|Depressing but Helpful Stages of Grief Chart|
I understand this, but since I'm already 56, I want to avoid spending the rest of my life depressed, so I've found and created some good tools to work with in creating happiness, even though the grief is also present. Integrative thinking, which my therapist has taught me, helps us to allow ourselves to be sad, yet happy at the same time. One of my favorite quotes that illustrates this is by Kahlil Gibran, who says, "Your deepest sorrow is but a reflection of your greatest joy." What a magnificent joy I have in my daughter, and my son, and my wonderful husband, as well as other members of my family and friends.
The chart above is helpful in determining where we are in the process, but the design could use some updating, since the truth of how it plays out, as expressed vehemently in the grief group comments, is that we are usually in more than one place at a time, and we bounce back and forth between all of them, sometimes several times in a day. Our healing is not "progressive," where we one day reach a point at which our grief is "behind us." We carry it with us like a boulder every single day. But we can lighten the load by focusing on the good.
In order to do this, I decided to spend some time creating a new chart, which I call my Celebration Chart.
|Click on the image to enlarge it.|
As I designed this chart I thought about the story of the two wolves inside us. It is a Native American story that teaches us that where we put our energy and focus, we create growth. This applies to the "bad wolf" (negative emotion) as well as the "good wolf," (positive emotion). In the story the little grandson asks his Grandpa which wolf wins, and Grandpa's reply is: "The one you feed."
So with my chart I was thinking of how we come together with others, and why. It is a reflection of our society that we've become much more isolated as a result of the Internet, global travel, husbands and wives both working, and consumerism taking center stage. There are plenty of scholarly articles out there exploring this phenomenon. We "think" we're connected, but unless there's some real social interaction, we don't get to feel real, abiding emotion behind the communications - the kind of emotion that supports and encourages us, a sense of true community.
In my chart, I explore what gives us a sense of love, accomplishment, satisfaction, and connection. As I bounce through the original grief chart, I'm aware of what I'm experiencing, but now I spend more time focusing on applying the activities in my Celebration Chart. We can apply these to ourselves in a very personal way, or we can take notice of others that we care about and reach out to apply them to our loved ones.
My little chart is a work in progress and I'll likely update it, but for now it's feeding my good wolf (grin).
Along with my other Lovies, I celebrate my sweet daughter - the time we spent together, her accomplishments, her beauty inside and out, her emotions, all of them, her joys and her challenges. Such love.
Another step in the journey.