in Choose Hope Today, Grief

Grief is neither a disorder nor a healing process; it is a sign of health itself, a whole and natural gesture of love. – Gerald May

Experiencing grief is an inevitable part of living and loving. It is a deeply personal journey with no right or wrong way to go through it; however, you must go through it, you must allow yourself to feel the loss and the pain, if you desire freedom.   

And while grief is a natural response to loss, avoiding pain is also a natural instinct; it is easy to get stuck within these competing paradigms. You hurt, but you so desperately want to end the hurt. In these moments, it can seem easier to push down the pain and soldier on, when, in actuality, you are just prolonging the inevitable, because that repressed grief will keep trying to get your attention (in any number of self-destructive ways) until you can no longer ignore it.

Additionally, grief not properly confronted can run amok. It is easy to get stuck here, too. When the pain seems to hit in wave after wave, you can feel like you are drowning in it. Instead of repressing your emotions, you swirl in them, staying indefinitely. In these moments, it can seem impossible to believe that there will ever be any end to your pain, and it can seem easier to succumb to your emotions than to process through them.

Dear friend, this journey of healing and Hope is not easy. Grief is a sacred process that must be honored. It must run its own course, not one of your making. This means that, while you cannot ignore your Grief or shut it down prematurely, neither can you stay there indefinitely and grieve dishonorably. Refusing to confront your Grief and denying how the loss has changed you is denying yourself and the truth of your pain – this only prolongs the pain; but when you allow yourself to grieve, you begin to acknowledge and accept your loss and you begin to move forward.

Before you can confront your Grief, however, you must first find that quiet place of contemplation – that Stillness – that allows you to open your heart and mind to clarity and perspective. But being Still can be especially uncomfortable when your heart is breaking. Your mind may wander, you may fidget, you may even rail against the pain and walk away. But you must return to the Stillness and to the Grief, touch it lightly and gently, and as time goes by, you will learn to honor the pain and feel the relief and release that comes with acceptance. Ultimately, allowing yourself to grieve is the means to the end of the profound pain you are experiencing.

At Living Hope, the Practice of Grief is the third step on your journey to Hope. You will begin the Practice of Grief when you allow the emptiness to fill the depth of your sadness and acknowledge what you have lost, whatever it is – a person, a relationship, a job, an opportunity, a business, your dream. Name it and honor what it meant to you, and, then, moving forward, accept how its presence–and its loss—in your life will shape what is to come.

What have you lost, friend? What is causing you so much pain and heartbreak? What did it mean to you? Let the feelings come as they will. Breathe slowly. Stay in this place as long as you can. Let the feelings, good and bad, wash over you. Little by little, let the Grief leave your body.

Allow yourself to Grieve.