Saturday, November 19, 2016

Surviving Year Two: Week 15

Self-Care is Part of the Revolution

This is Week 15 of my Surviving Year Two Grief Project. Details about all my Grief Projects, as well as Grief Resources can be found here.

We are now living through the second week of this unthinkable reality. I am watching my friends go through their own stages of grief and I resonate so deeply with their journeys, as they mirror my own. There are action steps that can be taken, and there is also self-care that needs to happen as we process our grief. Fortunately, I have some experience with that, as I have been living in grief for over a year now.

The most important thing to remember, when processing grief is that EVERYTHING CHANGES. That means, when you are in the deepest pit of despair, when you feel like the world no longer holds you and your heart is breaking — HOLD ON. Do whatever you need to do to survive that moment, because I promise, IT WILL CHANGE. I had many suicidal moments in the first year of my husband's death. Some nights were so dark that I would burn or cut my skin, just so I could have control over the pain I was feeling. I now have scars forever from those dark evenings, but I'm also still alive today, writing this right now. I hope you will do something much more loving for yourself in those dark moments. I am learning how to do that.

Here are some actions that help me shift my despair:
Manicure as Self-Care
  • Drink water. Fill an 8 oz. glass with filtered water. Put ice in it, if you want. Maybe a lemon wedge? Promise yourself that you won't make any rash decisions until that whole glass of water has been drunk.
  • Take 10 deep breaths. Don't rush it. Let your whole body fill up with oxygen. Imagine white light surrounding you in love and warmth. Chant some sounds if that feels good. One of my favorite phrases to chant, when I am deep in anxiety and fear is "Fuuuuuuuckkkk Thissssssss Bulllllllshitttttt." It often makes me giggle a little bit and then already the darkness has lifted.
  • Call a friend that can handle your sorrow and darkness. Let them make you laugh. Let them tell you they love you. Ask them about the mundane parts of their day. Tell them you love them and are glad you are friends. 
  • Go outside. Feel the sun or the rain on your face. Take your shoes off and feel the earth and ground under your feet. Remember that Mother Earth has gone through a whole lot more than you have, and she is really good at holding the pain of a mere human. Ask her to take some of the burden off your soul. She will take it and absorb it and make trees grow from it.
  • Make marks on paper. It can be a scribble or a comic or a portrait of your cat. Don't judge it. Let yourself throw it away when you are done. Let the act of making do its job and don't get in the way.
  • Cry and wail and scream. Let it out. I feel amazingly cleansed after a full-on, lying on the floor, screaming in pain kind of cry.
  • Cuddle with a pet. My kitties are pretty wild, but they will let me bury my head in their tummies and cry. Sometimes they will lick my tears away. Animals help us remember that there is only now and now is really not so bad.
  • Do a beauty spa activity like painting your nails, taking a bath, curling your hair, doing a deep moisturizing face mask, or rubbing lotion over your whole body. Try to feel appreciation for your body and how amazing it is that it is keeping you alive.
  • Have really hot sex with someone you like. They don't have to be anything more than a fun friend, or even a handsome/beautiful stranger you met at a bar. Just be safe and have clearly communicated boundaries, both with yourself and with your sexy friend.
I have done all of these things this past week and they have all helped. I hope some might help you too. I'm sorry we are living through this, but we will live through this. Remember that love is the most powerful force there is in this world. Re-connect with your self-love and you re-connect with your power and ability to shift the world to a brighter place.

Thank you for witnessing me. See you next week.

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