Emotional expression is a social taboo. We are taught from an early age the “Ladies don’t get angry” and “Boys don’t cry”. Anger, grief, resentment, joy, love, sadness, shame, helplessness, pride, jealousy, excitement … We are taught to stuff these emotions starting in early childhood. Now, fear on the other hand, is spoon fed to us daily by government, religious organizations, school, media, internet and even the weather forecasters seem to have gotten into the game now. It’s not a wonder that society is exploding. All the emotions that have been bottled up and fermenting are quite literally “blowing their cork”.
Today, we’re going to discuss grief. This is one of the emotions we don’t deal with well as a society. We have no words or actions to help the person that is grieving and that makes us feel helpless (another one of those emotions we stuff). We want the person who is experiencing the loss to “get over it and move on” because WE are uncomfortable. This denies them the opportunity to experience their grief and heal. From a shamanic perspective; stuffing our grief can come back and bite us in the butt.
Grief simply means a deep sorrow after experiencing a loss. Society usually thinks of grief only in terms of losing a loved one, but we experience all kinds of loss … loss of a beloved pet, loss of a job, a marriage or relationship, children grown up and leaving home … How deeply we loved or were invested in the experience often determines the depth of our grief, BUT it IS appropriate to grieve ANY loss. Only the person experiencing the loss can determine what the “appropriate amount of grief” is for them.
As shamanic practitioners, we often see clients who have come to us because of a loss, deep seated grief or other situation where stuffed grief is creating havoc in their lives. Depression, blocks to moving forward or new relationships/situations, and physical and/or emotional pain may occur. Through shamanic journey we are able to help them acknowledge and release their grief and find peace.
Often times, when a person comes for a journey, they are stuck in one of the stages of grief, usually anger and/or depression or unable to feel grief at all. It is not uncommon to find a soul piece stuck in a deep hole or lost in a dark wood, unable to get out. If the change that brought about the grief was sudden, like an accident causing a death or unexpected loss of a job or relationship, a soul piece could be stuck in that situation and be unable to move out of anger and even be stuck in the trauma itself. Once these soul pieces are retrieved, they can move on through the stages of grief to acceptance and healing.
Another common occurrence we find with those who are deeply stuck in their grief is that the person may have given or had a soul piece taken. One may “give my heart” to a person who is making their transition or to an ex-spouse/partner in a relationship. Or even “I’ve given my life to this job” that is no longer theirs, even if the loss is by their choice. It is also possible that a person or beloved pet, who has crossed-over, may take a soul piece of their loved one with them. Once those soul pieces are returned home, the client can begin to move forward in their healing process.
When we work with a grieving client, cleaning their energy body, we frequently find their energy body in surrounded by darkness, suppressing their energy and keeping them in their funk. Their organs can be filled with the emotions surrounding grief that they are stuffing, such as fear, loneliness, anger, sadness. We can find emotional blocks that the client has put in place to keep from feeling their emotions, such as walls or cages around the heart center. When organs are overtaxed by emotions, it often filters down to physical level dis-ease such as heart conditions, kidney problems, migraines, anxiety etc. Chakras, especially the heart and root chakras can be distorted and out of balance. And it is not uncommon to find energy drain lines going in and out of the person’s energy field, as they allow others to use their energy for support during stressful times as well as draw from other people’s energies for support. Cleaning the energy field and the charkas helps return balance to them both physically and emotionally.
Recently I was reading a blog that came to me through a blog hop. It caught my eye and was the inspiration for today’s writing. The blog is entitled “Ten Lessons of Loss” by Julia Jones (https://juliajones.com/2017/01/27/ten-lessons-of-loss/ ). The “lessons” listed here are ones I would be telling you if you were my client. I am including the excerpt here with her permission in hopes that it will help you in a time of need to acknowledge and understand your grief. Thank you Julia.
I’m only beginning to be able to give words to the lessons of loss. I share them with you to offer some small consolation if you foresee or have already experienced your own great loss. There are life lessons to learn, as gently and slowly as needed, even in this difficult time.
Grief will not be denied. The wording on this one is from my friend Dixie St. Johnwho just happened to post it on FB about a week after my father’s passing. Resistance to grief is futile friends. There is no shelving grief, setting it aside, saving it for a rainy day, stuffing it. You might manage it, but if you insist on refusing your grief, it will wreak havoc. Grief will not be denied.
Grief is extremely physical.I slept. I ate. I didn’t eat. I wanted a long shower. I wanted to be still. I wanted to run very fast and then do absolutely nothing. The task of grieving uses physical energy. Most people who are grieving need more sleep than they usually do. The immune system doesn’t work as well as usual, so getting that sleep is critical. There are actually studies indicating that there is a greater risk of a variety of health problems when we are grieving. Treat your body with kindness. It’s working hard.
Grief can strip away what’s not important. If you’re like me, grieving will make it abundantly clear what you really care about in the worldbecause everything else will fall away. Really, for me everything fell away for a little while and it seems to be returning in the order in which I cherish it. Pay attention. If you’re at all confused about what your priorities are and what needs your attention, grief will clear that stuff up for you real quick.
Grief can teach you to ask for help if you let it.You will have to let it. It’s your choice.
Saying no is allowed,often necessary, and doesn’t require follow-up or an explanation.
Grief is best shared with others who are grieving.Relaxing while grieving is easiest for me either by myself or with people who are also grieving. There’s so much I don’t have to explain. There’s so much I don’t need to worry about. Mutual comfort, distraction, and the warmth of the bond.
People want to help you but they don’t know what to do. People become tender footed around those who are grieving. They want to be sure that the help they offer is the help you want. So they make general offers. “Let me know how I can help.” They mean it. Believe that they mean it. If you are comfortable, let someone know what would be helpful. It’s okay to let someone make your life easier.
People want to say something loving/kind/meaningful but WILL get it wrong. You can choose what you hear.I began to interpret all the things people said after my father’s death as “I love you. I care that you are hurting.” Everything that was said helped when I listened through those ears, the ears of my heart.
Many decisions can be made solely on the basis of how you feel. After my Dad’s death a pervasive fog set in and yet I made decisions, even if that decision was to say to someone else: “You pick. I can’t care about that right now,” and to genuinely release the topic, because I didn’t really care about it. I followed my feelings on eating, sleeping, resting, skipping group activities, just about everything and it helped to just let myself follow how I felt.
You can and will survive the loss of those you hold most dear; it will be easier if you allow the love and care of those around you to shore you up. It will also be easier, in the long run, if you allow your sadness, your anger, your relief or whatever you are feeling to be exactly what it is whenever it is happening. You have a right to feel your loss and only you get to decide when you are done.
I hope this blog topic is one that you can file away for “future reference”. But, if you are either experiencing grief or denying it at this time, I hope you find a point or two here today that can help you move forward in healing.
Until next time –