Tuesday, November 27, 2007


I find that grieving is often about changing my perspective. It can be so easy to get caught up in myself and my desires for security, control, and approval. That's why I found it so helpful to attend a grief support group and read lots of books on grieving — it took me out of my head and allowed me to view my new life as a widower from many, many different perspectives.

I was listening to a talk Dr. Wayne Dyer gave about his book The Power of Intention when he said something that really struck me:

When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.

So simple, yet so profound. We don't live in a static universe, and things are constantly changing. In grief, however, sometimes we can feel absolutely horrible and despair that it will never end. What can we do at these times to feel better? We can look at our grief from a new perspective. When we do, our grief will change, and we will change.

Notice that I didn't say "improve." Sometimes the change is most unwelcome initially. I'll give you an example from my own experience. As I've posted previously, I've found The Sedona Method to be an immensely powerful tool for grief recovery. About a month after Deb died, I started reading a related work by Hale Dwoskin and Lester Levenson called Happiness Is Free.

[FAIR WARNING: This perspective will likely hit you square between the eyes as it did me. You have been warned.]

This book was about to alter my perspective to a point beyond which I could never return. It started out well enough, but by page 72 I was confronted by this:

Look within yourself and see if you are willing to live in a world without problems. If there is any hesitancy, it is probably because, without realizing it, you want to create problems in your life. We do this because as long as we think we are a limited body-mind we feel like we need to be like everyone else and to have a purpose in life. We are afraid if there were no problems there would be no need for us. And in a way we are right. Who we are not — our limited body-mind-ego — thrives on creating and then solving problems in order to justify its existence. The less we are invested in limitation, the less we need to create problems to resolve, and the less we even see problems in the world. As Lester repeatedly said, "See the perfection where the seeming imperfection seems to be."

Right. I remember reading this and wanting to reach through the pages and knuckle onto Lester's neck and shout, "gee Mr. Levenson, I guess you may not have noticed, but MY LIFE HAS BEEN FRICKEN DESTROYED!!!" The "seeming imperfection" — what was this, some sort of cruel joke?

I wasn't amused at the time, but that thought has never left me. Logically, I can see what he is saying. Why did Deb get cancer? Well, people get cancer, and Deb was a person, so she was eligible. Why did Deb die? That is what people do. They live, and they die. Seen by that angle, nothing was out of the ordinary, just life on planet earth trucking on as usual. But how far that angle was from how I felt!

Still, the thought kept gnawing at me. See the perfection where the seeming imperfection seems to be. I'm a big believer in "How" questions, so I found myself asking questions like "how is this situation perfect?" and "how could I begin to see the perfection here?" All I can say is, it is amazing what you can find once you start looking.

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