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Eric Hellman

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My Growing Edges: Part 1
by Eric Hellman

"I Was Toast":  Rest, Healing and Regeneration

With my move from Toronto to Vancouver in December, I’ve been faced with three distinct challenges – which have become my ‘growing edges’ at the beginning of 2016.

1) The deaths of two friends

For the past several years, I’ve been helping two neighbours/friends through health crises. For one, a woman named Pat, it was on her journey with dementia. For the other, her husband Ed, it was with the challenges of coping with his wife’s illness, including her being bed ridden and cared for at home by five staff/day, in the final stages of her care.

Pat died in June, and then Ed died of unexpectedly of depression and cancer six months later, one week before I moved. And the emotional toll was something I’ve had to face since then.

2) I don’t like saying goodbye

One of the continuing themes in my life, since childhood, has been the challenge of leaving behind people and places I love. Having moved many times, it’s something I’ve had to face quite often – including this time. Thus leaving my friends, my community (including my Spirit/Work connections), and my home/neighbourhood in Toronto has been a challenge for me.

I also left Toronto quite exhausted, both emotionally and physically (including an 85-hour stretch with only five hours of sleep {during which I also locked myself out of my building at 4:00 am - but that's another story!}, in order to complete my packing, move and goodbyes). So by the time I arrived in Vancouver, I was ‘toast.’

To cope with these challenges, here’s some of what I’ve done:

a) Taking time to let up my emotions, grieve and heal.
This has included talking with close friends, taking long walks in nature, and using recorded meditations and guided visualizations to ‘open the channels.’

Two visualizations that have helped me a lot are: Ease Grief, by Belleruth Naparstek of Healing Journeys. I've used this one for several years now, because of other losses in my life. And Forgiving Ourselves, by a woman who goes by the name “Hopefulness Path.” This is one I started using quite recently, but have found very effective. (Note: The speaker on this has a strong Latin accent, so you’ll need to get past that and listen closely to her words.)

Both have been tremendous aids in my own healing, and I highly recommend them.

b) Rest, retreat and regeneration
For close to two months since arriving, I’ve taken as much time as I could for rest and regeneration. I’ve literally been in 'semi-retreat, taking time away from even most emails for much of that time – as many of my family, friends and connections can attest to. (My apologies, by the way!) However, it was what I needed to heal, regenerate and feel fully here. And I am soooo deeply thankful that I have given myself this 'gift,’ because I can feel the energy and presence rising within…

c) Facing my self expectations
I don't know about you, but I have a whole lot of expectations about myself: How I should be, what I should do, and especially how I should treat others. Get that newsletter done, reply to those emails, you're letting others down... I also project these thoughts onto others (big time!), like "people will be upset or hurt". So giving myself this time away has also meant facing these expectations and coming to peace with not always meeting them. (My thanks to friend and colleague Sue Vaughan, for her "self-love diet" and example - which has helped me to do this for myself.)

3) Resistance to starting my new life and new work

One of my intuitions coming to Vancouver was that this where I would be launching my newest work. Called “conscious change,” it brings together literally 35 years of exploration in how we can create more effectively in our life, work and world. It’s also work that I have been deeply resisting bringing out, because it incorporates some of my deepest spiritual experiences and beliefs. And, quite frankly, I’ve been chicken – well, deeply, deeply afraid – about expressing it these. However, I know now that it is the time.

Here’s some of what I’ve done to help me face this challenge:

a) Filling up my well
Rather than immediately jumping into work and getting out into community – as my ego has wanted me to do, over concerns about money and pressures to ‘just do something!’– I’ve given myself time to ‘refill my well’ instead. It’s all the things I’ve written about above: rest, time in nature, inner healing, conversations with a few close friends. I’m not fully there yet, but I feel a whole lot richer and ‘more whole’ than I did when I arrived.

b) Writing
A colleague in Toronto asked me to write about my new work on a blog he hosts. So this has been my primary work focus over the past month: getting clear on my core ideas, and expressing them so others will be able to understand them. Setting gentle deadlines has also helped me to stay with the writing, and begin getting it out publicly.

I’ve also been drafting a new website, which has been another way of focusing decades of thinking and experience into a few short pages.

Those are some of my ‘growing edges.’ (And there's more in part 2.)

So what are some of yours right now?


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