Have you experienced loss that sometimes you don't have the words to express?
Has disconnection caused heartache and pain that is unbearable?
Do you try and find meaning and sense in grief?
Grief can arise in many different situations in our lives. We can lose loved ones, relationships, our sense of meaning, purpose and identity, or the job we loved. We can experience grief as feeling like we don't belong in the world. Communities can grieve the loss of land and ocean spaces
We can experience grief seeing others in pain and suffering. Grief is a human emotion and experience, that is unsettling to the heart, mind and soul. Finding meaning in grief is crucial to healing.
There is no set time frame or limit to how long grief persists. It varies culturally and also historically. In some cultures the ceremonies carried out for passing of a loved one is a process which takes sometimes days or weeks and in others, it may be a few days. All for very valid and cultural reasons. Grief also has different meanings and understandings for different cultures. Losing connection to a spiritual place, may take the return of this space to the people, to restore wellbeing.
While there is no set rule of how to describe and experience grief, we can all agree that as human beings, grief is something we have experienced at some point in our lives.
The Kübler-Ross Model, is an understanding that grief is a normal response to tragic events and is described in 5 various stages.
Denial: finding it hard to believe the experience is real
Anger: being angry at anything and everything around us
Bargaining: We ask ourselves, if I did this, then maybe that wouldn't have happened. What if this happened instead, then maybe I wouldn't be feeling this way. We dwell on what could have been or what could be.
Depression: can be experienced for a long time feelings of hopelessness and despair, low mood loss of appetite and other clinical symptoms.
Acceptance: we have accepted this as part of our life's experience and are no longer letting the situation or experience deprive us of moments of joy and living
In order to grow spiritually, and heal, trying to find ways to process grief is important.
While it may seem like a long and arduous process, grief can offer us an experience of healing.
Grief teaches us to be patient with ourselves.
It allows us to make space for healing. It opens the doors to connecting with our innate spirit as it is our spirit that is experiencing loss.
After experiencing an array of emotions, our deep sense of grief, identifies our connection to others or something. This ability we have to feel and love rather than be indifferent. Thus grief highlights our compassionate side for one another and life.
Grief offers the chance for us to be compassionate towards ourselves and others.
Grief leads us to crossroads in our lives. We reach new paths, moving into a new stage, with new experiences. If we have lost land or community, we seek to rebuild, regain and restore.
Grief is a normal response to heart wrenching moments in our lives. Allowing ourselves and those around us to experience grief is crucial to spiritual well-being. It is our spirit that sustains us and an acknowledgement of this spiritual pain, is recognizing health and well-being is centred in spirituality, whether it be as an individual or community. Grief is a part of spiritual healing and growth.
Honouring and Serving,
Simran K. Rattan MD
Content support Maria Peach