The work of grief is the work of life. It is a holistic journey.
Mind. Body. Spirit.
Grief is universal. How far you walk along the grief journey is up to you as an individual. Superficially, grief is about accepting or assimilating the change of loss. Yes, that’s really big on its own! Grief is the transition. That’s often enough for most people: wrapping your heart and your mind around the emptiness. Yet, for many, the longing persists to understand more deeply about the loss that won’t go away.
Mind is one step of grief.
If standing in loss becomes your badge for life, grief becomes stuck and acknowledged, but not a journey. However, when you examine and share the heartbreak of loss and change, grief fades away to an often positive path that opens ahead.
Deeper work into grief is about the change, the transformation that occurs during the examination of that relationship for which you loved and lost, its impact on who you are today, how you operate in the world now and the so-called meaning of life. This is the topic of discussions, books, poetry, philosophers and movies since time began!
Examination comes from Reading. Writing. Thinking. Talking.
Body is one step of grief.
Transformation is about self-love. Understanding. Accepting not only the loss, but all the crevices of humans being. Grief comes in waves of feelings and memories for behaviors, regrets, gratitudes, criticisms, and all the other emotions. Grief is stored in the mind, body, and heart. Past, present and future collide.
Self-love appears in how we care for (or don’t care for) our body. Where does grief land in your body? And how much have you carried with you for long before this loss? Since mind and body are inextricably woven, loving attention to your mental or physical health will elevate both.
Feeling means to Listen. Breathe. Notice. Release.
Spirit is one step of grief.
Even deeper comes the ultimate work that falls under the heading of faith, meditation, spirituality, God.
What happens after one dies and how you stay connected to your loved one cannot be ignored. Religion, God, The Universe, Life Force, Afterlife… in grief, one critical component is to confront your deep held beliefs. Do your beliefs match up to the feelings and thoughts of your grief experience right now?
How can you look at loss without questions about the afterlife? It is impossible. Not having answers for one’s self about spirit can be an area of stuck grief. What you know to be “right” is deeply and profoundly personal. Whether through religions, rituals, traditions, or philosophy, you will meet this path on the grief journey. You may not be able to articulate or explain this part of your journey fully as the spiritual path is not necessarily an intellectual exercise.
Experience the stillness of Being. Knowing. Embracing. Expanding.
Mind. Body. Spirit.
Nobody wants to hear that grief is work. Who willingly takes on such potential angst, examination and pain? Yet, all your angst, examination and pain are already inherent in the process of your loss that is known as grief. Choosing to discover what you need to know about grief consciously will make the process have purpose and create meaning out of loss and propel you forward into your best life. Death is a catalyst of change thrust upon you.
The order and aspect for your Mind-Body-Spirit work of grief —what makes itself known to you— varies. If you come to your loss with deep faith, this may sustain you, or could rock your world when you question the unfairness of loss. If your health has degraded significantly, your first step may be to acknowledge your own bodily needs for living. Perhaps you are someone who feels so much, you can’t even think about the loss, much less assimilate the very real changes happening around you. Grief is individual.
Work is a dirty four letter word. We reject it. We avoid it. We love to hate it. But when you think about it, work brings accomplishment, self-esteem, value and even community into our lives.
We do get through grief when we work at it, consciously. Grief doesn’t resolve on its own no matter how much time passes. You never forget the loss, the person for whom you mourn. Getting through is never about forgetting; the other side of grief is inclusive. Feeling great is not a betrayal, but a testament to love: The love for the one you miss and the love that was given to you.
Grief isn’t easy. Grief isn’t pretty. But neither is what you are experiencing right now. As you choose to “do something” about your grief, which is your work, you walk your path to a new wholeness. Your definition for how you are whole is likely to change. But it may surprise you to find that on the other side of grief you have become more through loss rather than become less when Navigating Grief.