Good Grief Rituals
(from Good Grief Rituals: Tools for Healing by Elaine Childs-Gowell, A.R.N.P., Ph.D.)
GOODBYE, I AM GRATEFUL
As you embark on this journey of acknowledging your own magnificence and the Good Within and clearly come into your own, you will experience transformation in your life. You will find yourself increasingly grateful to those who have given you these lessons. Your life will fill with gratitude and light. You can take your time--as long as you need to do this. I suggest that you set arbitrary time limits on each contract that you take out on those you are in the process of forgiving. The work will proceed in your subconscious when you are sleeping and when you are awake, and you will surprise and delight yourself with actually accomplishing the goals you have set, often meeting the deadlines you have agreed upon. Remember always that this is a meticulous and demanding process. It is often very hard work. You are worth it.
THE REFLECTIONS IN A POND
Find yourself in a safe place and relax. Deepen your relaxation by breathing steadily and following your breath. Go now to a pond you know on a warm summer day. Enjoy the soft air, the breath of a small breeze, and the warmth of the sun as you walk towards your pond. Feel the grasses against your bare legs, listen to the birds, and smell the soft scent of the damp ground and the grasses you have steeped on. Now bend over and look into the water of the pond and see there the reflection of your own face mirrored in the still water, notice the memories, thoughts, feelings that are stimulated by this process. Think about the attitudes or behaviors or conditions in your life you would like to change.
Speak to the part of you that is holding on to the pain of your grief--speak gently, and feel the feelings that arise. Every now and then splash the water over you as you say, "I release myself from the pain." Do this several times. When you are complete with this process, return yourself to a state of awakeness and awareness, taking with you the cleansing and releasing that this Ritual offers you.
DISCOVERING THE LITTLE CHILD WITHIN
This Ritual is a simple one. It requires you to be in a quiet place where you will not be disturbed for five or ten minutes. You allow yourself to get comfortable and breathe deeply for several breaths. Quiet your breath, and in your mind's eye remember your birthday at five or younger. In your imagination allow yourself to find aphotograph of you at one of those ages. Look carefully at the photograph, notice the little child that was you in the picture. See what he / she is wearing. Notice how the hair is fixed and see the expression on the child's face. Now in your mind's eye bring that child out of the picture to stand in front of you. Reach out your hand and feel the child's hand in yours. Be aware of the child and feel the needs and the personality of the child. Talk with him / her. Take the child to some place of delight like the beach or the zoo, and play together.
Hold your child close to you and ask the child to be with you as you experience your grief about the current loss which you are now dealing. Feel your feelings fully. It is the child in you who is weeping or raging--give him / her full range. When you are done with this Ritual, thank your Child for being with you and bring him / her inside yu so that you will always be able to access his / her energy in your life.