Creating Space for Grief

Ceramic “Dear Heart” made by Tom Quest

Grief has been showing up this past month in myself and in the groups I am a part of. Grief is not an emotion that comes up often for me. When it does, I tend to dwell in the thoughts associated with the grief and am then swept away by my thinking. Because I am a Self-Compassion Teacher & Coach, I am reminded to practice what I teach. In addition to being in Gabor Maté’s Compassionate Inquiry training, I am approaching my recent grief in a different way.

I experienced the grief as a strong pressure arising in my torso with nowhere for this pressure to go, and I was overwhelmed by this. I remembered Mindful Self Compassion’s soothing touch. I then tried being with the grief by placing both hands over my heart as a way of being there for myself – not trying to make it go away.

In the groups I have participated in this past month – the grief was external. For instance – climate change, racism, and war. We talked about how to support each other by forming another group where we might hold and process our grief together – knowing we are not alone.

Grief shows up because we have lost something precious that we can never get back – whether it is loss of a loved one, loss of childhood, or loss of a species. By creating space to mourn, by allowing the grief to be present as much as we’re able, we allow the grief to dissipate or maybe even loosen its hold on us. And if we’re not able to create the space for mourning, what do we need to care for ourselves in these moments? 

By being with, by accepting what is, we begin to create a healthier relationship with our grief. From here, we might eventually become more open to another possibility.

This is the insight I gained this month. I would love to know your experience and for you to share your insight in regards to grief in the comments section.

In Blackwater Woods

Mary Oliver

To live in this world

you must be able

to do three things:

to love what is mortal;

to hold it

against your bones knowing

your own life depends on it;

and, when the time comes to let it go,

to let it go.

Marina Barnes and Lea Christo will be offering the eight week Mindful Self-Compassion for Teens program through the Center for Mindful Self-Compassion.

Marina is participating in Dr Gabor Mate’s Compassionate Inquiry professional online training. As part of my training, I am offering you an opportunity to experience what this modality is and providing a free one hour session. Email me at [email protected] for more info or schedule your free session here.

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