Whether someone leaves us physically either by walking out or in death, or emotionally through a distancing that is palpable even in their presence, we may suffer ineffable grief. When a marriage fails or we lose our self in another person such that we forget who we are and what we need and want, this is loss. If we experience failure in our personal, academic, or vocational goals, this is loss. Death of a loved one, a parent, child, or companion animal can feel overwhelming and unbearable. And hopes and dreams that are shattered and unmanifest are all losses.
Grief's confusion and multiple feelings are individually experienced but one collective affect can be the sense of a heart broken in so many pieces. Every loss in life is cumulative. The losses and wounds of early childhood and onward can build up and deeply embed in our psyche soul. According to Russell Friedman, co-founder with John James of The Grief Recovery Method, "grief is the conflicting feelings caused by the end of or change in a familiar pattern of behavior... it is a normal and natural emotional reaction to loss or change of any kind. Of itself, grief is neither a pathological condition nor a personality disorder." (from The Grief Recovery Handbook, 1998).
What I have learned through my counseling work with people since 1992 is that the adage 'time heals all wounds' in a passive sense is not really true. We must act on our own behalf to heal. The first step for healing is being heard in our grief, telling our story in a loving, supportive, and accepting environment. Then the work of untying the knots of un-grieved or not fully grieved losses begins.
Transformation in consciousness occurs by taking specific guided actions that honor our self and our loved ones or unloved ones. A sign of healing taking place can be the lessening of unbearable pain. We can regain emotional strength and knowing again who we are. The rest of our life can begin to unfold with new anticipation.
"AND THE DAY CAME WHEN THE RISK TO REMAIN TIGHT IN A BUD WAS MORE PAINFUL THAN THE RISK IT TOOK TO BLOSSOM."
~ ANAIS NIN