working through grief – a meditation



Awareness. Acceptance. Action.


I have been thinking about how I “work the steps” on my grieving. The “3 A's” of awareness, acceptance, and action give me the key. As I begin to become aware of my grief, I admit my powerlessness, and believe that my higher power can help me to move through it. This is encompassed by steps 1-3.

I look more closely at what it is that I am grieving, and make a searching inventory of its sources and manifestations. This is step 4 and brings me to complete awareness.

Next, I must admit these things to my Higher Power, to myself, and to another human being. By talking about it, I both make it real and lessen its hold on me. This is step 5, and it begins to move me into acceptance. I have admitted my grief out loud, and begin to own it as mine, rather than as some outside force that is making me miserable.

I pray for acceptance and for the readiness to have it removed, knowing that I may have to live through sadness, pain, anger and other feelings before it is “gone”. This is Step 6, and completes my acceptance.

Finally, I can take action of a sort, by asking my Higher Power to “remove” the power that my grief has over my daily life. The grief itself may never be completely gone, but I will come back to serenity, no longer tormented by it. This is Step 7.

A meditation for July 4, 2013.

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feeling – a meditation

idealist roses




If I stuff my feelings, they never go away.

— Anonymous





I spent some time yesterday just feeling my feelings. As I grieve, I have many feelings. Sometimes these come together, sometimes in sequence, some coming, some going, and coming back. There is pain of loss. There is sadness over times past that will not come again, and sadness that times anticipated will not come. There is anger, that my life did not go the way I planned, that the universe had other plans. There is regret at choices unmade or seemingly wrongly made. There is frustration that I cannot have it all, cannot be everything for everyone. At breakfast yesterday, reading Opening our Hearts, Transforming our Losses, I broke down and sobbed for several minutes. At lunch, I was sitting in a restaurant, reading the same book, fighting back tears and choking down sobs (in order to preserve my sense of dignity.) I know that I have more feeling to do before I'm through this grief, and I know that it will come back in the days and months ahead. But I need to live today today, and live tomorrow when it comes, one day at a time.

I am not looking for a solution today, I am just feeling. I have heard it said that “the answer to the pain is in the pain.” If I deny this grief, if I try to paper it over with a false front, I am living a lie. And when I live a lie, I am off balance. Situations that I can normally handle easily become difficult. I “become angry and unreasonable without knowing it.” Yesterday, even though I had recognized I was grieving, and I was starting to acknowledge my feelings, I still fell into this trap. I went into an important meeting unprepared and feeling irritable and discontent. The meeting started badly and I just ran it downhill into a morass. I didn't realize how badly until my boss came by later to find out “what happened?” I have made amends, and we will move forward. But I believe it happened because I had been stuffing feelings, and denying the truth of my life.

If I allow myself to feel, I will come to acceptance of them, and to acceptance of my losses. Then I will be entirely ready to have my grief removed, and I can humbly ask my Higher Power to do so. The program has given me this promise, and it continues to be fulfilled. For today, I am feeling.

A meditation for July 3, 2013.

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grieving small things – a meditation



I am invited to grieve with every change in life. Often I ignore the invitation, deciding the particular change is “no big deal” or telling myself “I can handle this.” Sometimes the culmination of all the “little” changes I haven't addressed hits me all at once. I find myself overreacting to a person or situation, becoming depressed or just irritable.

Opening Our Hearts, Transforming Our Losses, Al-Anon, p. 14

Recently, I traveled to a conference centered on a hobby I have been practicing for almost 30 years. Although I enjoyed the camaraderie and the events surrounding the conference, I was uninspired by the actual content. I came to realize that I am no longer excited, in a fundamental way, by this hobby. I have not been doing it in any large way for several years, so maybe it was obvious that a change was coming, but I didn't see it. The trip opened my eyes to the truth. I am no longer interested in spending hundreds of dollars and a week of my time to gather with thousands of fellow hobbyists. This is sad. A true irony is that the conference will be in my state next year, and my club is directly involved in planning it and will have a large showing. And I will very likely not be there.

So, I grieve. I just recognized my grief yesterday, the day after returning. I wondered why I was feeling “out of sorts”, and upon taking a brief inventory, discovered that I am grieving the loss of this thing that has been a part of my life for so many years. I don't know how much I will stay involved with my friends in the hobby and in the local activities, but it will not be with the intensity and at the level that it was in the past. This, too, shall pass. I have new passions in my life, and they give me joy and fulfillment.

And, as I started to sit with that grief, I recognized that another recent loss was also contributing to my “dis-ease”. That is grief for a “might have been”. I had hope for a particular outcome from a situation, but that did not happen. On the surface, I accepted the outcome and moved on. But I now realize that subconsciously, I still wanted it to work out “my way.” Even though I had not lost anything tangible, anything that ever really existed, I can still feel the pain of loss. Because it was not “real”, it was “no big deal” and “I could handle it.”

But, grief unrecognized, grief denied, even grief about “small things”, accumulates. As it says on p.6 in the book, “Grief is exhausting. It can make us sleepless or make it difficult to get out of bed. … We may not feel like taking a shower, going to work, or preparing a meal.” I found myself lying in bed before the grand banquet for the conference, wondering what the point was, why I should go, when it just wasn't my thing any longer. I did get up, and I did go, and I did have a good time, but it wasn't the joyous celebration it was a few years earlier.

I need to recognize my grief, to feel it appropriately, to cry, so that I am not stuck being “restless, irritable and discontent.” Accepting my grief will require some work, reading, praying, and talking with program friends. Only then, having accepted my grief as real, can I humbly ask my higher power to remove it.

A meditation for July 2, 2013.

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