10 Ways to Grow Through Your Grief
“Grace is a power that comes in and transforms a moment into something better” ~ Caroline Myss
Death of a loved one is never easy, whether it’s sudden or to be expected. When my father passed away after four months on hospice care it was still painful. For eight months, every month, I flew from London to Los Angeles to be by my father’s side. And with each visit his health deteriorated more and more. Looking back I realise the entire time I was already grieving — grieving for the father that would no longer be there to see me and his grandchildren grow up. But thankfully to all my spiritual practices I was able to remain strong and courageous in my fear of losing my father. Instead I was able to act from a place of love, surrendering to that which I could not control and honour his wishes, his soul’s purpose and continue to find peace and inspiration in his life and legacy. I was able to grow through grief.
What I’ve learned is that grief is a process not an event. It’s normal, necessary, and physically demanding, affecting your body, heart, social self and spirit. Therefore now more than ever it was (and still is) important to have compassion for yourself, allowing time to heal, by taking time to slow down, turn inward, and embrace your feelings of loss. Through nurturing yourself in journeying through your grief, it is then that we can find meaning in our continued living.
Everyone’s grief journey will be unique, leaving you profoundly affected and deeply changed. It has the power to make you more fully aware and live in the present. While transition requires courage and trust, all change can be a powerful force for growth and transformation. Here are 10 ways to grow through your grief, emotionally and spiritually:
1. Cry. Tears are a natural cleansing and healing mechanism. Don’t deny what’s happening or how you feel, because then it won’t process what’s coming to the surface. By shifting your mindset that it’s OK to cry you can start to heal.
2. Say no. You may lack the energy to do certain activities you were able to before the death. It’s OK to say no, to take solitude and give yourself space to grieve.
3. Have faith. At this spiritual journey of the heart and soul do what’s appropriate for you by attending religious services, pray, meditate or spend alone time in nature. By believing in something bigger than yourself- God, (or whatever you call the higher power) — you can start to make peace that there is a divine presence and a divine purpose in everything.
4. Keep a journal. Journaling is an excellent tool for self-care. Often society teaches us that emotional pain is to be avoided and not embraced. In writing you allow a safe place to vent your thoughts and feelings.
5. Count your blessings. There is always something to be grateful for even in the most difficult times. During change, if you consciously remain thankful, you invite a more expansive and spiritual viewpoint to influence the trajectory of your life.
6. Retreat to nature. Changing your environment and getting away from it all can help reveal the texture of your life from a new perspective. Being outdoors in an expansive environment is both restorative and energizing where you can begin to feel light, joyful and love.
7. Reach out to others. Notice how much more intimate and healing it can be to converse in person. Openly talking to someone else who loved the person who died can be a loving support.
8. Be (with) a child. Children have a natural energy for living in the moment that can help you begin appreciating today. Do child-like activities like build a sand-castle, paint, or blow bubbles. Or simply being in the presence of kids playing can uplift you spirit.
9. Plant seeds of hope. Gardening represents growth and beauty. If you don’t have outside space you can get an indoor plant. With each passing season you’ll begin to notice and appreciate the natural cycle of life and death.
10. Breathe. Most importantly, if nothing else, what you need most is to just “be”. Close your eyes, put your right hand over your heart plexus (middle of your chest), left hand over your sacral chakra (2 inches below your navel) and just breathe in and out. This helps to calm and regulate your nervous system.
By adopting and practicing some of these, it’s possible not only to survive the pain and loss of a loved one, but to make peace with it. When someone loved dies, we naturally question the meaning and purpose of life and death. It’s only through moving toward our grief that we can be healed. My intention is that you too find the answers you seek in meaning and purpose and start to live with more grace, love, and gratitude.
Originally published at lesliesaglio.com.