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Archive for January 25th, 2012

One of my biggest pet peeves is trying to box people into dignoses or worse, into things such as stages, steps, tasks, etc… And well, the field of grief work is full of them.  And this is a topic I will be writing more about as I start looking at different grief theories and why we need to take a new fresh look — and how some people already are…

I’ve been thinking about this topic for a long time now… after studying for so many years that psychology (certain kinds of psychology like phenomenology) is all about letting an event, person, situation, “phenomenon”, blossom before you so that it can be illuminated rather than crushed by our ideas.

So, as I work on this series, I leave you with this link (click on the photo of the cast) to an episode of Fraiser that’s posted on Youtube.  The title is aptly put, “Good Grief”, in which he “mocks” the stages of grief — though the loss is not due to the death of a loved one.  But please watch and keep this in mind as you tune back in to this blog.

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I totally appreciate what she is saying in her blog… these are the feelings that make it sooo easy to not “just get over” grief.  Insurance companies, people who write diagnostic criteria, our companies, our churches, our families, just don’t get the ever-unfolding nature of grief and that it is in this unfolding that we find the grace of healing.

“Research” shows that 18 months is another time for a great wave of grief to wash over us.  It makes sense.  We think we are safe… we got through all of the “firsts”… well, we think we have… yes, we’ve done the first round of holidays, birthdays, anniversaries, etc… but we still have others to come… still getting mail with that person’s name on it, getting a card or invitation with the deceased’s name on it and it hurts… who can lie, it simply hurts.

I think we also have to look at something else though… I truly believe that things can start to get worse because we are in a place where we can be open to more pain, having healed some of our wounds and having the energy/wherewithal/etc. to live with more of our pain.  A little more fogginess has passed… a few things that hurt before don’t hurt as badly…

And to be honest, around 18 months there is a bit of that … OMG, this is real… I thought if I went through the motions of the first year, I’d wake up from this dream and my love one would return.

It’s hard to see the additional pain as progress.  I used to get so angry at my mentor for telling me that I was right where I needed to be… who wanted to be going through all that pain… who wanted to hurt so bad you were almost numb.  But, it is part of what it is to love and to lose.  It is part of what we do to live with how our lives have drastically changed.

I have no advice but to be gentle with yourself.  If you do mind/body work, getting more massages, reiki, etc might be a heart-smart thing… more metta meditation or tonglen is also really important.  If you haven’t already looked it up, think about looking up Steven Levine’s cd The Grief Process… (or The Beginner’s Guide to Forgiveness by Jack Kornfield)..

Find those people who will listen to your stories.. get back to your journal (or start one)… take walks.  do whatever you need to do to honor your journey of love, for the journey of grief is all about the love that we have and how it has changed.

Peace, Jennifer

Bertram's Blog

Sometimes grief strikes me as being totally bizarre. For example, the eighteen-month mark is particularly difficult, sometimes even more so than the one-year anniversary. I do not know why, I just know that it is because so many of us bereft experience the same thing. In my case, for a couple weeks around the eighteen-month mark, I felt as I had during the first months after my life mate/soul mate died. Somehow, someway, it seemed as if he just died. And maybe in a way, he had. Grief is a journey of starts and stops, retracing steps, standing still to catch your breath, and then being pushed into the future again. Each step forward in grief’s journey is a step further away from our loved one, a step further away from the last time we talked, or hugged, or smiled at each other. Now, all we have left of them…

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I am a grateful blogger to TZB for this wonderful affirmation and teaching.

What’s the mantra you will start your day off with??  Create your own moments of mindfulness and gathas… make the path your own!

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I love this blog.  I am always inspired by the photos and quotes that are posted here.

I’ve been experiencing a lot of solitude lately, while travelling, and have had a lot of tine for some soulful contemplation… Maybe that’s why this post really stuck me tonight…

It also reminded me of a book I read as an undergraduate student, “Solitude:  A Return to the Self” by Anthony Storr, author of The Art of Psychotherapy.  This passage has helped me greatly in my years of being a companion to those on a healing path:

“In a culture in which interpersonal relationships are generally considered to provide the answer to every form of distress, it is sometimes difficult to persuade well-meaning helpers that solitude can be as therapeutic as emotional support.”  pg. 29

If you are a caregiver, professional or not, remember that there is a balance between being-with in an active form and being-with in a spacious form.  Learn to tune into which is needed in the moment.

Life is but a dream!

Solitude is
When you do not need anyone around
And even if you are sick,
You are still happy.
Solitude is
To be wrapped in silence
By a mind unattached,
Sinking deep into a foundation of stability.

Solitude is
A clear understanding that
All of us, everything
Are just mental creations, conditioned.

Solitude is
To have abandoned the “I am” conceit,
And is free.

— Venerable Sujiva – Wind in the Forest – Solitude

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This really spoke to me tonight… we have so many choices at every moment to decide how our life will be self-perceived.

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One more random quote

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