Saturday, 30 July 2022

The Power and magic of anniversaries

Anniversaries are incredibly powerful and if utilized in the right way can catapult you forwards like nothing else. There are so many anniversaries in our lives: our own birth, our children’s birth, a wedding, a traumatic or even a joyous experience, an adoption loss, a serious diagnosis and of course death and funerals - this list can go on endlessly. What was too overwhelming and hence dissociated at the time of an experience will come up again a year later for you to process and digest. A year of new learning and the healing of time itself hopefully means that you are a bit more resourced.

It really helps to be aware of the power of anniversaries so you can be prepared for the big feelings that will arise out of nowhere. If you see them in the right context, you will be able to navigate and ride the waves much easier. And you can then call in the help you need to go through it with a bit more ease and gentleness. If you let yourself be guided in this process, magical things can happen to you and the spiritual gifts you will receive can be huge. Personal growth, more embodiment and resiliency, better boundaries and increased inner strength, clearer intuition and psychic abilities can all be the positive side effects of anniversaries.

I hope this article will encourage you to give the power of anniversaries more room in your life so their healing will fully embrace you. This big process will be easier to manage with preparation and support. I am sharing my experience to inspire you for your next journey inwards.

The second year of my husband’s passing anniversary was a big one and I learnt so much in a very condensed time frame. I made another quantum leap forward. The anniversary labour was intensified by arriving back home in the freezing cold with a completely empty fridge and still sick with Covid after travelling. It was the perfect storm.

I had first travelled into the warmth to give myself space from the everyday responsibilities of living on a big block of land and to help my nervous system replenish. It was the best possible preparation for this year’s anniversary. Forced to make decisions around life and death while caring for Digby and witnessing him in constant pain had left me with PTSD like symptoms I had to recover from first. My travel diary reads:
“It has been nice to be reminded how much fun reading a book, just sitting for ages on the beach, skinny dipping in the morning, snorkelling every day in the coral reef, paddle boarding and even cooking is. When I am snorkelling I can take in the beauty around me when at the beginning I was just stressing ridiculously easily. I am surprised by the kindness of people around me and it is so nice noticing how my nervous system has switched from constant cortisol stress reactions to more ease.”

My travels up north were pretty special with magical experiences and soul touching events along the way. Travelling had its own new theme, it helped me to love myself, to begin to trust life and to come back into my own flow again. I again met up with indigenous Ningaloo elder and soul sister Hazel Walga who understands the spirit world and shared very private and profound spirit messages with me. I did a sound healing offering in Exmouth, swam, hiked and snorkeled while roughing it and living out of my tiny car for a month.
Even though I had planned to go travelling for a three months I all of a sudden knew it was time to go back again after only four weeks. My land was calling me and I followed its call even though I was scared of facing the anniversary at home instead of being on the road like the year before.

The intense loneliness that first hit me after travelling up north and returning to my remote house was excruciatingly painful, I did not know how to get through it and everything on my land overwhelmed me. In a clumsy way I reached out via text to a few people, that’s all I could do. Some ignored me, some responded. What I really should have written is: “Please bring me some cooked food, I am at that grieving stage where I can’t cook for myself. I need real human contact, not text messages, give me a hug, let’s eat together, go for a walk, listen to me and just know that I am going through the anniversary time”.

It is so interesting how the grief is tied in with food and the lack of family and community around me. It is not ideal that I live on my own too far out of town. Grief needs a village, it needs being held by a bigger container. We cannot do grief alone as biologically we are herd animals and it is wired into us to need one another.

After one visit from a friend who could hang out with me half the day and truly meet me in my grief in a relaxed way, I was able to be alone again without feeling so intensely lonely. I could fully embrace and even love this deep and sacred space.
I needed a lot of silence. I went for walks around my block and cut down weed trees. I watched the flow of what wanted doing, instead of pushing myself to get things done. I signed up for qigong online classes that resonated and made me smile, they help me to reconnect with myself again, to the spirit world, to energy, to life.

I started inviting people to my place who have also lost someone unexpectedly. They had the deepest heart connection with that person and are facing the most unbearable loss.
I didn’t really understand grief fully even though I deeply grieved the death of my godmother who was the most important person in my life from a very young age. Without her in my life I wouldn’t have made it. But I am realizing that I was prepared for her death, the moment she told me that she had cancer I knew she would die and two years later I spent the week before she died with her without having to be her carer. It was the best week of my life, we talked and even laughed a lot about death, we both accepted it was coming and we were deeply connected. And as I didn’t live with her, my everyday life didn’t change after her death.

It is so important to be understood in one’s grief and I am only beginning to understand my own deep grief now.
It’s been a joy hanging out with people who also grieve like me, chatting for hours, exchanging stories, crying, laughing and swearing together, seeing the differences and at the same time being in awe of the sameness.
There is so much no one talks about, so much no one teaches, so many taboos that are silenced. I might just have to write this book.

I used to love talking about the spirit world with my husband. Like my indigenous friend Hazel he could see spirits and communicate with them, he knew things he couldn’t have possibly known if not connected to this reality. It has been so nice talking to with my new grieving friends about the spiritual gifts we have been receiving through this painful yet transformational process.

I will find a solution for this rural and isolated block of land with an off the grid tiny home. But right now I am grateful that I have this safe place that can hold me and my grief. Just as it was after Digby’s death I could not leave the block of land in the anniversary week.

I am so glad that I followed my intuition to come back early from travelling. Up north I would not have had the block of land holding me and I wouldn’t have been met by this cold and very painful loneliness.
There was no way I could have gone through this the last anniversary year. I am so much stronger this year round and it was time to face this harrowing loneliness I arrived with at birth. Anniversaries allow us to unpack what had to be dissociated, but a year later we get a chance to heal another layer with more resilience and support available to us.

Something magical made sure that I could not find the keys to my house and counselling office after my travels and so I had to cancel all my face to face clients – I was clearly not allowed to leave the block of land. For over two weeks I looked everywhere for these keys, suspecting that they would turn up when the time was right. And I did indeed find them without looking once the anniversary time was completed: They were in a dresser with my husband’s ashes on top, hidden behind a framed card my now dead godmother had painted for our wedding. Goosebumps!

The friends I lost in the time of grief, I can now let them go freely because I can embrace the huge loneliness as a big teacher. These gone friends played their role in my learning – and I do get that it is uncomfortable and not easy witnessing someone else in pain.
My deep thanks to the friends that stood by my side no matter what.
And now it is time to make new friends, to build a strong network around me so I can do the work I will be called to do.
My attention at present is on letting go of the things that don’t flow and being gentle with myself – it’s like falling in love with my own self. 

May we all be supported in our deep journeys on this planet with the stars surrounding and the oceans connecting us.

With love


Barbara Schmidt

Counselling Somatic

Trauma and nervous system recovery 

If you want to find out more about your nervous system and the incredible healing from trauma I am inviting you to read the short articles on in my blog section  - you can subscribe to my newsletters via my website and receive all future blogs conveniently via email.
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