“Without Death there would be no Butterflies – Let your Grief Transform You”
I’m on a mission to bring grief out of the closet so you and others can understand it is nothing to fear, and once understood, to accept it for it is a natural part of life and being human. Grief comes in many shapes and sizes, and is woven into the fabric of society’s existence. Still we avoid it, and do what we can to control our lives in order not to feel its pain too deeply. Typically, we associate Our Grief in response to a death. However, grief can also occur when we have lost something of importance. Because we are programmed for survival, pain and suffering were meant to be avoided at all cost. As a result, we have become a society that is adverse to a very natural part of life and that is death.
You and I recognize that, yes, we will die but that is in the future. “Right now I need to live,” I hear you say…you want to search out only things that will bring pleasure, happiness or joy. Experiencing anything less makes life not worth living. I am here to suggest that it is in knowing and understanding how to grieve that loosens the fear that holds you back from truly living.
Small Practice Steps
This is why life has given us smaller losses to practice on for they will teach us how to deal with the largest loss of all – a death. Very often it is not the death itself that affects the immensity of grief we feel, it can often be we are feeling and being asked to heal all those other “little losses” we ignored and buried as we went through life.
How many of you recite affirmations as I do negating anything bad or negative you may be feeling or thinking? Sometimes we need to feel our emotions and not affirm them away. If there were no death, there would be no butterflies. In a similar way, if there were no sadness or grief how would we know and appreciate happiness and joy?
3 Day Grief Ritual
I recently read a book called The Healing Wisdom of Africa by author Dr. Patrice Somé. He writes that when someone in his home village is not in their joy, then grief has crept in to visit. If one person is affected then the whole village is affected. Its people drop whatever they are doing and participate in a three- day ritual to release the grief that has settled. Each participant is accompanied and no one goes into their grief alone. After three days, everyone returns to the village to carry on with their lives, feeling happy that their joy has returned. Who knew that grieving could take three whole days? It makes you wonder how we are expected to deal with and heal our grief when our funeral rituals last one to two hours? Many are expected then to return to their work and lives.
Making Peace with Grief
The question isn’t, how do we grieve, it is how can we not? Perhaps you have grown up with parents who were uncomfortable with their emotions and who did not allow your emotions to flow. Our understanding of death and not being fearful of it lies with accepting our emotions and recognizing their connection to our thoughts. Our emotions flow through us one by one. Often we don’t notice them unless we think of something that literally interrupts us and makes us feel anger or sadness. We never stop long enough to ask why we are feeling a certain way. Our emotions recede in the background until something like a death occurs – the grand interruption! Then we are stopped in our tracks and have no choice but to face them. In our grief, each emotion will come to visit, sometimes alone or all together leaving us breathless, off balance and in pain. Understandably, we may be frantic and unsure of how to cope with the intensity.
GPS -Map-Plan – Your tools for the Grief Journey
Rather than waiting until a death occurs, wouldn’t it be kinder for us to understand what to expect? To gain an appreciation of grief’s purpose? I have found when I understand something, the fear surrounding it lessens.How many of you can say you know what to expect when death shows up? What will it feel like? Will I cope with grief’s emotions? Because we are afraid, we cannot face up to what is in front of all of us. This is why I suggest “let’s talk about it”. In this way you lessen fear’s grip on death. You can allow yourself to go deeper into the understanding of life ending and experience the growth that can occur from this personal exploration.
No one would think of visiting a place they’d never been without first researching it and making travel plans. They would take along their GPS or trusty map. Death is no different; it is a journey we all must take and it is in the surrendering that we can ultimately reduce the painful feelings that surround grief. However, so few have a road map or GPS of grief’s terrain.
As a grief guide/coach and author, I offer you “Grief’s Abyss, Finding your Pathway to Peace”, my road map for grief experienced through a death. Here I guide you through the twists and turns as you journey through grief and transition from heartache to happiness. The book is now available at Singing Pebble bookstore (Ottawa) or on Amazon.ca/com. For more information go to http://www.annedebutte.com/.