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Coping Through the Holiday Funk- Danita Ogandaga, MSW

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This article is about World Class Funk: Holidays, Loss, & Intensified Feelings.

A client once told me, “Danita, if I could, I wish that I could become a bear to hibernate from Thanksgiving to New Years”. I have heard this statement so many times in my work as a grief recovery coach. The holiday season is naturally a time for persons to be of good cheer but not everyone is reeling from the turkey preparation, fall colored leaves, lines at Starbucks getting your red cups, or frequent trips down neighboring subdivisions to view holiday lights.

My therapist once told me shortly after the loss of both parents that the feelings that we carry and often have are not pasted on watch so they do not obey time and they certainly don’t obey the calendar we follow ritually. Seasonal affective disorder (SAD), according to an article published by CNN affects approximately 20% of Americans and are due in part to the cold weather, lack of sunlight, to name a few followed by financial pressure for some. As much as we’d like to drag the Grinch or the person sitting in tears, the stark reality is that grief is real and it takes time. Martha Beck, who writes for O Magazine and is an amazing transformation coach in her own authority, it is important to remember that if we are going to be there for someone during their season of grief that we not try to rush them along. Healing takes time.

Just as water travels through the river, there are people that are walking the streets, working beside you at work, or pushing their cart in the grocery store with you that may find themselves in the first 48 hours of their loss whether that loss is a loved one, foreclosure or loss of house due to fire or other circumstance, prolonged illness, abandonment, rejection, or any other situation. This past week, I encountered what felt like a surge of personal emotions that all seemed to come at once:

  • My sister was rushed into emergency surgery
  • My aunt lost her husband and love of her life
  • I wrapped up a month-long course on Miscarriages and had a moment to remember my own

Although these moments dealt with a person, there are also griefs that are associated with non-persons. Whatever the grief may be, I want to encourage you that you must go through the process and in doing so, ultimately find the strength to place the memory of the things or person that you have lost in a place where you can continue to function.

Here are a few ways that you can begin to make through the days ahead:

  1. Make time to remember- Maybe it was a picture you posted on Facebook  or your favorite memory of the place you loved to attend, make the time to share those experiences with your friends and family.  It may be a simple trip to your favorite ice cream store of a long-distance trip to the island. No matter where it is, make the time to make time to remember. The engagement and the act of giving voice to the memory will provide a connection deeper than you could imagine.
  2. Open up for glimmers of joy- The feeling of guilt can cause you to believe that you are not entitled to laugh in the midst of crying as you mourn or grieve but I want to assure you that this is the best thing for you to do. Your memories can hold the joys as well as the pains associated with losing your loved one and when you remember deep down, you know that your loved one would want you to find glimmers of joy even in a painful time.
  3. Set clear expectations- It may not always be easy to set clear expectations especially when you are crying your eyes out, but it is ok to know that when you have lost someone or something, no one expects you to jump up and down and cheer. Let’s face it, you have just lost something or someone dear to you so of course you are going to cry. Death is a separation until we are reunited again. When couples and family members embrace each other after a short departure or reunion, they cry, right? So, if there is no immediate reunion in site for those things or persons that we have lost, of course there will be tears. Talking to people who are perfect strangers in a support group or grief recovery group can always assist your process.

No matter what you decide to do, maintain your peace that you are doing what is best for you. This is what we want grief to look like and in fact, it is something quite different.

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I encourage you to stay tuned for our February 2016 GriefTalk Recovery Group event that will be held online. For more information, read here.

In the days ahead, stay encouraged. For more products to assist your grief journey, please visit our store. 

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Go Get It: Getting Your Passion

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“God allowed us to reach this point in order to take us to the next level.”. These were the words of Erica speaking of the relationship with her sister and the eminent sabbatical of the group Mary Mary. I’ve enjoyed watching their show for the past two seasons on WE and have appreciated the position they have taken as a gospel group going mainstream with their edgy yet anointed songs that transform our thinking and motivate us to go for everything God has for us.

Yet in the midst of watching their show tonight titled, “Fight of a Lifetime”. I am sure that it indeed has been a fight of a lifetime for many people. I sense that there are many people in a stage of life where they want to break out from the normalcy that they have been engaged in and return to their happy place. In 2012 Forbes Magazine reported that only nineteen percent (19%) of people were satisfied on their jobs. Many of them often worked from their cubicle fantasizing of the clock striking five o’clock so like Clark Kent, they could turn into their Superman “type” in the studio, at the sewing machine, or in the kitchen.

Whether that happy place is a six figure corporate executive leaving his position to save children on the streets of Cambodia or a medical doctor who decides to become an entrepreneur, or like Mary Mary, it may be that you suddenly realize that your passion for touring and making records has blessed you to arrive to a wonderful place in your life filled with fortune and fame; yet the passion of changing diapers and being a housewife is the calling that you wish to walk in. Whatever your expression, the chains of obligation are slowly falling off many and they are becoming impressed with conviction to follow the road less traveled and get to the essence of getting to their own happy.

From the time we start school, we are taught to get a good education and play sports so we can get a scholarship. Our expression in school may have been art class or baking cookies or for others designing software. Technology and passion have cleared the way for many to develop their successful vocations without stepping foot into the walls of a university. Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Steven Spielberg, to name a few are successful innovators who traveled the road less traveled and the against the opinions of man to follow their dreams.

Mary Mary have experienced an awesome career that has spanned many years and have opened the door to other gospel artists breaking into the mainstream. Despite what they may choose in their path, the decision to follow their peace will be their ultimate success.

P.S. Thanks for reading this post. I hope that you will comment and share your experience. For additional information on developing the power to express yourself, stop by my store for my audio teaching I delivered in Kinston, North Carolina called “The Power of Expression and Knowing God for Yourself.

Love you and God loves you double!

Danita  Ogandaga

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$0.79 Therapy- Stop Waiting for Pooky!

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God often removes people from your life for a reason so be so careful before you try to chase them down to return! God is about purpose and sometimes in developing you, you will find that those things that used to bring you joy may be replaced with other things. This does not mean that you are better than the other person, it simply means your development and progress has been re-aligned and the two of you are not compatible.

Loss is an inevitiable process to life and as sure as we gain, we must lose, as we catch things in life ,we must release. This uncomfortable feeling can and will create heartburn and feelings of uncertainty but be assured that you are excelling into becoming your best self.

Attachments are so beautiful when they enter our lives. Like our finest accessory, attachments can be added to accentuate our life in many ways where dullness once existed. It may be that before going to Starbucks on a regular, you found yourself waking up to Quick Trip coffee, and wanted to spice up your life, or you began shopping excessively at the Gap because you wanted to rock the latest fashion and could not afford it. To the human side, maybe you were so completely in love with Pooky but Pooky did not treat you right so you took some time off from him and now he is trying to come back onto the scene.

As a result, now Pooky calls you day in and day out wanting to arrange a time to see you and wondering how you’d feel about his recent attachments which includes an addiction to people pleasing which causes him to spend his money and yours buying the jacket of the week or maybe he wants to showcase you at his work party but he has already told you he does not want to commit but wants you to just go with the flow. Let’s pause here.

No wait…..does that mean you’d be a spare this time?

So if you are in the waiting room of life and you find yoursef wondering if that love, life, person, or thing will suddenly explode onto the scene and have you all pick up where you left off, know that this may never happen and you should finally breathe and get used to your new and fresh life.

  1. Ask God to give you a new perspective and to clarify yourself in the truth of His word so that you can clearly see.
  2. Don’t rely on your feelings to make the difference in your life because feelings are fickle and they lie.
  3. Appreciate the time that you had with that thing or person and ask God to come in and fill the void of your worth and value with Himself
  4. Let God love on you and allow you to grow and rise above the hurt that you may be feeling with having loss the attachments in you life.

God loves you to pieces and He wants the very best for you. You may have a heart ache for a few minutes, but be courageous and walk into all that God has for you!

He loves you immensely,

Danita Solomon Ogandaga

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