Some of the most “put together” people find their way to grief recovery. They look good, sound good, and they try their damnedest to convince us (and themselves) they are feeling good. When we meet people who’ve recently experienced a loss, we ask them how they’re doing. Typically, the answer is the same: “I’m fine.”
Do you like to be lied to? Of course, no one likes to be lied to. But, have you lied about your feelings following sad or painful events? It is sad to know that we’ve been taught to lie about our feelings for fear of being judged or criticized.
The danger of “I’m fine” is that it does not help the broken heart. Saying “I’m fine” merely distracts us and others, while pain and loneliness persist on the inside. The net effect is to create a scab over an infection, leaving a mess underneath.
Unresolved grief consumes a tremendous amount of energy. The grief stays buried under the surface, and only the symptoms are treated. And many people, including mental health professionals, misunderstand the fact that unresolved loss is cumulative and cumulatively negative.
Our energy is most efficient when our minds and bodies are in harmony. Unresolved grief tends to separate us from ourselves. I look back on 2014 now and I am fully aware that I was separated from myself. Have you ever been driving down the road and suddenly realize you’re a few miles from where you last had an awareness of where you were? It’s as if your body wasn’t even driving the car. You were in your head, having a conversation with someone who wasn’t even in the car!
As we continue depleting our energy, we lose our sense of vitality and spontaneity. And, as time goes on, you fall into the trap of quiet desperation – sometimes feeling good, sometimes feeling bad, but never being able to return to a state of full happiness and joy. Each time a loss is not completed, there is a cumulative restriction on our aliveness. Life becomes something to endure and, because of misinformation, we never had a fair chance to deal effectively with the loss events in our lives.
You may have tried any number of ways, as I did, to try to improve your sense of happiness and well-being. Therapy, religious or spiritual beliefs, or even twelve-step programs may have provided valuable insights and tools. And yet, as I did, still have a lingering sense that you are incomplete with your past, a feeling that, in turn, diminishes your hopes about the future.
The Grief Recovery Method, established by John James, a Vietnam Veteran, had lost his newborn son and, following that loss, his marriage fell apart. He had searched for something that could help him, all the while, many people with good intentions, said unhelpful (even hurtful) things. Combined with the misinformation about grief we’re raised with, John reached a breaking point. On the beach by the Pacific Ocean, he had a gun to his head and had every intention of completing suicide, when a question came to mind he had never before considered. He asked himself: “What do I wish had been here for me?”
It was then, The Grief Recovery Method began to take shape and the book, The Grief Recovery Handbook, was written, followed by the other books and programs (Helping Children with Loss and Pet Loss programs) that now transform lives internationally.
This beautifully written program is rooted in hope. It is written by a griever for grievers – regardless of religion, race, or anything else.
What do you wish was there for you? Perhaps, like John discovered, and, I, too discovered – a program that takes an emotional loss, turns it upside down and inside out, provides hope, and guides you through action steps that enable you to live in the present moment – more fully. It is a gift, to give yourself, that keeps on giving.
So, what do you wish was there for you?
Joy awaits, my friend.
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