Muse: to reflect, contemplate, to
meditate in silence on some subject.
“Now. Here. This.”
~Bell & Blackwell
Now. To be with what we are feeling now, in this present moment.
Here. To be here, right where we are, with our feelings. Not trying to escape or avoid or distance ourselves from what we are feeling.
This. To be with whatever our “this” is, whatever it is that we are experiencing.
In order for us to begin healing from our loss, we must learn to be present to our pain even if it is just in small doses. This seems foreign to us as our usual instinct is to run from or avoid pain. But pain asks to be acknowledged, to be felt, and to be understood.
May we be transformed by its wisdom.
Please feel free to share this “museletter” with others that you think may benefit from it.
Healing VS. Curing
“You can cure without healing and you can heal without curing” (Rankin 2011).
We often think that the words healing and curing are synonymous but they are not. They are inherently different. Curing means that all of our symptoms are eliminated whereas healing means to become whole even though our symptoms have not disappeared.
These terms can also be applied to grief. Most of us have been led to believe that our grief will be cured, that there will be an end to our pain, and that we will somehow “get over it.” When we try to cure grief we view pain as something to be conquered rather than something to be surrendered to. Curing is usually seen as a more passive treatment as it relies on something outside of ourselves to treat our symptoms (fix the problem). We can find many external remedies to try and cure our grief such as drugs, alcohol, shopping, television, technology fixation, staying busy, etc. There are also people who try to cure us of our grief by spouting unhelpful cliches, giving unwanted advice, telling us we should be over “it” by now or they try to cajole us out of our pain. When we try to use something outside of ourselves to cure our grief it only serves as a distraction that temporarily numbs our pain.
Healing is an ongoing process that happens from the inside out and it treats the root cause of our pain not just our symptoms. The cause of our pain is our loss and we must give ourselves permission to get up close and personal with this pain. In healing, we learn to feel our grief, to express it, to get curious about it, and to make meaning from our loss.
Healing allows us to surrender to the pain so we can tend to our wounds with gentleness and compassion. We understand that pain is not something to be gotten over but is instead something that we allow and learn to integrate into our lives.
Healing takes time and work and comes in many forms. We have to take the time to listen to our grief so we can learn what will best help us heal. For example we can cry, scream, pound the floor with our fists, etc., we can journal about our feelings and what we miss, we can tell our story with someone who has the ability to honor our story, we can place a hand on our heart and feel what our broken heart really feels like, we can take the time to understand who we are now that we have experienced this loss, we can take quiet time in nature so that nature can show us how it takes time to find our roots and once again bloom. By giving ourselves time and permission to heal we become more whole by letting our pain transform us into more of who we really are.
“True healing is not the fixing of the broken,
but the rediscovery of the unbroken”
The Written Word
There are many ways to express our grief and putting our thoughts, feelings, and ideas on paper can be a very healing process. The suggested prompts here can be done one time or multiple times. I’ve learned it helps to set a timer for 10-15 minutes and keep your pen moving for the entire time. I encourage using pen and paper rather than a keyboard as there is a hand/heart connection when writing longhand. Don’t worry about spelling, punctuation, or grammar, just write. When the timer goes off you stop writing even if you are in mid-sentence. Don’t reread your work at this time. Just set it aside for a couple of weeks and then go back and see what your words may have to say to you.
(If you choose to use a keyboard the same instructions apply).
Try this writing prompt:
Grief heals me by…
I will list some books, articles, poems, movies, or other resources that I as well as others have found helpful on this grief journey. I hope these resources may deepen your understanding of grief, maybe bring you some sense of comfort, and help you to feel less alone in your grief.