Let the past go. It’s all in the past.
It is so easy for people to say that. And I get what they mean by that. I get that it isn’t healthy to dwell.
However, there is also such a thing as spiritual bypassing.
In his book, Spiritual Bypassing: When Spirituality Disconnects Us from What Really Matters, Robert Augustus Masters, Ph.D. describes it as “The tendency to avoid or prematurely transcend basic human needs, feelings, and developmental tasks…. the use of spiritual beliefs to avoid dealing with painful feelings, unresolved wounds, and developmental needs.”
We want to heal, and we want to be healed now. We want to be over with whatever challenges, issues, hurts and painful experiences we are going through — quickly and instantly. We want to move on right away. We want to say we are okay. We want people to see us that way. We want to get to the point of resolution immediately — in the fastest and easiest, maybe even painless way.
However, the healing process doesn’t work that way. We cannot cut short the process. There is a proper way to heal and to grieve, in order to be truly integrated and to effectively transcend our wounds and challenges.
I’m not an expert on grief work. Thanks to Pigeon and Dove — please refer to my earlier post here — it is something that I am reviewing and looking deeply into now.
Dr. Christina Hibbert, PsyD, author of This Is How We Grow: A Psychologist’s Memoir of Loss, Motherhood & Discovering Self-Worth & Joy, One Season at a Time, explains one of the tasks of grief work.
“Accepting the reality of the loss can come instantaneously for some, but for most, will take time. Telling one’s ‘story’” in a safe environment—letting oneself think, talk about, and process what has happened—can help. Sometimes we have to repeat it over and over to ourselves: ‘They’re really gone.’ But it’s letting ourselves feel the emotions of grief that really solidifies our acceptance of what we have lost…. Letting oneself feel pain is not easy and yet, allowing emotions to arise, to express themselves in healthy ways, is at the core of mourning.”
To say that facing our agony and going through it is uncomfortable or difficult is an understatement. It is distressing. Excruciating. Heart-breaking. It is why many avoid it.
However, as Dr. Hibbert highlights, “the only way out to get out of grief is to go through it.” When we avoid our pain or deny any uncomfortable feelings and emotions, we only prolong the process. Our wounds don’t go away that way — they only deepen and become even more difficult, and longer, to heal and transcend.
Perhaps what also blocks an effective grief process is the perception that grieving involves only the loss of a person (or pet). A ‘living thing.’
Yet, there is as much pain when we experience the loss of a job or career, home, dreams and wishes, opportunities, beliefs, choices and preferences.
We need to go through the same grieving process over these ‘non-living things’ — just as we mourn the loss of our loved ones. Whether or not it is primarily our attachment to any of these that is making losing them painful, it is essential for us to grieve. We need to make peace with and feel complete about not having anymore any of these in our life and possession.
Writing and Blogging and Grieving
To assist the grief process, Dr. Hibbert created a model called TEARS, which stands for Talking, Exercise, Artistic expression, Recording emotions and experiences, and Sobbing. In her article “How Do I Grieve?”: Grief Work and TEARS, she explains,
“Recording emotions & experiences: Creative expression and/or recording one’s emotions & experiences through writing or journaling can help release emotions and free the body and soul of them. When we write the things we have seen, heard and feel, we are better able to gain insight and understanding, for it allows us to capture and revisit our experiences, ensuring we do not miss the important lessons being taught.”
This is why, without deliberately intending to, I did an intense life review in 2013 and blogged about it extensively. I was even thinking then that I may be overdoing it, overdoing revisiting the past.
Yet, it was part of my grieving process. And writing helps to clear and heal the throat chakra, the energy center of communication.
Pigeon appeared to me recently and, together with Dove, is bringing the message of mourning. A very timely and much-needed reminder.
It is a reminder that, for those areas that I still need to let go of — be it again or some more — I need to make sure that I properly grieve over them. Writing and blogging about them is helping me accomplish that, as illustrated in the TEARS model created by Dr. Hibbert.
Going through the grieving process is what will make me arrive at the point of completion — in complete surrender. A state of Ease and Grace, Peace and Serenity.
Only then will I be in a place where I can truly create anew, create in the new, and create using new energies and perspectives. No limitation, no hesitation, no looking back, no holding back. Just as is the message of Pigeon and Dove, thank you!
Related articles and links:
- “How Do I Grieve?”: Grief Work and TEARS drchristinahibbert.com
- Revisiting the Past – Snake Medicine, Part 3
- Pigeons and Doves — Messengers of Mourning
- Toward a Psychology of Awakening: Buddhism, Psychotherapy, and the Path of Personal and Spiritual Transformation by John Welwood
- I Am Annoyed, I Am Angry, I Am Upset: How Unspiritual Can That Be? – The Trap Of Spiritual Bypassing
- This Is How We Grow: A Psychologist’s Memoir of Loss, Motherhood & Discovering Self-Worth & Joy, One Season at a Time by Christina Hibbert, PsyD
- Spiritual Bypassing: When Spirituality Disconnects Us from What Really Matters by Robert Augustus Masters, Ph.D.
- Learning To Grieve by Ram Dass
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