COPING WITH LOSS

The dictionary describes grief as sadness, anguish, heartache, regret, remorse, sorrow and suffering.

Grief is everyone single one of these words and I think it needs all of these words to illustrate the extend of what it is to experience.

Grief is one of the key emotions that women going through divorce and loss experience and takes a considerable amount of time to move through.

It may seem strange that the function of grief is to heal.

Sorrow can make you feel as though you are being torn apart, cell from little tiny cell.

People who follow grief through its whole course emerge stronger and healthier, more able to cope with the inevitable losses that affect every human life.

In the end they become sources of wisdom and compassion for themselves and everyone around them.

Sorrow is heavy, hard work.
It stalls all your systems in order to force you toward a very, very painful task, coping with loss.  And loss always lies at the root of grief.  Every time you lose something you hold dear, you must grieve, and every time you feel grief-stricken you can be sure you have lost something dear.  We are stunned and devastated by things like separation, aging and death as though these aren’t the very constants sure to affect every single one of us.

Whatever the reason, loss is hard for us and healing from it takes a lot of energy.  Grief pushes us into ‘deep rest’ weighing down our muscles, wringing tears from our eyes and sobs from our bellies.  It isn’t pretty but it is natures way.

Our deepest grief is reserved for things that have no acceptable substitutes: loved ones, relationships, health, hopes and dreams.  Trying to replace someone special to you, or something you once were is actually useless. There is nothing to do but mourn and the pain will disappear a whole lot faster if you lean into it.

1. Find Or Make a Safe Place to Grieve
At a bare minimum you have to have a safe place for mourning, privacy and quiet.  Maybe wrapping yourself in a blanket, have a pen and paper at hand to express your feelings in writing.  Some good old sad songs are also useful.  Any song that helps you cry will access your grief, move it through you and help you release it.

2. Reserve Time to Grieve
Sadness slows you down, give yourself more time than you think to finish tasks like cleaning your house or finishing projects.  The more love and support you give yourself, and get from others, the more energy you will have for the tasks of everyday life.

3. Maximise Comforting Activities
This means doing things that gladden your heart. Walking along the beach or in nature, listening to music, enjoying your children or your pets, whatever works best for you.

One of the Four Noble Truths taught by the Buddha was that any permanence we perceive, in ourselves or the world around us, is an illusion.
Clinging to that illusion, trying to force things to stay as they are, leads inevitably to suffering.  Accepting impermanence means embracing the world as it is, complete with loss.  Refusing to accept change doesn’t mean that the pain of losing something you love will never start, it only means that the pain will never stop.  As they say in coaching, the only way out is through.

    • Losing the illusion of permanence means that you will accept your losses.
    • It means that you will become well acquainted with sorrow.
    • It also means that you will realise the infinite sources of healing and joy that are available to an open heart.
    • People who don’t resist grief, who let if flow through them, come out more resilient on the other side.
    • They are less afraid of loss, more able to soften the pain of those around them and quicker to appreciate whatever happiness life brings.
    • Ironically, it is those who have accepted the most terrible grief who are capable of the greatest joy.

Thank you to ‘Martha Beck’ for permission to use some content from her book ‘Finding Your Own North Star’.

Your thoughts, comments, personal story or suggestions are important to me.

With love and gratitude

Jenny xx

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