Ask Golden Willow

How to rebuild your personal foundation after a loss

By Ted Wiard
For The Taos News
Posted 3/20/19

Dear Dr. Ted: There have been two surprising avalanches that have happened in our quiet little village of Taos Ski Valley. The impact has been especially enormous on many of us who live and/or work here.

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Ask Golden Willow

How to rebuild your personal foundation after a loss

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Dear Dr. Ted: There have been two surprising avalanches that have happened in our quiet little village of Taos Ski Valley. The impact has been especially enormous on many of us who live and/or work here - not only personally, but for the families and loved ones who have been hurt or died in those avalanches. I have noticed that it has seemed to rattle my entire being. Is this normal that I would be impacted so deeply? Thanks, Angela

Dear Angela: Thank you for writing in and sharing. The avalanches in Taos have been, rightfully, a topic that many people are responding to in many ways and forms. My heart goes out to everybody who was impacted by these events and I have immense gratitude for the many people who have responded to these difficult events. What I have witnessed is a level of resiliency and recovery on the individual level as well as by the collective community.

The impact of loss, which includes events such as the avalanches, interacts with your entire body and everything that makes you who you are in this world. Resiliency is the ability to bounce back after an event that has disrupted your homeostasis, or balance, within your life. Resiliency has six emotional domains that may need to be aligned after a loss. These domains are a secure base, social functions, positive values, talents and interests, friendships and a cognitive/educational foundation. Along with these emotional stabilizers, loss impacts your physical, spiritual and intellectual pillars that allow you to rebuild after your system is shaken. This happens all the time, but you may not notice as the impact.

The more an event affects you, the more your foundation will be disrupted. These fissures, caused by the shaking of your system, may release memories of other unresolved or partially resolved events in your life, magnifying the present situation to another level. These unresolved issues that seem to come soaring up are commonly known as "triggers." An important aspect of healing and rebuilding your individual foundation is to look truly into yourself and see what is going on and what is it that you need in the moment, as well as over the next few days. As you rebuild your present foundation and stabilize the pillars that hold you up, you are able to be more in the present and start building your goals and plans for the future.

When you start to become overwhelmed, come back to the present and focus on what your next need and action are only in that moment. Through this process you are able to rebuild your foundation, heal fractures within your internal system and have the opportunity to have a stronger core. This process helps heal historical events, change behaviors and thought patterns that haven't served you, all the while improving the overall care and quality of your life and how you interact with yourself and others.

Next week I'll spend time exploring external systems and how difficult events impact a community. Thank you for your insights and being willing to share, and as always, thank you for the question.

I wish you well. Until next week, take care.

Golden Willow Retreat is a nonprofit organization focused on emotional healing and recovery from any type of loss. Direct any questions to Dr. Ted Wiard, EdD, LPCC, CGC, founder of Golden Willow Retreat at GWR@newmex.com.

This column seeks to help educate our community about emotional healing through grief. People may write questions to Golden Willow Retreat and they will be answered privately to you and possibly as a future article for others. Please list a first name that grants permission for printing.

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