Grief Kuel Category Expert: Lisa Michelle Zega
Most dictionaries define grief as a feeling of sorrow or sadness related to the death of someone.
The problem with this definition is it leaves most grief unseen and unattended.
There isn’t a succinct definition that captures the essence of grief, so it’s helpful to look through layered explanations.
“When you don’t receive what your soul needs, there is an immense loss.”
Sadness And Grief:
Grief is the heart and body’s natural response to loss that often holds conflicting emotions. When a woman has a baby for example she loses the freedom of only being responsible for herself. She may be overjoyed to become a mom and also have sadness for the life she no longer has.
Grief generally occurs when one’s normal or expected experience is disrupted. For example, a job change interrupts your sense of routine and brings with it a cost. You lose the routine of knowing your job and co-workers and need to learn new tasks and create new relationships.
Grief also happens when what the soul requires is denied or withheld. Every person is profoundly important and deserves to be loved, nurtured, and supported. When you don’t receive what your soul needs, there is an immense loss.
Life Experiences Are Important:
Many people are not adept at recognizing and digesting grief, so it is often carried and unwittingly passed down from generation to generation. For instance, if a woman is molested as a child and does not know how to process her grief, she passes on her beliefs about family, women, men, security, survival – her ideology that was forged in her wounds.
A larger canopy for understanding grief is important because you, your life experiences, your needs, wants, and unmet hopes and expectations are important.
Un-metabolized grief is stored in the body, held in the bones (subconscious), and manifests in sundry ways — pain, ailments, anxiety, depression and more. It can be detected in various coping strategies like staying busy, over-exercise, excessive drinking, binge shopping, mindless tv watching, obsessive self-development — anything to distract from the hollow sense of loss.
“Remember, you can not grieve what you have not acknowledged.”
Toxicity Results In Death:
One helpful analogy is the digestive system. You ingest food and drink to get the nutrients it offers. Your body takes what is needed and releases the waste. However, if the body holds the waste it becomes toxic, dangerous, and can even result in death.
When grief is metabolized, the learning wisdom and a felt connection to all that is living are maintained. And, what is no longer needed is released.
The first step in digesting grief is to become aware of it. Consider making a list of all your known losses and allowing yourself to witness your experiences without judgment. Simply notice what thoughts and feelings arise in your body.
When you slow down to look at your losses, you honor yourself and open the window to your grief. Remember, you can not grieve what you have not acknowledged.
About the Author:
Lisa Michelle Zega is a Life Coach for Midlife Women of faith who are starting over after the death of a spouse or a divorce and are struggling with sadness and self-doubt. She helps them metabolize grief to retain all the nutrients, learning and wisdom and release the waste, so they can begin again with joy and confidence.
She was married to a pastor, divorced after 23 years of marriage and her boys stopped talking to her for nearly 6 years. Zega later buried a fiancé 5 months before their wedding day. She now lives with her handsome biker hubby, adorable Jack Russel and creative stepson outside of Los Angeles and enjoys a renewed relationship with her grown sons.
She’s a devoted Minnesota Vikings fan, enjoys people, loves to hike, read, travel and embraces the fullness of life — the joy, sorrow and all the in between. You can find more about Lisa Michelle at Legityou.com or Lisamichelle.legityou on Instagram.