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Grief and Gratitude

by | Dec 27, 2019 | Emotional Health | 0 comments

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My year was filled with ups and downs like a teeter-totter on a playground. It was filled with a multitude of gains and losses that have created immense promise of self-growth and continued self-nourishment. I’ve lost several family members and many friends to death and experienced the pain of being ghosted by someone I loved and had been sharing a life with. It’s the first year I’ve lost a number of significant people and experienced true grief. Oddly, at the same time, starry-eyed in a new community discovering friends, places, and experiences. In truth, I feel like I’ve been living the first sentence of the old classic ‘A Tale of Two Cities, “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.” Ha!

In the beginning, I often chose to wallow and roll around in my pain like a piggy in mud. I almost didn’t have the energy to do anything else. One day, gratitude came to me after a heartfelt prayer. Soaking in the emotion of gratitude was like the healing Balm of Gilead. It released me from my pain and I was able to breathe a little easier. The emotion of gratitude felt so good I began to choose to bask in it as much as possible. It became a conscious decision. It was the only emotion that kept me from drowning. Any time the pain was absent, or at a level, I could control, I chose to sit still and practice guiding my mind to the feelings of gratitude. Make no mistake, the surges of uncontrollable, emotional pain continued to roll in. There was no ‘gratitude’ during the cyclic waves of deep drowning grief.

Gratitude became the life raft that pulled me up to fight for air when I was drowning in uncontrollable, painful emotion. When grief wanted to emerge and take over, I let it. Honestly, there was no choice in the matter; it was like a tidal wave overtaking me. It would throw me around a bit and I observed and felt the pain until the turmoil of the wave was less, or done for that cycle. When the violent painful emotions lesson their grip, there are two choices. The first is to choose to surge back into the pain like the wave going back to sea, or consciously choose a different path to follow.

Feeling gratitude during painful tumultuous times is a literal practice. Like a dance routine or speech, it takes time to get it down. I don’t now that gratitude can be mastered as easily, or completely as a speech, but the practice is the same. The conscious decision to choose to try again and again and again is the practice. My personal practice to is to use memories to remember the gift of lessons learned with the person I’m grieving for. The best way to do this is to relax and move through memories while feeling it deeply. Feel the benefits that have come from the lesson. Use the mind to explore the positive benefits of the lesson in every application possible.

Practicing gratitude during grief takes effort, will, and fortitude, but it always pulled me out of the deep end, if only for a moment. Let’s make no mistake, the cyclic nature of grief will be back, but gratitude is the balm that seals the cracks that threaten to sink the life raft in between grief cycles. I don’t know that there is any way out of the cycles of grief, except to go through them, honoring the process. It is not fun; in fact, it’s horrible. Each coin has two sides. I now believe that gratitude and grief are the two sides of the coin. If we choose to explore both, the growth we have access to in our lifetime will flourish.

Illumina Sky founder, Elizabeth Williams is a massage therapist, bodyworker, yoga teacher, lightworker, intuitive and Reiki Master. Elizabeth has been immersed in the healing arts since 1993, developing her massage, energy and bodywork skills in both the spa and medical settings.

Elizabeth’s passions include CranioSacral Therapy, Reflexology, Thai Massage, Body Memory Recall, Massage Cupping, Raindrop Therapy, Reiki, Athletic Massage, Yoga lessons, and Yoga Inspired Bodywork.

Illumina Sky is a peaceful encompassment to dive deeper into honoring who you are. Allow Elizabeth to relax you back into your soul. Enjoy the peaceful surroundings of Black Mountain which provide the perfect wholesome healing environment you are looking for. Illumina Sky provides a rich opportunity to experience treatments that are uniquely crafted specifically for you.

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