Welcome to the Griefwords Online Library
Brought to you by the Center for Loss and Life Transition - Alan Wolfelt, Ph.D., Director
The Spiritual Path to Healing: Mourning Ideas, Part 4
by Alan D. Wolfelt, Ph.D.
- Get in touch with the Creator by creating. Make something that expresses your feelings or honors the loss you are mourning.
- Is there a creative activity that you find you lose yourself in—that you get so involved in that you lose all track of time and place and you become immersed in your creative process? If so, that's the kind of activity you want to do now.
- Write. Paint. Sew. Scrapbook. Knit. Garden. Cook. Play an instrument. Decorate. Organize. All of these activities are forms of creation. Pick one that moves you.
Make something today.
PRAY WITH PRAYER BEADS.
- Prayer beads are used in a number of faith traditions, including Islam, Catholicism, Budhhism, Hinduism and Baha'i.
- The person who is praying fingers the beads as he prays, and uses the pattern and number of the beads to keep track of which prayers and how many he has offered up.
- The repetitive motion of fingering the beads calms the mind and soothes the soul as the words of the prayer or the chant send your spiritual intentions into the beyond.
- If you do not strictly follow a specific religious doctrine, you may be interested in trying prayer beads as part of your spiriutal practice. In his book Simply Pray, universalist minister Erik Walker Wikstrom suggests a modern prayer that uses a set of 28 beads. The practice includes centering and entering-in prayers, breath prayers, and prayers of Naming, Knowing, Listening and Loving. "Prayer beads are mobile alters," says Wikstrom.
If you don't already have prayer beads, stop by a bead shop today and learn about buying or making a prayer strand.
- You may be harboring some spiteful feelings about the death of someone loved. Perhaps you are angry at a medical caregiver. Maybe you're upset at friends and family who haven't been there for you in your time of need. Maybe you are mad at the person who died.
- Forgiveness is an act of surrender. If you surrender your resentment, you are freeing yourself of a very heavy load. You are surrendering your human feelings of judgment to the only One who is truly in a position to judge. Don't go to your own grave angry.
- Forgive. Write letters of forgiveness if this will help you unburden yourself, even if you never send the letters.
- And while you're at it, don't forget to forgive yourself. Self-recrimination is negative energy. If you did something wrong, acknowledge, apologize, and forgive.
- This Idea calls to mind this poem by William Arthur Ward, an American pastor and teacher:
Before you speak, listen.
Before you write, think.
Before you spend, earn.
Before you invest, investigate.
Before you criticize, wait.
Before you pray, forgive.
Before you quit, try.
Before you retire, save.
Before you die, give.
Today, call or stop by to visit someone you've been holding a grudge against. Tell this person you've missed her company and would like to catch up.
USE A SINGING BOWL.
- Singing bowls are used as part of Eastern spiritual traditions as part of the meditation and prayer rituals. While they are made and used throughout Asia, the best-known types are from the Himalayas and are often called Tibetan singing bowls.
- Made of bronze and other metals, the bowls range in size from very small to very large. They "sing" when the user rubs a wooden mallet around the rim. Good quality bowls produce a harmonic tone.
- Place the bowl on a surface in front of you and strike the rim lightly with the mallet. Listen to the bell tone. Now try rubbing the mallet in a circular motion around the bowl's rim. Can you make it sing?
- Some singing bowl practitioners recommend that you lie down and place the bowl on your chest. This brings the sound close to your ears but also allows you to feel the vibrations throughout your body.
- The singing bowl's tone may help you relax and focus during meditation. It is also thought that the physical vibrations of the sound waves massage your body's cells and organs and release energy blockages.
Place a photo of a person you mourn in the singing bowl. As the bowl sings, imagine that the sound is carrying your loving thoughts to the person who died. See if you can hear back what the person might say to you.
Allow Yourself to Receive
- Many of us are better at giving than receiving. Yet, there is a reciprocal relationship between the two. In order to receive, we must give. And in order to give, we must receive.
- Select a supportive friend to assist you with the following. Sit across from your friend. Be silent for two to three minutes, then have your friend tell you something they admire or appreciate about you. Be receptive.
- Take in what your friend shares with an open heart. Notice where you are uncomfortable or find yourself wanting to discount what your friend says.
- Breathe deeply for a minute as you continue to open yourself to this gift of receiving. Sit with it until you can fully accept this verbal gift. Show your gratitude by nonverbally saying thank you.
Carry out the same process outlined above for your friend. Then repeat the process, going to a deeper level of truth. Observe how your connection and bond with your friend increases. As you learn to receive and give, the separation between giver and receiver disappears.