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Insights Into Letting Go, Grief, And Autumn Healing

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Holistic Healing Kuel Category Expert: Carol Lee

It’s the Autumn/Fall time so, as with every year, I have been thinking about grief and letting go.

I see each season through the lens of the Five Elements of Traditional Chinese Medicine. This philosophy sees all life as being connected; whatever is happening in nature is also happening within us, we are part of the seasonal energy.

“Each emotion and life phase like each season has its appropriate and necessary place and time.”

Autumn Time:

In the Autumn time, nature is quietening down for winter, leaves are falling, crops complete their cycle and die back. This also happens within us, we turn inwards, become more introspective as we get ready to cozy down for Winter.

Everything in life has a season, a time of expansion, growing and blossoming followed by a time of contraction, release and recycling. The law of the Conservation of Energy states that energy can neither be created nor destroyed simply transformed. I believe that it is this movement and transformation through all the five seasonal energies and emotions (grief/loss, fear/anxiety, anger/assertion, joy/sadness and sympathy/worry) that keeps us healthy on all levels. Each emotion and life phase, like each season, has its appropriate and necessary place and time.

Emotions Linked To Autumn:

The emotion linked to the Autumn/Fall is grief. During the Autumn months, a spotlight shines on the feelings associated with letting go…

  • Letting go of ‘stuff’, the process of decluttering and clearing our homes
  • Letting go of projects that don’t fit anymore
  • Moreover, letting go of habits and food that no longer make us feel good
  • Letting go of our children, for example releasing everyday mothering as our children fly the nest
  • And, letting go of relationships in all their forms

“Many losses can feel instantly transformative while others feel completely heartbreaking.”

Grief And Letting Go:

Letting go of relationships and emotional connections can feel so difficult. These losses can be through death, separation, divorce, friendships ending, leaving jobs and colleagues behind. Many losses can feel instantly transformative while others feel completely heartbreaking.

My husband died over 14 years ago of cancer. He was ill for about 18 months before he died and for his final year, we knew he was going to die. Going through that experience taught me a lot about letting go and grief.

Letting Go Of The Small Things Helps With Letting Go Of The Big Things:

During my husband’s last year, especially his last two months it felt like I was holding my breath… waiting. Already grieving, what really helped me was letting go of the small things in my life.

I cleared cupboards, I cleared the garage, I visited the recycling center numerous times, I sorted and organized my wardrobe and drawers. It was as if I had a grief ‘pot’ and if I kept things flowing and moving with the smaller things in life, the big grief had space to flow. This even included emptying the waste paper bins regularly and not allowing piles to form. What I realized was that clutter creates stagnant pools of energy and sorting it creates movement.

“I didn’t die, in fact the more I cried, the better I felt.”

Letting Go Is Easier Than Holding On:

For the longest time after my husband died, I resisted jumping into the deep pool of grief. I didn’t wail and weep endlessly, I got on with day to day living and supporting my young sons.

I felt like I was holding my breath and had a permanent weight on my chest. I remember thinking that the grief might kill me and then what would happen to my boys. In the end I discovered that the crying and wailing was much easier than the anticipation of it. I didn’t die, in fact the more I cried, the better I felt. Each tear was like emptying another cardboard box, clearing another cupboard.

What We Are Grieving Will Always Be A Part Of Us In Some Way:

During that time I read this beautiful explanation about grief, this is my interpretation.

To begin with, the grief feels like the biggest thing in our life, it is all-consuming and we feel like we are completely drowning in our emotions. Slowly our life moves on and grows around our grief. The grief takes up less space, it becomes a quieter part of us, less consuming. It is still there, what in the beginning took up 100% of our energy, now takes 50%, then 10% and finally less than 1%.

“Letting go is part of the cycle of life..”

Autumn And Grief – Part Of The Cycle Of Life:

My grief for my husband is now less than 1%, I remember him and our years together with happiness. Sometimes, and it’s usually something to do with our sons, I go and sit in the 1% and I feel the grief again. I cry within seconds, feeling the heartache all over again and then I choose to step back into my life again, the bigger part of me, another layer of grief released.

Letting go is part of the cycle of life, beautifully expressed for us at the moment through nature and the Autumn season. This beautiful season gifts us opportunities for more healing of our losses as well as decluttering, cleansing and clearing.

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Carol Lee

About the Author:

Carol Lee is a Naturopathic Nutritional Therapist, Sugar-freedom coach, Creative Kinesiologist, Teacher and Author from the U.K. She has been working in Complementary Health for over 25 years. Her holistic approach to healing and transformation is about listening to, witnessing and working with the body’s ‘knowing’. Carol believes this is where we hold our wisdom, experience and capacity for change, especially as mid-life women. She works with women wanting to kick the sugar habit, those who are navigating health challenges, or who are wanting to up-level their life in some way; helping them to clear the blocks to success and wellbeing. She is currently enjoying her empty nest, and the freedom it brings, with her partner Jon. She loves the coast and walking the wild landscape of South West UK, snuggling her sweet rescue cat Stevie, gardening and eating delicious, nutritious food.