Finding Your Light: What Really Matters to You

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You never know when or where you will find enlightenment. Beware! This awareness is usually quite sudden and often fleeting. My moment of awakening arrived this morning during my dreaded task of cleaning my closet.

As I folded and sorted clothing, I discovered my gym bag sitting in the corner. The gray backpack no longer hung in its place of honor at the front of my closet, but rather had slowly crept to the back. The bag had not been used since early March when the Wellness Center closed due to the pandemic. The faint smell of chlorine drifted into the closet as soon as I unzipped the bag. I proceeded to empty the contents and soon had a pile of swim gear and toiletries on the floor. I love swimming and used my lap time in the pool to write stories in my head. Oftentimes, I would swim for almost an hour, developing an idea for an article or a character. 

An overwhelming feeling of sadness consumed me as I realized I was no longer able to participate in one of the sports I loved. Like many of us, I knew the center was going to remain closed until officials felt it safe. But I hadn’t been able to accept the fact that, for myself and so many others who fall into the vulnerable group due to age or health issues, only a vaccine was going to make it safe for our return to the facility. 

Strange how the smells and memories of past experience can cause you to become enlightened. This new realization gave me the ability to be thankful for the many wonderful experiences I was able to enjoy during my sessions of lap swimming in the past. 

For the first time in over 100 days, I finally acknowledged that the virus is real and a threat to all of us. Our world today continues to provide us with unbelievable challenges as we endure a constant barrage of fear and disappointment in canceled traditions. 

My work with those who have suffered losses made me realize that we are all grieving and struggling to find our own beacon of light from this darkness. How can this be possible? 

How can you find your light? 

Understand what grief is: the normal and natural reaction caused by the end of or change in a familiar pattern of behavior. 

Let what really matters most in your life be your light and guide. I have found the following to help me: 

Family: My family has been and always will be important to me. Every week, I continue to call, Zoom, or otherwise keep in contact with family members. We love and support each other unconditionally, even during challenging times. We are nowhere near perfect, as most of you can identify with, but family gives me a sense of belonging and security. 

Friends: I don’t know what I would do without my wonderful friends both near and far. Friends can help as a sounding board, a heart with ears with which we can safely share our thoughts, feelings, and concerns. Friends can value your opinions, elevate your self-esteem, and share honest opinions if asked. 

Faith: Although we follow the necessary CDC precautions, let’s be honest: We are not able to control the world pandemic. Although we can do our part in helping control the spread of this disease, we must turn to our faith. Putting trust and faith in your God can give you the calm and tranquility needed at this time in your life. 

I’m hopeful that I will one day return to the Wellness Center to exercise, relax, and write. But for now, I’m happy to be healthy and able to embrace what matters most to me. 

Debbie Ceresa is a Certified Grief Recovery Specialist®. She is an inspirational speaker, a relationship expert, and the author of the #1 Amazon Best-Seller A Beautiful View.

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When Debbie Ceresa was ten years old, she won a school contest but never told her family. The night of the book fair, her parents found out that she had designed the carousel and theme for the fair. Her mother loved to remind her of this story, she was so proud. She took her never-ending ideas for granted. A love for books and education never left her. Years later, at the age of 36, Debbie went back to school and graduated with upper division honors from Northern Illinois University. She also worked as an admissions director at a private academy, where she revitalized the school’s image and implemented a wide range of educational programs. One of the most important personal accomplishments in her life was completing her memoir, A Beautiful View. The story turned into a two-year project that took Debbie on a learning experience with many accomplished writers throughout the country. Following her heart and her hunches, Debbie Ceresa moved from Illinois to Arizona, where she has a beautiful mountain view and the occasional coyote sighting.

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