Holidays can be difficult–that empty seat at the table is a reminder of loss. Additionally, we remember past holidays and grieve not only loved ones who’ve died or left us, but lost homes, lost careers, lost health, dreams-never-fulfilled.
We each respond to grief and loss in our own way–but some of the ways we respond aren’t all that great. Here are three that keep us stuck:
- Denial; stiff upper lip. “S/he wasn’t all that important.” “I can always find a better spouse–or house or job or friend.” And, “The loss was a long time ago.”
- Throw out the reminders, stuff the memories: hurry up and get rid of the clothes, the photos, the gifts, the awards.
- Or, conversely, hang on to the emotions (even the painful ones). “If I give up my anguish, guilt, anger, despair or emptiness, I’ll stop caring and so lose all my connection to what I’ve loved.”
At some level, we know these responses don’t really work. Denying and stuffing don’t work because no matter how hard we try, our Subconscious remembers everything. What we try to bury eventually manifests in sickness of spirit and often of body. Time alone does not heal.
Hanging on to painful emotions doesn’t work either. This response keeps us from honoring ourselves in the present and celebrating the good that was–and the love and gratitude and even the joy that yet may be.
What’s the answer? The most universal recovery response is to talk and cry and talk and cry. It really helps–especially if we have friends that support us. But, oh, it takes so long! And even our best friends eventually get tired of listening.
The talking-and-crying response ignores the (EFT) reality that we not only have a physical body and a mental body but also an energetic body. Grief and loss are traumas that block the flow of energy in our energy/meridian system. Don’t we intuitively know that? Because we can feel that blockage in our bodies when our heart aches and our throat hurts. And our head throbs.
Emotional Freedom Techniques (tapping the acupuncture meridian endpoints) is a modern breakthrough that quickly unblocks the stuck places in the energy system. (EFT doesn’t stop the normal grief process, but it can take away any unnecessary pain and speed recovery.) Even though for long-standing or complicated grief, you will want to work with an EFT practitioner, tapping is self-applied so you can begin on your own.
Try this for starters. Place both hands over your heart, take three slow, deep breaths and say,
“All of this (heartache, anger, guilt, despair–or whatever), I now let you go.
Soften and flow; soften and flow.”
Repeat until you feel the shift in your body.
You can read more about EFT here.
P.S. Know that when you work with an EFT practitioner, you don’t stop when the pain is gone! Together you continue tapping until you bring in energy for the way you want to feel: peace, good memories, gratitude, hope, love and even joy–when you’re ready. In an EFT session, you are in charge and you proceed exactly at your own pace.