years ago I lost my husband very suddenly. Right after that we lost Daddy, and then Mother. It was a very difficult time for us all.
Early on in my grief-stricken years, I came across Dr. Jon Kabat-Zinn's book, Full Catastrophe Living, in which he says, "You can't stop the waves, but you can learn to surf." He was right. The trouble was, I didn't know how to swim, so I just started asking, "What do you want me to do now, Lord?" and I asked over and over and over. Gradually, and most gratefully, people came into my life that showed me the way out, and that made all the difference. You see, I didn't know there were actually "tools" one could use – things one could do – to make the "swimming" a bit easier, but there are, and they are included in our brand-new 4-week course, Moving Through Grief, A Guide to Inner Wholeness.
Each week follows a theme, and builds on the previous material. In Week One, we focus on Coping Skills, since finding a way to cope is the initial challenge. Then, in Week Two, we discuss Understanding Your Emotions. It helps – a lot – if you can understand why you feel the way you do, and what you can do to re-gain emotional balance. Of course, whatever you are feeling, you can be sure your body is feeling it, too, so in Week Three we talk about Taking Care of Your Body. This is so important. Much too often we tend to override what the body is trying to tell us, so this section offers suggestions on how to honor the body's signals. Then in Week Four, Finding Your Way is our focus. This covers many things, but the underlying theme has to do with learning to trust the Hand that always seeks to guide you.
Grief is complex. It has many facets, and many stages, too. Grief touches every level of our being. All the more reason to stop and pay attention to all of those levels when grief has entered our lives. I wish I had known that when my husband died so suddenly. I thought I should just keep going, regardless. So I did. Until I was on the verge of collapse.
I know I'm not the only one who has done this. We push ourselves until our system makes it clear that there is going to be trouble – big trouble – if we don't stop and pay attention to what it is saying. That is what happened to me. How much better it would be if we could just stop and say – ok, the focus has shifted here. I really do need to take care of myself and listen to what my body is telling me, and then do just that. Believe me, that is the smartest thing you'll ever do, because until we listen – truly listen – we'll never really be able to get back in balance.
I didn't know it was possible to have a happy, meaningful life after so much loss. "Once in grief, always in grief" was all I knew, but I was wrong. It doesn't have to be that way. Yes, grief is a natural – and a healthy – response, but that doesn't mean we have to stay there. We can choose how we honor those who have gone before us by how we live our lives.
It takes a lot of inner work to be able to see beyond our grief. We begin by tending to our immediate concerns, by taking it one day at a time. At the time, I didn't know there were tools I could use and skills I could develop to help me work through my losses, but there are, and that is why I wrote this course.
No matter how difficult life gets, there is a way. There is always a way. Your horizons are within you. Your answers are, too. Learning how to tune in to your own inner guidance makes all the difference. If you don't know how to do that, this course will help you get started.
Registration for Moving Through Grief, A Guide to Inner Wholeness, is open now at https://www.ContemplativeJournal.com. The course will run indefinitely, so whenever someone signs on, they can begin the course. For more information, or to register for the course, please go to https://app.ruzuku.com/courses/22480/about. Information about the course is also available on the Schedule page of my website: www.donnamiesbach.com.
Donna Miesbach, CMI, RYT
Author of the award-winning book, From Grief to Joy, A Journey Back to Life & Living
Author/Instructor of Moving Through Grief, A Guide to Inner Wholeness
Certified Meditation and Yoga Instructor