Healing Grief

Grief can be healed - if we let it.

Healing asks us to let our blocked emotions flow, and to allow them to resolve.

The Ladder of Resolution for Healing Hurt Feelings is:

  • Accept
  • Acknowledge 
  • Forgive 1, 2, 3 
  • Release 
  • Move On

Our hurt feelings have to be accepted (not rejected), then acknowledged.

Then the big one - we have to forgive - three ways:

First, the event (the death, the divorce)
Next, the other person (for going, for leaving, for hurting us)
And finally, ourselves, for our own feelings, those we tried to deny and pretend aren't there.

Number 3 is the big one, when we allow ourselves to love ourselves, and allow love and support to flow through us and fill ourselves, healing the gaps and voids.

Release - only when forgiveness is complete can we release, saying goodbye, on a clear note, free from emotional taint.

And then, the experience, like every other experience in our lives, is completed, finished, ended, and finally closed. It can be 'put to bed' in the context of our whole lives, and we have both learnt form the experience, and, in some indefinable way, become richer and wiser. We Move On.

Ask a hundred people how they are, and the answer is "I'm fine". Is it true? Yes, on the surface. How about what's underneath? You see, if every episode of life is an experience, in order to give it meaning, we have to experience, reflect and learn (life's learning cycle). Each episode of our story has a beginning, a middle and an end, just like a piece of music. And each episode consists of both the experience and the feelings that accompany it.

But sometimes the story gets stuck in the middle - or at least the feelings do. This happens when the feelings are too hot or painful to handle - we feel unsupported - so are unable to deal with them. The music gets stuck and repeats like a stuck record.

The unresolved feelings get put into our baggage pile, or shadow. And the shadow builds up! The easiest way to cope with the pain of unresolved issues is to bury it and deny it (Denial). (The only other two possible ways are to resolve it, or to throw it at someone else).

In grieving, each unresolved issue has to be accepted, acknowledged, forgiven, and released before we can move on. The forgiveness is three-way - the event, the other person, and yourself.

Well, if we feel supported, we can process them to resolve them. Talking to someone, writing a letter (to the departed one), thinking whilst walking, and so on. CRUSE is a useful organisation, many communities have self-help available, and counsellors and GPs have an invaluable part to play.

More specifically, there are tuning forks that will help the music get started again, when it's stuck in the middle. These tuning forks are transformative tools such as flower essences (Rescue Remedy or similar) or homeopathy.

In homeopathy the main tuning forks for grief are Ignatia for grief welling up, or Nat Mur for grief below the surface, when music makes you cry easily. Also useful are Aconite to crack a hard shell around encapsulated, well-defended grief, Arnica for emotional bruising, Nux Vom for anger and Staphisagria for buried resentment - amongst a number of others.

Now, human beings are sensitive. A small study of young men surprisingly showed that most could even feel (by holding the bottle in the palm) which homeopathic medicine would make them feel better! Taking the right one then resolved that issue for them and helped them feel more positive. (Women can often do this even more easily).

Homeopathy can be a complex subject, and good courses are available, also inexpensive sets from Ainsworths and Helios. However, to use just half a dozen remedies to help resolve grief is a powerful addition to our usual therapeutic tools. If in doubt, take (for about £4 for 100 tablets) a 6c eg. Ignatia 6c three times daily for up to seven days. Go for low potency, ie. 6c rather than 30c.

Rescue Remedy, Emergency, Recovery or Five Flower Remedy - or Balancing Blooms Calm Down are also useful for distress, shock and upset. Gazing at trees, flowers, the sea or the clouds help us feel calmer and more relaxed. Specific vibes from nature actually support the resolution of specific stuck frames of mind. These flower remedies capture and transmit such tuning forks from nature. A friend lost her mother and stepfather in close succession. She put a couple of drops of the Rescue into every drink for the two weeks before and after the funeral. Everyone commented on how relaxed and calm she looked, and, as she said "I couldn't believe how calm I felt, even under the surface".

To summarise the many sources of help to support us along this journey, they include:

  • Other people (talking, sympathy, an ear, friendship, camaraderie)
  • Writing a journal, poetry or a letter (not necessarily sent) 
  • Deliberately shedding tears or other emotion (rather than burying it) 
  • Counselling 
  • Healing 
  • Flower Essences such as Five Flower, Calm Down, Rescue Remedy and others including Walnut and Chestnut Bud 
  • Homeopathic medicines such as Aconite, Ignatia, Nat Mur, Staphisagria, Nux Vom and Arnica (sometimes just held in the hand as a sequence rather than taken, if the person can deal with feelings on the surface) 
  • Faith - Letting God take our burdens

And there are others...

Everyone's journey is completely individual, so there can be no prescriptive defined path that is correct for all - just the encouragement to keep on with the journey and not get stuck.

Best of luck, and, Go Well