Resolving Grief & Sadness

Contributor: Cristin Smith
Photographer: Madison Cline
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Autumn is a transitional time. Like Spring, when the Earth is waking up and coming back to life, Autumn is when Nature begins to quietly shut down for the Winter. It is quite a beautiful time; leaves change from green to yellows, oranges, and reds before gently dropping to the ground. The weather becomes a little more unpredictable, creating mesmerizing shapes in the clouds and breathtaking colors at sunrise and sunset. Winds start to carry a chill with them. It’s darker in the early mornings. Everything around us is moving toward a new season including our emotions as this time of year is associated with grief and mourning.

You may be feeling a bit melancholy, tired, lonely. Our spirits are preparing us for Winter, which can be a very quiet and introverted time. Autumn is the ideal time to deal with these powerful emotions before Winter’s calm. If you’ve lost loved ones this year, take some time to create space for your grief. Set aside a space for sitting—a comfortable place for meditation and journaling or create an alter—a place for devoted prayer. The wonderful thing about this sort of work is that there is no right or wrong. Don’t let being unsure create an obstacle to your healing.

 
 

Journaling

Your journaling does not have to be about anything specific. Start by filling 3 pages in your journal every day. Just let come whatever will come. Eventually, whatever you are dealing with will come through. When it does start to come out, don’t fight it. Let those pages fill with your own truth. When those words are coming through on the page, and your mind reads it for the first time, it can bring forth powerful epiphanies and emotion; perhaps even show you things you were not consciously aware of. Be open to it. Writing is an amazing healing tool. 

Meditation

Meditation is simply the practice of quieting the mind. Traditionally, that means sitting comfortably with your eyes closed and focusing on your breath. Try guided meditations if the quiet is uncomfortable at first.  If being still is difficult, try movement. Steady movement can provide the body with an activity, so that the mind can practice silence. Take yourself for a quiet walk through a park or a nice easy hike into the woods. These activities can help you mourn for a loved one or move you through sadness and loneliness. Being in a quiet state will reset your mind and better prepare you to deal with these emotions.

Alters & Ritual

Alters are a tangible representation of something spiritual. With the loss of a loved one—whether it be a person, an animal companion, or a relationship—an alter can help us make sense of it. Use a picture and candles as a base. Take implements from Nature: a pine cone, an antler, rocks, seashells. When you add Nature to your alter, the energies from those items enhance your prayer experience. Create a ritual for yourself. Perhaps every evening you light the candles, sit on a comfortable pillow with a cozy mug of tea or milk and honey, and fill your journal. Such rituals have incredible healing properties, and are so important to get through grief and mourning.

Be gentle with yourself and practice restorative healing this Autumn.