The following is from Sandra Ingerman, one of the most famous shamanic practitioners and teachers in the world. I have been very fortunate to be able learn from from her:
I was watching the news recently and heard an interesting story. There is a movement in the medical profession to label grief as a diagnosis of illness. Prozac, an antidepressant, would be prescribed for people dealing with grief.
Every change in life is some form of death which leads to an ending that can create a state of grief for us as something familiar dies. We might change jobs, move, get divorced, experience a change in how we feel as we age, a life threatening illness or the death of a loved one.
Death is not an end, rather it is a new beginning. And the experience of grief is important for our growth and evolution. Grief helps us to develop a deep inner well that we can expand from.
I oftentimes hear people talk about how we are in a time of “expansion,” and I picture a mental process of energy expanding out of someone’s head. But true expansion comes from deep within. We develop a depth within when we allow ourselves to grieve.
In my own life I have realized that when I feel that my heart is breaking, my heart is actually expanding. The expansion created helps me to be a greater vessel to bring through love. And love is the greatest healing force. There is nothing like grief that can assist us in opening to a greater state of love.
When our heart expands we can feel more compassion for the suffering of others. And with compassion we can hold the space for others to heal.
When we try to stop grief we try to stop growth. And when we look to nature, life that does not continue to grow, dies. The state of grief, no matter how bad it feels, is so filled with life. Grief helps to create more space inside of us that allows life force to flow through.
Grief creates a fertile state where new relationships, new opportunities can be created from.
The issue to look at is how we can support ourselves while we are grieving. I think it is not beneficial to repress grief altogether.
First, we must acknowledge the feelings we are having. When we acknowledge any kind of feelings of sadness and emotional pain, this creates energetic movement that leads to transformation. When we repress a feeling it continues to build inside of us. Even if we find some way to repress our feelings, the energy of the feeling will create stress within us. It is important to express the full range of our emotions.
We might have to return to our jobs and our daily routines, but it is important to create time for ourselves to grieve. Consider joining a local group that helps people who are in a process of grief. Create some alone time during the day where you can be with yourself.
Alert co-workers and friends to your loss and let them know your feelings and that you might find yourself crying. The best way to heal is to express the energy until it doesn’t exist anymore. Trying to repress showing your emotions for public appearance just delays healing.
For many people, it is important to have a loving community who can just be there to listen. In our culture, many of us want to fix those we love when they are in need. With grief there is nothing to fix, and in reality there is no way to take grief away from someone else. Just being present, listening and being a loving support helps tremendously.
It is important not to pity someone in a state of grief. Energetically, pity is a heavy energy to burden. Imagine thousands of people pitying you if you are in a state of grief. Do you want to experience that kind of energy being sent to you?
Find ways to pamper yourself. You might want to relax in a bath. Water is such a healing element. You can release your pain into the water and ask the water to transmute your pain to loving energy.
You might want to either physically lie on the earth or imagine yourself lying on the earth. Let your pain drain out into the earth. Give thanks to mother earth for taking your pain and composting it into fertile organic matter that will create new growth. Reflect on how the earth takes the leaves that have died and fallen to the ground in autumn and uses it as compost to create rich and fertile soil.
You can also write down feelings you wish to let go of and burn them in fire. In indigenous cultures, fire is seen to be the element of transmutation and transformation.
You can go outside and allow the wind to carry away your feelings of pain while you stay open to loving messages that you hear from the breezes.
Always give thanks to the element you are working with. This is a way to honor the elements which give us life. Also always ask that the energy you are releasing be transformed into love and light. In this way, what you send into the world creates healing for all of life.
Most of all give yourself time to grieve. There is no timeframe when you “should” feel better. As you allow yourself to fully embrace your feelings time itself will bring you to a place of regeneration. Everything in life changes. And this includes your grief.
Sandra Ingerman, M.A., is the author of eight books, including “Soul Retrieval,” “Medicine for the Earth,” “Shamanic Journeying: A Beginner’s Guide,” “How to Heal Toxic Thoughts,” “How to Thrive in Changing Times” and “Awakening to the Spirit World: The Shamanic Path of Direct Revelation.” Sandra teaches workshops internationally on shamanic journeying, healing and reversing environmental pollution using spiritual methods. Sandra is a licensed marriage and family therapist, a professional mental health counselor and a board-certified expert on traumatic stress. To order Sandra’s books and to read her blog, visit her on Red Room or at sandraingerman.com.