How to Reconnect from Grief to Find Healing

How to reconnect from grief and find healing can be easier said than done but it is possible.  To do so will take courage, commitment, and action and often healing from your grief takes detective work.  I can say this because sometimes your deep grief isn’t always about your recent loss.  It can be an accumulation of many losses that have built up along the way.  A death can shatter your very core, cracking your foundation.  It can also be an opportunity for transformation if you allow your grief to do its work.  This can help you rebuild your life by reconnecting you to you and is an opportunity for to rebuild your foundation from the ground up.

12 processes to go through in order to heal from your loss.

  1. Going into grief’s abyss
  2. Learning how to climb out
  3. Identifying thoughts that cause heartache
  4. Making peace with your past
  5. Forgiving ourselves and others
  6. Finding your values
  7. Discovering your needs
  8. Restoring your balance
  9. Practicing daily gratitude
  10. Recognizing what’s important
  11. Creating new meaning
  12. Rewriting your new chapter in your book of life

 1. Going into Grief’s Abyss

The only way through your grief is by delving into it and not avoiding it by stuffing your emotions down.  Even excess working, working out, drinking, smoking, gambling, drugs or eating create avoidance.  Please give yourself permission to be and feel your emotions.

  1. Learning How to Climb Out

Learning how to climb out can be done by talking about your loss, this helps to make it more real and brings you out of denial.  Chose a good friend or family member, join a support group or get help from a therapist or grief coach to help guide you.  Often it is your thoughts on the past and how things used to be that can cause you pain and suffering.

  1. Identify Thoughts that cause your Heartache

Very often it is the guilt you may feel over what you may or may not have done, perhaps you are angry and blame others perhaps there is resistance.  It is a good time to journal to find out just which thoughts you are continually or habitually thinking and talking about. Instead ask yourself if it is guilt what or how things would have turned out differently, this works well with blame thoughts.  If you are thinking angry thoughts, this could be masking a deep fear.

  1. Making Peace with your Past

As mentioned in the beginning of this post, your present grief may be lingering or un-dealt with grief from previous losses.  This is an opportunity to heal these at this time.  Often these un-dealt losses will wait for an opportunity such as a major loss before making themselves known.  That might be why your grief over this loss is much more than you thought it should be.  What losses have you had and not dealt with?

  1. Forgiving yourself and Others

Yes, this can be easier said than done.  Forgiving yourself could be releasing yourself from those guilt feelings you have.  Guilt is really shaming at what you have or haven’t done (go back to #3 and journal on these thoughts).  You did what you did, no need to beat yourself up. Take this as a learning opportunity. You now have additional information of how you could handle things a little differently next time.  No judgments required.  The Ho’oponopono Hawaiian prayer is a wonderful way to release and find forgiveness.

  1. Finding Your Values

Your values are those attributes you are born with and there are times when you can discount your true values for a number of reasons.  If honesty is one, and you saw a friend stealing something, your choice is to say something to your friend, report it or say nothing.  If you chose to say nothing you are going against your true values.  This can weaken your self-esteem and your confidence in your abilities. Your values can help you to regain your self-esteem and help you gain resilience to assist you through your grief.

  1. Discovering your Needs

Too often we do not know what our needs even are.  This is especially true for a woman who often gives up their needs to keep the peace within the family unit.  Determining what your true needs are is a way to help you cope with your grief.  If you relied on your husband or wife for something to meet your need, i.e., company, cooking or finances.  Then if they have died, you will find yourself in more pain over having to learn how to do these things yourself.  List your needs and find ways you yourself can meet them.  If you do you will find this helps to build resilience and aids in healing your grief.

  1. Restoring your Balance

Restoring your balance is where you decide when to spend your time grieving, this is important to do, however, sometime, you may need to set time limits.

Once you welcoming in your sadness and allow the tears, sit with them and allow.  You will find that they will dissipate quickly once they have been welcomed in to do their job.  It is so OK to laugh during the grieving period, this is healthy and your body needs to laugh so it can bring your emotions back into balance.  Not able to laugh, then put on a funny movie or listen to a comedy show.  There is also such a thing as laughter yoga.  Be alert and welcome in all of your emotions.

  1. Practice Daily Gratitude

Too often when you are grieving you are focused on the past or future, however, it is in the present that you can find your peace.  Finding 3-5 things daily that you are grateful for can help you to feel better about yourself and focuses your thinking away from your loss.  Yes, it is good to focus some of your thoughts on your loss but you will need a time out so you can help your body regain its emotional balance.

  1. Recognizing what’s Important

Too often when you are focused on your loss and grieving, it is easy to lose sight of what things you did that made you feel good.  You may have found that eating healthy meals and going to the gym made you feel good so these things would be important for you to continue.  Perhaps spending time with a good friend chatting over coffee and talking about things other than your grief used to help you.  Finding what helped you to feel good is important enough to keep doing them.  Make a list for yourself and begin to bring a few of these routines back into your life.

  1. Creating New Meaning

When you can begin to create new meaning for the death, your loss you can begin to heal your broken heart.  Lewis Caroll wrote in his book Alice in Wonderland as Alice saying “I can’t go back to yesterday because I was different then” I believe this quote says it all.  You cannot go back or look back but now need to look at today and your future eventually without that person.  You may create a legacy for the person, write a poem or a book, you may want to support others who are grieving. This is how you can begin to find new meaning their life and for your new life after your loss.

  1. Re-writing your New Chapter in your Book of Life

“When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves,” Viktor Frankl wrote.  With a death and subsequent loss, it is as if that chapter in your life book has been ripped out, leaving the chapters before and after not quite making sense.  You have come through the “Ending” you are now in “Transition” and life here can appear shades of grey because the “New Beginnings” hasn’t quite come into being.  This is where you get to choose what you want your new life to look like.

What is Grief Healing About

Grief healing is about understanding your grief, knowing where you want to go and taking action.  Grieving is hard work because it is tearing down walls that have been built up through resistance to change. You may feel vulnerable and unable to control your life in the beginning.  Healing is about learning and knowing about the pitfalls that can keep you stuck.

You have a choice now, to heal your loss, forgive and accept the past so as to move and create your future.  A future where you can live fully.  It is time to let go of unfinished business; you will come out of grief renewed if you allow it to do its job.  The real transformation or alchemy happens when you allow yourself to reconnect from your grief and live your own life. Wouldn’t your loved one want this of you?

If you get Stuck – Here’s how to connect with me

If you find yourself stuck just know I have created 5 ways to assist you.  You can purchase my book Grief’s Abyss Finding your Pathway to Peace and download the workbook to use and go through it on your own (details on annedebutte.com).  Join the closed Facebook Page “Let’s talk about Grief”(contact me and I can add you).  Get the support of a therapist or grief guide and coach and work 1:1 with me. (check out reconnect-rom-grief.com). Sign up for an upcoming workshop (to be announced in 2017).  Join my support groups (held in Manotick).  Many more opportunities are coming in the New Year.   I do hope to connect with you if I can guide and serve you further.

 

Good Grief It’s Christmas Time

12 Helpful Tips to Help You Cope

Good Grief its Christmas time indeed. I’ve prepared these 12 tips to help you survive the holiday season. This is the last thing you want to be facing when you are grieving. I’m sure you just want to pull the covers up and go back to sleep until it is all over.  Even worse, the stores are in full-blown Christmas, mode.  Happy, smiling people on TV commercials every five minutes with familiar Carols on every radio station, it’s impossible to ignore the season. The countdown is on to party time, bright lights and having fun.

Normally, you too would be among friends and family enjoying the frantic beauty of the season. This year you are dreading the season, especially now you’ve experienced the loss of a loved one. My heart goes out to you. I know what it’s like to lose a loved one at this time of year.  Both my parents passed away in November. Even though it’s extremely difficult, you can survive the holidays. In this guide, I’ve listed several things that helped me to cope with my losses and it’s my hope these tips will help you, too.

1. Accept Where You Are. Just for now

If you’re experiencing grief, late November until the beginning of a new year can be very difficult. It’s a challenge for everyone to navigate, especially when you are grieving, it can feel like climbing a mountain. You may have noticed that your energy is low and it’s hard to get enthusiastic about anything during the holidays.

Everything seems like such a chore. You may find it’s hard to stay focused. These are all normal feelings for anyone who has experienced the loss of a loved one. You may already dread facing the biggest holiday in the calendar year without that special someone. If you had your wish, you might just hibernate until Groundhog Day in February.

While hibernation may not be possible, choosing to skip the season with all the emotional triggers and potential pitfalls could be an option for you.

It is great that you have at least noticed your emotional state and for now, perhaps you could accept these feelings just for the moment? By not accepting how you are feeling and pushing through anyway, you may experience even more pain and anguish.

Just know it’s natural to have thoughts like “I have to be brave” or “It’s expected of me. I always host”, or “The house always looks so wonderful, how can I not participate this year?” These thoughts can send your flying into planning mode and then you may totally exhaust yourself long before the big day. You may even create arguments with family members or friends because you are frustrated, hurting and overwhelmed.

Grief work is exhausting and its main function is to stop us in our tracks so that we’ll take the time to deal with our emotions and reflect on our loss. In today’s fast-paced world this is a lovely dream but often it’s far from our reality.

Grief is about a broken heart and not a broken head. This is why we can, at times, push through using the sheer power of our minds. Your heart hasn’t caught up to your head. Your heart needs time to process. Your heart isn’t in the task so you will find yourself pushing yourself using sheer mind power – and this is exhausting. Instead of muscling through, stop, take a deep breath and settle your mind.

You may still be outwardly mourning and please know this is normal, most especially if your loss is a recent one. You want things to remain the same because there is comfort in routine. The feeling you are experiencing could be fear which can cause your resistance to the many inner changes brought about by a loss. Just know that by resisting you are holding on to the past, which is only natural. After all, who really enjoys change? However, accepting that there will be many changes may be helpful. Perhaps guilt is holding you back.

If you feel it doesn’t seem right that you should be enjoying yourself or even laughing and having fun when you’re loved one has just passed away please know this is normal. Many in grief have expressed the same sentiment. But if you think about it, wouldn’t your loved one want you to laugh and have fun? It is hard on the body to be constantly sad and grieving. Laughter is a way of balancing the body’s emotions. Give yourself this gift. Laugh when you feel like laughing. It will release some of the tension along with some natural endorphins.

Regardless of where you are in your grief process, perhaps this is the right moment to sit down and relax. Start by taking a few deep breaths in and out. Begin by sitting for at least five minutes. Find a quiet place with no distractions. This will bring your mind into the present moment and once it is focused there you can start to think more logically and plan how Christmas will look like for you and your family this year

2. Make your Christmas Season Plans

Have your calendar handy and look ahead at how you would like the holiday season to unfold. Armed with this information, you can move through the season with less pain and anguish.

If you always host Christmas dinner, decide if you want to continue to do so. Perhaps ask another family member take over just for this year. If that is too much change, then start by discussing your thoughts with other family members. They may be having similar thoughts and this way you can support each other through this tender time.

Consider Scaling Back

You may decide to scale down the decorations. Perhaps you would still enjoy this activity but on a much smaller scale. Decide if it will make you feel better or worse. Try to be honest with yourself and don’t feel guilty about whatever choice you make. You may decide to hold a decorating afternoon with a few family members a few weeks before Christmas day to help you from getting too overwhelmed or tired.

Once you have a better idea of what you would like, you will be able to start taking small action steps each day to make it a reality. You will know once you begin, just how much energy and desire you actually have. Know it is okay to tell the family if you are unable to do the tasks you thought you could do. Ask for help.

Should you decide to host, you could ask some family members to come early on Christmas day to help you with the meal preparation. Even better you could ask who would be willing to cook certain items of the meal. It may be hard to give up control of the meal this way but it is just for this year. Accept the additional help.

The hardest decision of all will be whether or not to set a place at the table where your loved one used to sit. Again it is much better to decide what you would prefer before the day. Discuss this concern with your family. Doing so will put you and your family members at ease. If you chose not to set a place, you may want to mention the deceased by name before the start of your dinner.

Your family may hold back from wanting to mention the person for fear of upsetting you. Don’t worry – mention them, it will be such a relief to you and your guests. The unspoken has now been spoken and everyone including you can relax.

3. Choose a New Tradition

As you plan for the holiday season, take time to recall if there was a specific thing you did with the person who has died. It may be this thought that is holding you back from wanting to make plans. Perhaps it was the tree you chose together or decorating the tree together. Recognizing the activity that made it special for you and your loved one will help you avoid a potential trigger point.

Allow yourself to feel this emotion and when you have finished, decide if there is a new tradition you could now create for yourself. Perhaps you could buy a readily dressed tree. This could help save you much time and energy.

Speaking from personal experience, going to the Candlelight service on Christmas Eve with my family was the tradition that held the most emotion. The year my Dad died I found the idea of attending the service just too emotional for me so we didn’t go.

Instead, we spent time relaxing rather than rushing our supper in order to get to the service. It turned out to be enjoyable and much more relaxing for us. We created a new tradition. So give yourself permission to try something different instead, something that will work for you.

4. Ask for Help

Much of this has already been covered however it bears repeating. When you are in grief, your energy is not optimal and you may find most things, even thinking, can exhaust you, especially if the loss is recent. Even after many years, the holidays can still hold emotional triggers so be kind to yourself, recognize your limitations and ask for help.

It is such a gift to those who have already volunteered when you do call on them for help. This is the perfect opportunity to do so. Make sure you ask them well ahead of time so as not to be disappointed. The holidays are a busy time for most of us, so, it is important to make your plans early in order to see just what help you need and who could potentially help you.

Accept and allow yourself to be helped. Receive it with an open heart. Too often we close people down by shutting out their offers of help. Give yourself an early gift and them also. Remember it isn’t always better to give. I am certain you have given help so many times that you have built up a giving balance by now – it is time to redeem it. Just for this year anyway.

5. Avoid the Sugar Highs and Lows

If you decide to attend Christmas parties over the holidays, please be careful with the sugary treats and alcohol (sugar). This is hard to do at the best of times but when you’re grieving you are already on an emotional roller coaster and adding more sugar, or alcohol, to your diet could make your emotions worse. Where your emotions are concerned, you do not need the additional sugar rush to help you peak on the highs or lows because you are already doing so. Mourning has enough ups and downs.

Instead, make sure you eat throughout the day and please do not think that by not eating during the day you can enjoy more food later. When a person is grieving the body needs fuel to keep you going so don’t shortchange yourself. If you aren’t able to eat much because you just are not hungry, be sure to go easy if you have a glass of wine or a cocktail. It is not a good idea to have alcohol on an empty tummy.

Remember to eat something before you have a drink. Make sure to keep your body hydrated by drinking water. In grief, the body requires more fluid due to all the tears that are flowing. If you do decide to drink alcohol, have a glass of water in between.

6. Remove the Pasted Happy Face

You may unknowingly put on a Happy Face to help yourself feel better or to help put others at ease. Please don’t force it. It doesn’t serve you but instead prevents you from truly feeling your emotions. A Happy Face is a mask and in many instances, people around you can tell what you are feeling just by your body language. Your face and body are giving two different messages. Being authentic and true to yourself will help you move through your grief process more easily. Masking your feelings only lengthens the process.

Remember:  the only way through grief is to feel it. When others ask you how you are it is much better to let them know you are not doing well. Be honest. There’s no need to elaborate but if they press you, it’s okay to let them know right now isn’t a good time and suggest another time, after the holidays, to talk.  On the other hand, if you feel like talking, express yourself. This way you’re acknowledging what you are feeling and not discounting what is going on inside.

I have found by recognizing what is coming up for me, acknowledging it and giving myself permission to cry later or tomorrow works nicely. This way I can schedule in some time by journaling or reflecting and allowing my emotions to bubble up. This is all part of good self-care

7. Decide to Speak About the Deceased?

The thought of mentioning the deceased’s name can be upsetting and you may not be comfortable doing so. Your family members and guests may be uncomfortable as well and not know how to deal with the subject. Speaking about the person first will help to put you and everyone else more at ease. You will be addressing the “elephant in the room”.

Acknowledge the deceased person and invite others to do the same. You may find you will hear more stories that you were not aware of and be happier for the sharing. It could be emotional, to begin with, however, it will help you the more times you can talk about your loss. My mum and I were never good at this and in the beginning, we both avoided mentioning Dad. As upsetting as it was for us, I am sure had we decided to talk about him we would have better comforted each other, instead of being mindful of not upsetting the other.

If you chose not to speak about your loss you may find yourself feeling ill at ease and on edge in case, their name is mentioned in the conversation. It is so much more freeing to share and allow yourself to be supported.

8. Going to Parties

This may be a good year to cut down on the number of parties you attend. As mentioned earlier, your energy levels will be lower than normal. This is why planning out what you would like to do this season will help you with these decisions. It’s ok to cancel; your hostess will understand. Do not feel obliged to attend because you agreed to months ago.

Decide if smaller parties would be more manageable. In my grief, I couldn’t attend the larger parties as the mere thought of large gatherings was too overwhelming. But smaller gatherings were more manageable and it felt good to go as it was a nice change of pace.

Often in grief, we can get caught up in the guilt of “I can’t enjoy myself right now. It isn’t right”. Sometimes a change of scenery and pace can do a world of good for boosting the spirits. If you decide to attend one or two perhaps by thinking ahead you could plan your exit strategy should you feel overwhelmed or uncomfortable.

You may decide to only spend a couple of hours and have a friend make sure to check on you at a specified time. Make sure to bring separate cars or book a taxi if needed. Speak to the hostess before the party and let her know you will attend but may need to leave early and coming to find her to thank her may not be an option. This way you can safely leave with no guilt.

9. Christmas Shopping

Christmas shopping is challenging enough even if you’re not grieving. Perhaps you are the organized one who shops all year for the perfect gift for your family and friends. However, too many of us, myself included, leave it to the last month or moment. This is another great opportunity to add shopping for gifts to your list of growing activities.

You may feel overwhelmed by the mere thought of it so if this is the case perhaps online shopping could be your answer. This way you are not using your precious energy to battle the crowds or parking lots.  Thank yourself for being aware of your feelings, take deep breaths. Have a cup of tea and start to plan your list of who you would like to buy for and what the gift idea may be. Go to your computer and start your shopping in peace.

Perhaps decide that you will take this opportunity to cut back and simplify your gift giving. This is what we did as a family when my Dad died. We introduced the idea of secret Santa and put a price limit on the gift. Our children are all young adults however, they are either starting out on their own or still at school so they never seem to have sufficient funds. This way we all only had one gift to buy, cutting down the stress financially and mentally thinking of and then purchasing the perfect gift for everyone.

One Christmas we decided to each name a charity and send money to them instead of gift giving. It is still lovely to have the gifts under the tree so we do both but keep it simple. I hope this will give you a few ideas.

10. Self-Care

You now have your plan, or at least, a much better idea of what action you can take each day. Don’t forget to add one action item in there for yourself. Self-care is so important and something we all need to focus on especially during times of grief.

Take time each day to do something fun for yourself. This can be as simple as a five-minute breathing exercise before your day begins, taking a walk in nature, reflecting over a cup of tea or coffee or all of the above. Scheduling in time to see your hairdresser, have a massage or pedicure can also do wonders for you.

When you are grieving, your energy is low and you will need to take care of your emotions. The urge to do nothing is always strong, however, it is essential to practice self-care each day together with some action steps. These simple actions will help you gain some control over your life and that will help to reinvigorate your confidence as you complete them.

Balance in everyday life is always a good way to live, however not easy to accomplish. This is even harder when you are grieving and are a part of the workforce. Finding ways to take care of yourself is even more essential and will help you better deal with your stress levels.

Ensure you practice doing something for yourself each day. You may feel you do not have the time, however, everyone needs a break. Take two minutes for yourself, close your eyes and slow your breathing down by taking three or four deep breaths. This alone can help you balance your stress. You may find you are more alert after you have taken a little time out.

11. Water is your friend

Drink plenty of water. This is so important especially in the early days when tears and weeping are more constant. Weeping takes more fluid from your body than you may realize. Our bodies work well on six to eight glasses of water and waiting until your thirsty is a sure sign you are dehydrated. Instead of reaching for more coffee, why not put the kettle on and have a cup of hot lemon water if you are not a fan of cold water.

If you need a sugar fix, add honey to the lemon water. Hot water with a slice of ginger can help warm you up. If you workout, you may need to add additional water just to keep your body working optimally. It is not only our bodies that require water our brains do as well. In grief, our brains can feel foggy so by not drinking enough, you could be adding to the brain fog.

Our brains cannot retain water so need a ready supply in the body to function optimally. Remember to drink and as a reminder, have a glass of water around your work area.

12. Give Yourself Permission

Congratulations! You have made it, you have your plan and you know what your holiday season and Christmas Day will look like. You have your list of who to call for help and you also have an idea of which holiday parties you would like to attend. The presents have been decided or you have a clearer idea of what your gift giving will be this year.

Now is the time to leave guilt and judgment at the door and give yourself permission to laugh and enjoy the season with your friends and family members. You will be relaxed and may even be looking forward to it instead of dreading it. You will have your wobbly moments but with your plan, you will have a way to take care of these moments. By planning ahead, you can be comfortable and relaxed knowing everything you have chosen for this year is taken care of and in good order.

One last thing:  something may not go according to plan. Relax, let go and enjoy the imperfect but perfect situation and laugh. You can’t control everything.

Happy Holidays to all

Grief isn’t Just Reserved for a Death

….It is the loss of what is loved

With any loss change can be expected.  Any change whether good or bad will affect how you are feeling.  It is important to know that with loss, there is a period of grief that can be anticipated.  It may mean your hopes and dreams are dashed and there lies a death.   However, as the events from last week in the US unfold – change is a certainty. With uncertainty it is normal for fear to enter the picture.

No one relates changes to the process of mourning and grief – letting the old go. This is what is happening and it would appear that I am not alone with my feelings of grief. There appears to be a collective force gathering and they have been making their voices heard. Will this grief grow, possibly, until these confusing, emotions being experienced are recognized as grief – grieving the loss of what was. For most experiencing these emotions they just want to be soothed and comforted.

Resistance to what is
It is normal to feel resistance to change, why because the familiar is your security blanket. Imagine a small child who has lost its soother or favorite blanket – they become upset and are only comforted when Mom or Dad step in. It is no wonder we are seeing this acting out now for there is no one out there to give us our blanket back.

Alas, as adults there is no voice of reason or comfort coming to alleviate those fears.

Just as a hurt animal lashes out, a survival mechanism kicking in to protect. I guess it is a human one also. Judging with what is happening in America right now.

Who is there to calm our fear?
Yes, I am talking about the US election but only for context here. The country is both elated and in despair – love and fear are polar opposites.  What we see is a great country imploding if the leaders can’t bring the two divides together. Who and where are the mediators, the voices of reason?

Remember the death of Princess Diana, the British and the world was visibly upset and in mourning. It took the Queen, the mother, the soother to step in, to steer and support those grieving. They then had one thing in common – their collective grief and it was given a voice.

Recognizing grief emotions
The feelings of shock were felt around the world recently after month upon month of denial. The collective shock is wearing off, having done its job (to protect). We are waking up to face what has been lost. Anger is now surfacing in face of what can’t be changed and blame is rising.   The collective fear is rampant – fear always arises when the known is unknown (good fear is there to keep you safe and aware). Guilt and shame can arise and be thrown into the mix or emotions, their job is to alert us to what we may or may not have done – nothing more (not as  punishment).

It is possible that these emotions will cycle around and around until the courage to look and understand what is being felt is found.  Despair and depression are likely candidates to follow or worse Apathy –where caring ceases.

This is what grieving is about in response to a a loss.

What an opportunity for all who are grieving, to reach out, come together and for mutual support and guidance. To explore and come together with a common understanding of what it is that has been lost.  To discover what would make you feel secure again and take back your security blanket.  You can and will, once you have acknowledged and understand what your grief is about.  This then is an opportunity to learn and grow and take your own power back; to find your own inner peace through acceptance. This is how you can make changes for the better.

What will you choose?
This is a process and you will get there if you allow yourself to go through the grief, for now is a time of mourning. A time for reflection not action. That will come once your head has cleared and clarity returns. It can start with you. Let love return not fear.

3 Acts to Practicing Forgiveness

image1
When we are no longer able to change a situation,

we are challenged to change ourselves.
Viktor Frankl

Acknowledging and Forgiving
We have reached that part in our journey; for it is possibly time for you, too, to accept the person has died. If we can’t yet accept it, we can at least acknowledge that it has happened and the person is not coming back. With acknowledgement we, too, must note we are being changed by grief. When we look back, which we will do in the next chapter, you will see just how much change and growth you have experienced. The old life you had, with its certain routines with your loved one, has now gone. That path has reached its end. With acknowledgement, you can now choose your new path and start to rebuild your life.

Acceptance versus Resistance
By not accepting our grief, we are, in fact, holding on to something that we cannot change. We become resistant. We hold on tighter and stop the natural flow of the grieving process. Instead of resisting it, we need to ask ourselves why we are avoiding it. Why and what purpose is this serving? It is in the asking where the answers can surface. The answer could be fear and guilt or fear of the future and what your life will be without the person, or guilt that you did not love the person enough because you associate moving on through grief with a lack of genuine love for the deceased.

Resistance

Letting go off Resistance
It is not the person you are letting go of; it is all the negative thinking that goes with holding on to the grief. Imagine if you will that it is you who has died. Would you not want the person to move on and find happiness and joy for their life once again? Of course, you would; so why should you feel guilty about trying to move past the sadness?

It is completely the opposite; by letting go, you are actually showing greater love. You have trust and faith that your loved one will live on in your memories and they will not be forgotten. Letting go is letting go of the resistance. This is what keeps us stuck and prevents us from growing. Evolution has made us this way. We need to adapt to our ever-changing environment or we will become extinct and die, too.

Breathing through your Pain
We need to learn to breathe through our pain and not resist it. An old adage says, “what we resist persists.”How true it is. Birthing mothers receive instruction on how to breathe deeply and slowly and how to pant through the pain. When the contractions are at their strongest, the mother can use her breathing to go with each one and be in tune with the natural flow and rhythms of birth. To go against the flow with each contraction would only make them more painful. Just like a woman giving birth, if we resist the pain, it will persist and intensify. So, breathe through your resistance to find out what truly is holding you back.

Acts of Surrender can Free you
Acceptance and letting go of the resistance are actually acts of surrender. You are no longer fighting the flow of wanting to swim upstream. You can become peaceful in that moment. The fight to hold on has ceased. The act of surrender can free up all that energy that was being used to hold on. You will feel lighter and freer in doing so. Will you try it?

Acts of Forgiveness Heals
Sometimes you can accept things, but, at times, there is still something holding you back. It is called forgiveness. During our lives, the person who died may have said or done something that hurt us and now that they have left, there is no opportunity for them to apologize or for us to forgive them. Maybe they did not apologize because they never realized they hurt us. I know for many of you, perhaps forgiving them will not be acceptable to you, but for you to have closure, know forgiveness is part of the healing process. It is much harder to forgive someone for a transgression than to ask for an apology. I can ask because I know what it feels like to finally forgive someone. It also feels amazing to apologize for something that I may have done or said to them. It is like wiping the slate clean. It removes any traces of old, stuck pain which can then free you.

Acts of Choice – sets you on a New Path
Forgiveness is another way in which we can make peace with the past. We have all said or done things that we wish we had not. The good news is that it is never too late to forgive or apologize. The best part is that you never have to say it in person. By choosing to forgive another is another way of letting go of what you think should or should not have happened. It does not mean that you condone their behaviour or actions. It means that you are no longer going to remain a victim, a victim to your thoughts or beliefs. Forgiveness is a decision to let go of anger, resentment, and thoughts of revenge. Forgiveness can assist you in not holding on. For holding on to grudges can lead to strokes, kidney disease, heart failure and even death.

I got to see this firsthand. My dad held onto grudges. He had kidney problems and did die of heart failure and cancer. For that reason alone, I am choosing to forgive on a daily basis!

Practicing Forgiveness in 10 Words
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I am using the Hawaiian Forgiveness Prayer Ho’oponopono. For more information on this simple prayer’s power, please see Joe Vitale’s book that he co-authored with Dr. Ihaleakala Hew Len called Zero Limits.

There are four phases to it:
I’m sorry
Please forgive me
Thank you
I love you

You can say them in any order, but Vitale believes in saying them silently to the Divine (of your understanding) is the best way.

Do you want to be right or Happy?

Perhaps if Dad had realized the powerful hold his grudges had on him and the damage they were doing to his body, he may have opted to forgive everyone. Again, do you want to be right or be happy?

Remember these words
“Father forgive them, for they know what they do” – Happy Easter