Recently I have been reminded of the “world as mirror” phenomenon. Each time there is a natural disaster, a major celebrity dies or there is some other very public emotional happening, all our incomplete issues start to reverberate through our energy field bringing up whatever issue is most ripe or appropriate to the topic in view. People become very involved in the issues highlighted such as grief, loss, abuse, or the shock of tragedies.
Depending on our perspective, history and life experience, this reactivity will be different for each of us. We tend to see the world as we are not necessarily clearly as it is. We each have a perspective colored by a variety of factors.The important thing and most powerful approach is to be aware of this. Without awareness we will have a rant, some moments of discomfort, maybe some tears, or perhaps quite a bit of scathing discourse that includes analysis and blame. This may help alleviate anxiety and possibly take some of the pressure off our internal pressure cooker, but it is ineffective at getting at the real point which is that something within us has begun to shake, rattle and roll as a signal to pay attention, honor ourselves and attend to some unfinished business. If we do not we lose a major opportunity to let go of some baggage and move on lighter and brighter.
This week the loss of Whitney Houston brought up grief issues for many people. Of course we are sad to lose such a talent. Of course we are sad that a beautiful being died “too soon” etc. But beyond our grief for a fellow human and her great struggle with life…what else is being shaken loose that can be healed within us? Often in a case like this, it may our own grief–sadness, hurt or anger– around any loss we have encountered that is underneath our reaction to a tragic event, loss or disaster.
Honoring All Experience Leads to Wholeness
To know who we are’, it is important to own all our experience. If the emotional aspects of life experience are left unfinished, we can end up feeling fragmented, disconnected, empty, separate or we simply have a sense of being out of kilter somehow without really knowing why.
Grief can be an integrative experience if managed appropriately. It can help you be aware where you hurt and thus identify your feelings, which help define your needs and boundaries. It can also help separate unhealthy reactivity from deeper, truer emotions that show you a doorway to your authentic SELF. In order for this to happen there must be a space made, opened and honored so that all aspects of your experience are given form and released.
Here are some tips for manging grief whether large or small. It is best to not judge actually if some experience is large or small. The importance is whether it mattered to you and had an effect on you.
1. Honor your experience by speaking or writing it out. Telling your story, honestly stating how it was for you without laundering it into what you think is acceptable, is crucial. Experience needs to be claimed and witnessed in order to be processed and released. The witnessing, whether by yourself or with another, is best if it is nonjudgmental and compassionate!
2. Engage in a spiritual practice. Practices that help you connect with aspects larger than your ego self help make you feel that you CAN hold all your experience and not be shattered by it. Later you will realize that you can feel it AND let it go; this will give you more ability to feel what is there with courage because you can trust that you do not have to feel it forever.
Spiritual practice also helps you to not feel so empty or isolated. It can provide an infusion of loving, supportive energy that assists you and holds you up when you cannot do it all alone.
3. Seek out others who have been through similar situations. Sharing your experience, weaknesses and strengths is very healing. Both giving and receiving are a part of the natural flow of life. ..a core expression and rhythm of love.
4. Take breaks in your process. Especially if your grief is a large one, it is crucial to the process to give it both active and receptive attention. It is okay to let things rest and gestate for a time.
5. Provide an outlet for release of all thoughts, emotions and beliefs that have been stored up as a result of this loss for you. Create rituals, use intentions that help you to not only uncover and articulate but also for the letting go part.
6. Channel your energy into something positive. One family channeled grief about the loss of a child into a foundation that now raises money for research into childhood illnesses. Another family is honoring the memory of their child by funding a house for families to stay nearby when their sick children are hospitalized. These are two wonderful examples of turning grief into positive action to process the grief and honor the past while improving the situation for others.
7. See a professional grief counselor if you feel that your grieving process has gone on too long or you feel stuck. A professional can help you reclaim your Self.
Grieving is healthy. As you experience it know that you are OK, feel that! Allow yourself to feel the sadness, despair and loss. Develop a ritual to experience letting it go when it is time, then purposefully move on. We are meant to grieve, but not forever!