How to find and use the refuge you need when you are grieving

How to find and use the refuge you need when you are grieving

More than three decades ago, a grief therapist wrote that one of the most important needs of anyone grieving the death of a loved one is to find safe people and safe places. Why? Because when we are hurt in our grief, we are vulnerable and need protection that promotes a sense of security and safety.

Sanctuary has multiple meanings, but I use it here to refer to a special place that provides rest, safety, as well as an informational and supportive environment, at a time when our defenses are down and we need reassurance.

Here’s what you need to know to create and use your personal sanctuary.

1. Find a place in your home that is away from street traffic and other noises and can provide privacy if possible with a view. Rearrange the furniture so that you have a comfortable chair or couch to sit or lie on. If soothing music will help you relax, bring a CD player or your iPod. Turn off the phone. You may want to bring a favorite photo of your loved one to look at. Here you can write in your loved one’s journal, read, pray or just lie down and put your feet up.

Form the intention in your mind to use this retreat as your space of peace and quiet. Early in the grieving process, start looking forward to going there at some point during the day.

2. There are no obligations when you go to your shrine. Take the view that you are entitled to rest, quiet, or your particular brand of relaxation. You can do whatever you want without interruption, be who you are without pretense and show your feelings without worrying about others. Say what you need to say out loud or in the silence of your heart. This time is rightfully yours and yours alone.

3. You may also consider using a local church as your sanctuary. Go there at different times of the day to see when it’s least crowded. Then plan to join when you feel is most appropriate for your purpose. Sit quietly in a place that gives you the most privacy and let your mind wander to the pictures, statues or architecture. Close your eyes and rest in the presence of the deity.

As you relax, allow your beliefs about the presence of the unseen to give you support and strength to choose the path to healing. This may also be the place you’ll want to use to ask for a sign that your loved one is okay, where you choose to talk to your deceased loved one and listen carefully to your intuition.

4. Another sanctuary providing a great opportunity for comfort and inspiration is nature. If you have a quiet outdoor area on your property or in your neighborhood that you can visit every day (remember, you need a retreat every day), set it up for your use. Or perhaps you have a porch or lanai with adequate privacy and views of birds, trees, and butterflies that is conducive to filling. The beauty of nature alone can give powerful meaning, putting you in touch with the Divine and bringing peace and comfort.

In summary, refuge is an important necessity and right for mourners who wish to rest away from the whirlwind of people and demands made in times of great sadness. Make it clear to your support system how much you need this type of environment so they can help maintain the privacy you need. Consider alternating the use of all three suggested shrines.

Don’t feel like you’re indulging in this endeavor, as working with grief takes a lot of time, and as the weeks go by, using your refuge will save valuable energy and be a tool for maintaining health.

#find #refuge #grieving

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