A death, divorce, illness, sudden unemployment, or any major loss can create chaos in your life. This emotional fracturing, as well as the practical aftershocks of dealing with estates, lawyers, housing, finances, and doctors often yields intense feelings that can be overwhelming.
When you can’t assimilate another thing, it is crucial to just stop. Even if you have never meditated, simply sitting or lying down and paying attention to your breath can calm your nervous system and give you the literal breather you need.
If it is too hard to stay still, take a walk. It is imperative you give yourself a break from the internal chatter and incessant activity that may be consuming every waking moment. When you think you do not have a minute to sit, lie down, or walk, that is when you need the break the most. Take it, and watch the world continue to spin on its axis.
Practice Beginner’s Mind, Witness Consciousness, and Self-Compassion
Part of the immediate task is showing up with what yogis call beginner’s mind and witness consciousness. Beginner’s mind refers to an attitude of openness when approaching something new—without preconceived notions—just as a beginner would. This particular grief experience is terra incognita; you haven’t had it before. By abandoning all your ideas about how you “should” feel or behave, you allow yourself to safely feel what is true in the moment. That cosmic permission slip, coupled with open awareness, allows you to fully experience the moment and all it entails emotionally. While you may want to run from it, the only way out is through it. Avoidance may provide short-term relief, but it often brings long-term pain.
Achieving witness consciousness means retraining your mind to detach enough for objectivity. It is practicing watching something with a neutral perspective and not identifying with it. Both of these yogic techniques encourage you to leave your ego outside. You might never succeed in completely detaching from your ego, but these practices can allow you to experience the freedom and joy of not taking everything personally, while enhancing your chances for greater inner peace.
Beginner’s mind, witness consciousness, and self-compassion can be the trifecta for healing from almost anything. They shore you up, increase your perspective, and allow for enough detachment to see things more clearly.
Simple Routines Can Help Ease the Chaos
Just as in yoga, where each visit to the mat reveals something new, the process of unraveling the threads of grief is fresh every minute. Whether it’s a crying spell, a fit of anger, guilt, or deep sadness, recognizing how each one is unique can keep you open to change and transformation.
The chaos of grief is sometimes caused, in part, by the old issues it triggers, such as abandonment and posttraumatic stress. During times of acute emotional turmoil, being gentle with yourself can ease the pain. Recognizing unhelpful thought patterns and challenging them as much as possible may help you to feel better and more in control.
The chaotic emotional fallout of grief can also be assuaged by establishing simple routines, such as:
- Taking a tea break at the same time every day
- Getting some exercise
- Listening to soothing music
- Talking on the phone with someone supportive
- Eating at regular intervals
- Watching the sky
- Spending time with your pet
Simple and readily available tasks can have a greater chance of providing you with an enjoyable way to calm the chaos.
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