Here at Modern Widows Club we have monthly topics that are focused on our Seven Pillars of a Healthy Widow and Healthy Woman. Regardless of whether you have suffered the loss of your life partner we all have these areas of our lives that are important to our overall well being and health. They are: Emotional/Mental Health, Physical Health, Financial Health, Purpose and Meaning, Spiritual Health, Fun/Creative Health and Relational Health.
Our topic the month of October was “Taking Your Power Back”. I think that could fall under a number of our categories above. When you have had your feet knocked out from underneath you from a significant loss, we can all feel like we are powerless to get back up and find our power. When my husband died suddenly when I was 57, I could not see the future in front of me. My only thought was getting from one day to the next or sometimes from one hour to the next. Then, I thought I would just focus on doing my best at my job, spending time with my grown children and doing my favorite hobby quilting. Well, I did my job to the best of my ability (which certainly lacked), I did spend quite a lot of time with my daughters and I didn’t start quilting for more than 7 years. I’m not sure I really knew what my purpose and passion was prior to becoming a widow and then I really didn’t know what my purpose was.
What I did know was that I desperately wanted the death of my husband to matter. That this catastrophic life event would change me and how I lived my life. That I would take this gift called LIFE and make sure I lived it fully. I didn’t know how I would do that, but I knew that LIFE is precious and I no longer wanted to just float thru it without purpose and passion. I have a very strong faith system and feel like I was guided all along the way on this journey. And actually, that all of the events in my life had led me to where I am now. I think the message I had then and still have is that the only thing in this life that really matters is LOVE. Loving God and loving people encompass everything that makes life matter. What does that look like?
We had an interesting exercise that helped us determine some specific action verbs that most all of us want in our life. They are: LOVE, JOY, PEACE, PATIENCE, KINDESS, GOODNESS, FAITHFULNESS, GENTLENESS AND SELF CONTROL. We threw in WISDOM. On a piece of paper, we listed all of these attributes/verbs in one column. In the second column we listed who in our lives most represented these attributes. In the third column we listed who in our lives least represented these attributes. You could have the same person in multiple categories. If you have a long list of people in the MOST category than you are fortunate. If you have a long list of people in the LEAST category than perhaps you need to access your relationship with them. Now that doesn’t mean you kick them to the curb but perhaps move them to the outer circle. What and who do we want to have as emotional influencers in our lives. An exercise like this can assist us in recognizing places in our lives where we need to make some changes. We also added an additional exercise. If you could take all of your life experience and knowledge that you have gleaned over all your years, what would you tell that little girl who you were way back when? This is quite a cathartic challenge. For me, as a little girl growing up, I was so filled with fear at EVERYTHING in life that I never felt I had any power. Writing to my little self, made me so aware of what I would/do want for her. I’m grateful for all the life experiences to this point because they make me who I am today. But I so wonder who I would be today if I had known I didn’t have to be so afraid.
I encourage you to take a little bit of time to do these exercises and see where you might need to take your power back. Our Modern Widows Club website has a huge bank of blogs on the Seven Pillars of a Healthy Widow, Healthy Woman. https://modernwidowsclub.com/blog/
I also encourage you to check out our Podcast: Healthy Widows, Healthy Woman by our Founder, Carolyn Moor www.healthywidowhealthywoman.org
If are a widow or know a widow please refer them to Seattle@modernwidowsclub.org
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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