Grieving as a Community

We all remember terrible incidents over our lifetimes when there are deaths of a large number of people. They are shocking. But nothing is as shocking to the world community than the death of a large number of children.

The horrifying number of children killed in American schools by mass shooters is distressing. So too are school bus crashes when multiple children are killed.

The Community Horror of Tragedy

A large part of what most people feel in the wake of such incidents is horror at what the parents are going through.

As a community we also feel the horror of those beautiful lives that have ended far too soon.

For the families of these children there is terrible grief, especially when more than one child has died. But
I am not going to talk about that today.

What I am going to talk about is how we as a community grieve the loss of lives, especially those of children.

The Cost of The Loss of an Individual

How do you quantify the loss of a child?

When a child dies their physical body and presence on earth is lost. But there is more than that which is lost.

There is the potential that is lost. Who might that child have become? How will the future be impacted by their absence? What relationships will never form because they are not there? What contribution may they have made to the world? What might the descendants that will now never be born have contributed to the world? How will their death change the course of our lives?

What The Loss Means to Family and Community

How do you quantify what the loss of each child means to their family and friends?

How do you quantify what the loss of each child means to their community?

As each layer of society is affected by the loss of each child, the impacts radiate out into the next layer and the next layer. Very much like ripples in a pond.

How Individuals Are Impacted

As citizens of this earth, we are all impacted by these mass deaths.

We feel deeply for the families. Many of us will imagine how we would feel if it was our own child and we feel such grief for the parents. We feel their pain and it hurts. Many will cry over the pain of the parents.

As an individual in a community you will likely grieve for those lost lives. It may not consume you in the way it would if the child was a family member, but you will still feel the impact of their loss. Your brain will not be as impacted as you had no neural connection to the child, but you will feel the pain of caring for a fellow human who has suffered the unimaginable loss of a child.

As you absorb the horror of these losses, your own grief for those you have lost in the past may surface. And that is something you will need to attend to.

Secondary Trauma

The deaths of so many and the horror you feel is known as secondary trauma. You may not have personally been involved, but you can put yourself in the place of those who have been personally involved. When you do that, you can feel the horror they are feeling.

Don’t fear secondary trauma. It is a beautiful reminder of how interconnected we humans are. We are not isolated communities in separate countries. We are all citizens of the earth. One large interconnected mass of humanity.

We Live In A Connected World

It is hard, in this world of mass communication and heavy news coverage, to avoid being exposed to terrible tragedies. And would you want to live your life unaware of the need to show compassion for others?

From devastating house fires, school shootings, earthquakes, tsunamis, bushfires, floods and more you experience so much of the horror of the world. You may not hear of every tragedy, but the ones you hear about are difficult enough.

What Can I Do?

When something terrible happens on the other side of the world, or the other side of your community, what do you do? What can you do? It is hard to feel anything but helpless in these situations. What can you as an individual do?

When something terrible happens there is such sadness. You may not personally be involved but you still feel sad. Maybe you even feel guilty that you are enjoying life with your family in your home. You may well long to rush out to offer comfort to those who are hurting.

So often after terrible events the community draws together. The number of people who donate money to assist others caught up in disasters is one such instance. After floods, the people who turn up to help with the clean up is another instance. Communities draw together and offer support. In large disasters help comes from all around the world.

Community Healing

This drawing together of people is part of the healing of the community. Honouring the lives that were lost is another way of healing. Ensuring changes are made to reduce the likelihood of the incident happening again is another way of healing. As is setting up disaster protocols and teams to respond more effectively to any future incidents.

The pain of what happened will always remain, but the community will move forward with the sadness of what has happened.

The Power of Compassion

Importantly all will remember that compassion is a powerful tool to give to others. And you will do well to remember that you are a member of a community. It may seem you are alone, but in reality you are not.

If a tragedy leaves you feeling unable to cope. Don’t hesitate to reach out for help. That may involve talking to understanding friends, or seeing a counsellor.

Can I Help?

If you would like to talk to me about how I can help you process these difficult events and your own grief, please contact me on 0409396608 or

If you would like to learn more, I write a regular newsletter with helpful information, tips, information on courses, and the occasional freebie. At the moment I have a free mindfulness meditation for anyone who signs up to my newsletter. This meditation offers a way to safely explore your feelings and learn to be okay with them. If you would like to subscribe please click on the link here:

7 Ways To Reduce Stress

When stress levels are high you can feel that things are out of control. You can feel overwhelmed with tasks and feel unable to cope with your massive To Do list.

Here are 7 “C” suggestions of things to do to feel better able to manage that stress.


When you feel overwhelmed with things to do you don’t feel in control of your life. It feels more like life is controlling you and you are drowning in the busyness of it all. It is really important to find some space to think. So take time out. Even a few hours. Review everything you have on.

• Is there anything you can pass on to someone else to do?

• Is there anything non urgent you can move to another day/week/month?

• Which tasks need to be done so that your life can continue to function? (such as clean clothes, food, clean dishes, caring for children if you have any.)

• Which tasks are “like to do” rather than “need to do” tasks?

Question: what can you do to feel more in control of your life?


When you feel capable of completing the tasks you have to do, the tasks are easier to do. That doesn’t mean they won’t take time. You do need to be realistic about the amount of time a task will take and the amount of time you have available to complete your tasks.

Question: what skills do you need to learn or improve so that you can feel more competent?


If you are confident that you can manage the unexpected obstacles to completing a task you are likely to feel less stress around attending to tasks. Fear of things going wrong and not knowing what to do is a major contributor to stress.

Question: how confident do you feel? Describe that level of confidence. What can you do to increase your confidence?


One of the best buffers against high stress levels are healthy relationships with other people. It is not so much about having great friends, but more about feeling you have a community around you that you belong to.

It is about having a network of people you can turn to for help when you need assistance, advice or other resources to complete your tasks.

Questions: Who are the people in your life you can go to for support or belonging? How might you make connections in the community? Do you have strong connection with family, friends, and your community?


This may seem odd, but it is important the tasks you have to complete align with your values. Doing something you feel uncomfortable about is going to make you feel stressed and going to make the task a hard one to complete. That then leaves you with a To Do list with uncompleted tasks. That is a recipe for high stress.

Things to consider in this situation are:

• Who has assigned this task to you? Is it work related? Has a friend/family member asked you to do something? Is this something you feel you have to do because you don’t know of any other options?

• What is it about this task that you feel uncomfortable about?

• Which of your values does this task not align with?

• What other options are there for you to consider regarding this task?

• Do you have to do this task?

Questions: What are your values? What things you do make you feel uncomfortable? What is it about them that is uncomfortable?


There are myriad ways of coping. Some of those ways are helpful and some are unhelpful. Many people turn to alcohol or drugs to cope, but these are unhelpful because they never allow you to resolve the problem. It just becomes buried and that causes more problems. It is better to see a counsellor to learn coping techniques than resort to substances and behaviours that bury the problem. Some ways to cope are:

• Self care – take time out to do the things you love to do. Maybe you like a massage, or a visit to a float tank. Maybe you love seeing family or friends. Maybe you love walking in the bush or walking along the beach. Maybe movies are your self care.

• Relaxation – learn how to meditate. Guided meditations can be really great for that. Mindfulness is also a good meditation to do. Yoga or Qigong are also great for relaxation. Or you can find activities that are relaxing such as going to the beach, hugging a tree, a bush walk, jogging, walking, going to the gym and many more.

• Spending time on a relaxing hobby.

Questions: What do you usually do to cope when you are feeling stressed and overwhelmed? Is it helpful or unhelpful? What is something more helpful you could try?


This one refers to the contribution you make to the community in which you live. It is about volunteering to help others. It may involve dropping in to say hello to an elderly neighbour. It may involve volunteering at a Homeless Shelter. It may be as simple as giving a family member a lift somewhere.

Contributing is part of connection. When you contribute to your local community you feel more connected and invested in your local community. Research has also found that people who are willing to help others are more likely to reach out for help when they need it.

Part of Contribution is allowing others to contribute to the needs in your life.

Questions: What can you do to contribute to your community? What can others do to help you?

Putting the 7 “C’s” into practice

Here are some important things to consider when managing high stress levels:

• Have healthy boundaries. Learn to say “no”. Learn to be okay to ask for help, but also to not be involved in something you don’t want to do. Learn how to stop people encroaching on your boundaries. This is an aspect of control in your life and also coping.

• Accept who you are. You are like anyone else and that is wonderful. You are unique. There are things you are good at, and things you are not as good at. There are things you know how to do, and things you have yet to learn how to do. Know your limitations and accept them. Learn the things you need to learn and accept it will take time to be competent. Know also when it is time to stop because you have realised you will never be able to do something competently. This is an aspect of control, competence, confidence and character.

• Practice a healthy lifestyle. Make sure you get enough sleep. Eat a diet that is well balanced and low in junk and high sugar foods. Move and exercise. This doesn’t mean you have to go to the Gym. It may mean you take a walk on the beach, go dancing with friends or dancing in your own living room. This is an aspect of control and coping.

• Ensure your routine includes time to attend to essential tasks and allows time for play. This is a big part of self care. If you don’t spend time relaxing and recharging your batteries you will not be able to complete those essential tasks. This is an aspect of coping and control.

• Embrace mistakes and failures. They are a normal part of life. They are also opportunities to learn and grow. A popular learning theory holds that we learn about something then try to do it. After we have done it we evaluate its success. Do I need to do it differently? Is there more I need to know? Have I learned something from this attempt to show me how to do it again? After evaluating, you try again. This goes on until you are able to complete the task. According to this theory mistakes and failures are a vital part of learning. This is an aspect of competence and developing confidence.

• Be creative. Try different ways of doing things. You may find a better way of organising your life. The creative ways I have devised throughout my life mean I can achieve a lot more than I could in earlier years. There were many creative ideas and some of them worked really well and I still use them. I still apply creativity to completing tasks. This is an important aspect of control and competence.

• Recognise and manage those things in life that will bring up unhappy memories that upset you. There will always be things like that. Maybe recognising why you were upset about something is possible and will help you be alert for that again. Recognising where the upset comes from is a great aid to being able to learn strategies to manage it. You can also see a counsellor to learn strategies when you are unable to.

• Talk to someone you trust when you need help.

• Can’t find anyone to talk to or who is helpful? Talk to a counsellor.

Can I Help?

If you would like to talk to me about how I can help you with learning to reduce stress, set boundaries, accept yourself, feel more in control, competent, connected make connections, identify your values, learn method of coping, and develop the skills to identify ways to contribute in your community please contact me on 0409396608 or

If you would like to learn more, I write a regular newsletter with helpful information, tips, information on courses, and the occasional freebie. At the moment I have a free mindfulness meditation for anyone who signs up to my newsletter. This meditation offers a way to safely explore your feelings and learn to be okay with them. If you would like to subscribe please click on the link here: