Grief

OPENING THE HEART TO GRIEF

Grief is an inevitable part of life and as such, should be attended to with care and respect for the process it puts us through.  Moving toward the unknown, and grief and the sense of loss certainly does move us toward the unknown, is often where we find healing.  We do not find healing by running away from it into a quick fix. Our grief doesn't need to be fixed; it needs to be listened to and learned from.  God, Nature, Spirit, the Cosmos, the Great What Is, has not put this experience before us by mistake.  Suffering, whether physical, emotional, spiritual or as is often the case, all three, can be a doorway to transformation.

Some believe they have no grief.  I have lost no one, they say.  Why should I be grieving?  But this is a way of closing the heart through rigid self protection.  Some people have lost a child, a parent, a partner, lover, friend, pet.  Some may have lost a breast, an arm, a gallbladder or a colon. Some have lost a job, a promotion, an opportunity, or money in the stock market.  All of us are losing our youth; that ability to stay up all night and party, move without stiffness or pain or fit into our wedding clothes.  ALL OF US HAVE LOST SOMETHING; EVERYONE HAS GRIEF.  Everyone has some unbalanced tally sheet with life, some unfinished business.  Those of you who can admit to your grief, whose grief is fresh or obvious, please know that you are not alone.

So once we allow ourselves to become aware of our grief and the vulnerability that comes with it, what then?  Why go there?  Because grief, undigested, unprocessed, unacknowledged, turns into self judgment, fear, guilt, anger, blame and depression.  The sadness that we experience in our grief is not depression. There is a profound difference between sadness and depression. Sadness is alive, poignant, workable.  Depression is stuck, dead, unworkable.  Sadness is a feeling, depression is a disorder.  Often the depression we feel at time of loss is because we have not allowed ourselves to be sad.

Nothing about grief's journey is simple.  There are is no tidy progression of stages and its' course can be long and circular.  Grief comes in many shapes and sizes.  It can be a soft gentle tugging at the heart or a savage pain.  It must be stressed again that grief is the natural reaction to any loss, not only death.  Illness, abuse, job loss, moves to a new location, unfulfilled dreams, can all bring on a grief response.  Grief is not a sickness or problem to be solved.  It is a normal process of healing and recovery. Please feel free to call me at any time for support at 415-516-7528.

For the Grieving; when you are left with a breaking heart:
(Adopted from materials prepared by THE CENTER FOR LIVING WITH DYING)

Realize and recognize the loss.  Take time for nature's slow stuttering process of healing

Give yourself massive doses of restful relaxation

Know that powerful, overwhelming feelings will lessen with time

Be vulnerable.  Share your pain and be humble enough to accept support

Surround yourself with life, plants, animals and friends

Avoid rebound relationships, big decisions and anything addictive

Keep a diary and record successes, memories and struggles

Know that anniversaries and holidays can bring back the painful feelings you thought had left you

Realize that forgiveness of yourself and others is a vital part of the process and can't be rushed

Realize that any new death or loss will bring up feelings about past losses

And the woman spoke saying, " Tell us of pain ".  And he said:

" Your pain is the breaking of the shell that encloses your understanding.  Even as the stone of the fruit must break that its' heart may stand in the sun, so must you know pain.
And could you keep your heart in wonder at the daily miracles of your life, your pain would not seem less wondrous than your joy; and you would accept the seasons of heart, even as you have always accepted the seasons that pass over your fields.  And you would watch with serenity through the winters of your grief."


"The Prophet"
Kahlil Gibran

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