fall in love with yourself. Be kind to yourself, nourish and nurture yourself. Give your soul the food and nurture and carry it needs. If you think that this book sounds like it might be of use to you, then come and have a look on my website. It's at Georgina And if you're looking for ways to deepen a connection with nature and with people, I tell you what plant essences which work with plant energetics are a beautiful tool for for deepening those connection points. And I make a whole range of these essences from plants growing in my garden and nearby. I think that in the end, when things come along in life changes hugely basic human instinct is to help someone is to be there for them is to do whatever we can to show up as caringly and as compassionately as possible. My hope is that this book I've written will help my family. But I hope that it may help you too. I want to do a thing before we end. And I described this in the book as well. It's a practice called Tomlin. And it's a Buddhist practice, but it could be a practice from any spiritual path or non spiritual path because actually, this is a practice of compassionate care. And that has no boundaries, it just moves between us all. So what I would invite you to do is just get yourself comfortable for a moment. I've got my feet on the ground. I mean, you could do this too, and imagining my feet tree roots going down into the earth getting me really grounded. Strong back, soft belly. And then I'm imagining light, just coming down through the crown of my head and filling up my body as I breathe. And then as I breathe out, I just release any tension. There is someone that you love that needs your help right now maybe they're hurting or heartbroken or scared. picture them. And as you breathe in, imagine breathing in their pain. But don't hold on to the pain as you breathe out. Release it for them. So you Like a conduit, it's almost like you're sucking the pain out of them. You're releasing it and then breathe back love to them. So you're, you're taking their pain you're releasing it and you're radiating love to them breathing in releasing, radiating and then now take a couple of more breaths and come back into your body and, and back into the room. This is just one simple thing that you can do wherever you are to help someone else. Someone you know, someone you don't know. And if you are in a situation where you or someone you love is going through some devastating change at the moment. I'm sending love. I'm sure that as other people are listening to this, there'll be sending you love to. We're all connected in one way or another. I'm Georgina Langdale. Thank you for joining me in the soul garden today. And if you're interested in 50 things to help when life changes. You can find it at Georgina The link is in the show notes. Go well take real care of yourself. And I'll talk to you next week.