“…when it’s your time to go, you won’t wish you had spent more time grieving; you’ll wish you had spent more time living.”
I love Christina Rasmussen’s words. Her message to every reader of Second Firsts: Live, Laugh and Love Again is a wake-up call.
Doing a master’s thesis on the stages of bereavement doesn’t guarantee mastery over grief. This was brought home to Christina when she was widowed in 2006 at age 34 and tried to explain to her six- and four-year-old daughters that daddy was never coming home.
It took time. A lot of time. And patience and trust and strength. But she gathered the broken pieces of her self and started the process of recreating a new version of herself.
Combining the science of brain neuroplasticity and grief healing techniques, Christina has created the Life Reentry process, a powerful tool that moves a griever past surviving, to thriving. Instead of pushing away from grief or rushing it, her approach is to use it as a catalyst to create a life aligned with your values and passions. The result: you will live, laugh and love again.
The 5-stage Life Reentry process essentially involves rewiring the brain to create new neural pathways that will help you choose and reclaim happiness.
Stage 1: Getting Real. This means validating the pain of your loss by acknowledging your feelings and beliefs. You also learn to indulge in a Grief Cleanse ritual allowing your grief space to speak, and activate your Watcher, the observer in you that supports an objective view of the world.
Stage 2: Plug In. Here, you learn how to do quick 5 % plug-ins: tiny action steps you can take right away to help build new neural pathways. It could be a Belief Plug In (an affirmation you create and embrace), a Home Plug In (choosing to change one room in your home so it reflects your brand-new life), the Letting Go of Friendship Plug In (identifying how that person makes you feel and figuring out how to let go).
Stage 3: Shift. You start to work toward ending the habit of repeating thoughts of loss and begin to repeat thoughts of life. This slight frequency change in your brain and heart will shift the possibility of new life experiences. It is the ability to detach from your former self.
Stage 4: Discover. This is about reconnecting with the innocent, curious part of you, your Thriver. This is the part of you that has dreams and engages with life. It’s about unearthing the part of you that knew joy before pain became your default setting.
Stage 5: Reenter Life. “During the reentry process you need to remember that life has not killed your dreams. Grief did. Your brain did. Your loss of hope killed the dreams you once had.” This stage is about creating your new destiny, one that is more aligned with the real you that existed before grief hijacked you. Joy, laughter, love and dreams are birthed anew in this stage.
With case studies and personal anecdotes to support her scaffolding, Christina’s book teems with ideas on reentering life with vigor and vitality after a loss. Visit https://www.secondfirsts.com for more.
Click the link to tune in live on Jan 15 (7 PM CST/ 8 EST) to listen to my interview with Christina Rasmussen on The Grammar of Grief radio show. https://www.blogtalkradio.com/creatingcalmnetwork1/2014/01/16/the-grammar-of-grief-with-uma-girish
I received this book for free from Hay House Publishing for review purpose.