I hear you.
I feel your pain.
I understand how crazy making it is to feel like you are walking in circles or to be utterly, hopelessly lost in the middle of nowhere.
I live on a two-hundred-acre parcel of land, complete with hills, valleys, and thick forests. My husband is an avid outdoors-man and can tell you where every ridge is, what every rock wall or barbed-wire fence means as far as property boundaries, and can find his bearings based on the tree that is at the top of the north knoll and has the big bulge in its trunk.
I remember saying to my man in those early days following our move to this farm that I would starve to death if I ever got lost in the woods because my sense of direction is so bad.
This is what he told me: “If you ever get lost, go down hill. You will always find water or a road at the bottom. From there you can find your way.”
The truth is, sometimes the terrain leads you back up before it takes you down and sometimes, when the slope is steep, you have to weave back and forth along switchbacks before you can make your way to where you want to be.
I feel so lost! How can I find my way through my grief?
Hubby’s comment seems relevant to grief, too.
Our suffering can take on so many forms.
Sometimes it feels like the terrain is filled with rocks and boulders that you must navigate over.
Sometimes it feels like a slippery slope that keeps sucking you downwards, backwards, or ass-over-tea-kettle.
Sometimes it feels as if you are in a complex maze that has but one tiny, hidden outlet.
Sometimes it feels like you are trying to find your way in pitch black darkness.
Sometimes it feels like you are drowning in that river at the bottom of the road.
How you find your way out of grief’s grip and into healing’s hands is by first accessing your terrain, Neighbor.
Though it can feel scary, pay attention to what your conflict and grief are doing to each of your five facets. Use the examples above as a starting point.
Once you are aware of what is going on in your body and what your terrain looks like to you, then you are better able to begin identifying the resources you have at your disposal.
Is your mind feel muddled with grief brain and fatigue? Are your thoughts confused or you can’t remember shit?
If you are struggling in the academic facet, here are a few quick strategies to ease some of the chaos.
- Write everything down. Use that calendar or those reminders on your phone.
- Prioritize your activities and cut the extras for a short while. Add them back in when you are feeling stronger.
- Journal or jot down quick notes about what helped so you can do more of that.
Are your emotions running from ecstatic to distressed? Here are a few quick tips to help heal your emotional facet.
- Make sure you are getting plenty of rest; plan nap time into your day if you need it.
- Do something that brings you joy! Read, walk, crank up the stereo or turn on soothing instrumentals. Whatever works for you.
- Pay attention to any patterns. Does this happen when you’re around certain people? At night? Those are the times to employ those healing strategies.
What is happening with your physical facet? Are you experiencing pain in your physical body or in relation to your physical environment?
- If the pain is in your body, isolate it and take action. Go get that massage, see your doctor or the chiropractor, stretch, or engage in exercise activities to move your blood flow and get the oxygen to all of those cells.
- If your physical environment is causing you conflict, how can you address it? Is it the clutter? Set a timer and go to town targeting the things those most bother you. For me, it’s freshly dusted furniture and swept hardwood floors that can shift my mood in an instant. (okay…in about an hour when it is really bad.)
- Managing your environment is one of the first things I learned in my Therapeutic Crisis Intervention training and I can tell you that it can be applied to every aspect of life, Neighbor. Pick one or two things that are bothering you and then do what you can to change that environment to something that words for you.
Maybe your social facet, your relationships, are feeling out of control and you are feeling unsupported, or maybe you are feeling totally alone.
- If you are feeling alone, check out 5 Reasons You Feel Alone and How to Change That to see how you relate to any of the possibilities.
- Sometimes our friends and loved ones don’t know how to handle conflict and grief or maybe they are impacted differently than you. Do self checks to see if you are being overly sensitive, but always, no matter what, try to surround yourself with those who can relate or at least know how to validate that you are feeling poorly. This might mean stepping out of your comfort zone and calling that new person you met and making a lunch date.
- Pay attention to how you are treating yourself and what your thoughts are saying about you. We often overlook the relationship with the self. If you find your thoughts using such language as “I’m a failure” or “I’m always a hot mess” or “I can’t get my shit together,” cut yourself a little slack. Ask yourself how you would treat someone else and then treat yourself the same way!
Maybe you are struggling with your spiritual facet and asking big life questions like “Why am I here?” or “Why is this happening to me? Am I being punished?”
- Access where your struggle lies. Are you questioning the role of organized religion in your life or seeing paradox that is confusing you? Write it down. Journal about it. Read about spirituality. Talk to a safe person, someone you believe will be nonjudgmental.
- Ask yourself what is going on. Again, we often fail to include ourselves into the equation. Though your mind may be confused and your emotions all over the place, your soul knows what it needs and it is waiting for you to ask. So ask. Ask yourself a question and listen for the answer. The hardest part of that is to trust the response you receive. It never lies. Sometimes it will lead you to more questions, but the purpose is all about helping you find that inner peace you are looking for, to help you feel grounded and centered.
There are countless more tips, but hopefully some of these will help you unlock something that will help you feel less lost and more like you are finding your way through your grief.
Two other important things you should do to help you across all of your five facets are to eat well and stay hydrated. Food and water nurture all of your five facets, Neighbor.
Do you have tips or strategies that have worked for you? Please share them with us, for as I like to say, “Together, Neighbor, together we are healing worlds of hurt.”
I am not only honored to receive your queries, I LOVE answering them! As the saying goes, The only stupid question is the one not asked. Let us know your burning, nagging or curious thoughts! You can leave your question in the comments or email it to us. All questions are considered anonymous.
Until next time, yours in hope, healing, and happiness,