Grief comes in like a freight train and with it a rollercoaster of feelings that are impossible to ignore. Whether someone close to you has been diagnosed with a terminal illness, a beloved friend or family member has died, a relationship has ended, or chronic disease has entered the picture (or any of the 40+ losses), grief manifests in many similar ways no matter the cause of grief.
Grief opens us up like a gaping wound. It’s important we validate the grief and feelings we’re experiencing from those wounds.
It can be rather easy to close yourself off from others while you’re on the rollercoaster. It’s tempting to do everything in your power to avoid and ignore what is feeling unsettled within you. However, allowing it to fester is reflected in continually disregarding that which is trying to get your attention. Repressing your grief will eventually manifest in physical symptoms or external behaviors.
In grief recovery, we use a tea kettle for an analogy. Like a tea kettle, grief experience after grief experience causes energy to build within us. This buildup of blocked energy is what we refer to in Reiki as byoki. Over time, this built-up blocked energy either causes us to implode or explode – or both. When the steam builds up in the tea kettle, it whistles. Once released, like our emotional energy blockages, the pressure is gone. When the energy is allowed to flow or put another way when feelings are felt and processed, the pressure (or stress, anger, resentment, dis-ease) is alleviated or even removed (if you did the inner grief work).
Why It’s Important to Feel Your Feelings
- Acknowledgment: By acknowledging how we’re feeling, we can’t deny those feelings. Thereby, we’re given an opportunity to either stuff or honor them with time and space. This is a choice we make.
- Openness: By sitting with our feelings, we are actively opening up our hearts and releasing the emotional energy they carry.
- Freedom: Embracing and fully experiencing our feelings provides a sense of freedom when we get to the other side.
- Overall Health & Wellbeing: It doesn’t feel good to experience our feelings fully. However, it sure beats using a bandaid like drugs, alcohol, sex, gambling, fantasy, social media use, or anything else where the goal is to distract yourself from your feelings by using these things to feel better at the moment. Because what you’re often left with is more grief due to shame, guilt, feelings of unworthiness, etc.
Grief is a shock to the system on all levels: physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual. If you want to feel fulfillment in your life, though, eventually, you have to lean into the pain so you can move forward without it dictating and filtering into every area of your life. It’s not weak to allow yourself to feel the despair and vulnerability, any more than seeking help is weak.
Recovery from grief doesn’t mean you forget the love you have for someone. If it was a less than a positive relationship, it’s not about condoning any behavior you feel was an offense against you either. Recovery in either instance isn’t about forgetting either.
being able to enjoy fond memories without having them cause painful feelings of regret and remorse.
understanding your potential and no longer allowing past experiences to dictate your future.
claiming your circumstances instead of your circumstances claiming you and your happiness.
acquiring the skills we should have been taught in childhood.
one day realizing that your ability to talk about the loss you’ve experienced is normal and healthy.
When we lose someone close, it’s common to incorporate rituals and routines for the loss into our lives. This helps us to make sense of what we’re experiencing. Some people also create shrines and memorials in memorial of a loved one. Rituals, shrines, and routines, memorials are ways many grievers use to cope. The way that we feel when we grieve is physically, emotionally, and spiritually painful, and the need to remember that loss is a normal and natural part of our lives. However, these things can also entrap us and keep us leashed to the event’s past.
We desire to find purpose and meaning in everything – it’s human nature. I am no different, despite the training, tools, and education I’ve received about grief. And, I’ve thought about how I’d cope with the loss of one of my children. The honest answer is – I have no way to know unless it happens to me. And so, we can pass judgment on how others are coping with their loss, but in truth, every single relationship is unique. I don’t know whether I would leave their room as-is, or if it would feel too painful, I’d want to change it completely. That’s a form of enshrinement. And, it’s a space that could bring great comfort or it could be a reminder of great sorrow and all of the unmet hopes, dreams, and expectations or anything we wish would be different, better, or more.
The effects of loss infiltrate into every aspect of our lives, often without connecting what’s happening to the grief and loss itself. We can move in tandem with our grief; meeting ourselves where we’re at in the process of time passing. Forcing yourself to move forward doesn’t help you. And yet, we also need to consider, as grievers (and I’ve been a griever since 1987), that there has to come a time when enough is enough. When the craziness we feel within ourselves is a disservice and a hindrance to our overall health and wellbeing.
Grief is as natural as happiness and love.
One Final Thought
I think, spiritually, if we believe our loved ones are always around us, there is no specific room, shrine, or memorial spot needed. We can feel close to our loved ones always and forevermore, no matter where we are. This is the aspect of grief, I believe, that has the potential to offer so much healing to grievers, but isn’t often talked about. I’m definitely going to share what I’ve been learning about this topic as of late. If you want a head start, check out the Netflix DocuSeries: Surviving Death.
Sending you all the love today, friend.
P.S. Did you find this post helpful? Please share it with a griever you love or care about. Sharing is caring. 💛