Time of Grief: Seasons and Cycles

I’m pondering cycles this morning along with the Autumnal equinox. This is a day of balance: an equal time of light and dark given our perspective of Earth to Sun. My ruminations arise from mindfulness and meditation, both which attune to the present moment. These practices take cue from the natural world, for sure. Being here now is one of the best methods through grief – and life – in my opinion.

I am exploring the healing aspects of community circles, group dynamics, Feng Shui, Earth elements, and chi energy. I am giving nod to the astrological influences on the patterns of our energetic life. What’s old is new again as most of these practices are ancient!

Outside to Inside Cycles

We just moved through both a solar and lunar eclipse, five planets “in retrograde” and the equinox, plus two full moons slated in one calendar month. The big word is transformation! I am also reviewing human development and change theorists as I fine tune how these processes align with my Heart Wholeness model for moving through grief. Growth cycles and circles keep coming up for me — from mandalas to birth/death. I find there is no shortage of metaphors for cycles. There are seasons, butterfly stages, calendars, story and chapters, anything in nature, really. That’s my thinking, intellectual side talking about cycles.

My feeling and emotional side says September is a big re-cycle time of the year. My wedding anniversary and late husband’s birthday are obvious grief dates. I slipped by with little concern before or during with just some family notation of Dave’s birthday. Funny, I say late husband. One, it is a weird term! No other death has this language. But two, it is a contextual aspect of my relationship. I find myself referencing, reminiscing and sharing memories socially with a sense of past life; like childhood references. Back then…

The Cycle of Relationships

Recently asked if I am single, I responded widowed, but wanted to take that back. It’s years now. Years! I didn’t really want to explain myself in this term, especially to a stranger. Single? I didn’t like that answer either. It wasn’t about my status or availability to a potential mate; this was really an innocent and casual question of life. What I noted from this exchange is that the cycle of this relationship is over; not necessarily the relationship itself. More importantly, my active grief is over. I wasn’t detached, as in putting up a defense for coping with grief; I was detached because sorrow doesn’t have a hold on me. It was that memory of back then.

Yet, I still have memory respond when we return in a cycle of this season: School. Football. Fall weather. Holidays. It is as much a visceral memory as it is habitual response. Shift the clothes closet, make comfort foods, plan for the fallow months of winter.

And Back Around Again

Yes, holidays. For my work cycle, I ponder all the people who are starting the itch of anticipating the holidays, as well as those who don’t know yet about new unknown losses that will become associated with “this time of year.” Seasonal cycles. I re-cycle the articles and thoughts and support that comes with someone experiencing the universally predictable stresses of new, first, second and ongoing grief and loss. Cycles. This literally comes and goes every year.

Does Grief Cycle?

So this question came up: Are there grief cycles? I expand on my thought from last month that there are two so-called stages of grief: transition and transformation. Isn’t that the cycle of growth? (I propose everything else is theory application, method and tools.) I can digress into the distinctions of transition and transformation easily but I will leave that for another article. Instead, I offer this idea: The cycle of grief is different than how long grief take.

How long does grief take? is one of the first and most asked questions after loss. That answer is about time, a period measured by the clock or calendar. Linear. Human thought and measure. What if we consider grief as a cycle? Circular growth of change, transition, and transformation? Now it is nature, a feeling, a sense of time not time itself. Now you come into the present, the physical body of being here now and what grief is like for you today. The journey through grief and into your life of well-being is to find balance or harmony among the constant change. The big change is a death that brings you here and continual incremental changes of living through that transition period into your transformed life.

Go gently forth. After all, the light and dark of Earth and Sun only come into equality twice a year. The other 363 days are in constant change influenced by all sorts of other universal pulls.