Oh grief old friend… So we meet again…
Grief and loss hits us so hard. It can feel like a complete dissolution of self as we navigate (or don’t) a new experience of being in the world without someone or something that had a great impact on us. All too often, we don’t grieve or don’t complete the grieving process and restore our sense of self post-change or loss and the effect can devastate our physical and emotional health. If you are dealing with a health issue that won’t lift or emotional turmoil that won’t resolve, you may have unprocessed grief holding you back.
“WAIT… BUT I DON’T HAVE GRIEF… NOBODY HAS DIED” (lately/yet)
When we think of grief, we think of widows grieving a dead spouse, of parents grieving a child that has committed suicide, of the grief of losing a parent to old age, or the sudden unexpected grief of someone dying in an accident. But grief isn’t just about death. When we grieve something, we are grieving a loss and that loss can be of a person from a break-up, divorce, or from them moving away.
A client recently came to me feeling heavy with guilt for her anger at her best friend who recently became pregnant. Her anger wasn’t really at her best friend but at the loss of plans they had to travel and her frustration at knowing that their friendship would be forever changed with the pregnancy and coming birth. There was profound sadness in knowing that she could never just drop-in unannounced again for a glass of wine. She was grieving the loss of how her friendship was before and it was manifesting in the inevitable whirlwind of emotions that we experience when grieving and she was beating herself up for those feelings.
We grieve the loss of our reality when change happens, whether that is from being laid off from a job or quitting a position; whether that is moving from a home you love or leaving the country. Grief is about loss and it is something we all deal with throughout our lives in countless forms and ways which is why it is essential to learn how to move through the grief and come out on the other side of the pain… whole.
IS LACK OF GRIEVING THE ROOT OF YOUR HEALTH CHALLENGES?
Our avoidance of emotional release and processing our grief has tangible effects on our bodies, minds, and our relationships to others, from the avoidance mechanisms we habituate and from the grief itself. When we beat ourselves up for the anger, sadness, frustration, guilt, accusations, hatred, detachment, and the whole range of other emotions that we cycle through when we grieve the loss of something, we end up stopping our processing of the situation and the grief gets stuck in our body and in our subconscious. We end up focusing on the emotions that manifest when we grieve and end up mad at ourselves for having those emotions or we stuff the emotions and distract from them, but they don’t go away unless we relate to the grief that is at the root of them.
Although our conscious mind can ignore and fight to distract from grief and loss, our bodies remember. Every time we push away an opportunity to process our grief, our body takes in that grief and that pain deeper and it gets held in our tissues and in our organs. When we stuff our grief or the emotions of grieving, and avoid it for later or never, those emotions get lodged in our bodies. We all know the health risks of stress. When we don’t deal with our grief, we aren’t just experiencing stress during the weeks following a funeral, after being laid off from a job, during a break-up or divorce, or while moving, but instead hold that stress in our bodies where it continues to release inflammatory cytokines and the effects on us physically can range from fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, swelling, aches and pains, digestive distress, and so much more.
As we continue to distract, time passes and every time something triggers our memory of the person (or place, or thing) that we miss, we quickly turn toward our distraction techniques, long since ingrained as a habit of practice in avoiding and ignoring our pain. We find that years down the road, we’ve run and run and run from the pain so much that we live a partial existence. An existence of avoidance, an existence of addictions (be it food, alcohol, drugs, TV, etc.), and a life of fear – fear of feeling, fear of allowing the memory of our loved one (or loved experience/thing) to surface. These distraction techniques simply amplify the stress effects on our bodies, ensuring an inflammatory “stuckedness”.
IS YOUR GRIEF AT THE ROOT OF YOUR EMOTIONAL CHALLENGES LIKE ANXIETY, DEPRESSION, ANGER…?
Our subconscious remembers what we are avoiding and when our conscious mind with all of its tools of trickery quiets itself in sleep or in meditation, the subconscious mind comes out to play and the subconscious mind has not forgotten who or what we lost. We become incapacitated with sleepless nights, waking with anxiety, waking up in tears, dreamscapes and memories that we call nightmares, or a fear of a quiet mind. We are in a state of constant thought and actually seek a state of overwhelm, because we fear what will surface if our conscious mind is quieted. And when it does quiet, we experience intense sadness, incapacitating lack of motivation, and trouble getting out of bed. The sadness seems disconnected from everything else and like it has no root, even as the grief lives in our tissues and organs, unexplored.
We lash out at others and at ourselves as we avoid ourselves and who we are now – changed, different, unwhole. We fear more loss and we push people, happy experiences and opportunities away, because if we push them away first, we come to think that we won’t go through the pain of loss again when they leave us or die. If we quiet our minds and sit with ourselves, we are reminded that we are alone, our world has been made topsy-turvy, and desire it as we may – things will never return to how they were. We forget our joy and who we were. We vacillate into emptiness and are sad (but aren’t grieving).
WHAT’S NEXT… RELEASING YOUR GRIEF…
You might be wondering now if there is unresolved grief and loss in your body and how the challenges you’ve been through in your life and the loss you’ve experienced is or isn’t affecting your body, health and mood.
For now, I am offering you the opportunity to join me for free to continue this process. Just sign-up below for the workshop and you are in!
I’ll email you right away access to the workshop which includes an audio download and worksheets to begin this process of releasing grief from your body and living into who you are now after the transitions of life you’ve been through. Each week for the next few weeks, I’ll be sending you steps to complete in your own time as you work to heal your grief. The only thing I am asking from you is to actually take the time to step into this process of uncovering and releasing your grief – not just signing-up and letting it sit there where you aren’t served, you aren’t serving the world with your wholeness, and are wasting my offer to you.
I know that it’s scary and I also know that you owe it to yourself to support yourself – nobody else is going to do it for you. Grieving won’t kill us but the stress on our bodies from ignoring our pain may. It is time for you to step more fully into living wholly and completely – releasing that which no longer serves you and integrating the lessons and losses of your life. Only you can hold yourself accountable to this process. Step in. Step up.
Healing Grief: Integrating the Lessons and Losses of Life to Embody Wholeness Workshop currently closed. If you want to be on the wait-list for when it re-opens, please reach out!