November is quite often referred to as ‘Grief month’ when we remember our loved ones who have passed on. Grief is an umbrella word, that covers a multitude of topics.
Growing up I was always given to understand that grief was only about people dying, not about losing your job, moving house, surviving a broken relationship, or having a baby. Of course, having a baby is a happy event, but the loss of your freedom and your previous life, the one you had before you had a little baby to take care of, can be very much tinged with grief.
As a practitioner, I see lots of illnesses present in my treatment room as a result of bereavement and loss being held in the body. Some clients are really stuck in a space that they cannot get out of, or think that they can’t and don’t realise that it is unresolved grief.
Not everyone acknowledges the feelings of loss or grief because it was not really acknowledged at one time that there was such a thing, or they are afraid that if they acknowledge it they will fall apart and never get back together again. That's what one client told me anyway! Grief is quite a serious issue indeed. So what happens when we don’t express how we really feel, does it go away somewhere?
Yes, it does. It tucks away into various parts of our body, namely our lungs and around our heart. Joining it sometimes are the feelings of loneliness detachment, and fear for the future, mainly held in the large intestine. As the lungs and the large intestine meridians are partnered, we would work both and include the heart too. The large intestines hold fear and anticipation, alongside sadness.
The Chinese are wonderful at describing how we are. Traditional Chinese Medicine is an ancient modality. Their work is so beautiful and tells an incredible story. They describe how important it is to take care of our organs, to preserve our energy.
As in the stress response. cortisol is released during the stages of grief. The body regards grief as an endogenous stressor. It can lead to cardiovascular problems, digestive disorders, brain fog, and lowered immunity. That surely is enough to make us think about getting some help for ourselves.
Notice how most of the images that represent grief, are grey, and black and usually one of loneliness and isolation.
A little compassion goes a long long way in supporting someone experiencing grief. The levels that grief have to get through, to get to a place where the constant crying has stopped, and relatively normal life resumes, is a bottomless pit.
So it is impossible to put a time on how long grief takes to process. It was a given one time that it took five years. I have no idea why or where that figure came from but there's very little truth in it.
That’s where Reflexology comes in. It is so gentle and so supportive. The information we therapists get from assessing feet is incredible. Clients are always surprised when we talk afterward about the lungs and heart and other places that hold onto the energy of grief. I haven't worked with a client yet that didn't find that conversation interesting.
So this month, while we are remembering our loved ones who have passed on, maybe we could try and support others who are finding it tough. Keep it simple and add little gestures. An invitation to a cuppa in the local coffee shop might be just the trick, to help get through a dull day. Or maybe just a phone call to check in for a chat.
Where there is deep grief, there has been great love.
Apache Grief Blessing
by unknown authors
"May the sun bring you energy every day, bringing light into the darkness of your soul. May the moon softly restore you by light bathing you in the glow of restful sleep and peaceful dreams.
May the rain wash away your worries and cleanse the hurt that sits in your heart. May the breeze blow new strength into your being, and may you believe in the courage of yourself.
May you walk gently through the world, keeping your loved one with you always, knowing that you are never parted in the beating of your heart."