The Healing Power of Grief

From wildfires on the west coast of the U.S. to the unprecedented hurricanes along the Atlantic seaboard, to worldwide viral death tolls and the loss of physical contact through social distancing, the world is experiencing a kind of mass grief. But grief is not a bad thing; it is a natural, cleansing process in which we reinvent ourselves in body, mind, and Spirit. There is great power in the activity of grieving. This power draws us ultimately into an increased sense of wholeness and well-being. 

We may feel disconnected, uncertain, or even depressed during times of loss, both individually and collectively. Depression is often defined as a sadness so deep one cannot find their way out. But in fact, it is a sadness so thick that one finds it difficult to find the way in.

“In” is where our power lies. Within us is where we find the connection that surpasses all outer forms of connection. We are beings of light, meaning we are made up of light, taking shape as particles of form. This inner light is also expressed as various energy centers, often illustrated as all the colors of a rainbow. You might say that when life gets cloudy and begins to rain, there is a rainbow hidden within us that can lift us out of the storm and into a more empowered state of consciousness. The healing power of grief lies not outside of us but within us. And the key to accessing this power can be found by engaging in the process with intention and awareness. In this way, loss and grief become a powerful catalyst for transformation and healing in body, mind, and Spirit.

There are three power-filled phases to grief that augment the transformation and healing process when engaged with intention and awareness. These phases contain the traditional steps of grieving but are enhanced by understanding the underlying spiritual process. They are Acknowledgement, Appreciation, and Acceptance

Acknowledgment: We recognize the experiencing of grief individually and/or collectively

Denial is often the first response to loss because we resist change with all our might. But to utilize grief as a tool for empowerment, we must break through the hard shell of denial and acknowledge the loss and the submerged feelings that arise in its wake.

In this time of acknowledging grief, it is essential that we allow ourselves to feel our feelings, including sadness, anger, and whatever else comes up, and to move through the transformative opportunities they provide. We don’t get stuck in these feelings. We simply acknowledge them as a part of the process.

Judith Orloff in Health Benefits of Tears states, “…emotional tears … contain stress hormones which get excreted from the body through crying…. emotional tears shed these hormones and other toxins which accumulate during stress…. crying stimulates the production of endorphins, our body’s natural pain killer and “feel-good” hormones.”

Feeling our feelings, allowing ourselves to cry not only acknowledges our grief, it also initiates the healing process and the body’s natural healing hormones.

During this phase of grief, it is crucial that we take care of our bodies and spirits with proper rest, meditation, exercise, and silent contemplation about what is trying to be born in us and through us. We might even create mini-retreats for ourselves. While we move through this phase of acknowledgment, we must also avoid placing unrealistic goals or demands on ourselves. Grief is a signal that the body, mind, and Spirit are ready to slow down, reconnect with our inner power, and evolve.

Appreciation: We learn to appreciate what has been and what will be

It is important to bless our grief for the time of transformation and spiritual unfoldment it represents. Our inner power, call it Spirit, God within, the Christ, or the Higher Self is calling us to a new way of being, to something beyond whatever we perceive as lost.

In Truth, there is no loss. As beings of light, we are all facets of one Light. The illusion that we are separate from one another is just that – an illusion. What seems to be lost has simply transformed and leaves behind a variety of gifts that we are now called to embrace and demonstrate in a new way.

When we experience a loved one’s death, we may plan a Celebration of Life service or prepare a eulogy appreciating all they have been. Then we begin to embrace a new relationship with our loved one, one in which they are not physically present but now embedded in our minds and hearts. We begin to appreciate how their presence in our lives, however long or brief, has blessed us. Our eyes may become more open to how their presence has helped to shape and form who we have been and who we are yet to be.

Bless the opportunities given to us by grief and loss to go deeper, to reach higher, and to carry forth all that we have been as we evolve into something new. Bless the opportunity to move through anything that prevents us from recognizing the power that exists within us.

Acceptance: We release and let go, or “Let Go and Let God.”

In The Transformative Power of Grief, Christine Hunter-Robertson writes: “To free ourselves, we have to release the attachment gently with grace & ease. We are not losing our connection with those [or that which]we love we are in truth intensifying it… Discovering how close we all are to each other. Our Oneness is the way home.”

By releasing our stuff: the things, situations, people, jobs, beliefs we have become attached to, they lose the ability to own us. The rich young man whom Jesus told to sell all his possessions in Matthew 19 could not do it because his possessions (or the stuff held in his mind) were what led him, owned him, controlled him.

When we let go of our stuffor the idea of separation, we have more room to express oneness and wholeness. And as Hunter-Robertson says, “Oneness is the way home.” Oneness is the way beyond the current belief that we are separate from one another, separate from our source, and separate from even the earth itself. Oneness is the way in which we expand our consciousness beyond the limitations of these human bodies and know without a doubt that we are connected beyond any physical distancing, beyond any natural disaster, and beyond any illusion of separation. Oneness is indeed the way, the Truth, and the Light within the clouds, the rainbow calling us home.

Affirmations for this time of global transformation:

I release and let go of what was as I become what I am excited to be.

I release the bonds of separation, and I step easily and joyously into full awareness of oneness.

I live with joy and excitement as I move through this time of great transformation

Joy and excitement fill my body, mind, and Spirit as I embrace my transformation.

I live the oneness I know to be true.

© 2020. Eileen Patra. Eileen Patra is an ordained Unity Minister and author of The Mystical Ark: A Vessel of Blessings. She is currently serving as co-minister for the Spiritual Life Center of Troy, Michigan.

You may also be interested in viewing Rev. Eileen’s talk on this subject at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=npwAV7gopCY

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