Grief and letting go are natural parts of the human experience and to be healthy and whole we need healthy methods of integrating them into our being.
There is a tendency to associate grief and letting go with only death or other major loss. The truth is that we experience grief and loss in many other circumstances over the course of a lifetime. We experience it as we move on from a particular life stage, age, change jobs, leave relationships or places. Grief and loss are a normal part of our human experience. Whether the transition is large or small, it is important to give it attention, respect AND a process for completion.
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.
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.
Grief and letting go are normal human experiences although they may be difficult. Grieving is healthy. As you experience it, feel/ know that you are OK in spite of whatever pain or discomfort you feel. 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.
Grief and Letting Go Require Healthy Approaches for Integration
We are meant to grieve our losses. Believe it or not they can be deep growth experiences. 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 and energy systems. Giving each phase of grief its proper place and having inner technologies for letting go are the keys to balance, stability and health.