The Art of Grief

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In Chinese 5 element theory fall is the expression of Metal energy.  Similar to how the chakras are complex, dynamic fields of information, the elements are also fields imbedded within fields that govern our body, mind, and emotions.  When the physical body is ill, it will siphon off energy from the subtle body, pulling it in through the chakra system into the tissues as a way to counter dis-ease.  The elements are qualities of energy that also contract or expand through our bodymind.  While we see the elements express through the physical body, it is more often talked about how these energies influence the mind and emotions.  Metal energy is the energy of grief.  If we aredoing our inner work, grief becomes an energy that we engage with.  Through our own intention and attention we can begin to refine this energy into the effort of purification, release and reverence.  This process is core to the experience of being human. When approached mindfully many discover a divine beauty to the whole experience, in turn transmuting any excessive contraction Metal energy is naturally susceptible to.

Of course grief is experienced daily by most people, but perhaps given its common resonance with autumn, it can feel more overwhelming this time of year.  Depression, sadness, feelings of heaviness or disconnection, emotional waves, cloudiness feeling, colds, flues, lung congestion, changes in digestion, can be expressions of one’s metal energy expressing itself. 

There is no magic prescription for processing grief.  Everyone responds to it in their own way.  I’ve found in working with my own grief and with others, touch and staying present seem key for healing. 

Be in Touch.

I remember a few years ago sitting next to a woman in the airport.  She got off the phone and burst into tears. I turned my attention to her and she said her son had just died. Without thought I hugged her.  I could feel her energy sink into mine and she began to center herself.  Later as I passed by her sitting on the plane she thanked me.  It's a story that has reminded me we shouldn't underestimate how deeply healing touch can be.  

Being touched with good intentions gives us the sense of being seen, cared for, and acknowledged. There is about 5 million sensory receptors on our skin. When we are touched, electrical pulses are sent to our neurons (nerve cells) and then to the spinal cord. Your spinal cord takes the incoming signal and sends it to your brain. Once the brain receives the signal from the spinal cord, it translates the electrical signal. [Source].  As these signals are decoded, our body reduces our cortisone levels, stimulates our immune system by increasing lymphocytes and decreasing cytokines and vasopression. [Source].

Energetically, touch occurs when fields connect, either through proximity or through morphic resonance.  In one study conducted by the HeartMath Institute,  the data showed “when people touch or are in proximity, a transference of the electromagnetic energy produced by the heart occurs.”

Morphic fields are self organizing energetic fields that, according to the work of Dr. Rupert Sheldrake, govern biological and social development, habits, and thoughts.  When morphic fields are in resonance, such as between individuals, the fields act as a channel for communication.  In this way bodies don’t have to be touching, but there is still a sense of it.   Remote healing, telepathy and are good examples of this. 

Be Present.

The basics of wellness care never change, but in times of grief it can be incredibly difficult to do even these.  Sometimes we have to remind ourselves of what the basics are and find support in friends and family to make them happen. 

Basics: Support your body. Sleep, but not too much.  Eat (good food), but not too much.  Drink water, fresh juices and teas. Support your liver and colon to make sure your body is flushing out toxins.  Meditate, and move your body throughout the day.  Be in nature.  Be in your body.  Breath mindfully for a few minutes each day.  Balance stillness and movement. 

Deeper:  Turn your attention internally to the experience of grief. Feel it objectively and subjectively.  What happens when you give just a little bit of yourself to it?  What happens when you give all of yourself to it?  Grief is one of our great teachers.  Like all great teachers, it can deliver hard lessons, but once you turn towards it, you might find the wisdom gained positively changes your inner landscape.

How we take in our outer experience and let it shapeshift our inner world of thoughts and emotions, and then take those internal experiences and process them further to illuminate who we are, is an art in and of itself.