Mindful Grieving

Saying goodbye is never easy, particularly to a mother.

Recently, our family said goodbye to an incredibly brave and strong woman following a second battle with cancer. Her loss reminded me of the death of my mother when I was 30, much too young to live the rest of my life without her.

With time, I came to appreciate the strength she had installed in me and my siblings. I came to understand that death is a change in the way we were in relationship and another, equally poignant and powerful relationship had emerged. Her physical death couldn’t rob me of my memories, of her laughter, of her softness or of her love.

Ah, but this place of peace took far longer than I would have liked. I found myself stuck in the pain of her loss for several years and my body paid a price for it. I developed Bronchitis for the first time,  as my body held onto the grief. Our lungs are often the place unresolved grief rests in our physical bodies. I suffered increased physical pain and a decreased ability to cope with stress which contributed to frequent seasonal viruses and colds.

My body was sick because my heart was broken.

Beginning a yoga practice transformed my body, brought healing to my heart and soul, and I began to release, experience and grieve her loss. When grief becomes stuck, it is thought to be complicated grief. A type of grief that is enduring, without relief of the painful symptoms. I wish I had understood it was what I had been experiencing for the previous four years.

Yoga taught me how to approach the edge of my pain, to breathe into it and to allow it to move and to flow. With practice and time, the capacity for tolerating the emotional pain expanded. This is what Mindful Grieving is.

While yoga was the first step in healing, adopting a mindful approach to grieving is what allowed me to release the grief trapped in my body. Other practices included Counseling, Meditation, and Breathwork supported my journey.

I would now add hands-on Energy work, Therapeutic Aromatherapy, Mindful moving, commemoration and intentional remembrance as essential parts of a Mindful Grieving approach. 

I have found Essential Oils to be very calming to the brain, in part because the olfactory bulb is located adjacent to the Limbic System which is responsible for emotional regulation. A deep breath of an essential oil such as Lavender or the dōTERRA Essential Oil Blend, Serenity, which are high in linalool known for its calming characteristics, to quickly soothe the brain. Another dōTERRA oil, the Respiratory Blend (Breathe) supports the opening of the lungs and the emotional release of unresolved grief.

Adopting a Mindful Grieving approach can minimize the physical burden of loss, support the flow of emotions and help to extend the edge of the pain of grief.

To lean more about Mindful Grieving, join me during the Holistic Emotional Wellness Summit where I will go deeper into the practices. All proceeds from the summit will support the prevention sex trafficking through the Operation Underground Railroad organization. 

Summit Dates: August 14-19 2017

This blog is dedicated to Peggy Papa, mother, wife, friend, sister and warrior. May we always be graced by your presence and love.