Greet Grief and Grow Gratitude

Do you want to feel more grateful in your life? I invite you try something new as you enter into the holiday season… I call it “Greet Grief and Grow Gratitude.” It can be so tempting for us to jump right into holiday cheer, gratitude, and giving gifts, and get so busy with the holidays that we forget to take care of ourselves. This year, make a different choice. Take some time to acknowledge the parts of you that aren’t quite ready for the joy of the season. There is so much to be acknowledged and greeted within our human experience, and if we don’t acknowledge the hard or painful aspects of our experience, we can become tight, hardened, stuck, stressed, and closed-off. I have found that in my experience, if I take the time to acknowledge the things that I have lost, and that I am grieving, that it creates the opportunity for gratitude to grow.

Many people have experienced personal losses this year, whether we lost a loved one, our health declined, or due to aging, we have lost some freedom or mobility. Some of us experienced financial losses, or lost of community after moving to a new location. And many of us are getting more acquainted with loss in our culture these days as it is becoming harder to ignore environmental losses, political discord, lost feelings of safety and belonging with increasing violence and hate crimes.

We are so conditioned to think that we need to be strong and muscle through our sadness to find happiness. But I have found that if grief and loss is not expressed or greeted with compassion by another human being or community, we can experience a hardening in the body which creates tension, pain, depression, and even rage. We also then can have a heavy heart that is not open to the joys of life because of the heaviness of the unexpressed sorrow.

So, give yourself some space to greet your sorrow with some of these ideas:

  • Walk to somewhere in nature and talk to the river, trees, birds, or clouds.
  • Take a long shower and let the sadness be released with the water.
  • Sing a sad song until the tears surface and let them roll.
  • Put on some music and walk or dance until you cry out loud.
  • Write in your journal about the losses that you are feeling.
  • Schedule some bodywork and be with all of your feelings with the loving presence of your healing arts practitioner.
  • Let yourself be supported by a qualified mental health practitioner if the feelings are overwhelming.

When you are ready, find a friend, family member, healer, or therapist to listen to you and witness you as you acknowledge your grief and sadness. And sense what nourishment you truly need to feel engaged and alive: nourishing touch, laughter, kindness, shared meals, time in nature, rituals and stories.

Notice how you feel after you express these feelings… you might feel release,
or freedom…
And then watch the gratitude grow and celebrate!

This quote sums it up for me:

“Gratitude is the other hand of grief. To deny either reality is to slip into chronic depression or to live in denial of life’s difficult reality. Together they form a prayer that makes tangible the exquisite richness of life in this moment. Life is hard and filled with suffering. Life is also a most precious gift, a reason for continual celebration and appreciation. To everything, as the old prophet said, there is a season. This is the time of Thanksgiving.”
– Francis Weller

And this year, while I greet and acknowledge my grief, I also feel so the gratitude for YOU… and my heart softens… and I bow to you in gratitude… it fills my heart to know that I am supporting people to live healthy, happy lives through transformational bodywork and massage.

Warmest Holiday Wishes to you and yours,

Laura Rose

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