I am often asked by clients and friends how they can get over and heal from the loss or death of a loved one. My answer to them is always the same. You don’t “get over” a loss, nor do you need to. You do want to, however, make room for it. You want to allow your heart to be big enough, compassionate enough and loving enough to hold space for it so that you can honor it without having it take over your life.
One of the problems many of us face when we experience such loss is that we want to shut down, close off, and withdraw from everything and everyone. Often, there is a time and place for us to do so, to really face the darkness of loss, to look deep into the face of death and ultimately the meaning of human mortality.
There also comes a time to come out of the shadows and to remember that in nature, there is always a life and death cycle, followed by rebirth — rebirth of the spirit, of the breath of life, of our knowing that we are all one, not alone and most of all, that we came here to experience joy.
To make room for loss, do what you can to open your heart and breathe the breath of life. The more you fill your heart with love and appreciation, the more space you make for healing and growth. Here are eight ideas:
1. Spend time out in nature to remind yourself of the cycles of life Nature lets a forest fire burn as quickly as it let’s a flower bloom. It’s nature’s way. New growth recurs constantly. Spending time in nature will also help lower your stress response and raise your feel good neurotransmitters like dopamine and serotonin, helping you elevate your mood.
2. Spend time with those who love you and can remind you of how lucky you are. Your loved ones can also help you remember the good times you shared with the one you lost. Bringing up happy memories of appreciation and joy will fill your heart.
3. Practice self-care to remind yourself that you are choosing to live whole and complete. You are choosing to live happy and healthy, with an open heart and clear mind. What can you do? Practice regular exercise which is also helpful to your brain and emotions; consume a diet low in sugar, chemicals, dairy or processed products that deplete you rather than help you stay whole; sleep until you are rested.
4. Journal and have a conversation with your loved one. They haven’t left you, they are just not present in their physical form. Everyone morning, after a brief meditation where you can quiet your mind, have a conversation. Use your first letter for you and their first letter for them, and go back and forth with questions answers. This is a good way to get used to having regular conversations with someone who has passed on that provides.
5. Join a spiritual community. Alternatively, work with a spiritual guide who can help you make meaning from the fears, thoughts or beliefs that seem to be more prominent since the loss, especially those that are impeding your ability to move back into your life fully.
6. Let yourself cry when you need to. This is sacred space time. Release and heal. Talk about it if you need to. You are allowed to be real about how you feel. There is no right or wrong. Scream. Cry. Punch. Draw. Express your feelings as you need to.
7. Turn it around and help another. Often when we experience loss, we also experience a loss of hope and emptiness. Finding a purpose, someone or some place that may benefit from your beliefs, love and efforts, will help give your own loss more meaning.
8. Try this meditation: Imagine the sun shines down on you, showering you with love and light so that when you breathe in, you breathe this light into your heart center.
As you breathe in, the light accumulates in the center of your heart and forms a focal point of light. It then begins to spin and shine like the sun through your chest and out into the world and universe.
The rays of light are actually sending out radar waves that are sending out a call for love. Calling all love! Calling all love! The rays are bi-directional. As these rays go out calling love, they also bring back into your heart the love you need in the form you need it in.
Bask in the love. Breathing in and breathing out. We are all one.