Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Sit down with your sorrows

Grief is a difficult, sloppy, miserable experience that is wretchedly uncomfortable. Whether it's one of life's whopping griefs, such as follows the death of someone you loved dearly, or one of the lesser griefs, i.e. sorrows that follow disappointments, missed opportunities, fallings out, or everything inbetween - the sadness left in the wake of broken relationships, homesickness after a move to a new city, the tumultuous emotions that follow the experience of illness or injury - no matter what level or quality your griefs possess, they all suck!!

Might as well tell the truth about it, hey?

But the thing is, if you stuff your grief, try to ignore it or "get over it," at some point you're likely to regret it. Stuffed, unprocessed, unexamined grief does you no good physically, emotionally or spiritually. The only thing that benefits from stuffing grief is the mind. It is very selfish of the ego to decide every other part of ourselves must suffer so it can be comfortable with its story of the world. I get what the Buddhists mean when they say ego is a problem. It really is!

It's extremely rigorous work, sitting down with your sorrows small and large. It can be formidable. For some people, the process might feel literally dangerous. I remember that feeling, but I was in therapy at the time. Every week I had 50 minutes in which I could unload the great rivers, bays and oceans of grief I was dragging around. My recommendation for those who want to try would be to establish a solid rapport with a therapist, massage therapist, or acupuncturist. Get into a routine of self care that can support the frightening moments that always accompany self awareness.

I'm not against medical intervention for those so weighed down by grief they can't even manage to brush their teeth in the morning. But it should be a temporary situation. The meds should be prescribed in order to break a pattern. Once the chemical pattern is broken, self care and introspection, supervised by a health care professional, should be ongoing. Only with aggressive self care can an actively grieving person keep from becoming dependent on those wondrous drugs.

Of course there are those so deeply dysfunctional they have to take the drugs. I'm not talking about that end of the spectrum. I mean all of us more or less normal folks who have our ups and downs. One thing we regular people don't do much in my society is sit down honestly with our sorrows. And we are so much the worse for it.

Be kind to yourselves today, please? Shalom.


jeanette from everton terrace said...

My aunt is going through such grief. Her only daughter died last month, it was quite a shock. She is moving slowly through the world right now and luckily, is visiting my mother, is a great comfort to her.
I seem to move more quickly through grief than others. Oddly, I still feel the loss of Jake more so than other losses. It's still so close to the surface and we're going on two years now. Miss him much.

Reya Mellicker said...

I'm so sorry for your aunt! And thinking of you with much love, Jeanette!

Linda said...

Oh Reya,

It is SO important to deal with the grief you are carrying and not let it take over your life. I always like to spend time being creative. Expression helps me so much. What Jeanette said about getting together with family helps to. But sitting with your sorrows, getting the sadness and grief outside your body is really necessary. Thank you for sharing this excellent advice.

Reya Mellicker said...

Linda you are one of the most whole hearted people I have ever known. I'm sure Barry knows how loving and compassionate you've been. It must be a relief to his spirit, to know you have taken such good care of yourself. I'm so happy to know you!

Infinite Possibilities said...

might I just mention that I have found that doing so makes many around me profoundly uncomfortable.

Which only deepens my grief.

Just sayin'.

Not that I would halt the process. It's just something I could not help but observe.

Reya Mellicker said...

Infinite Possibilities - sitting down with your sorrows doesn't have to take place at work, for instance. Of course in our society folks will be uncomfortable. We aren't supposed to feel grief in America. The only permissable emotions are happiness and anger.

The process of grieving, for me at least, should be carefully boundaried. It spills over sometimes, of course, but mostly it can be contained especially if you have a health care professional with whom you work every week. Support and encouragment are crucial. Without support, we can be washed away by the process.

Don't try this at home! Make sure you have a circle of support before you start. Or get one asap. Yes? I say yes.