Hello, Grief, My Old Friend...
It has been recognized that we have been experiencing grief globally. Initially, I had been so "on" and reactive to the COVID-19 crisis as it unfolded, not simply the constant media and fear-based triggers, but the complex adaptations of kids home from school, clinic facility plans that needed to be researched, supported, and implemented and all the other wild challenges we've navigated...like finding toilet paper...that I wasn't taking time to slow, process, and tune into my feelings. I tend to be an over-function when stressed.
Once the dust settled a bit (kids in routine, office procedures in place, toilet paper supplied, for now, screen/media limits implemented, etc), I felt deflated and tired...unmotivated and less "functional". I normally operate with a fair amount of efficiency, function, and efficacy. I had stopped being so busy that I could "hear" my body talking to me and with a brief pause, I was reminded of how I felt after my mom transitioned in 2017. Spent...my energy tank was empty. I came across an image from the book Power Vs Force that provided a visual of why I felt so low...grief is near the bottom of our feeling vibrations. When I recognized that I was, indeed, in deep grief, I moved toward accepting my state and situation...and at that moment, I felt a shift toward higher function and greater ability to participate.
Dr. Brene' Brown recently published an interview on her Podcast Unlocking Us with David Kessler, author of Finding Meaning: The Sixth Stage of Grief that I found very affirming and insightful. Multiple articles have been published that also give voice to this shared experience of grief we're having. I am not alone in this experience. YOU are not alone in this. We are "in this" together.
One of the most important behaviors I've been leveraging to cope with is to pause and name what I'm feeling while recognizing that I am NOT my feeling, but rather it is a valuable visitor here to bring me awareness. Often, when I sit with my feeling, I can ask it what it would like to bring me...behind it is a gift. Looking beyond my fear, I see the innate wisdom that wants to protect me from harm. As my Aunt Sandy would say "Fear, you may come along, but you do not get to touch the controls." I can say thank you for my grief, it tells me I see value in what I'm missing right now...be it people, my familiar routines and behaviors, what was...and points me to my values...towards gratitude for what IS, what I do have, not simply what I don't. I can appreciate and accept...elevating my participation toward function and well-being.
Notice you and your state of being. You have a responsibility to care for yourself. Be encouraged to stand in your sphere of influence to mirror health, hope, and courage. In the Power Vs. Force image, fear is just one rung above grief. We don't operate from our highest states when we're afraid. In fear, completely different hormones run through our bodies, creating different results than when we're accepting, appreciative, and operating from a place of Hope.
We can change our physiology by changing our thinking and connecting to the gifts our feelings bring us. Please consider your feelings and what gifts they provide.
Originally published at OptiMOM Coaching on April 4, 2020.
**Image by Alexas_Fotos from Pixabay