Experiencing grief at any time is tortuous, however, at the start of the year, right on the back of Christmas, it always seems to be more intense. 'Is this what the New Year has in offer?' we ask ourselves, also 'what an awful start to the year'. It seems that we are on the back foot before we get anywhere, our shine dulled beyond compare through the seemingly endless grief we are experiencing. When it is someone of our own age, someone we have grown up with, or someone younger than us it takes on another significance and we start to worry about our own existence.
Mindfulness gives the opportunity to embrace all that is around, what we are physically feeling and not to remain all consumed by the thoughts in our heads - the mental paths we follow, and the stories we make up - minute after minute (most of which result in doom and gloom, or unrealistic outcomes). Without mindfulness, we shut out many of the senses and remain in our heads. As an example, when was the last time you noticed the scent of the flowers at a funeral? If it was a wedding, there is a good chance you would recall the scent, but with a funeral, we are generally less mindful and more consumed with our thoughts and grief.
The article attached below is a wonderful insight into meeting grief with mindfulness. It may be of help and give comfort, I hope so.
Two great lines stick out for me (and they are highlighted in the article) :
Grief is such an urgent and forceful energy. It’s immediate and demanding when it arrives. In fact, it is so powerful a human emotion that some cultures have rituals around grief that enable them to confront and express it, and the storm within our bodies and minds that it stirs up.
And yet there’s really nothing magical about it. It goes something like this: The energy of an emotion begins to build within us and we have a choice: meet it at the door and engage with it, or turn our backs to it. Turning our backs doesn’t make it go away.
Stay safe, grieve the way you need to (there is no right or wrong reaction to grief), and maybe considering trying to smell those beautiful flowers next time, it may just give you a glimmer of hope.
It’s difficult to be with physical or emotional pain, and we often retreat to the mind in search of distractions. But when we are able to fully be with our experience, something that feels like magic happens.