AIR MOVES US. FIRE TRANSFORMS US. WATER SHAPES US. EARTH HEALS US. -Indigenous
Grief as a Rite of Passage.
While many of us think of Grief in terms of the physical death of a loved one, Grief is more often summoned by life's symbolic endings. Experiences such as divorce, illness, job loss, breakups, miscarriage and aging are a few examples. Grief is also called by regret and the realization of how things could have been. Experiences such as a lost childhood, unrealized potential, missed opportunities and unfulfilled dreams, carry deep hurt as these conditions often feel irreparable with heavy consequences.
Grief can be a dysregulating experience. Change and loss trigger a host of unfamiliar and confusing emotions and behaviors that can be alarming. Without support, you may have difficulty functioning in your daily life and be at increased risk for physical and mental illnesses.
In the late 1960s, psychiatrist Elisabeth Kubler-Ross introduced the idea that people go through 5 stages of Grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. While this model has been shown to be valid, each person grieves in their own unique way and not necessarily in a linear progression as represented.
People grieving often suffer alone, not knowing they are in grief and not knowing how to get out. Grief is like being on a long and winding road, without a map or a destination in sight. Relief is often sought in substances and activities that depower us rather than empower us. Here we are in need of a glimmer of compassion, hope and possibility.
It is good to remember, everything changes. Life is an infinite circle of beginnings and endings. Indigenous cultures live part of nature, so they better understand and trust the cycle of life. From birth to death, they prepare and support the evolving and transitory nature of life. Through ritual and relationship, Indigenous people honor Life, by greeting Death, and all its symbolic forms of change, loss and separation.
Like an Indigenous Rite of Passage, Grief comes to aid our growth and survival. In our pain and suffering, is the opportunity to pick up and connect with pieces of ourselves long forgotten. Because time is precious, Grief strips away everything except what is essential. In this living with presence and on purpose one can let go of what was, and open to what will be. Although transformation is ultimately a solo journey, an experienced guide can help you learn to trust the process.
Take time to honor your Grief.
Emotional: shock, sadness, helpless, guilt, worry, fear, angry, hopeless, numb
Physical: headaches, crying, insomnia, fatigue, aches/pains, weight loss or gain
Cognitive: slowed thinking, mental confusion, difficulty making decisions
Social: detached, isolated, alone, abandoned, neglected, hiding
Spiritual: philosophical yearning, existential crisis, religious calling, synchronicity