Gratitude & Grief Practices For Joy During Challenges
Gratitude practices are always helpful during times of struggle and challenge. There are many resources to find helpful gratitude practices. I find gratitude is only one side of the coin, the other is naturally grief. When we love something, we feel grief when it ends or dies. Find out how to incorporate both for balanced joy in life.
Recently I was faced with grief from many directions. The biggest two were the death of my grandmother just before she turned 90, the other was a cancer diagnosis from the vet to my beloved dog. As I grieved two of my favorite beings, I noticed so much of my grief was mixed with gratitude. And, my gratitude for their positive impact on my life always brought tears to my eyes.
I noticed at times wanting to just focus on my love for them and not be reduced to tears. But, when I didn’t fully grieve them, I’d notice a heavy feeling of sadness sticking with me. Each time I just let myself get messy sad, later I’d feel like the clouds parted and the grief would lift for a time.
I decided gratitude practices should include grief practices as well.
5 Steps to a gratitude and grief practice to open to joy:
Times of grieving and struggle can feel heavy and endless. Here is steps to connect with space around the grief.
- Breathe into your heart. Put your hand on your heart and take a few deep breaths, really filling the lungs.
- Notice if you naturally connect with sadness or joy in that moment. Is your chest tight or open? You might notice a lovely memory come forward or the pain of the loss.
- Whatever arises, keep breathing into it. Let the grief or gratitude be there as long as it needs to until it naturally shifts to the other side. Gratitude will turn into grief and grief will turn into gratitude if you let it flow fully until the shift happens on it’s own.
- Keep breathing into the feeling as it shifts until you finally open to space and relief.
- Keep doing this practice daily during times of intense grief. The clouds will dissipate on a more permanent basis with this work. I’ve experienced this to be true and seen it work with many of my clients. It’s a beautiful way to acknowledge the grief without getting stuck.