Healing Stories: The Las Vegas Massacre…My heart deeply aches.
Coping with tragedy…
Disbelief. Rage. Anger. Hopelessness. Sadness. Grief.
As the word of the Las Vegas massacre reached the world the above emotions ran through almost every human being on earth.
Where do we begin? How do we process? Where do we direct our emotions to?
These are some of the questions that have flowed in daily to number one best-selling author, counselor, life coach and radio host David Essel. The answers for something so tragic are never easy.
Below David tries to offer some hope. Maybe some explanation into what we need to do now after another tragedy has hit our soil.
“My heart, aches deeply. Now. Still. I woke up in the morning to the worst news that I could ever imagine. After the hurricanes. After the earthquake in Mexico City. After the ethnic cleansing that has forced 400,000+ people into the country of Bangladesh who from all accounts is not equipped to deal with the Muslim population that is being persecuted beyond control by of all things a Buddhist nation. Reading about a mass killing in Las Vegas put me over-the-top.
I almost couldn’t catch my breath. Tears flowed. I honestly couldn’t stop crying for 15 minutes. I couldn’t shut it down. How? Why? What’s going on in this world?
I reached out to one of my best friends, James “Smitty” Smith. A Las Vegas resident who is one of the top radio and television boxing analysts in the world. I wanted to know if he was ok. Smitty and I have been friends for over 35 years and I could not imagine if something happened to him at this concert.
He got right back to me but his words I’ll never forget. These are words coming from a former boxer. A macho kind of a guy who also combines that tough guy image with a heart of gold. He told me he was shattered. He didn’t go into work. He couldn’t. The grief was way too heavy. I sat on the phone listening to him and tears were still streaming.
Then I thought of my friends DeBorah and Floyd Little. Melissa Roof. And so many others that live in Las Vegas. I reached out to all of them, holding my breath, praying and hoping that they are all ok. Thank God they were.
And then on my Facebook feed, something that still brings tears to me right now, I started reading about friends of mine that had lost a good friend to the sniper in Las Vegas. Another friend of mine whose daughter was there and got shot in the leg. I was overcome with grief.
I had no time for anger. Yet.
Overwhelmed. Numbness. Every client I worked with on that day was in the same mental and emotional state. Deflated. Absolutely numb .
Even those clients I work with over Skype from all over the world had the same emotional response. None of us were ready to be angry yet. There was so much work to be done in the world of emotions, Grief and sadness were at the top of the list.
So what do we do about this massacre? This tragedy? Regardless if we know someone who was personally affected by it or not?
As a counselor and life coach for the past 27 years I have helped people deal with all kinds of loss, grief, anger, rage, sadness. And we need to try to process the emotions beginning now.
Here are some thoughts, and I truly with my open, hurting heart, hope they may help you in the processing of tragedy .
Number One: Start to limit yourself from reading, listening to, and watching more and more information on this massacre . We need to take a break. Everyone. If you continue to follow every person’s comment, every congressman’s comment, every media personalities,…there is no healing to be done. This is pure fact. I work in the media, but I’m telling you people need to take a break from the onslaught of information.
Number Two: Quit posting on social media your opinion of what happened, why it happened, and how we need to change this world. I see so much anger, people directing anger at each other, the Democrats attacking the Republicans, the Republicans attacking Democrats, the atheist attacking the believers. Enough of the nonsense. Get the hell off social media if you’re going to make comments that you truly don’t know anything about. And as of right now we don’t have enough information for people to be getting angry at each other about such a tragic event. There is no benefit to this whatsoever. Stop it.
Number Three: Take the time to write about your emotions. If you’re grieving, write about your grief, what is the cause. If you’re angry, write about what you’re angry about. If you feel hopelessness, write about your hopelessness. Whatever you’re feeling get it out of your head, out of your heart, on to the paper. This is the first step to heal.
Number Four: Some of my clients are asking right now if there is a God, where was he? Where was she? How come she didn’t intervene and stop the killer? How could he let such a senseless tragedy occur? As an all faith minister these questions come to me even outside of tragedy. Find a professional, a minister, Rabbi, priest and work with them. Ask them these questions. Try to find some answers. They may, or may not, come right away but it’s our responsibility to look.
Number Five: If you come from a spiritual or religious background pray. Pray for those directly affected by this tragedy. Pray for yourself as you feel the depth of emotion of sadness, anger, rage and grief. Prayers do help bring people together, even people that may not know you’re praying for them. They work if you believe they do and if you don’t just skip this step.
Number Six: Donate. Time. Blood. Money. There are ways that you can actively become involved in this tragedy by going to your local blood bank. Or by becoming part of the solution. By following the above tips. By stopping your comments on social media and cutting back on how much time you spend watching, reading or listening to the news. Look in your community. Can you help any organization by volunteering? Think.
Number Seven: Ask for help. Reach out to a counselor, life coach, therapist if you’re still truly deeply struggling and ask for help. Don’t go this alone. This is the time to get guidance and ask someone to guide you through your grieving process.
I believe it’s too early to try to be looking for the “silver lining” in this massacre. I’ve read on social media people saying that “everything happens for a reason” and I think this is terrible advice right now. It’s premature. It’s way too early. I would never advise any of my clients, family or friends to start looking for the good in a massacre so close to the event having just happened. Don’t be foolish and wasting your time on this principle.
There will come a time down the road that you might want to explore the reason for this, the positive side of this equation, but I as a professional do not believe that we are anywhere near that time right now.
If you need help, reach out to me at www.davidessel.com, I want you to know you’re not alone. You are never alone.”
Healing Stories: “I Will Never Be Able To Forgive Her.”
Sometime in your life, if it hasn’t happened now, it probably will in the future you will face great betrayal.
It may be from a close friend. A lover. A family member. A coworker.
They could be incredibly spiritual. Kind? They may have a high standing in society. Or they may be struggling in life. But whatever the case, most of us in life face betrayal. Someone breaks their word. Steals money. Cheats on you. Speaks behind your back. Destroys your reputation in society.
And what do we do?
For 27 years, number one best-selling author, counselor, life coach and radio host David Essel has helped thousands of people to overcome the brutal act of betrayal. But he never imagined he would have to put all of his own strength and energy and the techniques he teaches others into his own life as well.
Below is David’s story. A brutally honest recollection of an experience that changed his life.
“I fell so deeply in love with her. It was fast. It took both of us down this incredible path of love in almost an instant. I was ready for a deep ongoing relationship and I found it.
Not only did I fall deeply in love with this woman but also she had a young daughter that I bonded with equally as well.
Within a short period of time I started to become frustrated with the lack of her ability to follow through on her words. And this is something that I mentioned to every person in the beginning of a dating relationship. I can be very strong, very secure, but if you start backing out of your words, if you don’t follow through and do things you say you’re going to do, it will create havoc in our relationship. And this is exactly what started to happen.
I didn’t know when I first started dating her that she had quite a bit of financial challenges. So within a short period of time I found myself loaning her money to help her and her kids survive.
First it was one months rent and then one months back rent. Then her car needed multiple repairs. And then the big hit came when she had to have surgery and none of her family members would help her financially with a surgery that absolutely had to be done.
So I became the Savior. At that time I told her that we had to start writing up a legal agreement with all the money I had loaned her because I was feeling uncomfortable about where all of this was going. She agreed instantly. Which set my heart free. I could still love her and just realize she was going through a difficult time and be there to support her and her children. But they were still problems with our relationship.
She had a very hard time following her words. She would promise to do small or large task and then 70% of the time she would never follow through. I was becoming very impatient very irritated.
I still loved her deeply but I was sensing great limitations in our relationship .
Eventually, I ended the relationship. But as she was leaving, I realized she had no money for rent for her and her little girl, so I ended up continuing to pay rent on a regular basis to make sure she stayed afloat.
As the debt continue to rise. She was starting to make weekly payments, even a little bit at a time, which made me feel secure that we could at least stay friends. I could support her little girl and she would eventually pay me back the money.
But it wasn’t going to be that easy. One day, when I called her to set up a time for the weekly payment, she informed me that she had talked to her mom and several of her girlfriends and she wasn’t going to pay me back. I was shocked. She went on to tell me that everyone agreed that this is what boyfriends do they help their girlfriends financially and that’s just the way it is. No more money would be paid back.
I was in shock. But I shouldn’t have been. This was a trend that had been going on since early in our relationship. She would promise one thing, back out, and cancel her promises. On top of all this I had to slowly end my relationship with her daughter which broke my heart as much as having to end the relationship with this woman.
Nothing about this was easy. A number of months went by. My anger continued to grow. My resentments continued to grow and I knew I had to do something about it.
So I started the process of forgiveness that I have taught thousands of people since 1990.
Every day I wrote about my anger, my rage, my hurt, my sadness, my disappointment. This literally went on for months. I knew I had to get the poison out of my heart as I knew it was affecting me in such a negative way every day .
After all of my anger was gone, I started writing letters of forgiveness to her that I would either tear up or burn on a daily basis. I shared none of this experience with her as the problem really was within me. I needed to forgive so I could be at peace.
Then I began writing about my role in this experience. My codependency. I had turned into the white night, the Savior, wanting to make sure that she had everything she needed when the relationship was not one based on honesty or trust. That was my fault.
Betrayal, it happened on many levels, from the breaking of her words, to the borrowing of a large amount of money with no intention to pay it back.
And I had betrayed myself. When my intuition was saying I should not be loaning this amount of money to someone who had broken her words in the past, I was betraying my own intuition.
Once all of this was clear, I started writing about how she could do such a thing. I wanted to have compassion for her and her situation.
As I wrote, I recalled all of the terrible experiences she had growing up as a young girl. Emotionally abused by her mother. Physically abused by her stepfather. Physically abused by one of several husbands. As I wrote, my heart opened. A new day was beginning.
It took many many months to get to this level. I had no communication with her whatsoever during this time and she had no idea I was doing all of this intense forgiveness work on my part. It wasn’t about her, it was about me.
When I was fully clear, I waited several months before I figured I’d reach out and talk to her, and then all of a sudden hurricane Irma hit. One of my first concerns was now that I’ve forgiven her, is she OK with her kids.
That text, reaching out and asking is she set to face this massive hurricane? I felt anxiety inside me. Have a really forgiven her? If she responds with an attitude can I let it go? If she responds with gratitude can I let it go? In other words this was never about her, it was about me dealing with me.
Her response was immediate. Thankful. Grateful. My heart was open, I had done the deep work of forgiveness and I could be real, honest and vulnerable with her as a friend.
I became free, she became free. Then the next step surprised the hell out of me. I received a series of text from her telling me things that were incredibly powerful to hear. How I had taught her so much about life. How she had grown immensely. Her gratitude for everything I did to help her and her children. Several texts in a row open my heart even more.
She also shared that she was in a new relationship and my first response back was as you and I are continuing to reclaim this friendship, make sure your new boyfriend is aware of what you’re doing, I don’t want to create any chaos and drama for you or for me.
My work was done. The lines of communication are open if she ever wants to reach back out and I truly feel I can be friends with her at whatever level that means.
Don’t hold the poison of resentment and anger inside. Forgiveness is hard work. It never is easy. But I can tell you it’s so damn worth it. When I think of her name now my heart stays open. A year ago? Whenever I thought of her a sour feeling went through my body. That feeling is now gone. She has moved on, I have moved on, and peace is back in my life. You can do the same thing. If you need help, reach out and I will take you down the same path of forgiveness. It is worth the work.”
( From David’s new, and yet to be released book, “Focus! A step-by-step guide to huge success, a great attitude and profound love. ” )
Learn more about David and his one on one coaching and counseling here… http://davidessel.com/life-relationship-business-coach/
If you would like to reach David to help you with any relationship issues that you’re going through, please email him through the website www.davidessel.com
Healing Stories: Counselor Faces Huge Anxiety in the Face of Hurricane Irma
It’s not often that we hear the gut wrenching truth from a mental health professional about facing their own anxiety in one of the biggest storms in life.
But that’s what is one of many things that separates David Essel, A number one best-selling author, counselor, life coach and radio host from so many other individuals in this world… Is that he’s willing to share his vulnerable moments as well as his powerful ones.
David is still suffering from the effects of hurricane Irma as this article is being written. He finally found a hotel to stay in after four nights of sleeping in a home without electricity and temperatures reaching 100° every evening. David shares what he believes to be the most important keys in dealing with anxiety in life.
“I’ve been through several hurricanes as I’ve lived in Florida for the last 40 years and everyone of them brings a different type of anxiety. Fear. Unsettledness. But the most recent one, hurricane Irma, affected me in a way I had never experienced it before.
The massive size of the hurricane was one thing that we had to all contend with, and as the news reports leading up to the striking of this hurricane became more prevalent, it was obvious this could be the worst ever. Some people were saying it was four or five times the size of hurricane Andrew that absolutely destroyed many communities around Miami Florida.
I live on the West Coast of Florida, Fort Myers Florida, and we weren’t sure if we are going to get a direct hit or not. In the beginning of the forecast it looked like it was going to go up the East Coast of Florida… But that was to change quickly.
My home is in a flood zone so I had arranged a hotel not far from where I live to take myself and my dog because they have generators. I figured what better place to be than 3 to 4 stories above the ground in a hotel with generators. But on the day we were supposed to move in, Saturday, they closed the hotel. Now what the hell do I do?
I started calling around to realtor friends to see if anyone had a home that I could rent for even a week or two or a month in case the damage from the hurricane was that bad. But no one could find anything for me to jump into at the last minute.
I decided not to evacuate because I knew I had a safe place in the hotel but I had no idea that safe place would be taken from underneath me.
I started to call friends of mine and found one, John Biffar, who was out of town and said I could stay in his condominium which might be a little safer than my house. So I moved in with my dog and sat down to battle what could be the storm of the century.
For the past seven days I had been planning for this. Plenty of food. Water. Flashlights. Everything I could possibly need if it was going to be an extended stay outside of my house.
But then things started to change on the news. It looked like Irma was taking a direction towards Fort Myers and away from Miami. At about 3 o’clock in the afternoon I lost it. Tears started streaming down my face. I was on the ground floor condominium, not far from a major river, and if we did get a direct hit I was Surely going to be flooded out of here as well.
As tears streamed down my face, I looked down and there was my dog Saint looking up at me, I told him that I was human, I was afraid, and we would make it through somehow.
I know, as a counselor, that the most important thing to do with emotions when we’re feeling them is to actually feel them! So I started writing. Journaling. And then I posted on Facebook, something I never do about my personal life, because I knew it was time to do so. There are millions of other people I’m sure that felt the same way I did, but probably were not going to share it in a public setting.
So I posted a very short note on Facebook that this huge wave of anxiety had just passed through me, tears are streaming down my face, I was feeling the effects of a potential direct hit from the hurricane Irma, and it’s OK. This is what we’re supposed to do. When we feel deep anxiety, depression, rage, resentments, we need to feel them, write about them to help process these emotions out of our body
This is not something that men are taught how to do. Many women refuse to express deep emotions as well. But I knew that by posting this on Facebook not only would I be human, because the fear was real, but I might actually help other people to realize it’s OK for them to go deep into their feelings as well.
The outpouring on Facebook was immediate. Many people posted underneath my post that they “were feeling the same thing and thank you for giving them a voice. Thank you for allowing your emotions to touch ours. We are all in this together.”
And this is what I have based my work on for 27 years now. When people come in and they’re going through a life trauma, one of life’s many big storms, addiction, divorce, bankruptcy, extreme weight gain, I help individuals to process their emotions over and over again instead of hiding them, stuffing them, or pretending they’re not there.
The results is instantaneous but you need to keep processing these emotions with the different tools we use on a daily basis in order for them not to get stuck in our bodies, minds and spirits.
My anxiety was well-founded. We did get a direct hit and by the time Irma hit us thank God she was down to a category 2. But as I write this, nine days later, I have moved to a hotel room with air-conditioning awaiting the power to come back on in my life. Every day I write about what I’m actually feeling, being displaced, I’m uncertain of when I can go home. I will survive, thrive and more, and one of the reasons why is because I’m allowing myself to be human, to feel, to process, to heal.”
***When tragedy hits… Americans come together. It’s what we’ve done since the beginning of time. And today, with the combined tragedy of Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Irma, is no different. David Essel is a counselor, life coach, best-selling author, radio host and an all faith a minister who has personal experience in the tragedy of hurricanes.
“Unfortunately, I know the devastation of hurricanes on a very personal level. I am now offering, to all of the victims of Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Irma, 20 minute phone sessions to help alleviate stress, calm nerves, and anything else I can do.” Says David.
Some of the areas David can help are as followed:
As an all faith minister, David can work with people of all spiritual and or religious backgrounds. Nonreligious people: David will help you with your challenges that have nothing to do with prayer, religion, or spirituality.
“Reach out to your friends and family. Ask professionals in your area for help. The only way to get through these difficult times is to have faith, work as a community and to look for solutions to take care of your immediate needs. I hope I can be part of that solution, and will look forward to helping as many people as I can,” says Essel.
For more for Information on David, visit his website www.davidessel.com