Grief is an invitation to release what no longer serves us, beliefs and baggage, the invitation to create new rituals, relationships and perspectives. Grief throws us into chaos so we may grow and evolve.
Energetically grief freezes our chakras, drains or energy fields and we often feel numb, disconnected, and lost, this is passing.
Our fear of grief traps us in various aspects of grief. Causing depression, anxiety, exhaustion, and disconnection, just to name a few common symptoms.
One cause of our depression and anxiety is due to living in a constant state of unfelt unprocessed grief.
We judge, censor and stop painful emotions. We dread experiencing them. Often labeling them as negative feelings. We do not want to feel pain, hurt, sorrow, grief, discomfort and the list goes one. Thus, we are a society of walking grieving. We push through grief as if it’s some horrible monster that cannot be fully looked at or it will swallow us. Like Medusa, if we look at grief We are turned to stone, trapped and hardened. We pretend each and every day that we are okay. Lie to ourselves that everything is fine. We push through change, ignoring our soul’s cry to sit and stay for a moment. To honor what was and embrace what will be.
Grief is complex to say the least. It ebbs and flows. Grief can have hurricane force winds that seem to devastate us and the thought of repair seems impossible.
It takes time to process grief, it hooks the system, mind, body, soul, and emotions. And each processes the loss differently. Leaving us to feel vulnerable, out of control and depleted.
We grieve life and death loses. Unfortunately, we tend to minimize our life loses. Barreling through me and discrediting them. We forget that these loses must be felt. In feeling them, we allow ourselves to experience the expansiveness of being human. We allow yourself to understand ourselves on a deeper level. We often fight this afraid, that if we go too deep we will become lost and drown.
Life losses are those experiences that change normal daily life that causes us to adapt and change. Even those that are positive changes involve grief because what we know is ending and something different will become our new norm. Common LIfe loses include but is not limited to: relationships changes, job changes or loses, and moving,
Our society accepts death loses more than life loses. However, we still push through this pain, believing the less time spent here the less pain we experience. This traps us and often keeps us stuck.
The grief over the death of a human is culturally accepted. However, there is still judgment and misunderstanding in the grief over a pet.
Our human relationships are complex and this affects our grieving. Mixed emotions can cloud or hinder the grief process. We need to work through our living relationship with the person, all emotions and feelings. Not suppress or hid but to allow ourselves to feel it all emotions that arise: anger, contempt, love, laughter, whatever emotion arises is perfectly okay. It is part of the process.
Our pets loved us unconditionally. They bared witness to our life. Many of our pets see sides our us that no one else sees, they are holders of emotions and keepers of our secrets. This loss can be as difficult as human lose and for some even more painful.
Elizabeth Kubler Ross outlines the stages of grief as denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. These stages are not linear and you may fluctuate between all of them.
Denial often expresses itself, as the inability to accept the loss or death. The notion that the person or pet return. That the situation will go back to what it once was.
Anger can be expressed outwardly and inwardly. Anger at the person for leaving, for being sick or dying. Anger at self for not doing more, saying something, being a better person. We often get caught in anger, in the self-blame, holding ourselves accountable for not knowing something that we did not know.
Bargaining is when we pray to our Gods, asking for another day, promising to be a better person. Bargaining with ourselves, telling ourselves that we must change to prevent grief from coming back.
Depression forces us to slow down, to sit in grief. Often times we push through this, pretending that we are okay, going through our daily life activities numb, disconnected and unavailable.
Acceptance is when we realize that life has changed. The situation is what it is. The person or pet is gone.
This explains a lot but it doesn’t explain what is going on a deeper soul level. Our soul’s experience grief as an alchemical process. Moving through different states that allow us to heal and evolve. It is our soul’s alchemical descent into the underworld that forces us to change.
The alchemy stages of grief are: calcinatio, solutio, coagulatio, sublimatio, mortificatio, separatio, and coniunctio (Annamarie Fidel-Rice, “The Alchemy of Grief) and J. Raff, “Jung and Alchemical Imagination).
Calcinatio is the fire that causes the substance to change, the substance is being burned to ash. This is the anger that we feel because life is changing because the person or pet is dead because our reality is forced to be different and we must adjust.
Solutio is the process of the ash becoming liquid. For our soul’s these are our wounds. These is where we sit and feel and become aware of just how deep these wounds penetrate our being. Think of the liquid as your emotions, the ebb and flow, the movement.
Coiniucitio is where the liquid becomes solid once again. For the soul, this is the process of healing our wounds, tending to them, to become whole once again.
Sublimato is the creation of vapor. For grief, it represents a new perspective, our ability to rise above the issue and to see our grief in a new light.
Separation is the stage where everything is separated. For grief, this means taking apart the wound: mind, body, spirit, and soul. This step is necessary to incorporate the wisdom gained from sublimato.
Motificatio- original substance and is lost it forms to chaos. In grief it is the death of the past, believes, and prescription.
Coiniucitio is the rejoining of elements and the coming together of all pieces. This is where mind, body, soul and emotions. This is where we are our authentic self.
Our shadows love grief. For our judgments and shames come out to play. We judge ourselves and others for our grieving process. We shame ourselves for how we grieve. In the cycle of acceptance, denial, anger, bargaining, and depression our shadow reveals itself. When we allow ourselves to delve into the alchemical process of grief we allow ourselves to integrate these shadow pieces. Embracing the anger, being open to a new perspective, accepting the chaos, leaning into separation and finding peace in who we become.
Ways to work with your grief:
We need to acknowledge our losses and changes and honor them. There will be tips below depending on your grief type.
Get support- talk to people, find a support group, hire a therapist, counselor or coach, talk to your pastor, find those people you can lean on and who can hold space for you.
Don’t judge your grief or compare it to others. We all grieve differently. Some of us private mourners, other openly mourning, do what is best for you.
Be gentle with yourself. Allow the ebb and flow. The more you suppress the bigger it gets. It’s like standing in the ocean, that the gentle waves hit your legs and feet. Instead of waiting for the tidal wave to come and knock you over and drag you out to sea and if this happens go with it. Your grief is opening you up for so much more!
Express yourself. Write memories, journal your feelings, write bad poetry, draw, paint, dance. Cry, scream, whisper. Let the emotions move through your body. Talk to them, write to them or talk out loud.
Create rituals. Write a letter and put in a balloon, Create and honor your ancestors through an altar, Make meals in honor of the deceased. Do activities they would have loved (for pets, the dog park, pet store, walks, leave out their favorite meal). These are just suggestions listen to your intuition. You knew your loved one, you’ll know what to do.
Remember grief is a process and becomes like an old friend visiting with some baggage and gifts. Grief comes and goes. Be open when grief comes to visit, you are healing on a deeper level, connecting on a deeper level.
Grief is an invitation to embrace our soul’s evolution, to create rituals that heal our deepest pains and traumas. Grief is a place to learn the art of letting go and releasing that which no longer serves you.