I think perhaps I have come to consider these past twelve months or so as a year of loss. My heart is both tender and curious as I write that. I have of course had many losses in my life – I believe we all have. Some of them mark you irreparably – the loss of your mother, your father, a sibling, a best friend – these shift both the internal and external landscape and then the life you move within is suddenly different.
But loss happens in many ways and not always dramatically. Sometimes it’s a slow eroding; a lingering illness that you understand has no brilliant turnaround to be expected. Or something that once held bright shining energy for you, slowly loses appeal and withers away. We can lose bits of ourselves as well; old stories and old beliefs.
I’ve had a couple of unepected losses recently, and I’m preparing for a few more as I do another round of releasing, so I’ve been thinking a lot about it.
Loss is fraught with difficulties for us in our human embodiment. Whether it’s actual loss of beings we love, or something a little less dramatic, what’s really happening is change. And change simply isn’t easy for most of us.
Grief, heart break, loss, and sadness are part of all our lives. And we all journey with them differently, both based on who we are and the particular circumstances. There is certainly no one-size fits all prescription, but there are ways we can support ourselves that allow us to move through these periods with a bit more ease and grace. And that’s certainly what we all want. We don’t want to deny or cover up our feelings – that never works anyway in the long run, and risks having them burst out in unexpected ways when we’re least expecting or prepared for them. But nor do we want to stay permanently mired and stuck in the grief. We don’t want the energies to become congested, we want them to flow.
It occurred to me this might be a good time to talk about the tools available that I use to help navigate through these times.
Thinking about ourselves as energetic beings and grief in terms of flow can be useful in tuning into things that might support us.
There’s a reason we cry – it’s a release, a flow. There are other “watery” things that help as well.
I use flower essences daily and they are certainly one of the supports I recommend. If you had to limit yourself to only one, Rescue Remedy would be a good choice to have at hand. This is what I used to help me stay calm and centered during a crisis and then immediately afterward. FES (Flower Essence Society) offers a blend called Grief Relief which is a combination of essences that can be very helpful, and I often take that for a bit, And then I move into individual essences. I find Bleeding Heart, Star of Bethlehem, Borage, and the various Yarrows helpful.
Salt water baths can be comforting too, and help clear energy. I often add a few drops of essences to the bath as well.
Upping your intake of water can be helpful as well. This is a good way to work with the flower essences too – adding them to your drinking water.
I’m also an advocate of aromatherapy, and essential oils are an important support to me. For grief I like working with myrrh (it can help with inner stillness and peace), vetiver (which is grounding and comforting), and roman chamomile (which is calming and I find peaceful). At some point I might choose to add in some bergamot or grapefruit which brings in a bit of lightness and opens the door to an increased sense of optimism. I don’t rush this step, but you can tell when you’re ready.
Working with the vibrational energy of the stone beings can be helpful as well. Rose Quartz is my go-to heart healer. I love it so much I have large chunks of it in every room in my home. Some people find Apache Tears Obsidian useful during periods of grief as well.
Listening to comforting music can be supportive as well. I particularly like mantras, kirtans, blessings. Years ago I hear a blessing/prayer sung by monks that I use all the time now. It’s my go-to blessing.
“Love before you, love behind you, love to the left of you, love to the right of you, love above you, love below you, love unto you, love in your surroundings, love to all, love to the universe.
Peace before you, peace behind you, peace to the left of you, peace to the right of you, peace above you, peace below you, peace unto you, peace in your surroundings, peace to all, peace to the universe.
Light before you, light behind you, light to the left of you, light to the right of you, light above you, light below you, light unto you, light in your surroundings, light to all, light to the universe.”
Beautiful isn’t it? While I use it for others, I also use it as a self-blessing as well.
When journeying through grief it really is time for taking good nurturing care of yourself – eating properly, honoring your need for space and perhaps napping, and simply ramping up the loving-kindness to self exponentially. Being outside in nature, grounding, and simply hooking into the energetic grid of Earth can be comforting as well.
And most of all it can be helpful to remember the gifts you received from what is now lost. We can grow strong in the holding of what feels most tender now, and we can always hold love for those who touched our hearts most deeply. Expressing appreciation and leaning into the things that you feel genuine gratitude for is a simple way to shift into more uplifted energies. And above all, keep flowing the currency of love.
So today I sat in a favorite chair, with the fabulous fashionista upholstery and crow pillow:
made a pot of tea in my favorite reminds-me-of-an-elephant teapot:
and drew a card from the Mother Mary oracle deck:
I believe, bottom line, we are beings of light and everything is vibration and energy. Things aren’t lost, they simply transform. And the more we open our hearts to welcoming all-that-is, the more expanded capacity we have to know that all is well, even in those moments we think it’s not.
What about you? Do you have go-to things that help you navigate loss? Do tell – you know I’d love to hear.
Reading is my go to tool, as well as walking with music. Exercise seems to release free form thinking and my mind wanders when I’m out in nature, appreciating those small things. I give myself time to cry and permission to be down at times. A smooth homemade mocha is a treat I give myself. Sipping coffee has always been therapeutic for me. I’m sorry that you’re dealing with the losses. It’s certainly been a difficult year here too. Although my losses haven’t been unexpected, they’ve still been very unwelcome.
You’ve got a wonderful go-to list of things to turn to Margaret – good for you! I know you’ve really needed to put them to use this year.
I think “coping with loss” and “coping with change” are ultimately the same thing; you must let go of the before in both cases, and it can be difficult emotionally even we know – intellectually – that things will get better over time. As you say: we must let go.
It’s difficult to let go even when the change is good.
When it’s something completely out of our control — like the unexpected loss of a loved one, or of a job, or a home, or basic civil liberties (enter: COVID lockdown), I think we spend more time than we would otherwise in the ‘anger’ phase of the grief cycle. Which impedes our ability to let go. (Which, in turn, impedes our ability to move forward.)
I find – for myself – that *actually* moving… Going for a walk, tackling a household project, baking cookies, weeding the garden… Doing something that physically requires movement helps me get mentally ‘unstuck’ and start moving forward more easily during those times.
Yes, I believe that as well – loss and change are deeply connected. And I think movement is perfect as well. That’s the most direct way to initiate flow.
Hi Deborah – what a great post to read and to know we can come back to. Times are difficult … these ideas here are just so appropriate for many of us – we can all draw on your suggestions to cope. I’m very practical and tend to get on with things … having had a few shocks through life … I also rationalise things in my own mind and get through that way. Flower essences are just brilliant … loved this post – thank you … all the best for all the losses we’ll come across at this time … stay safe – Hilary
Your pragmatic nature is an inspiration Hilary. And yes, these are difficult times for so many. I think it’s never been more important to consider how we hold one another. Thank you for your kind wishes, and stay safe.
All positive and lovely things! Although long-retired from practice, I still utilise these therapies (though this reminds me that I need to restock on aromatherapy oils!)
I do rather think that the “pandemic fatigue” that is being spoken of in respect to the population as a whole has much to do with that ‘slow grief’ you mention. Even for those who have not been directly touched in any way by the disease, the constant barrage of news, the collateral effects upon our lives and the restrictions we have had to accept all build into the grief of things not being as they were… indeed change is the only guaranteed constant in life as much as we may resist it!
With Love and wishes for rest and restoration, YAM xx
I think you’re right Yamini, “pandemic fatigue” is a useful term in the now, I also think it will be quite some time before we sort out what long-term effects the slow-simmering constant stress has on us physically, emotionally, and mentally as the whole human collective. Change is indeed a constant! And as always, thanks for your kind wishes.
[Finger crossed this comment makes it through the system to you…]
I’ve been thinking about the concept of letting go lately. Not because of any specific event, but in general, as a result of our pandemic lifestyles. I feel lethargic about most everything, but also know that this may be a symptom of too long in lockdown mode. Still I want to let go of some people, ideas, behaviors– and can’t decide if I’m just tired or if I’m ready to make some significant changes.
I totally get this Ally. I suspect we’re all sorting through this, but I can’t help but think we’ve collectively been given an opportunity, under such strange circumstances admittedly, to shift things in ways we might not have given ourselves a chance to previously. Lots to think about for sure.
Reading and writing are my go to. And listening to music from my child/teen years, when the people I miss most were still around. Looking at old photo albums too.
The sights and sounds of water are soul soothing. I am fortunate that I’ve always lived close to rivers, lakes and/or the sea. Love looking at the changing sky too, never fails.
I found great comfort in your words today. Thank you.
I’m glad you found some comfort here. Your list of go-tos sounds soothing and restorative. Sending good wishes always.
During the long duration of the pandemic, I was very lucky to be able to go for walks whenever I chose. Had my situation been different, I cannot imagine how things might have worked out. Reading and blogging also kept me sane. The most difficulty was in watching or reading news of so many who suffered.
As you mentioned, comforting music is always supportive. And most relaxing of all for me is feeding the birds on my lanai. Nature has a way of smoothing over turmoil.
Nature is truly a wonderful healer, teacher, and beloved ally. Unlimited walks and bird feeding/watching sound like perfect antidotes to the sustained stress of these times.