When the unthinkable happens and you lose a loved one unexpectedly, it’s natural to feel numb or even like your world has come to an end. This can happen whether someone dies suddenly, in an accident, or after they’ve been sick with a terminal illness. You may experience overwhelm with grief and be filled with so many different feelings that you may not even know where to start making sense of life without this person in it.
While each situation is unique, the following three practices have helped me navigate through my grief so I can make sense of life.
Now, before we begin I just wanted to share that the intention behind this blog today came as a result of receiving notice yesterday that a friend was on life support and since that news I’ve been connecting with others that I know that are close to this incredibly pure and courageous soul. As I’ve been processing the news in my own unique way I’ve been reminded of the feeling when I lost a close friend to suicide years ago as the situation is similar as both involve life support.
I want to let you know, that wherever you are in your life in this moment; we are divinely guided. I know this is hard to hear especially when in the midst of processing tragedy and grief. Yet, this belief is something I hold dear in my heart and becomes the anchor to guide me in times like this. A book I’ve found to help give me peace is called “Sacred Contracts” and it’s by Caroline Myss. In the book, she speaks about the intention of incarnating, karmic loops with other souls and overall helps to zoom out and see the totality of the universe as best we can with our human brains.
What’s to follow in this blog are my 3 ways to process and fully feel my grief through situations like this. I sincerely hope this helps you.
#1. Reconnecting with Nature
Nature speaks to us in miraculous ways, although oftentimes our lives are too fast to notice the messages. This is a practice I encourage folks to implore as a normal part of SOUL/Life Balance. It’s as easy as just going on a walk in your neighborhood without the use of our phones to distract us from nature’s symphony. Sure, bring your phone on the walk but do your best to resist the urge to listen to music, a podcast or call a friend. Just fully be present on the walk.
When we’re facing any sort of numbness or grief, we’ll likely have to go a bit deeper. Most of us have outdoor hobbies that make us feel alive, one of mine is surfing. So, in light of the news of my friend facing his own mortality; I went out to the ocean to honor him and be in the elements and I will continue to do so. Find some way of connecting deeper in nature to sit and fully be with the grief, numbness or any other feeling you may be experiencing. If you’d like to go even deeper you can go on what’s called a Soul Wander. In this episode of the Soul Seekr podcast; my guest Tim Corcoran explains what a Soul Wander is and how you could set up your own Soul Wander to be at one with nature.
Expressing your thoughts through the written word is a mystical experience to get to the root of how you may be feeling. As you may know (or be able to tell), I love writing … however, I don’t love to journal. I understand the resistance that comes with the thought of journaling. If you are someone that is familiar with this resistance I’m speaking of; I’d encourage you to consider the author, Julia Cameron’s journaling technique called “Daily Pages”.
Daily Pages is a journaling practice that helps to uncover thoughts and feeling from your subconscious or even your psyche. The truth is many of us are living on autopilot and we aren’t really aware of how we’re feeling. The practice of daily pages is quite simple…
A) Set a timer for 20 minutes and don’t stop journaling – literally try your best to not let the pen stop writing and whatever you do definitely resist the urge to stop and check your phone.
B) Just write without judgement. Do your best to write what’s coming to your mind and it’s okay if the beginning is something to the tune of “I don’t understand the point of this etc”. If you stay diligent with this and do the full 20 minutes you will likely uncover something that you didn’t know was there. This modality can be incredibly cathartic and I’d encourage you to lean into the discomfort and the emotions that arise to fully be with the grief you may be experiencing.
#3. Honoring Them
Is there anything that you and this person shared together that you was special and unique to your relationship with them? Find the things that represented what this person was about and honor them in that way. This healing modality isn’t often spoke of when it comes to processing the grief of losing loved one’s, but I can tell you this can be one of the most beautiful ways to make sense of the unimaginable.
My friend who we’ll call Bill that killed himself about 14 years ago loved outdoor adventures. Specifically, he and I were planning a snowboard trip that season but it never came to be. About 2 weeks after he had hung himself I went snowboarding and at the time he was still on life support. I don’t remember if the intention of that snowboarding trip was to honor Bill, but what I do remember was being on top of the mountain checking my phone after getting off the ski lift and receiving a message from a mutual friend that they had taken him off life support and he had passed. That run down the hill was for Bill; and I felt his presence. This was one of the first peak spiritual experiences I can remember and it was this experience that taught me about the significance of honoring loved ones as they pass.
I know these are just a few tips on how to address one of the most difficult things we experience in life and I’m not suggesting that you’ll be able to process whatever it is with just these three tips. However, I do know that these three modalities have served me greatly in these times and it is my sincere hope that you or someone you know will benefit from one of them.
Sending you all the love.
To Being More Present in All of Our Relationships,