5 stages of grief

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Greg Braden said on the London real channel recently that we are in a collective process of grief right now, whether people know it or not.

We have lost our way of life, our routines, meeting points and ability to gather socially. Being social creatures, this is a significant loss. Although many people are recognsing many positive aspects from the lock down ( for me whats most apparent is clean air and hearing the birds), we should also be paying attention to deeper emotional experiences that we are going through in both personal and collective capacities.

That means first of all acknowledging that grief is in the room. We might look to welcome grief like an old friend, she belongs just as she is. I use the feminine because we’re speaking about strong emotion and its the feminine that reminds us how to hold this – with kind attention.

The next important piece of Braden’s message is a reference to Elizabath Kubler-Ross who has written and researched extensively on death and dying . She identified the stages of grieving that we move through when faced with loss. In this instance, the loss is about our ways of being and moving in the world and ability to meet socially, in person as a central theme. The stages are really useful because we can better orient ourselves emotionally in relation to whats happening collectively. The idea is that we want to aim to move through these stages in a healthy way and that means meeting and acknowledging what we are feeling.

Here are her stages:

  1. Denial – fear, shock, confusion
  2. Anger – anxiety, frustration, overwhelm
  3. Depression – helplessness, sadness, stuck-ness
  4. Bargaining – looking for meaning, reaching out, making inner deals
  5. Acceptance – meeting life as it is.

The research shows that we can’t bypass any of these and that the sequence holds true for most people. We can also go ‘to and fro’ while we are moving toward acceptance. To recap the idea is to get to acceptance is quickly as possible in a healthy way by staying with our emotional experience, giving our feeling centre a space to breathe so to speak. The key is just as we are with kind attention. No need to be any other place than the one we are in.

The reason its a good idea to move toward acceptance is because it feels better there. We are resourced ,connected, rooted and open to the movements in life that will best serve ourselves as well as all humanity.