How can science help us deal with grief, one of life's most challenging emotions? Let's take a look at energy. It is understood that energy can be converted or transferred in its form, but not created or destroyed.
Love is an energy, and though we can't necessarily list it as kinetic, nuclear or electric energy, we do know it's a powerful force. The energy of love has been motivating humankind for millions of years to take positive action on behalf of others. This is apparent in everything from worldwide compassion efforts to relieve starvation, to the simple act of a parent bathing an infant.
When we are overcome with grief, we often have absolutely no idea where to go or what to do with our suffering. So much of our motivation departed along with our loved one, that too often, we are simply left to sit and wallow in our misery. However, love cannot be destroyed; the energy that existed before the loss is actually still there. It's boiling under the surface as our grief, and constant threat of implosion drives us deeper into a lonely place of disconnect. How can we cope under this duress?
The answer is simple: Do something. You are going to have to make changes if you want to be happy. You can begin to transform the energy of grief with positive activity.
I've seen clients of mine do this over the years with great success. Many bereaved persons seek talk therapy to heal, but fail to plan activities. Let's compare that to steeping a cup of tea. When the tea comes in contact with boiling water, the flavor is released and a nurturing drink is created. Awesome! But what happens if you leave the tea bag steeping endlessly? You end up with a bitter drink. Not so delicious! If you sit still, simmering in your emotions, bitterness is a likely outcome.
You have to ask yourself, "In this moment, with these circumstances, what matters most to me?" My favorite way to answer this question is to redirect what's on my mind right before I fall asleep.
I send my children and several friends text messages to say good night, thank them for adding so much to my life and tell them I love them.
I imagine what it would be like to walk through Giverny.
I think about how to hold events in six West Coast cities in less than two weeks' time.
What's important to me today is being able to express my love to my family and friends, and create enjoyable opportunities for us to be together. It's important for me to have free time to nurture gardens and appreciate their beauty and growth. It's important for me to bring messages of hope to people all over the world.
All of the important things in my life REQUIRE ACTION.
You have to get involved in your life again to create happiness and healing. Start a foundation in honor of your loved one. Get busy trying out the new hobby you always wanted to learn; art, photography, travel, cooking....whatever gets you excited! Get involved with support groups that offer activities; conferences, social opportunities or self development workshops. Meet a friend out for a cup of coffee instead of staying in alone. Start cleaning and organizing your home to make it into the place you dream it could be!
Everyone is at a different place in the grief process, but remember the analogy of the tea bag. Too much steeping leads to bitterness. Start to focus on what's important to you at the end of the day and commit to taking action to make it a reality. You can't destroy your grief energy, but you can TRANSFORM it.
©Mollie Morning Star 2014 Short excerpts of this article may be shared on the internet provided a live link back to this original source is used. Reproduction in print is prohibited.