Grief and Loss
“The Centerpiece of the integration of grief is not the mind, but the heart.” — Alan Wolfelt
There are many ways we experience grief and loss in our lives: the loss of a home, a job, a relationship, an identity (ie: retirement) , the loss of a familiar place or country, etc. In my work I support people with all types of losses. The experience of losing a loved one through death can be one of the most profound and challenging times we may face. It is also a time of potentially deep growth and transformation. As the Phoenix rises from the ashes, so we can also rise through the transformative power of this time. The story of grief is really a story of how much we experience Love in our lives.
The process of grief is a natural, normal part of the human experience. This is something that takes time, and requires support. It is essential for us to allow ourselves to be supported as we navigate the terrain of grief. You do not have to go through grief alone. Grief impacts us on all levels – body/mind/soul and spirit. We may feel like we have been torn apart or literally brought to our knees. We may feel fear like we have never known. We may feel immobilized. All of these are natural responses of our body and soul to the experience of loss.
While each person grieves in their own way, there are some universal and common features. These include Physical reactions : fatigue, sleep disturbances, shakiness, weakness, difficulty concentrating, headaches or other body pain, sometimes dizziness or feeling disoriented, or loss of appetite. Emotional Reactions: Shock, denial, feeling disconnected, overwhelming tears and sadness, anger, loneliness, numbness,confusion, mood swings, irritability, fear, guilt, feeling overwhelmed.
All of these experiences are normal and natural parts of the grief process. It is really important to honor your own process and your own needs during this time. While family and friends may be supportive, it can be helpful to have support from someone with experience who can really hold and guide you in your grief. I have been working with people grieving for over 8 years and I can support and guide you during this time of deep transformation. If you shut down or close off your heart to this experience, you will also be closing off important parts of yourself that are actually calling for your attention. While grief can feel like your whole world is shattering, if we can stay with our hearts and this mystery of being human, there is a path of awakening and discovery of deeper love, compassion and self knowing that can be a lighthouse in the darkness. I welcome you to let me accompany you in this terrain.
Staying open to the mystery of life is sometimes the only thing we can do. Recognizing that we can’t control everything and may not understand why certain things happen is one of the first steps in this process.
Strategies for Coping with Loss:
- Learn about the grief process
- Create ways to express your feelings – whether it’s through talking to others, writing and journaling, drawing or painting, sculpture or clay, etc.
- Be compassionate with yourself. Understand you are experiencing a process which takes time, patience and self care. Know that feelings are neither “right” or “wrong” they just are.
- Give yourself permission to be where you are, each person has their own grief process.
- Avoid unrealistic expectations of yourself.
- Know that the world will be filled with “land mines” and you may experience “grief bursts” where you are overwhelmed with feeling, or moments of anger or resentment toward a world that seems to go on without noticing or caring.
- Pay attention to your basic needs for rest, exercise, eating well, drinking water and getting enough protein. If you are having trouble with any of these, see a physician.
- Survivor guilt may have a strong pull, know your life and your needs are important.
- People may not know how to support you – and may avoid you. Reach out for support from those who can be there, or professionals.
- Find people, places and activities that are inspire, comfort and support you.