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Sanctuaries for Grief and Heartbreak

By Sylvia Poareo
February 18, 2010

Our core feelings of grief and heartbreak are often so foreign to us and those around us that we need to be intentional about taking time to feel them. Learn simple ways to create sanctuaries that help you welcome and move through your grief and heartbreak to live the joyful life you deserve!

A common challenge to moving through grief is that our society has very little support for the ongoing process that grief is.  People get back into their daily life because they must, and everything just keeps hurtling forward.  Even those who are grieving can forget that something huge has happened.  

In more traditional cultures, individuals dress in black for weeks, honoring the profound transition that death brings in everyone’s life.   As I grieve the loss of my mother, I have similarly learned to honor grief and heartbreak tangibly by creating little “sanctuaries” within my daily life; little touchpoints where I consciously take time and space to allow the waves of grief and heartbreak to flow, crash and release.  

There is so much of these core feelings in life… we need to allow daily time and space to sit with and be present to the heartbreak, rather than try to cover it over with addictions.  A few short moments of true self-presence can make such a profound difference in your daily life.   

Ideally, we are always creating this space in the moment as we live InnerBonding, but I have found it very helpful, to have certain times of my day, when I am doing something I would normally do,  designated to conscious connection within.   Here are a few suggestions:  

 A shower or bath sanctuary; every day I let the water pour over my head and imagine I am being blessed, letting the grief/heartbreak flow, and the water cleansing away negativity and pain, healing me.  The place where I do my regular IB process, it is a natural respite and place of quiet in a home full of delightful child distractions.

A bed sanctuary;  a place to curl up and hold my doll in the morning and evening.  It is a powerful visual reminder that we are capable of holding ourselves, curled up in God’s arms.

Nature’s sanctuary;  taking time in nature opens our heart to the gift of being on this earth and a part of it’s cycles; the flow of challenge and growth.  I take walks with Guidance, and dig my hands into the earth of my garden, letting my tears blend with the chickens, birds, bunnies, lizards and bumblebees.

A  quiet sanctuary: We have a quiet room in our home where I have placed a few altar items, books that remind me to connect, as well as a journal.  A thin curtain separates it from the busyness of the rest of the house, but simply sitting there shifts me back into myself.   

A bathroom sanctuary:  yes, one of the only times when we are truly alone.  Why not use this time to check in?  Even before the realities of children made this evident, I have many memories of doing my IB process in between challenging interactions with coworkers in my workplace restroom.  

A virtual sanctuary; text and email with kindred spirits.  The InnerBonding community being a powerful source of this support.

A friend sanctuary;  connecting by phone or in-person with friends who are present to help you move through your own process and feel your core feelings is essential.

A community sanctuary;  after my mother’s death, I specifically asked friends for a listening circle.  We gathered in my home and I was blessed to have their loving eyes and open hearts holding sacred space while I went in and out and through the details, pain, loneliness, heartbreak and blessings of the last few weeks.  It was very healing to be “held” by them as I held myself.  

Using these consciously set aside ‘sanctuaries’ of time, helps us get into the habit of checking in and staying in our heart throughout the day.  And when we do, every little detail of our life is lighter and brighter!

Please share your own ‘sanctuary’ ideas in the comments below!


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