Can There be Grief Without Suffering?
I have a tendency of thinking about things in a very logical way, somewhat detached, rolling it around in my mind examining it from every angle. Recently, however, grief has shown up in such a present and personal way that it has challenged my seeming ability to keep a distance and compartmentalize feelings, and has caused me to feel into it in ways I haven’t yet experienced.
In the last couple of months, multiple clients have found their way to me who are struggling with huge losses in their lives. In therapy, we have a saying that the clients we need, find us. As I was in the midst of considering why grieving clients have been surfacing, my godmother passed away after a lifelong battle with type 1 diabetes, and then shortly after, my boyfriend’s father passed. I began realizing while looking it square in the face, that I was unsure of my relationship to grief, in myself, and also in how I sit with clients, family, and friends experiencing it.
I am good at working with clients in life transition. Clients considering a career change. Clients struggling with anxiety. Clients with poor boundaries and unhealthy coping skills. Clients grappling with low self-esteem and attachment issues. My background as a clinician and deep personal experience and study of mindfulness and Buddhist Psychology has prepared me to sit with and help clients develop a compassionate inner witness to their personal struggles. Strengthening this inner witness leads to a stronger connection to one’s intuition. As a person strengthens their ability to tune into their own internal voice we are able to implement tools to help them increase their resiliency and adaptability. They can then move forward armed with knowledge and skills most of us did not learn from our parents or society.
But, tools for grief? There really aren’t many.
I mean sure, there are books about grief. There are psychology models. There are Kübler-Ross’ commonly referenced “stages of grief” (the linear explanation of the stages is total BS by the way, and thankfully she has also since said the same). But tools? When it comes time to grieving a huge loss many of us realize we are all in the same boat. Overwhelming sadness is overwhelming sadness. Loss is loss…