In the course of looking for resources to help some clients move through their own grief process, I picked up a copy of The Grief Recovery Handbook by John W. James and Russel Friedman at the end of last year.
I began reading it for those clients. They felt stuck in their grief and I wanted to serve them better in my work with them. I finished reading it knowing that I needed to experience it myself.
The Grief Recovery Handbook synopsis
The book’s premise is that, in our society, we don’t know how to grieve effectively. We’re taught all kinds of erroneous things about grief: that we must grieve alone, that we shouldn’t feel bad (because it makes other people uncomfortable), that we can replace the loss, that we must be strong for others, that time will make it better, and that keeping busy will help.
This causes us to also respond weirdly and unhelpfully to others who are grieving. We just have no idea what we’re doing.
Grief also applies to so many areas of our lives, not just the death of loved ones. We all have incomplete relationships, with people living and dead. As well as with situations in our lives—moves, job loss, health issues. All of these things, if they remain emotionally incomplete and unresolved limit our aliveness and enjoyment of life.
The Grief Recovery Handbook helps you deal with all of that through a series of straightforward steps. Emotionally deep and potentially life-changing, but ultimately straightforward.
Why I’m doing it
After reading the book, I decided to go through the process myself. I certainly have plenty of relationships and situations which I know are limiting my enjoyment of life and my sense of freedom in being.
I began with my relationship with my Mum. It’ll be 7 years this June since she passed into Spirit. And I’m mostly OK with it – as much as one can be – and yet there were still things in our relationship that remained unresolved. Even as a medium who talked to people in Spirit for a living!
Going through the grief recovery process shifted it. It just opened up space inside of me as I was able to say, aloud, the things I wanted to say to her but never did. I was able to apologize for the things that were mind to apologize for. And begin the process of forgiving her the things I needed to let go of.
There are three main components to finding resolution in your relationships and forgiveness is a big part of the process. The other two are owning up to the things that you need to apologize for (and then forgiving yourself), and saying the things of significance that were never said.
In many ways it’s simple. But it’s also quite profound.
If you’ve ever done forgiveness work, you’ll know that the forgiveness doesn’t happen immediately. But the willingness to release and let go begins the work.
Like with many things in my life, I have a list. In this case, it’s a list of the people and situations around which I have unresolved grief and loss.
Using some depth-journaling to release the repressed emotions around the person or situation, along with mindfulness meditation to ground me and provide the nourishment and resources I need, I’m working through the steps of grief recovery. It’s pretty cool.
I definitely feel more aliveness around the relationships I’m working through and a new sense of spaciousness. If you’ve ever felt all knotted up inside when you think of certain people in your life, you can probably imagine how awesome it feels to find some space and room to breathe.
I’ll likely be sharing more about the Grief Recovery Process as I signed up for training with the Grief Recovery Institute to become a certified grief recovery specialist. I’m not completely sure why I’m doing it or how it’ll fit into my life and business, but it’s what my intuition says to do, and that’s how powerful the process is being for me.