The weight of grief is undeniable.
Grief is not the type of emotion that allows one to quickly shrug it off and happily move on. Grief has the power to stop a person’s unfolding life in its tracks with a chilling slowness. This slowness is by design, granting an opportunity to create the time and space that is often needed to process loss. Space and time have become somewhat antithetical to modern life, while grief and melancholy have remained unchanged by technology and digital communication.
Society once had a process and rituals to cushion those who had recently grieved. The tradition of wearing black to indicate that a person was still in a period of mourning has been practiced for centuries. Adhering to a ritual period to mourn, while also assisting in the smooth transition of a loved one’s spirit into the afterlife, is common in many religious lineages that are still practiced today. But what about grief that does not pass or heal with time?
I first heard the term “unresolved grief” almost twenty years ago while studying the energetics of acupuncture points. My teacher carefully pointed out that just at the top of the lungs, located next to the first rib, was an unseen edy that could accumulate the undealt with and difficult to process melancholy of a lifetime. I raised my hand and asked, “Isn’t that the acupuncture channel that corresponds with fear?” “Fear and grief are very closely related,” the teacher responded. “One often follows the other.”
If we don’t take the time to process and resolve grief as it occurs, it can linger and remain in our body and spirit for a lifetime.
And because fear and grief are so closely related, when they are left unprocessed they begin to covertly influence actions, leading us to make decisions based on the past, instead of the future.
Identifying grief is as simple as asking yourself to take an honest inventory of the periods of time in your life when you have experienced the loss of a friend, a lover, a family member, or even a dream. How much time did you allow yourself to process the grief? Who did you share the loss with and did you share completely how the loss impacted your life?
While grief is closely related to fear, when grief is allowed to be properly processed, it can turn into an artistic masterpiece. So for those of us who have experienced grief, let’s mend the hearts of ourselves and others by uniting people through our common experiences.