"For what is it to die but to stand naked in the wind and to melt into the sun"?
There has been a lot of literal death these last few months so I am feeling called to speak about the mostly unspoken dynamic energy of grief.
Everyone wants to be happy, I get it, so do I, yet when grief is present, it's nice to have a map to navigate. So, I am sharing a map below, along with a special feature from a guest blogger that elaborates on the topic further.
In my world as a shamanic practitioner, I play in symbolic death every day.Yet in my world before I heeded the call of becoming a shaman, I shied away from death, symbolic or otherwise.
I just didn’t get it, because unbeknownst to me at that time, I was still pissed off about literal death.And I didn’t even know it. It was still a shadow living inside of me because at the time my beloved dad passed, I had no idea how to process it so it went underground.
I bet a lot of you can relate?
Well what about symbolic death...
What if it’s a divorce?
Or you leave home to start your own adventure?
Or you get married?
Or you get fired from what you thought was your great job?
Fill in the blank.
These are all a death of ‘one way of being.’
And what follows death?
What if you shy away from all stages of grief, like I did when my dad passed?
So, let’s look at death & grief a little differently....Death is a natural part of the Soul journey and if it gets by-passed,it keeps the soul trapped in time. The time of the loss.
If we keep trying to create something new, yet we haven’t died and grieved what it is we need to let go of, then we remain stuck.
We go through this same grieving process whether symbolic or literal.
Every day as I play in Sacred Space with people, grief reveals itself. No matter what they have come to see me for. For some, it is hidden pretty deep and for some I can see it the second they walk in the door.
We are wearing our unresolved grief like a shroud of darkness in our being.
And, we just don’t even know it.
So, let’s look at the stages of grief so you have a map for navigating the energies of grief.
THERE ARE 5 STAGES OF GRIEF (original works by Elizabeth Kubler Ross) I will be writing them in a linear fashion yet, they are more fluid and changing. (there is quite a bit written about these stages, yet mostly for literal death) I will be writing for both literal and symbolic.
Stage 1: Shock and Denial This can be a great coping strategy, yet, we have to move through it. In the shaman world, this may be where a soul loss occurs. The trauma of loss may be too great to handle. The stripping of an identity in an abrupt manner. You go numb so you can handle the pain. This is also where guilt may surface.
Stage 2 & 3: Anger and Bargaining In my many years as a shamanic practitioner, I have seen this stage of grief to be mostly ignored. Because it makes no sense to the MIND and most people shy away from anger, feeling like they will be unleashing a volcano. This is the stage, I have found that holds people stuck in time. The anger goes underground. Bargaining is a different story. It’s usually where victim enters in a “why me” place. You just want a way out of the pain.
Stage 4: Depression The drug companies love this stage, they make millions off this stage. Remember stuck in time?
This is where it gets sticky. If you haven’t gone through all the stages up until this point, depression can last until you and all your well meaning friends and family say “isn’t it time you moved on?”. Then, you cycle back to anger and want to smack them over the head. Then, you fall deeper in depression thinking something must really be wrong with you.
Get my drift? This is a NORMAL stage of grief. It does pass, if you let it, and if you are active in this stage and take it to ceremony. This is a time of going inward. Give yourself this gift & take the time. No one else can know how you feel, so go inward. This is the stage that you absolutely want to move through. I have seen people in my practice and myself stuck in this phase. There is a loneliness in this stage. No one gets it. Don’t expect them to. You are a beautiful, unique individual. There is nothing to fix, nothing is broken. You are just still in grief.
Stage 5: Acceptance
If we have moved through ALL stages of grief (in our own time) and have supported ourselves through ceremony, we have come to feel like life is worth living again!
We have come to our new normal. We are forever changed and we have become stronger through the process. We must give grief (it’s just energy) a way to release, so we can be in love with life again.
So, how do we support ourselves in the grieving process? Well, we CAN’T do it just from MIND. Believe me...I tried, I buried it, I numbed myself & then I found a way to truly die every day.
CEREMONY! Yup, there I go again hyping up ceremony, but it is the only way to shift fully all stages of grief. I had an opportunity in February to facilitate a celebration of life ceremony for a young man who passed. I do ceremony for peeps all the time yet, this was my first memorial/celebration of life ceremony. So I did what I do best and took a nap aka 'Spirit Flight' to ask the young man what he wanted for honoring him. I barely closed my eyes and there he was asking me to honor his tools from his time on earth. This young man was an alchemist so I immediately knew what he wanted which was all of the elements presented (Earth, Water, Fire and Air) and him in the center. (Ether/Space) The family was ecstatic! They got it! We created it! And...it was crazy good! Everyone there was able to process their grief by 'participating' in the ceremony. True beauty and honoring in action. I have on my blog, a few ceremonies that are beautiful and sweet that can support the grieving process. You can access them below: Water Ceremony Urban Fire Ceremony See if you find yourself in any of the stages and bring intention for that stage to your ceremony.
As I was prepping for this newsletter, I built a grief altar with all the stages represented and...WOW, I feel so much lighter!
Don't think, just create and witness if you feel much lighter too by doing your own ceremony. Walk in Beauty, Lisa P.S. Here is the guest blog: Journey of Grief: 5 Stages. She is following her deepest calling and creating a business all about grief and how to move through the stages. I won't spoil the surprise by revealing too much, too soon. From what I see so far, I am totally stoked! The world needs this.