"A Sacred Pause"

A Grief Museletter

Muse: to reflect, contemplate, to
meditate in silence on some subject.


“We’ve known the dark woods, but also the moon.”
~ Simmons


We may view our “darker” emotions as wrong. We may think there is something wrong with us for feeling them or we may just view any kind of dark emotion as something to be avoided. There is nothing wrong with sadness, anguish, despair, or grief. These feelings can be scary, yes. Painful, yes. But they are not wrong. As the poet Rumi says we should be grateful for whatever comes our way as each feeling has been sent as a guide from beyond.

I think it is a continual practice to try and learn from what is sent our way. May we be kind and compassionate with ourselves and to one another on this healing journey.

– Daria

Please feel free to share this “museletter” with others that you think may benefit from it.

If you never learned to talk you would still feel your emotions. You may not know what grief meant but you would still experience heartache. Just as you would feel joy, fear, anger, excitement, etc. because they exist as body senses.We learn to think in words.

~ Brenner

Most of us have learned to cope with our feelings of grief rather than feel them. To cope means to manage, to overcome, to somehow surmount our grief. When we cope we “get by, we keep our heads above water, we weather the storm, we muddle through, we put up with.” When we cope we try to push our grief aside and “carry on” acting as if nothing has changed. When we refuse to allow ourselves to feel the depths of our pain we not only bury our grief but we prolong it as well.
Grief is meant to change us as it helps us to heal.

Feelings are physical sensations that we experience in our bodies. These bodily sensations signal what is happening within us as that is how the body communicates with us. Some of the sensations we may feel when we are experiencing grief are tightness in our throats when there are no words for our pain, sharp knife-like pain as our hearts are broken open, a strong vice-like grip around our chests that may make it difficult to take a deep breath or knots in our stomach that twist and turn as we try to digest this new reality. Grief can also feel like a tremendous weight on us. It is this heaviness that moves us downward into our grief as it anchors us so that we can feel the weight and the depth of the situation.
Feelings contain a great deal of information when we pay attention to what they have to say and will shift and transform when we allow ourselves to explore them. We must learn how to let our feelings run their course instead of immediately retreating up into our heads and begin thinking about our feelings. When we think about our feelings we try to change what we are feeling to something we consider more acceptable or try to fix the “problem” (feeling). Our thoughts can override our body signals and the noise of our thoughts can drown out our feelings.

We think we can guard ourselves against all of our pain if we refuse to grieve. Many of us believe that if we allow ourselves to feel our pain we will fall apart and not be able to come back together. Many people say that they are afraid if they start crying they will never stop or that if they “go there” they will never come back. When the truth is if we don’t go there we will never come back (Weller 2015).

“In that inevitable, excruciatingly human moment, we are offered a powerful choice. The choice is perhaps one of the most vitally important choices we ever make, and it determines the course of our lives from that moment forward. The choice is this: Will we interpret this loss as so unjust, unfair, and devastating that we feel punished, angry, forever and fatally wounded–or, as our heart, torn apart, bleeds its anguish of sheer, wordless grief, will we somehow feel this loss as an opportunity for our hearts to become more tender, more open, more passionately alive, more grateful for what remains?” 

~ Mueller 2010

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:

When I am able to see my loss as an opportunity instead of a wound I feel…


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. 

Photo Credit: Jason Robb

It is only when we have the courage to face things exactly as they are,
without any self-deception or illusion, that a light will develop out of events,
by which the path to healing may be recognized.

~I Ching

In loving memory of my son Jason.