Grief Equals Growth

Explore James' Teachings and Insights on All Things Spiritual

Grief Equals Growth

Jun 13, 2020 | JVP's Blog

No matter who we are or where we live, as humans, we all share a common experience. Every one of us has felt grief at the loss of something. As a spiritual medium, most of the grief I encounter is related to the death of a loved one, but the process of grieving is by no means limited to that. Grief is the natural response to any loss, and while it’s socially accepted and expected to grieve after someone dies, it’s also normal to go through the grieving process for other types of bereavement.

We grieve for many reasons.
Loss can be related to something very concrete – being fired or laid off from your job, experiencing financial instability, the dissolution of a marriage through death or divorce. But other kinds of loss that hit just as hard might be more difficult to pinpoint. They’re often due to change, or lack of control. How do you react when your belief system is challenged, and the world isn’t the way you always thought it was? What about when, due to a health crisis or the natural course of aging, you can no longer participate in the activities you love? How do you feel when your freedom, safety, and security is threatened? The short answer is this…you feel grief.

The hardest part of transformation.
Why do people grieve? Well, first of all we have to process what we are going through. Sure, you can push it aside and “get on with life,” but feelings don’t just dissolve. They build up and release themselves one way or another – and that’s not healthy. Only by facing your loss and accepting the grieving process, can you heal, learn, and grow.

Processing loss.
So, if you’re like just about everyone in the world, you’re grieving something right now. At the very least, the situation with Covid-19 has caused us to lose the ability to travel freely, be physically close with friends and extended family, and has threatened our financial security.

I can’t tell you how much I miss hosting my events and workshops and being able to share the physical space with my students. As I stay close to home, it feels strange and sad to see people’s smiles blocked by masks – even though I know that wearing a mask is the safe and responsible thing to do.

If you feel yourself feeling strangely sad, and you can’t figure out why, accept that you’re grieving. Here are a ideas to help you get through your grief, and emerge on the other side:

  1. Name and validate your own emotions. One of the most common responses to pain I see is the belief that there must be something wrong with you if you feel bad. Acknowledging the importance of the loss and giving yourself a break can help you recover.
  2. Be kind to yourself. Don’t beat yourself up or invalidate your feelings. Sometimes self-care is the only answer. Meditate, take a yoga class, sit outside and watch the sunset.
  3. Be grateful. When the world seems dark, remind yourself of the good things in your life. The more you focus on the light, the more it can shine.
  4. Spend time with positive people. Some people just naturally make you feel better, while others can stir up negative emotions. Choose who you spend time with carefully (while socially distancing), they have a big impact on your state of mind.
  5. Imagine the change. Remember that grief is a journey, and when you go through the process, on the other side is transformation, growth, and higher consciousness.

Years ago I wrote a book called Healing Grief: Reclaiming Life After Any Loss. I hoped it would provide the insights and tools to help people heal, but I also wanted to share the idea that grief serves a purpose. Going through the stages of grief requires us to process the uncomfortable change we’re experiencing. When we successfully navigate through the stages of grief and get to the other side, we are better for it.  We have a new perspective, and new sense of strength and resiliency – and hopefully a renewed sense of purpose. The hardest part of transformation is going through it, but it’s how we learn and as humans, it’s why we’re here on this earth.