Sometimes, grief can show up in oddest of moments, unexpectedly and like a thief in the night.
Things might be going well for you:
You’re two weeks into a new project, you finally made some long-awaited changes, you’ve signed up for a new course or implemented a new life program. Things are off to a good start.
Or, maybe things are not going according to plan and you’ve been trying to hold all the pieces together. Life is challenging you.
And then, suddenly, an old, unexpected friend shows up.
You might start to feel sad or a numb kind of pain or emptiness. You might feel like crying for no reason, or grief might come masked under anger, frustration or anguish. You might feel an ache or pain throughout your body.
How and when do you experience grief? And, do you realize when it’s grief and do you allow yourself to grieve?
Just the other day….. I felt a “woosh” of sadness and angst flood over me. I’d been pushing myself through some different activities for a few weeks.
Suddenly, when I slowed down, that’s when I started to feel it.
I didn’t welcome the experience. My inclination was to distract myself, push the feelings away, do something that made me forget or numb the rising tide of loss in my body, mind and spirit.
But it was too powerful, and I couldn’t push back the wave that was washing over me.
Sometimes, when I start to feel this way, I want to cry for all that is lost. There are some personal losses, even those from many years ago that gnaw at my soul. I miss my mom, my grandmother, my dog, I miss people I haven’t been able to see in awhile, I miss the days of summer, times gone. I fear my changing body, this changing world, what will happen if I don’t live into and create my dreams.
But we can also feel collective losses; the loss of the earth’s forests, the loss that comes with war, collective trauma, environmental crisis, illness, of all endangered and extinct species on the planet.
Grief is an important part of life and we all experience it at one time or another.
Yet, I believe, we spend so much of our time running away, not willing to be in this place of loss. Unless it’s forced on us, I think most humans would choose not to feel the sting of loss.
It occurred to me how important it is to welcome grief in, to make friends with her and the huge cost of not doing so.
If we stop the flow of grief and do not allow ourselves to feel the feelings of pain and loss, we end up getting stuck, emotionally, spiritually and even physically.
When we ignore and push away, it will churn inside and turn to bitterness, hatred and violence.
Healing is only possible if we allow those difficult feelings in, when we start to listen to and bring awareness to them, and befriend what we’ve been keeping in the shadows of our being.
Finding someone who will sit with you in your grief is like a treasure because it allows all the stuck emotions to begin to flow up and gradually, out. Up and out, up and out; a sign of health! Rather than run away or try to push it down or keep it locked up, you can suddenly “be where you are” and let your defenses down.
This is exactly what allows new life to come in, invites an opening up. The inner surrender to grief allows rejuvenation, renewal and creativity to flow.
Three steps to start to feel better when grief arises.
- Take a breath and welcome the difficult feelings. You may need to slow down a little to do this; take some time out and do an activity that allows for introspection, reflection and inner connection.
- Talk to a loved one who can “be” with you in the grief. If the sadness is too much to bear, reach out and talk to someone, be it a loved-one, a trusted friend, a therapist or grief counsellor.
- Practice self-care. Feeling grief can be physically and emotionally demanding on you. You might get tired and that’s because there’s a lot going on inside of you. Now the best time to offer yourself a little extra pampering.
Do take the plunge, just as you would in a beautiful pond on a hot summer’s day.
Your grief will offer you a medicine designed just for you. She’ll teach you amazing lessons and bring you to places you’ve never dared venture before. She’ll awaken new life in you.
Want to learn more about other useful and life-transforming mindfulness practices?
I’ve designed a high-touch, small community, called ALIVE to nurture and feed your spirit. If you’re ready to finally feel in joyful alignment with your purpose and supported by like-minded women then this is the community for you. You’ll learn how to nurture your sensitive soul and reclaim your joy. Start living with your cup filled instead of empty!