Grief and loss: unwanted but natural
During this time of the Covid 19 crisis there are many feelings arising naturally. One are that may not be immediately apparent is grief. Our way of life, jobs, community interaction, patterns of daily living, and so much more has been disrupted. Within these very necessary changes are a multitude of losses.
Your body hears every
word you say, records every emotion you feel
Our nervous systems record every loss (experience) along with the attendant thoughts and feelings. If we do not process these losses and the attendant grief we not only lose a key opportunity to learn a lot we also are creating an inner impediment to our future functioning. We often fail to see the impact of life experience on us and wonder later why we have such difficulty with particular areas of life.
Grief is natural and in
the end is liberating
We are meant to grieve our losses. However, if we do not know how to grieve and let go in healthy ways we can groove the ruts of sadness and loss (as we can with any emotion) deep into our nervous systems. Grief can be a surprising source of growth as we move through it and come out on the other side. Giving each phase of grief its proper place and having inner technologies for letting go are the keys to balance, stability and health.
7 Steps for coping with grief and learning to let go
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 loss thereby honoring the past and improving the situation for others.
Your gift to others does not have to be as large as these examples. It can also be a simple gesture to offer to do an errand, have a conversation (listen), smile, say thank you, and recognize another’s presence. What creative way can you be of assistance to another?
Make time for fun and play. No guilt! These are as essential to our well-being as all the other things focused on self-care.
7. See a professional counselor if you feel that your grieving process has gone on too long or you feel stuck. A professional can help you heal the hurt places, claim your personal power and help you access inner resources of strength, peace and authenticity.
Let go of resistance to all emotion, allow yourself to feel the sadness, despair and loss fully. Sometimes the simple act of not resisting and fully experiencing is enough for a natural letting go to occur. If not you may need to use intention and opening to the sensation of letting go.