Whether you are mourning the death of a loved one, a pet, relationship/marriage, job or career that is coming to an end, the aging process, inability to conceive, miscarriage, abortion (including creative abortions) or a devastating heartbreak – it is crucial that we learn to fully express and process the accompanying emotions of grief, anger, loss, sadness, resentment, depression and disappointment.
After losing one of my greatest teachers, mentors and friends unexpectedly this week, I’ve been diving deeply into the grieving process. May these tools serve you well.
Unfortunately, in our culture we don’t have a lot of systems and support for the grieving process so it’s important that we take responsibility and learn how to hold ourselves in such a vulnerable time.
1. Give yourself time + space to feel + fully express GRIEF. Allow GRIEF to cut you to the bone. Grief, death and mourning is the dark teacher of love – as well as the most fierce and awakening teacher.
Let out your wails, cries and screams! Many of us live without a lot of space or privacy in close-knit apartments or with others. Find the space to give your primal animal a place to be heard – get out into nature, or maybe when you are in your car driving alone…fully release. This vocal lament is called keening in Gaelic Scotland and Ireland and considered a cornerstone of the mourning process.
EMOTION = ENERGY in MOTION
Let your energy move. Exercise. Move. Use sound. Release. Honor your version of the grieving process.
2. Find support with people who share your grief. Maybe you are not grieving a loved one, but a divorce, miscarriage, abortion, job or the aging process. Seek support and verbally share your story with others who are or have experienced something similar. Modern psychology and ancient initiatory rites widely recognize the power of being witnessed, respected and honored in times of challenge – especially from those who can relate to exactly where you’re coming from. There is a great, healing alchemy in sharing and being seen in our vulnerability and authenticity.
3. Use music to support + evoke your emotional journey. Be extremely gentle with yourself. Take the time to just be still. Lay down, rest and listen to sweet, healing music. Music that evokes sadness and loss may help to stir and release any tears or tenderness – moving it through you. Savor these precious moments.
4. Do ANGER WORK!!! Non-negotiable, but often overlooked. Anger is one of the 5 main stages of grief – along with denial, bargaining, depression and acceptance, according to Elizabeth Kubler-Ross – author of the seminal and groundbreaking “On Death and Dying”.
Clearing anger helps prevent you from getting stuck in the later depression phase.
Depression = Repression.
Get a pillow and tennis racket and pound away. Or write “FUCK YOU” letters to the person who died, to yourself, to the marriage, job, to God/Cosmos – listing all the reasons why this unfair, wrong and totally fucked up!
Any form of verbalizing or writing your feelings is necessary for the sadness and grief of the heart to move upwards and out through the mouth. If the true feelings of the heart are not heard…the heart gets scared, clogged, shut down and blocked.
5. Do the APPRECIATIONS. Meditate.
Sit quietly for a few minutes. Connect with the spirit or archetype of what you have lost (ex. person, unborn child, job, outgrown phase of life) and begin an inner dialogue with it. Start a conversation:
What do they need from you? What did they have to teach you? What else do they want you to know? What lessons did you learn?
Be open to receive any insights or intuition in a non-verbal way: sensation, sound, memory, and image all represent the right brain (emotional, non-linear) to help release and heal.
Next, send this person or thing GRATITUDE. Bless them wherever they are in the universe. Send them love and remember/appreciate all they have done and how they gifted your life.
Most of all, be extraordinarily tender with yourself in any time of disappointment or loss. The path is precious and the heart tender
Please email, facebook me or leave a comment of what has worked for you in the grieving process. I am here for you and would love to hear your tips.
Peace + love,