Good Grief!

We were never taught that grief is sweet belief that there is something beyond the body. When we are touched by it we are often left reeling and feeling feelings we are not prepared for. We were never taught that death is not life lost but life with a whole new meaning. Here are some helpful hints to help us all remember that that which we fear is also grounds for Deep Wisdom.

1. Be There Now. If you happen to be reading this before a close one has passed, you are very fortunate. One of the most powerful ways to experience "Good Grief," is to start preparing well before a loved one passes. You do this by simply loving your loved ones well. This means making time in your busy schedule to let them know how important they are to you, and that they can count on you (why not call your Mom or Dad or Grandma..etc. as soon as you finish reading!) Make them a VIP in your life.

One of the most difficult and heartbreaking components of grieving is the feeling of guilt when we feel that we were probably not there as much as we should have been. That we didn't take enough time to let them know we cared. We realize in retrospect, that we could have sacrificed a little bit more (if sacrifice is what it would have taken). We always realize later that we should have, could have, and would have, if only we had that second chance. TAKE THAT SECOND CHANCE NOW!

Take the chance now to let your loved ones take precedence over your needs and/or fears. Love given flows back to us right away. It builds our brightness and buffers us from living our lives constricted.

"I only wish that once, just once, I had the courage to say what I felt as I averted my eyes and waved goodbye. You see, Mom, it was always you. It was you for as long as long is." --Diane Keaton

If you didn't have the opportunity to "prepare beforehand," please don't feel guilty. Know that your loved one understands. Forgive yourself because they have. Also know that their is much that you can do to honor them even now.

2. Stay Present. Unless you feel that your physical or mental health is at risk (in which case, please see a grief counselor), avoid the temptation of an emotional buffer (alcohol, drugs, medication). Be willing to feel your feelings,The direct route may feel a bit "fire and brimstone," but everything contains its opposite. There is cool water in that fire! Even while deeply grieving, at this time of heightened sensitivity, you may find yourself experiencing intense pleasure in the simplest tasks of life. The small tasks of our normal routines forge a bridge from the everyday to the "Day Eternal," and link us to our loved ones beyond.

You will also find that although you are experiencing many emotions, tears and intense longing especially when you realize over and over that you will never see this person in the physical again, there will be many beautiful memories that you thought were long forgotten. Stay clear for those. You will also eventually start to feel their presence more intensely in between bouts of grief. Its the sweet and sour of this life which is part of what being a yogi and "in the flow" is all about. Its the acceptance and recognition of the beautiful dance of polarities which is this life.

3. Treat Yourself Well for Them. Treat yourself with the love with which you would bestow on them if you could. As you prepare yourself food, imagine that you are preparing food for the person for whom you are grieving. Think about how much love you would put into that food preparation, and DO IT FOR YOU. When you shampoo your hair, massage your scalp with tender care the way you would do for your loved one, if you could. In other words, GIVE YOURSELF THE LOVE THAT YOU WISH YOU COULD BE GIVING TO YOUR DEPARTED ONE. In this way you are actually helping them to be a presence with you and to broadcast back the love they would if they could. You also need the best of care at this time. Let yourself heal and give yourself some TLC while you do.

4. Grief Raises Important Questions. Your loved one may have lived a long life in which they worked hard, gave lots of love, and done so many wonderful things for so many people. It seems only fair their last years should have been spent with much pleasure, surrounded by family and friends and much love. Instead, they seemingly suffered injury upon insult, maybe they had cancer or stroke or some other painful and debilitating illness. You start to wonder: WHY DO PEOPLE HAVE TO SUFFER?

The end of life process (experience, migration, transition) is one of the life passages we all must undertake. It is the FINAL PASSAGE OF OUR LIVES. Becoming enfeebled to a greater or lesser extent and the process of casting off this body is the PRICE OF ADMISSION for this HUMAN EXPERIENCE.

Our human experience is not our final destination but a "weigh station" on the way to Infinity.

Honestly, the question of why there is pain and suffering in the world is one that can never be fully answered from our limited human perspective, but consider this metaphor:
If one were on the sun one would be witness to incredible chaos but by stepping back into space we become witness to an ordered system and much beauty.

4. Carry Yourself with Grace. Yes, it's true, that you may end up bawling in public. Your eyes may well up with an acquaintance's simple "How are you?" Be kind to yourself and let those tears shed if they want to. They are an important part of the healing process and need to come out! Also, as much as you can, remember to share your strengths, not your weaknesses. My Mum had many brothers and sisters and lost them all at a very early age. She never let us kids see her cry. She would go and take a "nap," facing the wall. I am sure some tears were shed, but we never saw them. After an hour or so, she would get up and carry on doing what she did, which was sharing her joyful outlook with us kids. All of us are mothers, fathers, teachers, or shining lights for someone. Lets inspire others to stay steady and be strong, even in our darkest hours.

5. When Helping a Loved One Pass Remember : It's Not About You. If you are lucky enough to be there to help your loved one on their parting journey, don't let your grief take precedence over their special needs at this time. Don't let it be about your emotions, your pain, your tears, your fears. Be sensitive to their process. They may want company. They may want to be alone. They may want to talk. They may want silence. They may not want laughter and they may not want tears. If the dying person senses us grieving too much it can cause them anxiety and, according to some traditions, keep them attached to the earth plane even after passing. Do your best to create the most peaceful environment for your loved one. Make this time about helping them make a graceful transition into the next phase of their soul's journey.

5. We Get by With a Llittle Help From Our Friends. Many of us have felt awkward in the presence of someone who is grieving a loved one. Especially when we are still young and haven't experienced a loss of our own yet. Just be yourself. A simple "I am sorry for your loss." will be appreciated. You can add "How are you doing" This gives them an opening to express their feelings if they want to. Of course don't make them feel obligated to talk about their feelings and don't be offended if they don't want to. Its important to honor their process. Attending the funeral is another great way to show support at a time your friend and their family really need it. The most important thing if someone close to you is grieving is to just be patient and be a support.

6. How to Pray for Your Loved One After They Have Transitioned:
Our loved ones still need our prayers! As humans, when we pray for someone who has passed on, it has tremendous power. Even the angels envy our ability to not only heal the world but all worlds. When someone passes there is a Kundalini mantra which can help speed someones merger into the light. The mantra is Akal which means Deathless. It is recommended that you go to a high place, like a mountain, or rooftop as the sun is rising or setting and chant AkAAAAAAAL! Time open. As you do this, visualize the person flying up into the infinite shedding the memories of any pain or suffering they may have experienced here. Of course, if you would like to offer a mantra, song, or prayer from another tradition that's fine. What matters most of all is your loving intention.