Good Grief

Once in a while someone will ask me if energy healing is a substitute or work around to help avoid feeling emotions.  Yeah, I know, interesting question.

When the question arises, it’s often about wanting to avoid feeling anger.  Many folks have an aversion to anger because it’s a powerful emotion, and can become a force of its own without modulation and regulation.  People can move profoundly in their awareness when they confront and own their anger.  Why avoid that?

Sometimes the question arises about feeling grief.  Grief is also a powerful emotion; but it’s heavy, dense properties can be consuming, overwhelming and almost debilitating.

There’s grief in our household this week.  My husband and I lost our 7-year old German Shepherd very suddenly to a fast-growing cancer.  Whistler was fine and frolicking one day and mortally ill the next.  Literally.  And then he was gone.

Whistler & Zoe on a road trip
Whistler & Zoe on a road trip

Whistler was Ken’s constant companion, so he’s devastated and consumed by the grief and loss.  This is a poignant time for him, and I’m in large part an observer to his process.  I’m grieving the loss of Whistler as well, but it’s different for me.  He wasn’t my dog, though he loved me and would protect me in a New York minute.  He was Ken’s familiar and side-by.

As I’ve watched this process and held space for his grieving, I’ve thought a lot about how important it is to be fully in and present to grief, because it’s part of letting go.

I’m also reminded that when grief or another strong emotion emerges, it’s often moving a backlog of other experiences and emotions that weren’t fully processed at some other place and time.  Powerful stuff and deeply cathartic.

While there are no simple or easy answers for when enough grief is enough, there is generally an ebbing quality to the process.  Acute grief and shock at the beginning, tapering to intermittent bouts, followed by a deep sadness.  At the end of the process there’s a missing of the loved one, more wistful and memory-laden than sad or grievous.

Typically energy healing is quite powerful when the sadness does not abate.  When an individual is stuck in the sadness and feels the weight of it day in and day out, energy healing can shift the patterns so that the energy can move through and out and relief can be found.

I’ve often had students reflect on grief in the classroom, wondering how to help someone move through and past the deep emotional crevasse that is experienced in loss.  And I generally share this story about my father’s passing.

My father’s passing was relatively sudden, too.  He was 89 and had just stepped down from his role on the local school board two days before he passed away.

And he was a wonderful man – full of vitality, enthusiasm and love.  Upon his passing, the family rallied around one another and of course, supported my mother through the loss of her husband of 66 years.

I felt an enormous amount of grief at his passing, and once the initial grief had passed, I found myself consumed with sadness that wouldn’t release.  No passion for my work, my practice, my normal activities, I existed from one day to the next, crying frequently, my thoughts repeatedly turning to my sadness at his passing.

Until one morning when I realized that I was stuck. I wasn’t moving out of the sadness and into the missing.

I prepared to sit at my altar and do some energy clearing, and I asked the Universe – what do I do?  How do I move on?  And I heard two very small, simple words resonating in the center of my being.  LET GO.

And so I did.  I focused my intention on letting go, lit a candle at my altar and ‘assumed the position.’  And let go I did; my body shaking and pulsing as energy released from everywhere in my system.  No tears, just vibrating and releasing.

I no longer remember if I sat there for 15 minutes or 40.  All I can say is that when the clearing was finished, so was I.  I had moved and shifted out of the sadness and into the acceptance, the wistful memories that might evoke a tear, but not a relapse.

How grateful I am for the tools and practices that I’ve used for years and shared with you.  And while I usually show up as Chakra Khan in these posts, today I’m here as me.  Jill Leigh, human being, woman, energy practitioner, teacher.  And beloved member of Whistler’s pack, to whom I dedicate this post.

Keep your vital energy flowing!

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4 thoughts on “Good Grief”

  1. Jill-
    I am so sorry for your family’s loss of Whistler. How is your bulldog handling the change? This is a reminder to me that we do need to be fully present in each moment that we all have together, as everything we know could change in an an instant. Sending you all love.

    • Hi Bodhi,

      Being present to ourselves and our loved ones is indeed what it’s all about. We have so little control (control is really a giant illusion in the grand scheme of illusions we manifest as our subjective reality). So presence becomes even more important as we sink in to the awareness that it’s not about managing, dictating, driving our days and experiences, it’s about showing up.

      Zoe is loving being the only dog, and she’s extra focused on Ken. She misses Whistler, but also knew something was wrong with him before it was obvious to either Ken or me. I do believe she’s peaceful about Whistler’s passing, and is modeling acceptance in a really beautiful way.

      Thanks for writing, Bodhi.

  2. Heartbreaking. Nothing like losing a familiar, so deep a connection. I hope the energywork helps your husband as it did you when the time is right.

    • Thank you, Christine. It’s been a deeply moving process to be present for my husband without being in it. And I can imagine him letting go and moving forward when his time is right. Thanks for your comments and your good thoughts. You’re a profound blessing in my life.


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