Healing The Grief

by Mark Ivar Myhre on July 18, 2011

\Sometimes, when you think of something – some painful memory – you just start crying and it seems to go on forever.  And you know that when you think of it tomorrow, the same thing will happen.  More tears.  It just goes on and on and it never seems to change.

What can you do about the grief that will not end?

First, let me say that of course it takes time to heal.  It doesn’t happen overnight, especially when tragedy strikes.  But when it just seems to go on and on and you can’t move past the grief stage, then it’s time to look a little deeper.

I believe that emotions are meant to flow.  You’re not meant to feel the same feelings over and over and over again.  That’s called ‘being stuck’.  It seems  many people are stuck in one way or another.  I know I was.  Could be fear, or anger, or shame, but in this case, let’s look at the grief that will not end.

You have a pathway of emotion, agreed?  You have a stream of thoughts, and you have a stream of feelings.  They’re always on; always flowing.  And they’re flowing in the same pathway, actually.  In a healthy situation, I would be feeling new feelings all the time.  A smorgasbord of feelings.

Even when I’m healthy, there will be a range – a symphony – of different feelings. To always feel the same exact thing whenever something triggers my memories of some past event would get rather boring, so say the least.  So what’s up here?  Why all the grief?  Why the same feelings over and over again?  Why would I get stuck?

To use the ‘stream’ analogy, I would say there’s a boulder in the stream.  Maybe a huge boulder.  Until this boulder is removed, the grief will go on and on and on.  Or, for that matter, it could perhaps be a boulder of fear or anger or some other emotion.

And the boulder can be removed!  Okay?  It’s your life, it’s your stream, and it’s your boulder.  And it’s important to really let this in.

“If I can create it this way, then I can create it a different way.”

Nothing is intractable unless I believe it to be.  You see?  This boulder will be just as intractable as you believe it is.

Changing a belief is easy. The hard part, the reason why people cling to beliefs so strongly, even when it kills them, is because they don’t want to feel and release the energy that’s surrounding that belief.

Now in this case, your boulder is a mixture of your beliefs, your attitudes, your thoughts and feelings, and your choices and decisions.  Maybe a few other things as well.  But whatever is in there, it all came from you.  And that’s good news!

And it’s also the essential first step to healing the grief.  I must own that I am doing it to myself.  “Yeah, yeah, yeah, I got it – now what??”

That’s not ownership!  You’ve got to really let it in.  Let it in to your heart.  Let it in to your mind.  “This is mine.  This is my creation.  I created this.”

And not as a way to blame or shame yourself!  That’s not ownership either.  Not as a way to feel sorry for yourself.  Not as a way to judge yourself.  You’ve got to take this beyond the pity stage if you want to heal.  Also the blame, shame and judgment stage.  One good way to do this is to literally give yourself five minutes to just feel sorry for yourself for creating this boulder.  And then drop the pity!

And then give yourself five good minutes to blame yourself, then drop the blame!  Or whatever is standing in the way of you and your ownership…

Give yourself a few minutes to feel it – unabashedly.  Don’t hold yourself back – go for the full effect.  Feel all the pity or judgment or whatever is there.  Feel it with gusto.  Maybe even set the timer.  And when the time is up, then drop it.

Look, if you don’t own what’s going on, then it’s not likely to change.  And you can’t own it when you’re trying to pick it up with gloves of pity or blame or some other limiter.

Anyway, that’s the first step.  If you make it past this, then it’s all downhill from here.

Because once you own it, you can give it up. You can forgive yourself – not for the grief, but for keeping the boulder in place for so long.  You can forgive yourself for not owning the boulder up till now.  Or you can forgive yourself for some other nuance of the situation.

See?  Forgiving yourself for the grief itself may be too much.  So you start chipping away at it, by forgiving yourself for some aspect of it.

“I forgive myself for being so freaking stupid!!”

Watch out there.  That’s not ownership.  That’s judgment.  And judgments always freeze the situation in place.  In fact, when you’re in a situation that will not change – such as the grief that will not end – you’d be well advised to look for what judgment (or judgments!) is holding it in place.  Because they’re bound to be there.

Whenever you’re stuck there’s usually a judgment holding you back.  Maybe a few judgments!

We can't heal our grief and move forward when we judge ourselves.

Judgments keep us stuck in grief.

Certainly, you could forgive yourself for judging yourself in this matter.  Once you recognize the judgment, that is.  You’ve got to have something of substance to be able to forgive.

So what am I saying here?

1. Own your boulder as much as you can.  This involves removing the limiters to ownership, such as pity and blame.

2. Next, forgive yourself for some aspect of the problem, rather than the whole problem itself.

3. And finally, you change.

Does the change happen automatically?  Sometimes.  The more you work with forgiveness, the easier the change comes after you’ve forgiven yourself.  That’s been my experience.  But at first, it does take more conscious effort.

It can still be easy, though, once you’ve forgiven.  You just may need to consciously take some sort of action.  Here’s two ways, and I recommend both:

1. Change your self image. Imagine yourself differently.  Imagine yourself without the boulder.  Again, this can be as hard or as easy as you believe it to be.  I’ve got a wonderful self-image changing meditation that involves seeing yourself in a mirror, and changing the reflection a little bit each day.  It’s a nice gentle way to change.

I haven’t recorded it yet, but I’m sure I will.  In the meantime, it’s available to those who personally consult with me.  But you can always work on imagining yourself differently if you want to.  The more you work with your imagination the better off you’ll be.

2. Ask for help. This can get a little dicey.  Because we have so many concepts that get in the way between us and a Higher Power.  Plus, some people, for whatever reason, don’t even believe there is such a thing.

I can tell you, I would not be where I am today without help from above.  I shudder to think where I would be if not for help from a power greater than me.  It would be bad.  At the very least, I would never have started writing about emotional healing.

I could not have done it alone!

Anyway, at this point in my life, when I’ve forgiven myself for something, I just ask to receive the healing so I can change.  Almost every single time, I get it.  I get that help.  Why?

Because I understand just enough about how to receive.  Receiving is a dynamic, powerful energy.  It has nothing to do with being passive.  It’s very active.

Receiving is an emotional experience, just like forgiveness is. It’s a living, breathing energy.  More alive than I am.  You can experience it anytime.  In fact, you sure don’t have to wait until after you’ve forgiven yourself!

You could start by asking to receive more wisdom.  Maybe I should have put this at the first of the article?  Ask to receive greater understanding of your situation – whatever it is.

I do it almost every night.


Georgie July 18, 2011 at 5:03 pm

wonderful insight…… learning to love and accept oneself requires daily prayers….. plus,
I have found that practicing non-judgment is a daily challenge……and only by the grace of God will I find this freedom……….

John Dobbs July 19, 2011 at 10:24 am

Excellent thoughts. Thank you.

kay July 28, 2011 at 12:53 pm

I feel that this post was written specifically for me. For some reason I cannot sit and absorb what you are saying. I get anxious before I get to the end and get up and leave. I am keeping it in my inbox to read again and again until I “get” it. So far, I think I realize that I have blocked the flow of grief energy, maybe because I feel so sorry for myself, so justified in feeling my grief, that I don’t want to let it flow out and disappear.

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