T E A R S – Tragedy into Triumph

by Judy Wright on June 23rd, 2011

The chemical makeup of the tears that frequently accompany great emotions

Is different depending on feeling or emotion we are having.  Contrary to what some people may think, crying tears is an important part of cleansing the body and cells of the stress we are dealing with.

Tom, a client on a Masterminding call, taught me about a formula that he had developed to remind him of how he creates his own reality:

Thoughts + Emotions = Actions + Results = Signals to the Universe

By using the acronym of TEARS, he remembers that his thoughts can start an avalanche of processes which can end in tears of joy or tears of regret.  I resonate with this idea because I realized that change in life comes when our hearts are broken or pried open with emotion. Buddhist comment often on a heart that is cracked open.

When our hearts and souls are open, then old belief systems can be released and new ones can take their place.  When your heart and soul are closed, they are like the Artichoke (my logo) which appears difficult to penetrate.  It is only through patience and warmth that the leaves begin to open and allow others access to the heart.

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Tragedy into Triumph

I have found that the only two ways people really change is through great suffering or great love. When our emotions are raw and our tears of sorrow or success are flowing, we are in a position to change. In these times we either transform our lives or get stuck in the muck of bitter emotions.

When we get in the middle of great joy or sorrow we realize that each person touches the lives of many others. It is then we wake up to the idea that  there is a purpose to the time we spend here on this Earth.

Sarah, a friend, had always believed that children should outlive their parents.  She also believed that a good parent would always be able to protect her child.  Neither of those beliefs proved true in her life.

When her son was killed, the grief nearly killed her, too.  As the tears finally washed away some of her anguish, she was able to see that a road to recovery for her was to turn her thoughts and emotions outward into action that could help others.  As she spoke about the dangers of drunk drivers, she was able to bring a new awareness and belief system to the community.

She used this tragedy as a springboard to accomplish great victories for others who were in decision-making positions.  Of course she grieved, mourned, and missed her son, but she also realized that she had been given the opportunity to transform something tragic into something that offered possibilities to others.

Grief and mourning are a very real and powerful force in your life.  You can mourn a death, lost dream, physical disability, or even misplacing your purse.

It would be impossible to expect you to ever forget great loss. However, having gone through a number of personal heartbreaks, I promise you, you can emerge on the other side a stronger and more resilient person over time. You can bounce back.

Helping Others-Natural Compassion

by Judy Wright on May 5th, 2011

Sometimes, helping others is as automatic as breathing. It comes
natural for many people. They radiate nurturance and acceptance to
those they come in contact with during their daily journey.

who have open hearts and giving spirits tend to reach out to others in
a caring way. They have an instinctive response when they see another
person or animal who seems to be suffering or in need.

In my
work as a trainer and educator, I have the privilege of working with
two groups of these caring and helpful angels: those who work with
children and those who work with the elderly. Frequently they are
underpaid and certainly misunderstood by those who don’t recognize what
value they add to our world.

It is their ability to help others
who are vulnerable that indicates their true nature of natural
compassion. They notice the signals of struggle, both verbal and non
verbal and respond with kindness. Those with natural compassion help
wherever and whenever it is needed by their charges: cutting the meat,
going to the bathroom, putting on a jacket.

Helping others is so automatic to them that they see with eyes of mercy and empathy. Caring and compassion are reflexes.

you are in a position to say thank you to a teacher, parent or CNA at a
nursing home, please do so. They may have developed compassion as a
habit, but the rest of the world who sometimes hesitate before helping
others, should not take their actions for granted.

Rather, we should emulate and follow their example.

we all work on becoming better people tomorrow than we are today, we
can use assistance. If you are interested in learning more about the
power of encouragement, receive a free eBook by clicking on http://www.UseEncouragingWords.com.  This book was written by Judy H. Wright aka Auntie Artichoke, the
storytelling trainer who conducts workshops on mutual respect and

To join her teleclass series or see the other books and
articles available see http://wwwArtichokePress.com Join us at we find the heart of the story in the journey of life.

Saying Goodbye to a Loved One Who is Dying

by Judy Wright on May 4th, 2011

Standing at the bedside of a parent or friend who is in the process of
transitioning out of this life is not an experience most people prepare
for and many find overwhelming. You can be so traumatized that you
neglect the opportunity to tell that person how you truly feel. Sharing
and listening can be a final gift to your loved one. It can also be a
great spiritual experience if you are open with statements and
ministrations of love and best wishes.

Hearing is the last sense
to go. Elicit the cooperation of others in making the passage a sacred
event, by verbally sharing happy memories and stories. Focus the sounds
of voices on making gentle conversation. There might be soft background
music but turn off the TV or radio. Do not expect a response from the
dying because their limited energy is involved in important work.

the positive aspects of your loved one’s legacy. Take turns listing the
gifts and lessons the dying person has given to you and to the world.
This is a time to reassure them that they will not be forgotten and
that his or her life had value.

Celebrate and acknowledge the
special times, talents, and teachings you have shared. Search your
memory for good times, but don’t look for the major moments, rather the
small, insignificant at the time moments, that you remember. This is a
final acknowledgment of the gifts that the dying has given the living
and neither the gift nor the person will be forgotten. Use this time to
express gratitude and reassurance that these legacies will live on for

Sharing Memories

Examples of the type of memory you might recall include:

will always remember the time you brought me red licorice and a milk
shake when I had a sore throat. You bit the ends off the licorice so I
could use it as a straw. It may have been hard for you to say ‘I love
you’ but your actions that day really showed me that you cared.”

you for your vast knowledge of the stars at night. The grandkids will
never look at the Milky Way without thinking of you. They will share
the stories of the night sky with their children and grandchildren.”

always loved a good cup of coffee in the morning. I will lift my cup to
you every morning and remember how much I loved you.”

My mother
told me just before dying, that my words put pictures in her mind. She
said “It is like you are putting a video in my brain that I can watch
and forget the pain.”

Make it your intention to comfort and
support the dying person with love, stories and reassurance. If you can
be willing and open to saying goodbye and good wishes as your loved one
leaves on their last earthly journey, you will both be blessed and

Do you have stories about the transition of life? Please share them with us by commenting on this blog.  We want to build a community of kindred spirits who have faced the loss
of a loved one and are willing to give hope and encouragment to others.

and her friend, Jane Franz, a music thanalogist, are co-authoring a
book of the same name. Publication date will be announced on this

Sing Away Sadness

by Judy Wright on May 2nd, 2011

Climb every Mountain.. The Hills are alive with the Sound of Music…

Can you see Julie Andrews on the Mountain side raising her arms and her voice as she encouraged the Von Trapp family to keep going in the face of adversity.

It really doesn't matter how well you can sing or even if you can't carry a tune in a bucket!  The very act of expressing yourself with music, song and deep breaths will lift your spirit.

Think of Julie Andrews lifting the corners of her apron as she danced and sang.

Now you do it. Come on. Dance around like a fool and sing at the top of your lungs.Don't you feel lighter letting some of those emotions float out of your body and into the universe?

Are you smiling?  See it worked.

You can't hold a sad thought and smile at the same time.Doesn't it feel good to feel good for even a few minutes?

I'm smiling with you, not at you.


Judy H. Wright

PS:  Don't forget to check out http://www.UseEncouragingWords.com  for the free eBook I created just for you.

PSS: You will also want to see http://www.AskAuntieArtichoke.com  for the parenting and relationship blog.

PSSS: Leave a comment.  We would love to have a conversation about some of the posts.

Greiving a Broken Relationship – Death, Divorce or Dumping

by Judy Wright on March 16th, 2010

If you are feeling like a little lost child who has lost her best friend and doesn’t know what to do, then welcome to the club.

We all feel like children when we are sad and lonely

We all feel like children when we are sad and lonely

Most of us, adult and child, have gone through the experience of losing a meaningful relationship. It is a loss of the special person or pet’s personality, but also the major part they played in your life.  when you love someone , or have needed their protections and friendship, bonds of attachment are formed no matter how satisfactory or unsatisfactory the relationship has been.

Who Are You Now?

When the bonds are broken you actually suffer a double loss to the heart and head. The loss of the person and also the loss of the roles you both played in the relationship. It takes time and effort to reclaim a life without the relationship and the associated circle of friends that went with it.

If you are divorced, separated or dumped by a partner you may find it easier to get in touch with your anger over the parting. There is usually some dialog that will be ongoing with a lot of if only…. and why didn’t I…?  Death of a spouse often brings guilt, numbness and a sensation of anxiety over possible financial pressures, effects on children and a wistful wishing of what might have been?

Healing From a Broken Relationship

No matter what the circumstances of the broken relationship, there is bound to be a period of grief and loss. The death of a relationship is as painful for many as the death of a person. Many grieve more at loss of a beloved pet than losing people in their lives.  The more you were dependent and attached, the larger the hole in your heart that must be  refilled. You must give yourself quality mourning time to deal with your loss.  There will probably be days when you need to weep, rehash all the circumstances, re-frame some of the memories that are not serving you right now.

Sharing with friends or a support group will help you to put your grieve into a healthy prospective and to safely be open to your emotions.

Questions to Help You Process This Article

  1. Do you feel that grieve from death is deeper than from a divorce?
  2. Have you ever broken up with someone? How did it feel for you?
  3. When someone broke up with you, did you feel a sense of abandonment? Why?
  4. Is it okay to be angry at someone who dies?
  5. Is grief and loss easy to get over?

Thank you for being part of this community of kind, thoughtful people who respect one another.

Judy Helm Wright aka Auntie Artichoke, family relationship author and keynote speaker

PS:  You will want to connect here to find radio shows, telecasts, articles and free reports just for you.

Explaining Death And Dying To Children

by Judy Wright on March 11th, 2010
Death and dying are difficult subjects to explain to children. A positive attitude and clear answers will help them understand the cycles of life.

A positive attitude and clear answers will help.

Hello from beautiful Montana:

What is death? What does Dead Mean?

These questions are some of the hardest for parents to answer, especially because most have not examined their own feelings,

emotions and believe systems around death and dying. Most of the parents I teach in parenting classes tell me that the only questions they

dread more are about sex!

Read Post »

Set Your Boundaries & Communicate What You Need

by Judy Wright on December 17th, 2009

Greetings from beautiful Montana;

Boundaries are not fences to keep friends and family out, but rather guidelines on where we, personally, feel the most comfortable.  Many people are hesitant to set boundaries for fear of hurting feelings or causing resentments.  However, people are not mind readers and do not know what you want and don’t want.  You must be clear about your needs and desires.

Communicate What You Need

Rather than hope others will guess what you want to do or have in your life, speak up and tell them. It is important that we discuss our choices with them, especially in times of grief and loss. Everyone is emotionally off kilter when there has been a death and may make decisions for you because they think they are being helpful.

Each one of us deals with death and crisis in our own way.  There is no right or wrong way to grieve or to act during a loss of a loved one.  Our feelings, coping mechanisms, sleep patterns, ability to think rationally or even to remember significant facts may be altered.

One Notebook or Command Center

Our family found it very helpful for one person to keep an on-going notebook of dates, times, phone numbers and schedules. Everyone referred to her and the notebook, rather than doing some things twice and forgetting to do things. This relived our mother from answering the same question over and over and then not remembering when Cousin Don was arriving.

It also made sure the obituary was correct and that the funeral arrangements were what the departed would have wanted.  It was a final gift of love to the whole family.

Life is Difficult When Grieving

Grieving a loss is difficult in the best of times, but holidays make the choices even more confusing. The best advice I can give you to get through this tough time is to set your boundaries and communicate what you need and want from others.

I have confidence in you.  You are stronger than you thought.

In support and love,

Judy Helm Wright aka Auntie Artichoke, family relationship author and keynote motivational speaker


Grief Work is Hard Work – Take Time To Heal

by Judy Wright on December 9th, 2009

Hello from Montana:

Most people get very nostalgic because their minds and

Bereavement and Grief are hard work. Be clear in setting boundaries and what you need from others. give yourself time to heal from loss.

Bereavement and Grief are hard work. Be clear in setting boundaries and what you need from others. give yourself time to heal from loss.

hearts are triggered by sights, sounds, smells and events.  Smelling of pine trees reminds them of the Christmas when Grandpa brought the tree. It is true that grief work is  hard work and it takes much energy, emotion and time.

Take Time To Heal

No matter when or how our loss happened, we will still remember and reflect on the person who is no longer in our physical world.  It is important to allow yourself to be human and to recognize sometimes you are too overwhelmed with sad emotions to meet the expectations of others.

When you are working through grief and it is hard work, you need to plan ahead as much as possible.  By setting boundaries and establishing limits, you will not be constantly bombarded with requests and demands.

Set Boundaries In Clear, Calm Voice

Most people (even Uncle George if told often enough) will accept a yes or no when asked to participate.  When you falter or are wishy washy with a request by saying “I will try, but I can’t promise” or “Maybe…we will see” that  causes confusion.

If you are asked to contribute a pie because you always contribute a pie, then say “This year I am spending my energy close to home. Please ask someone else to bring a pie.” Or, “I am guarding my energy this year, so I can give you money to purchase one, but don’t want the worry of making one.  Maybe next year.”

Give Yourself Gift of Self-Care

Just as you need to be clear about what you can contribute to others this year, you also need to be clear about what you need and want from them.  If you need phones calls or meeting for lunch or your sidewalk shoveled, then say so.

No one can really read minds, so be very clear and calm in asking for what you need. I remember calling a friend after the death of her husband and I said, like I have a million other times; “What can I do to help you?”  She didn’t miss a beat, but said; “I would like to have my windows washed, it would make the world seem brighter.”

While I was washing the windows, I was impressed again and again at how clear and concise her request was. She knew that people would ask to help and she knew just what would make her feel better.

Grief is hard work and takes time to heal, but the time is easier when you have companions and support along the way.

I have confidence in your ability to be find ways and means to heal yourself.

In support and love,

Judy Helm Wright aka Auntie Artichoke, family relationship author and keynote speaker


Young Adults and Teens Deal With Death of a Pet

by Judy Wright on November 30th, 2009
Young Adults Who Lose a Pet

Teens and “Tweens” are always dealing with zig-zagging emotions. The beloved pet may have offered friendship when all other relationships were changing.
The loss of a pet to this age group can be particularly hard.  The Pet may have been a source of unconditional love and companionship during childhood. Many young people look at their pet as an anchor of childhood; always loving, forgiving and loyal.

Support of Friends and Family

Family members need to give approval for tears, sadness and acknowledge that it may take quite a bit of time for the stages of grief to pass.Peer acceptance of expressing feelings can make the transition easier.  If the friends downplay the sorrow, the adolescent may bury the hurt feelings and questions in his heart, and not feel safe sharing them.
Remember this is the time in life when young adults are trying to find their own true feelings and discover who and what they are as individuals.  They may want your understanding, guidance and reassurance, but may use conflict to deflect the opportunities to share.
Encourage Teens To Share Feelings
In our family, we have found the best conversations take place late at night, when the lights are dim and there is pizza to share.  Teens and young adults open up their sore places in their hearts when you aren’t eye-ball to eye-ball and busy with a million other things.
I encourage you to take the time in a relaxed setting to connect with your children about how to deal with the loss of their pet.  How this is handled now, will remain with them for the rest of their life and will have an influence on how they approach death of other loved ones later in life.
Please check out my latest book “I Lost My Best Friend Today – Healing from Loss of a Pet” You will be so glad you did.  It contains a collection of stories and photos of others who have lost their pets.
In support,
Judy Helm Wright aka Auntie Artichoke, family relationship author and motivational speaker

Children, Adolescents, and Loss

by Judy Wright on November 10th, 2009

Hello from beautiful Montana;

Do children, adolescents, and young people experience loss differently than adults?  Do they mourn the loss of a pet the same way they would grieve the loss of a grandparent or sibling? Do they bounce back from a significant loss as easily as the adults around them previously thought?

What is Grief, Mourning and Bereavement?

Each social scientist and author have a different vocabulary when it comes to the emotions experienced with a significant loss.  Children, adolescents and adults also have names for the emotional  roller coaster they are on.

Feelings of loss and separation are a prominent part of most grief cycle.  It is very common to experience pain, sadness, anger, bewilderment and many other far reaching emotions.

In addition to the feelings that come in a wide range of reactions and in varying degrees of intensity during grief, the child may react out physically.

It is not unusual for many bereaved persons to experience confusion, inability to focus at school or home, lack of energy and wanting to sleep more than usual.  Other physical signs may be a lump in the throat, pain in the belly, headaches, upsetting dreams, getting in fights with friends or withdrawing from friends in general.

Loss and Grief

Children, Adolescents and young people do indeed grief the loss of pets, people, places and all other losses that they will encounter in their lives.  They need support, kindness and understanding as they process what has happened and what it will mean to them in their lives.

Need Kind and Loving Adults

Everyone who has ever suffered a loss looks for ways to understand what has happened and how it will impact them. Children and Adolescents may not have the skills to ask for assistance or help.  Older people may assume the children are coping, when they actually desperately need assurance and answers.

If you are in a position to share time listening to a child or adolescent who has gone through a loss, it will be a wonderful act of service.  You will have the opportunity to reassure them about life, loss and the importance of remembering with love.

Thank you for being a part of this community of kind, thoughtful people who want to work together to raise children to be respectful and understanding of all.

In gratitude,

Judy H. Wright aka Auntie Artichoke, family relationship author and keynote speaker