Grief is the reaction to a loss event.

Grieving is the normal, natural, and necessary process that restores us to wholeness.

Grieving is a wholly feeling experience. Our thinking part of Self does not grieve!

There are five normal, natural, and necessary feeling states of grieving are anger, sadness, anxiety, depression, and guilt. These feelings are felt in waves and pangs, at different intensities and at different times, sometimes one feeling at a time or in various combinations or all at the same time.

People who are grieving often sleep too much or not enough, or eat too much or not enough. They become forgetful, loose things, get lost, and can become generally disoriented or overwhelmed. Don’t be alarmed by any of these responses. They are all very normal and natural. Grieving is a time in your life when your motivation and concentration may be diminished, your memory might not be as sharp as it once was and will be again, and inspiration, creativity, and intuition may be less than usual. This is to be expected and is nothing to become worried about.

When a loved one or close friend dies it is nearly always useful to join a bereavement group and talk with others who are experiencing similar things. There are many bereavement groups out there today. Check local churches, hospitals, and hospices. Also, many psychologists and counselors offer very affordable groups privately. Check your local newspapers.

If you have strong faith, don’t work with anyone who is not respectful and supportive of your rich spiritual life. Your faith will be most helpful during your grieving process.

This can be a very difficult time in your life. Be gentle with yourself and recognize that you may experience yourself and the world in very new and unpredictable ways. Grieving is a transformational experience that will bring much change to your life. Take good care.

The grieving process takes time and you are beginning it now. These five steps are an important beginning to healing the pain and creating the life that accurately reflects who you are now.

The first step is to recognize that the sadness or depression, or grumpiness you may be experiencing is your reaction to a loss event either in the present, in the past or a combination of both.

The second step is to make a commitment to yourself that you will grieve the loss. Grieving means feeling a whole range of emotions including anger, fear, regret, guilt, nervousness, and gloom.

The third step is to discharge the energy of the painful feelings, and create an ending ritual.

The fourth step is to participate in the ending ritual you created – not once – but several times.

The last step is to change or add one new behavior that affirms who you are today.

Take a few minutes and remember events in your childhood or in your present life. Reflect on some of the things you wish had been different or you wish were different now. Feel the disappointment, sadness, anger that accompanies each memory and write a statement for each memory beginning with “if only…” This may help you discover what some of your needs were and what some of your needs may be today. Another good exercise is to write about what you learned from your mother, father, and other family members about holidays. This will help you begin to recognize some beliefs about yourself and holidays.

Ending rituals signify the recognition of grief-producing events and the beginning of the healing process. Funerals, commencement exercises, and retirement parties are good examples of ending rituals. You can create ending rituals that are simple and specific to the particular losses in you life. Lighting candles, writing a good-bye letter and burning it or burying it are helpful rituals. A healing ritual may be as simple as reading your “if” statements out loud in front of a burning candle. After you have read the last statement breathe deeply for a time and let the pain of loss move through you. When you feel ready, blow out the candle.

It is disrespectful to the inside self, never mind not even possible, to expect to return to “business as usual,” “move on,” “get back to normal,” without sufficient time to walk the path of grieving; to give yourselves time to restore our sense of safety, regain your sense of balance inside and outside, and reorganize your thinking and coping strategies.

We are asking ourselves questions and exploring our understanding of the meaning of life, the nature of the Universe, and our place it. It is powerful work for the inside self. It is essential work for the inside self. Nothing much will get done in the world of the outside self unless and until we attend to the work of the inside self.

When the holiday season arrives make this year the year you start a new holiday tradition. If you are having a holiday celebration, take a moment and consider who might be alone and invite him or her to join you. If you are going to be alone, notice who else is going to be alone. Don’t be embarrassed to ask others if they have plans. If you’re going to be alone, plan to go to a funny movie, theater events, and the like. Check the newspaper for free public events and go!

Trust what you know, deep in the place where you know it. Honor your courage and respect the tenderness of your heart and you soul. Tell the truth about your limitations and your vulnerability. They are your strengths! You are not weak. Don’t let anyone tell you that you are. There is nothing wrong with you. Quite the contrary. You are the exquisite reflection of your humanness!! Your reactions are completely normal, natural, and necessary.

Life presents us with repeated opportunities to heal and change the anguish of loss to wisdom and creative living. Trust yourself and go for it!

Be patient with yourself! You deserve it!

Remember, only YOU can make it happen!


Original Content by Jackie Black, Ph.D., BCC ~
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