Rules for Fully Living, part 2

11. Honor confidentiality
12. Be appropriately transparent
13. Listen well
14. Grieve your losses fully
15. Confront evil
16. Honor differences
17. Hurting people hurt people
18. Trust your instincts
19. We teach people how to  treat us
20. Enjoy simple pleasures

Rites of Passage

riteChange, loss, or death all involve leaving someone or something, passing across a threshold (the liminal stage), and going to a new place or situation. Therefore, most change needs to be grieved. This means not only leaving the old but entering the new. Robert Fulghum (1995) suggests a meaningful rite of passage helps with this transition. Rites of passage may include, but are not limited to, such things as:

  • A meal
  • A memory holding object of value (only to you)
  • Candles
  • Smells
  • Special utensils
  • Special dress (attire)
  • A blessing
  • Letter writing
  • Creating a memorial [plaque, pile of stones, a planted tree(s), etc.]
  • An outdoor activity (long hike, backpacking, camping, etc.)
  • Journaling or writing  memorial prose
  • Achieving something you never did before (in memory of the person, experience, or thing lost)
  • Creating a memorial piece of art or craft

Fulghum adds, “A successful rite of passage must leave room for the eloquence of silence” (p. 247).

Fulghum, R. (1995). From beginning to end: The rituals of our lives. New York: Villard Books.

Why All this Grief?

I’m a change and conflict coach.   Change involves moving from something – through the transition – to something new.  The “moving from” part implies some degree of loss.  All loss needs to be grieved.  However, grief is largely ignored in our society except when a loved one dies.  Even then, the time allowed for grief is usually minimized.  Physical death is not the only loss that needs to be grieved.

Loss of a dream needs to be grieved.

Loss of passion needs to be grieved.

Loss of initiative needs to be grieved.

Loss of enthusiasm needs to be grieved.

Loss of income needs to be grieved.   I could go on and on.

On the way to success, I help people properly grieve their losses.  It’s part of the change process.

Stay tuned…more to come on grieving.

Grief and Loneliness

LONELY MailboxA frequent byproduct of loss is loneliness. We all may need time by ourselves, but we also need the balance of time with others. When we hurt from a loss, we need to share our pain, or we may inflict it on others or ourselves. Many venues exist for sharing our pain healthily, and many guiding principles exist to help us in and through the process. One such principle comes from twelve-step programs which exhort participants to keep the H.A.L.T. principle. The H.A.L.T. principle encourages participants to not get too Hungry, Angry, Lonely, or Tired. That wise admonition also applies to people grieving a loss.

You are not alone.  At the very least, call me.  I’ll help you get connected to someone who cares.

Grieving Takes Time

timeC. S. Lewis (1996) said, “Grief is like a bomber circling round and dropping its bombs each time the circle brings it overhead” (p. 58). Lewis also said, “Grief is like a long, winding valley where any bend may reveal a totally new landscape” (pp. 76-77). I have experienced grief in similar ways. Years after my brother died, a memory of him popped into my mind and weeping surprisingly overcame me like a cloud floating between the earth and the sun. I thought I had concluded grieving Nick’s death. This episode of grief and the “shadow” which overcame me completely surprised me because it had been nine years since Nick died.

Fully grieving takes time and lots of it; it often takes many years. Perhaps one of the worst sayings we can use with someone suffering loss is the trite expression “get over it.”  Yet, our culture expects people to get over losses in a very few, short days. Asking ourselves a few questions demonstrates well this point: “How many days bereavement leave do most companies allow employees suffering from the death of a family member?  How many days off work do most companies allow employees suffering from the death of a close friend?  How many days personal leave do most companies allow employees for other major losses?”  Normally much more time is needed for healing to occur.

Over time, the intensity of the pain, shock, chaos and other feelings diminish. Meanwhile, hurting people hurt people. The family, friends, and colleagues of a grieving person may be among those hurt by the griever. The remedy includes allowing, even encouraging, people to fully grieve their losses.