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Top 12 Steps for Coping With Grief - June 2012
We have all heard the expression, “To everything there is a season.” For many, this is the season of grieving. Recently I have heard from several people about the individual losses they are experiencing. My friend’s mother died this spring. She and her Mom were very close and for her the loss of her mother is incomparable. Another friend’s marriage fell apart after 12 years. Her children have scattered – off to college and work out of state. There’s a big loss. Now, just the other day, a close friend is grief struck after the death of her 18-year-old cat. Many people seem to be in the middle of an ocean of grief without a life-raft.
Grief seems to be up for a lot of us these days. Many of us are dealing with the loss of elderly parents, children leaving home and changes that seem insurmountable.
I believe that all of life and all of our lessons relate to our spiritual development, so the purpose of a grief or a catalytic event is to ultimately see the experience as useful. How can we use this experience to evolve spiritually and to help others? The Buddhists talk about change and the nature of impermanence. Grief on a personal level brings impermanence into acute focus. In its initial stages, grief and shock is raw and deep, so it is probably too early to view it as anything but a piercing wound to the heart. But time is the great healer and salver of all wounds.
In my own life, the grief and loss of a serious relationship provided the catalyst to create relaxation and therapeutic CD’s, which have comforted thousands of people who are coping with loss, grief, and uncertainty. I have sold thousands of copies of a CD entitled “Letting Go of The Past and Moving Forward.” It took this deep loss for me to understand what was needed to console a damaged human heart. Also, many years ago my near brush with a serious illness provided the background and the catalyst for my medical intuitive work.
Here are my suggestions for coping with grief:
Remember that during this time the body is taxed almost beyond its physical limits. The immune system, which protects the body from viruses, diseases and environmental factors, is under severe pressure due to emotional stress. The physical vehicle must not crumble under the strain. You must keep yourself strong as these painful events are unfolding. This experience of grief is the catalyst that draws you deeply into your spiritual nature and will ultimately call you to your higher work and more compassion for yourself and others.
Do all that you can to maintain your physical health in the following ways:
1. Every molecule of food and drink that you consume is translated into body tissue. Eat consciously by avoiding any foods and beverages to which you might be sensitive, allergic, or reactive. Wheat will make you tired and give you “foggy thinking.”
2. Don’t collapse into addictions - consumption of sugars, caffeine, and alcohol. These substances will further tax the system and contribute to more emotional hills and valleys. Avoiding these stimulants will give you the mental clarity to make appropriate decisions and deal with the situation. If you must use alcohol, use it as a medicine - sparingly.
3. Seek help from competent spiritual counselors and mentors who can assist you in looking at the situation from a higher and wiser perspective. Draw on the strength of friends and family members, or your church, for daily support during the severity of the crisis. Cry. Get it all out. Get down to the deepest parts of your being and express your grief with supportive assistance.
4. Do your best to see that this experience may hold an opportunity. It may be too early due to raw and painful emotions to see it, but in time the opportunity will be revealed.
5. Ask the questions, “What is life trying to teach or show me?” “Is life trying to move me in another direction?” “Are my skills and abilities needed in another place or location?”
6. Look for natural, calming remedies and supplements to restore and rebuild the body. Some
people may need mood elevating medication, or antidepressants. Do not deny yourself this
need during such a transitional time. I like Bach Flower rescue remedy – calm in a bottle. I also
recommend the homeopathic grief remedy – Ignatia in a 6 x or 30 C potency.
7. This too shall pass. Even the pain of the worst experiences will lessen over time.
When you are able to, help others. The gift of helping others less fortunate than yourself will
assist you looking at your problems from a wider perspective.
8. Keep gratitude on your lips. Even when things are at their worst, keep focusing on gratitude.
Thank you God for my eyes, thank you God for my home, thank you God for my friends etc.
should be continually repeated. The impression that these phrases can have on the mind
translates into a soothing, calming effect on the body. When your thoughts turn to fear or
deep sadness, reach in and pull out the feelings of gratitude from within. Be vigilant with your
thoughts and keep them as supportive as possible.
9. Learn to meditate. Spend time every day being quiet. Close your eyes and drop into a state of peaceful receptivity where you can listen to the wisdom of the body and the voice of God within you guiding you and assisting you in your healing process. Often people are able to connect with deceased loved ones or pets through the process of meditation. I believe that
those who have crossed over to the other side play a large role in orchestrating events and
healing wounds. Ask for their help.
10. Play relaxation therapy or guided imagery CD’s at night as you are going to sleep. These
will help to calm you down and to reprogram your thoughts in a more positive, supportive
direction. Look for the symbols in dreams to guide you at this time in your life.
11. Look after yourself and treat yourself to massage, soothing baths, a comfy rocking chair, soothing music, or a cuddly animal. There should be no limit to pampering at this time.
12. Exercise helps to balance brain chemistry. As soon as you are able, exercise daily in a
manner that is appropriate and healing. Quiet walks in nature or vigorous exercise can assist
in finding the inner voice of intuition that will lead you out of the darkness into hope and
The following concept has helped me over the years when I have been dealing with personal
loss and disappointment. Several years ago, I had the great fortune to hear a talk given by now deceased, Henri Nouwen, a Roman Catholic priest and the author of The Return of the Prodigal Son. During this talk, the Reverend Nouwen compared the communion bread, a ritual that is shared by many religious disciplines, to the human condition. His parallel aptly describes the grief catalyst.
The communion bread is chosen, in the same way that the human being is chosen by God to
live on this earth at this time.
Then the bread is blessed as part of the communion ritual; just as the human being, by their
very presence, is blessed by God.
Then the communion bread is broken, just the way the human being is broken or torn apart in
life, through disease, loss, and pain.
Then the communion bread is given to the people in the same way that we are able to reach
out and give to people more fully as a result of our losses and brokenness.
Many people experience catastrophic losses but then they go on to live in a completely
different way. Their grief transforms them and others in the process.
Caroline's Bio: Best-selling author (The Body 'Knows') and medical intuitive Caroline Sutherland. Medical Intuition is the ability to see beyond the normal levels of perception and if you are looking for answers to your health concerns – the common health problems that affect us all. Caroline offers a FREE Monday night Teleconference. Caroline will answer your health-related questions and offer “spot readings” giving you a fascinating glimpse into the world of medical intuition. If you are constantly tired, have cravings, gain weight or have health challenges - this show is for you! - Caroline Sutherland Website
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