Grief Healing Experience Workshop

grief healing experience workshop
Carrying grief is exhausting. It ripples into every corner of your life, dimming our light and brightness along the way.
Grief is a burden we all shoulder, and despite the passage of time and positive thinking, we are unable to bury it or wish it away.
And many of us do not even realize this load on our shoulders; causing us to snap at our loved ones and reach for food, alcohol, and other crutches to numb and pacify ourselves for a short time.
Grief is not spoken about and because of this, we don’t even realize how it is preventing us from living the life we desire to lead.
Have a listen to my guest appearance on Michelle’s Podcast in preparation for this workshop. This is a great conversation where ample examples are given of the different ways grief presents itself.

My beautiful friend, Michelle Marsh (Aromonosis Coach + Facilitator, Podcaster, Writer, and Natural Living Advocate) is bringing me into her community to hold a Grief Healing Aromanosis Experience. With her expertise in the area of hypnosis, aromatherapy, and holistic wellness, and mine in all things grief + reiki, we are bringing our hearts together to facilitate this very special healing workshop.

 

Is this workshop for you? If you’ve followed me for any amount of time, you may already identify yourself as a griever. If not, I encourage you to check out my podcast, Grieving Voices, where I offer bite-sized, weekly grief education.

Grief is the normal and natural reaction to loss or any change from what is familiar in life. It is the emotional response to change. It can be defined as a feeling associated with the things we wish might have been different, better, or more in any relationship. Whether it is with a person, a pet, a job, an educational experience, or even a place of residence doesn’t matter. Grief can be a result of unmet hopes, dreams, and expectations in any relationship as well.

The Ways Grief Manifests

Some people find that the confusing feelings that grief generates interfere with sleep, while others find it challenging to get up and function after waking up.

Some people find that they feel sad or cry over things that never seemed to bother them before.

Many find themselves longing for that relationship lost, and others find, especially when they discover that friends seem to be able to offer little meaningful help, that they lose some of their ability to trust others.

Some find themselves easily irritated, while others do not have the energy to feel much of anything.

For some, the memories leading up to and including the moment of loss overshadow all of their fond memories of that relationship.

Simply stated, grief can be overwhelming!  Just as overwhelming can be the labels that are put on grievers and the advice that they are given.

To gain FREE access to the LIVE workshop, enter your details below and I will send you the Zoom link on Monday, September 14th. The workshop will be at 7:00 AM CST on Tuesday, September 15th, 2020. My friend, Michelle, is located in Australia, where it will be evening. No worries – by signing up, you’ll receive the recording! However, if you can make it LIVE, it is highly recommended. 😉

You can learn more about Michelle and her Aromanosis Membership HERE. For questions about the Aromanosis Membership, email Michelle directly.

National Grief Awareness Day

grief awareness day

Sunday, August 30th is National Grief Awareness Day.

I thought I would share, in today’s post, the different types of grieving events.

In 1967, Dr. Thomas Holmes and Dr. Richard Rahe, both psychiatrists, researched the medical records of 5000 patients to look at the correlation between their levels of emotional stress and their illnesses. They created the Social Readjustment Rating Scale, also known as the Holmes Rahe Stress Scale, which was used as a scoring mechanism to rate the various stress indicators as part of their study. This list, commonly known as the Holmes and Rahe Stress Scale, is considered a definitive ranking system.

The Grief Recovery Institute often states that “stress” is another word for “grief.” The Grief Recovery Institute defines grief as:

Grief is the conflicting feelings caused by the end of or change in a familiar pattern of behavior; the normal and natural reaction to any change that occurs in life.

While it may be helpful in the therapeutic setting to use a numerical ranking scale in looking at stressors related to their impact on medical conditions, this serves no purpose when used in the context of those events that can result in grief. It’s also important to remember that each individual grieves at 100% for their particular loss. There is no need or value to rate one grief-generating event as having more impactful than another since the grief that each person feels is based on his or her own unique situation.

We have all been in situations where we have heard someone say, “you may think your situation is bad, but mine is even worse!” Comparing losses does nothing to help with recovery. To suggest to Griever A that his or her loss is less significant than that of Grievers B only creates more emotional pain for Griever A, in that they may feel the need to further internalize their feelings since they have been told they are of lesser value. Our focus, in grief recovery, has always been that grievers are far better served in taking recovery actions, rather than in arguing over who is hurting the most!

Below you will find the Holmes and Rahe Stress Scale for Adults. Some events, such as marriage, may bring to mind more memories of joy than pain. In this case, we need to remember that there is grief associated with changes from normal behavior patterns, of which there can be many in moving from “single” to “married.”

Grieving Events

  • Death of a spouse
  • Divorce
  • Marital separation
  • Imprisonment
  • Death of a close family member
  • Sexual assault
  • Domestic Violence
  • Runaway child
  • Missing child
  • Pet loss
  • Personal injury or illness
  • Marriage
  • Dismissal from work
  • Marital reconciliation
  • Retirement
  • Change in health of family member
  • Pregnancy
  • Sexual difficulties
  • Sexuality
  • Gain a new family member
  • Business readjustment
  • Change in financial state
  • Death of a close friend
  • Change to a different line of work
  • Change in frequency of arguments
  • Major mortgage
  • Foreclosure of mortgage or loan
  • Change in responsibilities at work
  • Child leaving home
  • Trouble with in-laws
  • Outstanding personal achievement
  • Spouse starts or stops work
  • Begin or end school
  • Change in living conditions
  • Revision of personal habits
  • Trouble with boss
  • Change in working hours or conditions
  • Change in residence
  • Change in schools
  • Change in recreation
  • Change in church activities
  • Change in social activities
  • Minor mortgage or loan
  • Change in sleeping habits
  • Change in number of family reunions
  • Change in eating habits
  • Vacation
  • Holidays
  • Minor violation of law
  • Loss of Trust, Loss of Approval, Loss of Safety and Loss of Control of my body

The greatest value to this listing is in helping people understand that grief is not just about death. Stress and stressful events come in many packages, which is true for grief as well.

The Stress Scale for Seniors (55 and older)

A slightly modified version of this Stress Scale was created for those over 55, to reflect those life events that come with aging. In many ways, this scale is similar to the one for adults, but it likewise fails to mention the same stressors and grief causing events that are noted above.

  • Death of a Spouse
  • Divorce
  • Nursing/Retirement Home Move
  • Marital Separation
  • Death of Close Family Member
  • Major Physical Problems
  • Marriage or Remarriage
  • Lack of Dreams/Purpose
  • Financial Loss of Retirement
  • Forced Early Retirement
  • Unable to Drive
  • Marital Reconciliation
  • Normal Retirement
  • Spouse Confined to Retirement Home
  • Family Member Change of Health
  • Gain New Family Member
  • Change in Financial State
  • Death of Close Friend
  • Difficulty in Getting Insurance
  • Change in Arguments with Spouse
  • Mortgage Over $100,000
  • Foreclosure of Mortgage/Loan
  • Sense of Not Being Needed
  • Outstanding Personal Achievement
  • Spouse Begins or Stops Work
  • Decreased Contact Family/Friends
  • Change in Personal Habits
  • Less Contact with Support Groups
  • Trouble with Boss/Work
  • Minor Physical Problems
  • Change in Recreation Habits
  • Change in Church Activities
  • Change in Social Activities
  • Loans of Less than $100,000
  • Change in Sleeping Habits
  • Change in Family Gatherings
  • Change in Eating Habits
  • Vacations Christmas
  • Minor Law Violation

Grieving Events for Children and Teenagers

Yet another version of this scale was developed for, so-called, “Non-Adults.” Just as is the case with the “Adult Scale,” there are many additions that could be made to this list for grieving experiences for children, based on their unique relationships and level of development. This list also fails to include elements of child abuse on any level, sexual matters, bullying, and cyberbullying or such things as loss of Safety, Approval, Faith or personal control.

  • Death of parent
  • Unplanned pregnancy/abortion
  • Getting married
  • Divorce of parents
  • Acquiring a visible deformity
  • Fathering a child
  • Jail sentence of a parent for over one year
  • Marital separation of parents
  • Death of a brother or sister
  • Change in acceptance by peers
  • Unplanned pregnancy of sister
  • Discovery of being an adopted child
  • Marriage of parent to step-parent
  • Death of a close friend
  • Having a visible congenital deformity
  • Serious illness requiring hospitalization
  • Failure of a grade in school
  • Not making an extracurricular activity
  • Hospitalization of a parent
  • Jail sentence of a parent for over 30 days
  • Breaking up with boyfriend or girlfriend
  • Beginning to date
  • Suspension from school
  • Becoming involved with drugs or alcohol
  • Birth of a brother or sister
  • Increase in arguments between parents
  • Loss of job by parent
  • Outstanding personal achievement
  • Change in parent’s financial status
  • Accepted at college of choice
  • Being a senior in high school
  • Hospitalization of a sibling
  • Increased absence of a parent from home
  • Brother or sister leaving home
  • Addition of third adult to family
  • Becoming a full-fledged member of a church
  • A decrease in arguments between parents
  • A decrease in arguments with parents
  • Mother or father beginning work

Taking Action

A very important point to remember is that it is one thing to realize that these are events that can bring stress and grief into your life, and quite another thing to take action. Most people carry around a great deal of grief that they hold inside. Unlike a broken arm or leg that is made obvious by a cast, a broken heart is far less easy to see. As with a broken limb, we take action to heal the wound…action is also needed to heal a broken heart; time alone doesn’t heal a wound, action within time is required.

The Holmes and Rahe Stress Scale was first utilized in looking at the strong correlation between the stressors that impact people’s lives and their actual medical issues. People under stress are more prone to a variety of medical complications. Reducing your stress/grief can have a positive impact on your physical well being.

Our focus, at the Grief Recovery Institute, is in moving beyond the emotional pain of loss. The Grief Recovery Method is a proven, step-by-step process for accomplishing this. It’s designed to help people deal not only with past and current issues regarding the stress of grief, but also to provide the tools to deal with future issues, as they develop.

In Closing

As previously stated, the value of these lists is in reminding everyone that there are many life events that potentially cause grief. Society most often thinks of grief as death-related. However, as I hope you can see now, it’s a far broader topic than just being about death. And, if you really think about it, grief is everywhere. Most people you encounter in your daily life have lost someone or something; they grieve something or someone. Whether there is a relationship they wish would be/could’ve been different, better, or more, or grieve the loss of hopes, dreams, and expectations for the relationship – these things cause dis-ease in our hearts. It’s often, not until it’s one loss too many when we realize we’re not okay. And, you know what, that’s okay. The sad, angry, conflicting feelings all have value. Those feelings are your indicator that there is healing that needs to be done. And, when you’re ready…you know where to find me.

much love, victoria

 

 

 

P.S. On June 30th, 2020, my podcast Grieving Voices launched! So far, I’ve shared eight educational episodes, and very soon, I will be sharing conversations with other grievers. Be a fly on the wall of our conversation, as grievers give voice to their losses, what they wish would have been there for them, how they wish others would have responded or said – all with the goal of educating all of us on how to better support grievers. And, in doing so, bring normalcy to what we experience in grief. It’s time we talk about grief like we talk about the weather!

P.P.S. Monday, August 31st is National Overdose Awareness Day. If you, or someone you know, is struggling with substance abuse, check out the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration website. Their National Helpline Number is: 1-800-662-HELP (4357) 

*Portions of this post are adapted from The Grief Recovery Institute Blog

 

A Note of Encouragement

having a bad day

YOU ARE DOING THE BEST YOU CAN!

If your days have been feeling as though they’re all running together – know that today is FRIDAY! Woohoo! I hope you can find some joy this weekend.

If you feel like every person you cross paths with is cranky, rude, or negative – know that their emotional gunk isn’t yours. But, it may help you feel better to continue to be you. Don’t dim your positivity for the sake of making the other person feel comfortable. I’ve been on the other side of this. I’m sure you have, too. You’re in a cranky mood, and someone you speak to is just full of smiles and joy and, you wonder to yourself: “How can you be so damn happy all of the time?” And, you know what? It’s more of a reflection of ourselves. We can project our joy onto others, or we can project our pain.

And, I realize that’s the difficulty. I’ve written about telling the emotional truth about ourselves many times before. Yet, here I am saying that if you’re feeling negative, not to mention the emotional truth about yourself- not to project it onto others. However, there’s a difference between telling the emotional truth and treating others poorly because we feel – emotionally deficient.

We will not always be happy – about our life situation, the state of the world, a decision that’s been made, our health, the weather – you name it. However, if we can acknowledge, within ourselves, that which isn’t working, feeling right, or aligning our soul with joy, and meet that hurt within us with compassion, then we are more equipped to share the truth – without mistreating others in the process.

As we start to work through our emotional stuff (and continue to do so), we are less affected by others’ emotional dis-ease. And, I can tell you, I am much quicker to recognize now (because I keep applying grief recovery to my life) when I am a projector of the negative. I have learned that that’s when it’s time to step out of my head and into my heart, and know where there’s emotional work to do. As a result, this makes me a happier person – in my skin and to be around.

Life is for learning. When you feel like you’ve messed up – apologize. When you feel like you’re at your breaking point – step away, take a break, and hit the reset button. Ask yourself what you can do in the situation rather than focusing on what is out of your hands (I’ve been doing my darndest to put this one into practice as of late).

We are in community with each other whether we like it or not. So, rather than fret over others whom you can’t change, fret over a situation that’s frustrating the, you know what, out of you, and being frustrated with yourself – hit reset. Sometimes, we need to be alone – not in community with others, to do just that. When we’re in each other’s spaces, we’re also in each other’s energy. You’re doing the best you can steeping in everyone’s energy. But the most important person’s energy you need to pay attention to – is your own.

I know it’s not easy these days to manage our own energy either. I had been struggling with this, too. And, you know – I gave myself Reiki. True story. I gave myself Reiki before bed a few nights recently, and despite having fewer hours of sleep, I had better quality sleep. Another thing that feels like a reset at the end of the day? A shower. Yup. Sounds silly, as the majority of the people I know typically shower in the morning. However, I prefer to shower at night. You literally wash away the stress of the day down the drain and crawl into bed, feeling refreshed (and reset).

So today, I want you to pat yourself on the back that yes, you are doing the best you can. And, I hope this helps you to reflect on your energy and the energy of those around you. How is the energy of others affecting you? How is your energy affecting those around you, too? When I feel good, I influence those around me to feel better, also.

Even if it may seem annoying to others who project their pain on others (because they’re not tapped into their energy and their impact it has) – work on a reset for YOU. This reset is the best thing you can do this Friday and throughout the weekend, before the start of a new week.

Set the intention today for a fantastic weekend, regardless of the chaos that may be ensuing around you. Turn off the phone if you need to. Get a hotel room or an Airbnb by yourself for a night, if you need to. Take a drive on the backroads, or in the country, and photograph what you find along the way. Take a lawn chair and sit by the lake (or the ocean) and steep in the stillness.

Reset for your energy (and your mindset), so you can continue to do the best you can! And, if you need help with an emotional reset for life, reach out to me. I know the program that’s perfect for doing just that. 😉

much love, victoria

 

 

 

P.S. Are you looking for support for a grieving child in your care? I am looking for four participants to walk through the NEW online group program, Helping Children with Loss. We meet on Zoom only four times – once a week, for no more than 2 1/2 hours each time. And know that there’s lots of material to cover. You won’t be a silent listener (bored out of your mind) as I lecture each week for four weeks. It’s participatory and engaging content, where you interact with others in the group, and learn some new skills and tools to utilize for the rest of your life. This program is prevention, so whether you’re a parent, daycare provider, social worker, school faculty, a child therapist looking for more knowledge around grief specifically, or work in the foster care/adoption system – this program is for you – the adult. The first group will be offered at a discounted rate, which will allow me to make sure all of my systems and processes are correctly in place and that there aren’t any hiccups—interested in learning more? Please email me at [email protected] or message via the Contact tab.

I look forward to sharing this amazing program with you – for the better of the child(ren) in your life!

helping children with loss

episode03

 

Why Grief Keeps Us Stuck

We can’t heal the heart with the head.

In this episode, we dig into why this is and, you will learn:

  • How grief cuts us off from our intuition
  • Impact of belief systems
  • The root of unhappiness
  • 8 unhelpful, often hurtful, ways society responds to grievers

Next week, the six myths of grief (and misinformation) will be revealed. 

Are you wanting more content like this? Head on over to Instagram or Facebook where I share more info just like this, and say hello!

 

Episode Transcription

Victoria Volk 0:08
This is Victoria of the unleash tart calm and you’re listening to grieving voices, a podcast for hurting hearts who desire to be heard. Or anyone who wants to learn how to better support loved ones experiencing loss as a 30 plus year griever. In advanced grief recovery methods specialist, I know how badly the conversation around grief needs to change. Through this podcast, I aim to educate gravers and non Grievers alike, spread hope and inspire compassion towards those hurting. Lastly, by providing my heart with the ears and this platform, Grievers had the opportunity to share their wisdom and stories of loss and resiliency. How about we talk about grief like we talked about the weather. Let’s get started.

Hey there, welcome to this week’s episode where I will be talking about why and how grief keeps us stuck. If you didn’t catch last week’s episode, I discussed really define grief in probably a definition that you’ve likely never heard. So if you miss that episode, go back to that. And this is the second episode of a, what I think what will be a 10 part series we will see. I there’s so much I would love to share. So, it may be more than that, but I’m planning 10 episodes of education around grief.

So let’s get started talking about how and why grief gets us stuck, or keeps us stuck rather. In our brain is our intellect like our mind is our intellect. And if we think about like I often think about like my own intuition is like just not necessarily in my brain. Not in my mind, but kind of like, this intangible force that’s kind of out there in a way like it’s, it’s like it’s the deepest connection to my spirit that I feel – is when I feel like I am fully tapped in to my intuition. Now you might be thinking, what in the world does this have to do with grief? And I’ll get to that, but more than you may think. So, we have our intellect, we have our intuition. And then we have within our whole our hearts, our grief energy, right, within our bodies is this emotional energy that we tend to store. Because as you’ll learn as I as this series goes on, we either implode or we explode as a result of our emotional energy.

For today’s episode, I’m talking about how grief actually cuts us off from our ability to tap into our own spirit and our own intuition to this force that opens us up to our, our potential. Really, by the time we are 15 years old, we have received more than 20,000 messages of how to deal with grief. And you know, the reason why I’m so passionate about this work is and why I’m so passionate about education around grief is that it touches us all, first of all, and it starts in childhood; caregivers, parents – it starts with us at home, to send the messages that are positive and supportive and to be open to allowing children to fully express themselves. And, not labeling those emotions or whatever as bad or negative or what have you. Because all feelings are valid. All feelings are valid. So, if we consider that, we experience loss, on average statistically, every nine to 13 years; we are bound for grief like, we are born into this world as impending grievers. Right? We – there’s going to be grief. And because all relationships are unique, our feelings around the relationships are unique. You know, it’s our recovery is also unique.

Getting back to like the intellect aspect, and how we try to, first of all, you cannot heal the heart with the brain. Because if we think about our minds and our intellect, we are always right. Like, we always feel like we are always right. Because we have this belief system that has been ingrained in us, by the time we are 15. By the age of two to three, we’ve received 75% of the messages and information about grief. And by 15, we’ve received the remaining 20. And so we got 95% logic, right this, this internal logic and belief system, and then there’s this like 5% that is our intuition and our spirit force, like the guidance system that is within us, but when we resort to our intellect and logic, it’s this automatic critical response. And we’re always going to feel that we are always right. And so when it comes to grief, we will intellectually look in the past and 10% maybe fun memories 90% maybe regret. And if we’re not in the present moment, we might be in the future, right? 10% we might be planning 90% we might be worrying.

Unhappiness comes from an attempt to be in any moment, other than the present moment. That is what emotional jail is. If we are unable to live in the present moment, and that’s what grief kind of steals from us. It just it either keeps us in the past, ruminating and stewing on the stories, mostly with regret, and other other feelings that get wrapped in with grief or we’re looking to the future. With worry of what’s to come of, what if this? What if that we receive more education about simple first aid than we do about death, divorce and any other emotional loss?

There over 8 million Grievers every year, and 14 million pets die every year. And we have been taught how to acquire things, but not what to do when we lose them. My point overarching message in this podcast episode is that grief is about a broken heart, not a broken brain. So we cannot heal the heart with the head. Because it’s the wrong tool for the job. It’s like trying to paint with a hammer. It just it makes a mess. We need to stop these intellectual connections from overpowering our emotional truth. Right? It comes back to that – to the, to our brain box, to our, our minds, our belief system, our logic. And so when we translate this to – why is this keeping me stuck? When you’re focusing on the intellectual and you try and talk to others, you try to communicate about your grief to others; you’re communicating to another griever. They have their own belief system. They have their own automatic critical response. They have been cut off themselves from their own intuition because of their grief. They have received their own messages by the age of 15. They’re stuck in their own past of regret or fond memories, and worry of the future and likely are not living in the present moment either. And so we have these expectations of how another will respond to us. But expectations are planned disappointments.

What we get back as feedback instead are these intellectual responses that aren’t helpful and unintentionally, are hurtful because they don’t understand what to say. They’re afraid of our feelings. They try to change the subject. They intellectualize. They don’t hear us. They don’t want to talk about death; also professional distortions, you know, where medically you go in – you’re having some issues, feeling depressed. They want to give you a pill. I can speak to that, you know, when I had postpartum – let’s, let’s give you a pill. It’s grief.

And then there are those two that just want us to keep our faith right? But faith and feelings are two different things. Grievers need to be heard. They don’t need to be fixed. But because of all the messages that we receive in our childhood. Because of the education we receive about everything else other than grief. Because we have our own intellect, in our own grieving experiences that we haven’t dealt with many of us, is it any surprise then that we approach others in their grief, with logic and with our own lens of what we see in their grief? You know, we try to relate but that, trying to relate, only likely creates more pain for the person.

We cannot hold space and be there for somebody grieving if we have not allowed ourselves to grieve either. The capacity at which we are able to hold space and be a heart with yours is a direct reflection of our own inner work that we have done for our grief experiences. In my experience with grief, 30 plus years, I only in the last year, have felt this inner knowing that I am on the path that I’m, I’m supposed to be on. I feel like the next steps are literally shown to me, as I’ve been working through my grief and the various relationships that have felt incomplete for me or have been emotionally incomplete. For me, it’s allowed me to fully tap into my spirit, my intuition, my force, if you will. That’s, I think, when you really know you’re starting to heal. But, it’s just the beginning, right? Because this work doesn’t end because we always will have loss in our lives.

I hope this episode shed some light on why you may be stuck in your grief. Hopefully you gleaned some nuggets that will get you thinking. Because having an awareness around our emotional truth is when we realize that something needs to change. So I thank you for listening today. Next week, I will start to dive into the myths of grief. There are six of them. I have not decided yet if each one will get its own episode I yeah, not sure yet. So we’ll see. But I hope you tune in for that. Until next time, take care from my heart to yours. Thank you for listening.

If you liked this episode, please share it because sharing is caring. And until next time, give and share compassion by being hurt with yours and if you’re hurting know that What you’re feeling is normal and natural. Much love, my friend.

episode02

Grief Defined

What is grief?

In today’s first episode as part of an educational series, I define grief in a way you’ve likely never heard it described before. By providing relatable examples and some of my personal story, you’ll leave this episode feeling like you have a better understanding of grief.

When we understand that grief is more than just about death, we are able to shed light on all areas of our life that feel emotionally incomplete and begin the healing process.

Be sure to tune into next week’s episode, where I’ll be sharing why and how grief keeps us stuck.

Are you wanting more content like this? Head on over to Instagram or Facebook where I share more info just like this, and say hello!

Episode Transcription

Victoria Volk 0:08
This is Victoria of theunleashedheart.com and you’re listening to Grieving Voices, a podcast for hurting hearts who desire to be heard. Or, anyone who wants to learn how to better support loved ones experiencing loss. As a 30 plus year griever, and an advanced grief recovery method specialist, I know how badly the conversation around grief needs to change. Through this podcast, I aim to educate grievers and non-grievers alike, spread hope, and inspire compassion towards those hurting. Lastly, by providing my heart with the ears and this platform, grievers have the opportunity to share their wisdom and stories of loss and resiliency. How about we talk about grief like we talked about the weather? Let’s get started.

Hello in today’s episode we are going to dive into the definition of grief. And I like to start with the dictionary’s definition, which is
defined as a noun of deep sorrow, especially that caused by someone’s death. And the example it gives is she was overcome with grief. The informal definition is trouble or annoyance; we were too tired to cause any grief. I just find it interesting that grief is defined as a noun, whereas I think anyone that’s lost anybody close to them, or has experienced trauma, or divorce, miscarriage, anything like that. To say it’s a noun I don’t know if that does it justice. I would like to say that grief is more like a feeling. And a grief recovery Institute defines grief as the normal and natural reaction to change or loss of any kind. And grief by any other name, such as stress, or burnout, even PTSD, sometimes you’ll hear the phrase complicated grief, maybe even depression is still grief. Grief is also the response to a change in or end of any familiar pattern of behavior. So, you know, consider the current times with COVID-19 with the racial and justice and unrest going on in the world. There’s a lot of grief in response to the changes. It is about mixed emotions also so you can graduate from high school and still be very sad and have grief over, leaving home, leaving your familiar environment, and patterns of behavior. And going into the unknown really, a woman can have grief when she has a child because especially I would say I’m speaking for myself, having my first child. Everything that you thought you knew about life about yourself; the things that you took for granted, really change in an instant, really. Someone who is dealing with addiction and perhaps are in treatment or are let’s say like myself, I’ve given up alcohol it’s been six months now. And I don’t have excuse me, although I don’t have grief around the alcohol itself. You know, you can see there’s dynamics kind of change in a relationship sometimes. And that’s kind of a side topic but, when it comes to addiction, and I’m not saying like, I was a full-blown alcoholic. Personally, I, I really just lacked some self-control at times, and it just really wanted to be a better role model for my kids. But someone who is going through treatment and addiction is all that they’ve known for several months, probably several years. That’s a life that they are having to say goodbye to. And often that comes with having to say goodbye to relationships that were unhealthy and, and hurtful, really. So we can experience grief more often in our lives than we think. Then just when someone we love passes away or dies. Grief is also the feeling of reaching out for someone who has always been there for you. Only to find that when you need them one more time, they’re not there. Or reaching out for someone who’s never been there for you only to find that when you need them one more time. They’re still not there. So this happens often too with family. You know, you can have a relationship with a parent, and you can feel like they’ve never been there for you. Maybe they have been haven’t been emotionally available. Maybe they were physically there. But like I said, emotionally, they were indifferent and not attentive to your needs, emotional needs, maybe even your physical needs, hugs kisses, things like that affection. These things that we long for growing up as children. You know, that’s how we understand connection. That’s how we understand how to build relationships and to let people in, right? So when we are neglected of that opportunity that grief is kind of stays with us. It does stay with us. And it’s kind of foolish to think that learning how to deal with grief in that way, as in like, you’re not like those feelings aren’t valid or aren’t needed to thrive, in relationships or in life. That greatly impacts you intuitive adulthood likewise, as an adult, you know, your family if you feel like, you know, that they’ve always been there for you, and then all of a sudden they’re not whether it is death that separates you or they move away. Um, you know that those are grief causing instances as well. So I think we tend to have this narrow scope, idea of grief. And I think that’s where a lot of people misunderstand that. Grief is more than just about death. Being a victim of sexual trauma. There is a lot of grief that can happen because of that because you can then experience it’s not just what was taken from you, but it is loss of trust, loss of safety, loss of security. It’s almost like putting fire or putting gasoline on the fire. You know, it’s like taking the screwdriver and just twisting it just a little bit more. It’s these intangible losses that we experience as a result of it a devastating life-altering experience, right.

So, I just really want you to consider and think about all the ways that you’ve been grieving and, and the things that you’ve been grieving that you never really thought that you are grieving until hearing this right now. So, as a kid, did you move a lot? Were you a military brat, like they say?  Were you just really never were given the opportunity to create connections with others or you’ve maybe felt: “Why bother, we’ll be moving anyway in a year”  if it was just this natural occurrence or you just like expected it. So you never did put the effort in, because you just didn’t want to feel that loss. Again. And that’s not just the children in the family unit that can be the parents as well. How often do military families move about from base to base and maybe even country to country and never can really settle. And maybe have a hard time doing so because, you know, it’s just you’re gonna have to say goodbye anyway, so why bother, right? Hopefully, that’s not the case. But likely it is. and likely you’ve experienced grief because of it – you and your children. So, or how about as a kid, you had, you know, your first dog. And because you’re moving, you had to give it away. So it’s not even just moving. This would be especially hard maybe for a child. But it’s not just the idea of moving it is, well, we’re moving and I have to give away my beloved dog. So it’s the loss of the relationship that that child has to the dog. It’s the loss of relationship that they have to what they knew is their home. And if it’s, you know, a different town and it’s saying goodbye to their friends, there can be many losses wrapped up into one larger experience. I just think that there are so many examples out there. We know graduating from high school, leaving your friends, getting married, can be a grief experience in a way too because depending on when you get married. Let’s say you don’t get married ’til, you know, later in life, late 30s 40s. You’ve had a long time to get settled in, set in your ways, and get used to how life is right? Come and go as you want> Do what you want when you want. You don’t have to really answer to anybody. There’s a lot of freedom in that lifestyle. And hopefully, you’re, you’re welcoming someone else into it and you want someone else into it, and that’s why you’re getting married. But that doesn’t discount the fact though, that it is a major change. And you may experience grief along with that. Maybe to your spouse to be doesn’t, is allergic to cats, and you have to get rid of your cat that you’ve had for 5,6,7 years. Who knows, right? Um, I could give so many examples. Let’s see.

There are mean, I mean, I could really think of some terrible examples, but that would be just depressing. Let’s see. So how about like, I just really am trying to get you to really truly think about all of the losses that you may have experienced that you really didn’t think about until now. You know, and I think too, like just in the context of relationships. You know, I’ve had friendships that have fallen away a few by my choice sometimes, because, you know, sometimes we get into different phases of our lives than those who are in our lives. And it can be hard to relate. It can be hard to find comments. analogies are common things to talk about. Not always but you know if it can happen and, and people can choose to, to just decide that you know what I need to move on from this friendship or relationship. And there is nothing wrong with that. But there’s always going to be one person who feels maybe slighted or grief or sad or maybe angry. Because grief happens in the context of relationships and, you know, aside from those intangible losses, but because it happens first in the context of relationships, just think about all the different relationships that you’ve been in. And people have come and gone out of your life. And maybe, like I said, maybe it was a situation that you chose to back away from. You know, and something might remind you of them and take you back in time and you feel like Gosh, I wish I would have said this, or I wish I would have done that differently. Because grief two is anything that we wish would be different, better, or more. And, and that’s in the context of relationships. And it can be with someone who is living and someone who has died, I can still wish that my relationship with some loved ones would have been different, better or more. And it’s a loss to have hopes, dreams, and expectations. So especially with like miscarriage. When you lose a child It doesn’t matter if it’s nothing carriage or you just lose a young child or your child at any age really, because you always have these hopes and dreams and expectations. As a parent these as you know, you, you expect that they’re gonna outlive you, first of all, you never expect that you’re going to bury a child you never hope to. And I just, I could not imagine so my heart goes out to you if you’re listening to this. And that has been the case for you, but I, it is, that is, that is grief. And I’m sorry, but grief is not a noun. Grief is not a noun, it is a feeling and you know, the loss of hopes, dreams, and expectations that you would have for your child upon them passing away. That’s really hard to get over. It’s really, really difficult. And likewise, if you’re in a relationship with someone living and they are in your life, you know, sometimes you can’t choose your family, right? And you wish that the relationship would be different, better or more. That’s grief as well. So I’ve kind of talked a lot about like different things that cause grief. And, you know, I really highlighted the fact that it starts in our childhood often with, you know, a loss of a pet or moving. You know, in my instance, my grandmother passed away when I was seven. dad passed away when I was eight, no losses really close together. And you know, my grandmother lived with us while she was sick as well. So, I saw that You know, I grew up
you know, I grew up seeing sorrow, and it just was not dealt with, like an emotion would be, or should be, you know, handled with care. And really I think that’s really my message for today is grief is a feeling to be handled with tender, loving care. And I think if we can look at each other and society and see and understand that we’ve all lost something or someone we all grieve something or someone Look at someone as they’re passing by in the street or, you know, the cashier woman at the checkout line or, you know, maybe the delivery guy that’s kind of being a jerk, you know, we’ve all lost something or someone and to be able to look at someone with empathetic eyes and know, I’ve lost and I agree if something or someone to because grief unites us all, every single one of us, it doesn’t discriminate, doesn’t care, your ethnic background doesn’t care of your economic status. And if we can look at each other, like children with backpacks, full of rocks, is grief rocks these grief experiences that we’ve been putting into our backpacks all of our lives. If we could actually physically see those backpacks think we would look at each other a little differently. We’d probably treat each other a little differently to right. Some other grief experiences which I didn’t even cover earlier but like loss of health, I can be a big one. I mean really, it’s like if you’ve been healthy for most of your life and then all of a sudden you have this devastating diagnosis, whether it be terminal or just chronic. Or, you know, you lose in the, you know, a leg or an arm or you know, something where it, it’s a changing or changing your pattern of behavior, right? It’s going to change your entire life. You’re going to have a grief experience with that incarceration. separation from siblings or friends. Like kids in foster care, environmental or climate losses. You can, let’s say your house burns down, you lose everything. You know, your pictures, your losses, that’s again your loss of safety or loss of, you know, where do you go from there? It’s a big change, right? You can also lose hope. And after so many years of grief, I think I got to the point where I kind of had lost some hope. And, you know, I just got sick and tired Of being tired of feeling the way I was feeling. And yeah, it’s you. There’s just grief is just so much more than just about death. And then we see it on the news. So you see, see it in the newspaper, you see it on TV, the lady in the grocery store, sharing her grief stories. You know, she’s not saying it like that, but she’s talking about you know, maybe she lost her job or you know, but people don’t use the word grief, right, grieving, they tell you the story. They don’t tell you how they feel. Even though they really want you to know how they feel. You’re always going to resort back to the story and so it’s, it’s being a heart with ears and really listening and having an awareness of yourself as well; where you talk about the feelings instead of just, you know, being stuck on the story.

One of the things too that you know, because grief begins in childhood and, and in our youth. You know, we’re born with perfect harmony, intuition, intellect, and emotion like it’s perfectly in harmony. And, you know, by the age of three, we have learned 75% of the basic tools and concepts that we will use throughout our life. And there was a pediatrician who was interviewed was about grief, I can’t remember exactly, I think in the UK maybe. And he was asked: “When does the brightness leave their eyes?” You know, talking about children, and he said: “In middle school.” You know, and that’s 95% of our decision-making powers are established by the age of 15. So by the time we reach Middle School, we have already learned and received the tools and concepts that we will use for decision making. And that’s true when it comes to grief. Like how we are taught, the messages we receive, and how we deal with grief. We learned at a time we were age 15. So this is why it’s so important that we start talking about grief, like a feeling. We start talking about grief like we talk about the weather, and that we stop shying away from others’ pain and sorrow, that we start having some awareness around our own in the behaviors that we resort to, to avoid what is ours, what our feelings are. Because grief unites us all. In grief is not a noun. It’s a feeling.

So that is today’s episode, I feel like I have definitely shared the definition of grief that is more than just about death. Next week, I will be sharing how and why grief keeps us stuck. So I hope you tune in for that. Until next time, take care.

From my heart to yours, thank you for listening. If you liked this episode, please share it because sharing is caring. And until next time, give and share compassion by being a heart with yours. And, if you’re hurting, know that what you’re feeling is normal and natural. Much love, my friend.

 

Listen to Your Body Talk

listen to your body talk

The body always talks. Our bodies are our alarm system to something not being right. And, when experiencing grief, our bodies definitely talk to us. When we are feeling anxious or worried, our minds often swirl the same thought patterns over and over. In response, our bodies reply to those thought patterns. For every person, the symptoms will present differently, however, may be similar as well.

Common Physical Grief Symptoms

Since I started grief recovery work, there have been similarities in symptoms that clients have shared with me that were like my own. For example, when I had my “mid-life unraveling,” I was experiencing overall body aches, hair loss, weight loss, stomach/gut issues (often with bloat), fatigue, etc.. After going down numerous rabbit holes with my doctor, what came of all of that was that my body was “Epstein-Barr Reactive.” Meaning, the mono virus was reactivated in my body, however, blood work was showing that I did not have mono. Also, around those years, I ended up having three colon polyps removed.

Grief manifests in our bodies; no doubt about it. And, because most of us will not identify ourselves as grievers, we suffer from what we believe are “medical mysteries” with no explanation, and, begin to feel a little crazy in the process. Also, “traditional” doctors are not going to ask you about your emotional state, are they? They’re not going to ask you about your “loss history,” are they? So, the mind-body connection is rarely (if ever) made in a traditional doctor’s office, even though boat-loads of medical research point to how our minds and bodies are connected in amazing, brilliant ways.

The disconnect comes where our ego is. The disconnect comes from our inability to get out of our minds and into our hearts. And, there’s this assistance of resistance to that which is painful and traumatic. We simply don’t want to “re-live” or “re-hash” what we’ve experienced. I often hear this from those who are not ready to dig deep and work through the muck. And hey, that was me, too, for a very (very) long time. But, if you would be honest with yourself (as I wish I would have been years earlier), you would see that not “re-hashing” and sitting in the muck, is only keeping you stuck in various areas of your life, negatively impacting your health and relationships, and probably taking years off of your life.

That which we don’t acknowledge (or refuse to) festers like a sore that won’t heal. And, over time, we tend to pick at the scab. However, when we’ve picked just a bit too much and it starts to sting a bit; we retreat, pull back, and leave it well enough alone. Because picking away any more is just plain painful.

A Car Analogy

Over the past five years, I have learned a lot about how my body responds to stressors. I’ve learned what I need to feel recharged, not depleted, and balanced. It’s still something I am working towards because, kids, life, work, side -hustle all require mental, emotional, and physical energy. If we think of our bodies as a fuel tank, we start to think more about our bodies as the cars we drive. We take our cars in for oil changes, tune-up’s, balance the tires, keep the fluids filled, etc.. However, this same common sense care and maintenance goes out the window when we think about ourselves and self-care. We take better care of our autos than we do our one body that we don’t get a re-do with; we can’t trade our one body in for another newer, better-equipped model. Nope, one shot – one life.

So, just as we take great care in ensuring our automobile lasts for the long-haul, so too, we need to consider how we’re taking care of ourselves for the long-haul. What is your heart needing? What is your mind fighting your heart against today?

I recently heard a pretty probing question posed by the author Hal Elrod who wrote the book Miracle Morning on a podcast episode. He said: “Is my life a reflection of who I want to be or a reaction to those who I don’t want to upset?” I bring this question up because often it is our relationships with the living that often cause us the most grief. And, this grief manifests in our bodies. What we hold in, emotionally, will always come out in one of two ways; we either implode (health issues) or we explode (emotional outbursts/anger/relationship problems/etc.). If you answer that question and, you’re walking through life on eggshells; reacting to life and attempting to not upset anyone, what do you think that this doing to your heart? What do you think that is doing to you emotionally? It likely feels like an emotional rollercoaster, filled with highs, lows, and a lot of stressors in-between. And, we all know what stress does to us – mentally, emotionally, and physically, right?

Heart vs Mind

My body responds to stress with increased heart rate, negatively impacted sleep (even if I don’t realize it), dry mouth, burning sensation between my shoulder blades (where my tension goes), anxiousness, lack of concentration, an inability to focus, and gut symptoms. I know this now about myself. I didn’t understand this over five years ago. And, that is why I believe I was led to grief recovery and energy healing. My body knew exactly what I needed. My mind (ego), however, was the one holding me back, pulling the strings, and keeping me stuck.

Where are you feeling your emotions in your body? I encourage you to consider that grief may be the cause of your physical symptoms. Whether it be high blood pressure, an ulcer, body aches, fatigue, etc., consider that it may be grief. Reflect on the losses you’ve endured in your life that involve both the death of a loved one and the losses that don’t.

  • Have you lost trust in someone you deeply cared about?
  • Have you felt betrayed in your life?
  • Have you experienced financial ruin?
  • Lost your home in uncontrollable circumstances?
  • Suffered estrangement as a child (from a parent) or as an adult (in relationships)?
  • Has your life been a downward spiral of loss of health?
  • Are you a caregiver to someone who is terminally ill, cognitively declining, or is cognitively delayed?
  • Have you survived a physical attack or accident?
  • Have you had many accidents throughout your life, which often occur as a result of the cognitive consequences of grief (an inability to concentrate/focus)?

All of these situations (and many more) create grief in our lives that also manifest in our bodies. The body knows. And, our one body is always talking to us. I have become so attuned to this connection that I can often look at someone and, I know something is up. Both our body language, and our physical appearance tell a story without us having to say a word. We often wear our life stories like the clothes on our backs without us even realizing it. Kids are no different. The energy that surrounds us, and we take with us out into the world, tells the story.

Heal the story, and you begin to heal the body.

much love, victoria

 

 

 

P.S. Do you have a child with a story that needs healing but you’re not sure how to help them? I am looking for 8 participants for an upcoming 4-week, online group program, Helping Children with Loss. We will meet on Zoom for one session per week for 4 weeks for approximately 2 1/2 hours, in the evening (day/time TBD and flexible). This is not a program for you, rather it is a program for you to learn tools and communication skills in how to help the child/children in your care work through and process loss. And, considering Covid-19 has touched every single one of us, there is no denying children need this, even if you think they’re doing just fine. Prior to Covid-19, has a loved one or a pet died? Maybe during Covid-19, a loved one died and they didn’t get to say goodbye? There is plenty of grief to go around these days and this program is prevention. I encourage you to consider it and get in touch with me via email to [email protected] The first group will be offered at a discount!

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