The Courageous Process of Grieving in a Grief-Phobic Society | Grief

 

Grief: Deep and Poignant Distress

There will be seasons of your life illuminated by searing contrast.
Deep sweetness and holy grace. 
Deep loss and holy cleansing. 

If you have walked the transformative pain of saying goodbye to someone -or multiple someones- important to you, I’m truly sorry for your loss.

Grief is an intense experience of human life and our society is grief-phobic.

Most people haven’t learnt how to make peace with their own grief so it makes it challenging to be sensitive, present or allowing with another’s grief.

Be positive. Focus on the times you had together. Focus on what went right. Don’t dwell on what you’ve lost but what you have.

All valuable wisdom- at the right time.

Though in these messages is the subtle judgement that grief is negative.

Something to be avoided or at least ‘gotten through’ quickly, neatly and with less disruption to the status quo as possible.

To those that are lion- hearted through times of feeling broken-hearted, to those that surrender to the healing alchemy of grief that changes them, I honour you.

Grieving is valuable.

Being present with grief leads us back to clarity and wholeness. It illuminates that which is most important to us. It shakes loose our illusions of how we wanted things to be and allows us to come into alignment with how things are.

Grief, when we allow it, shatters our heart and our mind open wide to new form.

The pain of loss is not a pathology, despite what the current western medical model would suggest.

Except of course, when it is.

If you have grieved, or are still grieving now, you might have sensed a symbolic life or death soul alchemy taking place within you.

Grieving is an invitation to listen so minutely, so precisely to your inner voice that will lead you to healing.

The intersection of clarity about how things are and what is most important to us, is the clean slate for an empowered WHAT NOW and WHAT NEXT.

This isn’t a process to be rushed but to be allowed.

Time + Presence + Intention = Powerful Medicine.

This point on the wheel of the year- New Year- is a natural time of reflection of what has been.

If these words have some resonance with your experience of the past 12 months and you did not achieve some of the goals you set for yourself at the beginning of the year, please remember that you did not ‘fail’, that you are still here in the room.

You are wiser from your descent.
Your rise will be richer.
Your gratitude more profuse.

Or if you are still tender, trust the wisdom and gratitude will come.

You have permission to feel it all.

Thank you. I love you. I’m sorry.

May your next steps be bathed in an abundance of light.

 

With Compassion,

Melissa

Most People Ignore The Power Of This Simple Self-Soothing Technique

Self-soothe: To comfort oneself when distressed.

The ability to self-soothe is a foundational skill for wellbeing.

We learn to self-soothe in childhood when our caregivers attend to our needs for soothing when we’re upset. However many of us didn’t learn how to self-soothe and do the simple things that bring calm and comfort.

If our caregivers were not emotionally available to model this behaviour with us while we were growing up, we are able-and it is our responsibility-to develop our self-soothing skills as adults.

Self-soothing is especially important for people who identify as emotionally sensitive or as empaths (that’s most of the wild souls I work with-including myself) because they have a highly responsive amygdala which is involved in memory, decision-making and emotional regulation.

This aspect of self-care is also vital for healing to those who have experienced trauma- whether that be in their early years or as adults.

While there are self-soothing techniques that incorporate the different senses, in this article I want focus on physical touch.

When you receive loving touch it triggers oxytocin to be released which facilitates a sense of security and calm, and lowers levels of the stress hormone cortisol.

You can receive loving touch from others like your friends or loved ones, your massage therapist, or your beloved animal companion. But others are not always available or they may withhold comforting from you, so creating self-soothing experiences for yourself is an empowering life skill to develop.

Loving Touch

Loving touch works well when the stress stimulus arouses feelings of hurt, sad, overwhelm, or insecurity .

Eating a bag of sweet biscuits, having an extra glass of wine, or scrolling Facebook for distraction or validation might temporarily change your state but they are not behaviours that genuinely soothe the core of your distress.

Self-soothing techniques are healthy behaviours and they add to your total wellbeing.

Instead of using a behaviour or response that harms or hinders you, try using a response that brings comfort or pleasure.

The Healing Messages of Loving Touch

I’m a highly tactile human so it was very natural for me to start training in body-focused healing and therapies when I was 17. My grandfather fostered my interest in the body as a powerful tool for growing awareness of our emotional and behavioural states and facilitating positive personal growth.

A few years ago when I was winding up my bodywork business I wanted to journal some of the non-verbal messages my hands, heart and deep listening had communicated during their years of service. I opened up my Evernote app and I wrote the following list of messages that loving touch can convey:

  • I am here with you
  • You are not alone
  • You have a place in the world
  • You have the right to exist
  • You have the right to receive pleasure
  • You exist
  • You belong
  • I am here
  • You are loved
  • It is safe to be here
  • It is safe to relax
  • I am with you
  • I care for you
  • I love you
  • I have time for you
  • I care about your experience in this world
  • I support you
  • I cherish you
  • I adore you
  • I am grateful for you
  • You are important to me
  • Being present to your experience of pain is important to me
  • Being present to your experience of pleasure is important to me
  • I want to know what you need
  • I am present to understanding how I can support you
  • You are worthy of my time
  • You are worthy of your place here
  • You belong
  • You are welcome here

These are the messages that the most precious and vulnerable parts of our personality often need to hear during when distressed. This heart-felt dialogue is the nurturing inner-parenting that our inner-child thrives on and requires to heal emotional pain and re-wire dysfunctional patterns.

Self-soothing communication is curious, compassionate and nurturing in intention.

You can convey these messages to the part of you that is feeling vulnerable through loving touch, with or without any validating verbal inner dialogue.

Step One: Explore

Explore where on your body loving touch is most soothing for you.

Where are you most responsive? 

What  kind of touch feels healing and wholesome?

What do you notice when you gently stroke or hold:

  • your cheeks
  • your arms as you wrap them around you in a hug
  • your neck
  • your stomach
  • your forehead and eyes
  • massaging your heart and chest in a circular motion
  • one hand on your heart and one hand on your stomach

For me, I find it very grounding and soothing to place one hand on my heart and the other on my womb and feel the connection between the two points. It helps me to come back to centre and tune into what feels powerful and true for me.

I also notice if I feel anxious and my chest has become tense and contracted resulting in shallow breathing, I feel particularly soothed by rubbing my chest with my hand in a circular fashion. This loving touch helps to melt away the physical and emotional tension I’m experiencing in the moment. It’s a nurturing gesture and physical cue that helps me to breathe more deeply.

Explore what works for you.

Step Two: Identify & Decide

Identify specifically what kind of soothing touch feels good for you and decide in advance to use it next time you are feeling distressed.

Step Three: Action

As with any healing or transformational technique, theory or just knowing how isn’t enough to achieve different results in life.

It takes consistent diligent action and IN-BODY-MENT to create a sustainable shift in how to turn up for yourself and who you ARE & who you are BECOMING in the world.

When you change how you relate with yourself, you change how your relate with others and how you relate with the world and its many opportunities.

What changes in how you relate with yourself do you decide to ACTION this week?

  When something ‘comes up’ for you this week, I encourage you to experiment with this self-soothing technique and let me know what you notice in terms of your emotional resiliency and your ability to move through the stress.

May you value and remember to use, the power at your fingertips to calm your triggered amygdala and soothe the vulnerable child within.

Happy re-wiring,

Melissa

 

Don't Let Your Past Destroy Your Future

What stories are keeping you from BEING the you that you desire to be? 

What stories are keeping you from LIVING the life that you desire to live?

What old pain is still sitting deep in your belly that you’ve yet to let go of and probably aren’t even aware that its there?

The results you are creating right now in your life are a reflection of what you are unconsciously committed to. A reflection of what you believe and what you feel.

How do you feel reading that today? 

Proud?

Offended?

What comes up for you?

To claim ownership of the life you’ve created is a lot easier to do when you are happy with the people, opportunities and experiences turning up for you, and when you are in tune with and expressing the exalted parts of your personality.

At those times it’s natural to be grateful and full of joy and genius for your life.

But what about the times when you look around you, and within you, and are in conflict about what you see?

How challenging it is then to claim ownership of the life you’ve created and oh so much easier to place sovereignty outside of yourself.

So much easier to feel angry, beaten, pessimistic or completely overwhelmed with all the seemingly insurmountable obstacles to your happiness and freedom.

I get it. Being human is a bit of a hard rub sometimes.

Some pretty messed up things happen to true and decent people.

How you respond-or react-on a consistent basis shapes your life and your character.

When shit does in fact happen-despite your best intentions or plans-it is an opportunity to release what no longer serves. 

You’ve got to keep clearing the old stories and the old hurts out.

Clearing them out of your body and out of your mind.

Your soul, your intuition, your life guides you on what you are still holding onto-consciously or unconsciously-that is weighing you down and keeping you stuck in THAT old loop instead of the life, the relationship, the business, the purpose that YOU KNOW is yours to live.

As an intentional human, you know you are different. Special even.

Not in an egotistical, messiah complex kind of way, but in a way that you know you tend to swim against the tide of conformity.  In some way you’re a maverick.  A black sheep. A bit of a weirdo. I say that with admiration, you crazy diamond you. 

You see the world through eyes that the majority don’t.

And even when you find a tribe of others that share a similar vision to you, you still have this hungry questioning in you of how to shake things up to bring even more of your love, your brilliance, your divine intelligence through you into your relationships, your work, your soul calling, your health, your BEING and your DOING in the world.

Along the way you’ve been projected onto, misunderstood, blatantly shamed and attacked, you’ve messed up, played a role in others’ suffering and created a lot of your own suffering too. 

All this unprocessed emotional energy and mental clutter slows you down. Dulls your shine.

It makes you scared to stand in the centre of the stage of your life and say this is me and this is what I think, this is what I feel, this is what I want, this is what I have to offer. 

Wild one, you’ve got to release what is potentially destructive so the Life that wants to come through you can grow.

If you don’t release what is in you it weighs down your soul.

When not transformed by the light of your loving awareness, your unconscious feelings and thoughts, which drive your actions, can lead you off path from where your inner genius in yearning to go.

Your inner genius knows the potential of the life you are meant to be living, and when you aren’t living that, it hurts.

The self-doubt and loss of personal power cuts into your self-esteem. And that adds another layer of pain that you carry in your body and emotionality that covers up the shining YOU you know you are at your core and want to express more fully in the world.

The pain of not living your genius has purpose though. It’s a call to wake up.

Because it’s a given that you’ll fall asleep over and over again on your path.

In moving into the life, the relationships, the meaningful work, the health and vitality, the prosperity, the service to humanity that your inner genius is calling you to, YOU WILL plateau.
YOU WILL come up against internal upper limits that will unconsciously control your behaviour to stop you moving towards that which you so desperately want to receive, be and create in life.
Unless you ARE COMMITTED every day to show up and do the inner and outer work despite how you FEEL, you WILL STALL.

Your protective mechanisms that keep you from experiencing what you say you desire will come up with a grand excuse of why it’s not possible for you or why you’re motivation has waned or why not you, and why not now.

Until of course the pain of not having what you want fires you up again and then your motivation will return and then you’ll turn up committed to do the work again. And so the cycle continues.

But you can wake up anytime and get back on the path of your inner genius. You don’t have to wait for pain to be the motivating factor.

When you develop a clear and committed relationship with yourself and make a decision to do the work necessary to bring your A game to life, you become familiar with consistently challenging and supporting yourself to let go of limiting beliefs and heal old pain.

An inherent part of life cycling is release. Death. Letting go.

Destruction is an archetype, a pattern of energy that exists across all cultures.

Failure. Collapse. Loss. It turns up in all of our lives. It’s part of the human journey. But it’s just one turn of the wheel, not a final stop.

Destruction and creation. You need them both. Support and challenge. Necessary to your success.

Part of living intentionally is reflecting on what illusions do you need to consciously destroy so your dreams can flourish?

 

I wanted to share with you the dynamic questions I asked my own intuition this week in my journal that cracked open about 6 pages of old beliefs, feelings, memories that were ripe for clearing.

Pull out your journal, or any scrap of paper will do, and ask your subconscious mind to respond to the following questions:

What pain am I carrying  (in my womb*) that I’m ready to release? 

(*Part of the feminine presence practices I personally use and teach work with the untapped intelligence of the womb but if that doesn’t fly with you just ask your own version of that question. What pain am I carrying in my body that I’m ready to release? Or simply, what pain am I carrying that I’m ready to release?)

What stories are keeping me from expressing my full potential?

What experiences am I ready to forgive? (Self and others)

When you do the work of allowing it to flow and release the thoughts, feelings memories that are blocking you from taking action on what you want to experience in life, love and your service in the world, you can then powerfully lay down a new track for you to lean into.

Once you’ve tapped the wisdom of what’s ready to be released, then journal the following questions:

What now has space to grow in my womb, my heart, my life?

What new experiences am I ready to create?

What new stories do I want to plant in (my womb) the centre of my being? 

Trust your subconscious mind with what it brings up. Just follow the thread.

Don’t try to analyse and shut the flow down. Don’t think that your conscious mind knows better than your subconscious mind of what needs to be released. Just back off and allow it to bubble up.

Just back your rationality off and create a curious and compassionate witnessing space inside you for whatever needs to come up, to come up.

You can then work with what comes up in what ever you are guided to. Burn the pages. Use EFT to tap on the flushed out limiting beliefs or memories to bring the charge down to zero. Dialogue with the inner parts that emerge and bring loving mothering to any wounded younger selves. Process it with your trusted guide or get some healing around what came up for you.

How ever you choose to interact with yourself and whether you choose to do this powerful exercise, or not, I hope you go to bed tonight knowing that you are loved. You are supported. You are deserving. You are enough.

To your creative power in realising your deepest desires- whatever they may be in this present moment!

Be well,

Melissa