I received a book for Christmas from a dear friend. It’s titled “FORWARD” Discovering God’s Presence and Purpose in Your Tomorrow by Dr. David Jeremiah. I’m anxious to read it. One of our key concepts here at Modern Widows Club is Moving Forward, While Reaching Back. Regardless of the stage of life we are in, the key is moving forward. The opposite of forward means we are stuck – meaning frozen, fixed in one place and can’t move. So many of life’s challenges can render us stuck. Whether it be divorce, the loss of a job, loss of a home, loss of a loved one or even loss of hopes and dreams. Any or all of these events can derail us to the point of being stuck.
So, how do we work towards moving forward in our lives. In Modern Widows Club our foundation is based on The Seven Pillars of Healthy Widowhood – Physical Health, Emotional/Mental Health, Spiritual Health, Relational Health, Financial Health, Purpose & Meaning Health and Creativity and Fun Health. Whether you are on the widow journey or not these pillars are important for us to be healthy. It is what I love about Fave Lifestyles for Women. Women coming together on a platform to speak into all of these foundational pillars that assist us in growing and moving forward in life in a way that is meaningful and adds value to not only who we are but how we contribute to the world around us.
It’s a reciprocal circular motion. While we are pressing into the components of being a well-rounded healthy human being, we also reach back to those behind us. Dr. Martin Luther King’s desire was to bring about peace in the world, created by communities full of individuals who care for one another. It’s important to find circles of support that encourage you and connect you with a future you have yet to experience. The idea of moving forward while reaching back is the model for how we care for widows in our community. Every widow is either a few steps ahead or a few steps behind. Those ahead reach back to those behind with love and encouragement. Seeing a widow who is thriving and not merely surviving gives HOPE and then can be a catalyst to bring HEALING, then GROWTH and perhaps at some point down the road LEADING. I think we see this same concept in some form or fashion in many support groups whether it is divorce, addiction, grief or any other life challenge.
If we are stuck it can be difficult to make movements on our own. However, if someone comes alongside us that has walked the walk then we can be mentored, encouraged and inspired. Our founder, Carolyn Moor says “the healing happens when we find purpose and meaning, and interestingly enough, that happens more rapidly when we are helping someone else find theirs as well. It’s when we face things in life, we didn’t choose that defines our character. It’s about what you do next.”
A good first thing to do is BREATHE! I was in a seminar a few years ago. The speaker was talking about relieving stress and anxiety. He suggested taking 3 long deep breaths and slowly exhaling after each one. It was incredibly amazing how relaxed I felt when completing this exercise. I don’t know about you but I think that so much in our life is stressful that sometimes we don’t even know we are stressed. For sure I believe many of us have been holding our breath with all of the uncertainty we’ve experienced in 2020. Honestly, I generally look forward to a new year and found myself this year feeling a bit of trepidation. The “Forward” book I mentioned above suggests ten steps to seize the momentum in your life: DREAM, PRAY, CHOOSE, FOCUS, RISK, PURSUE, BELIEVE, INVEST, FINISH and CELEBRATE. Without having read the book I can still look at these steps and see in my mind that each one is a significant way to move forward.
I encourage each of us to explore what it means to find meaning and purpose. Then find one person to connect with and start that reciprocal circle of caring for and loving one another. Like the song says “What the World Needs Now is Love, Sweet Love”.
Cindy Toledo is currently the Regional West Director of Modern Widows Club, a national non-profit organization that serves to empower widows to lean into life, build resilience and make a positive difference in society. Cindy became a widow in July 2011 when her husband died from a sudden heart attack. She found Modern Widows Club three weeks later and found her passion and purpose while leading two chapters in the Seattle area. She is seeking to rebuild a chapter in our area and invites anyone interested to contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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