I found a good way to work through grief (and other issues) is reading the wisdom of others.
Personally, I read a great variety of books, articles, etc and take bits and pieces of each – the ones I feel would be a good fit into my life and belief system. This helps me to formulate a plan on how to move forward and makes me think about the types of new thoughts I want to incorporate in my daily life.
One of my favorite books is The Way of the Wizard, Twenty Spiritual Lessons for Creating the Life You Want
by Deepak Chopra. It is written as a dialogue between Merlin (the wizard) and (King) Arthur as a young boy. Merlin, as the personification of our wisest self, “teaches” Arthur about life, love, and the world at large through lessons and examples.
Although I found all the lessons inspiring, here are a few I’d like to share. Please note that these quotes are abbreviated versions of the original interchange between Merlin and Arthur.
1. “The wizard has completely freed himself from the known. To him the only freedom lies in the unknown, because whatever is known is past and dead.”
After losing a loved one, a person is set adrift from all that he/she once knew. Rather than being stuck in how it always was, try to open up your mind to possibilities. Try to treat the unknown (your new life) as an adventure and not something to be feared. Instead of walking with your head down and blinders on, walk with your eyes up and constantly look around you. Take advantage of chance meetings and coincidences; listen to your intuition and act on it; and come to trust yourself. These actions will help you to break free from the known and enter the unknown of a new life. I am not suggesting that you jump head first into new adventures without considering ramifications -- only to be open to the unknown.
2. “Who am I? is the only question worth asking and the only one never answered.”
Since my late husband and I met while we were mere teenagers and were inherently similar, as time went along, we became more so. When I was forced to confront the world by myself, I truly learned who I was – and, surprisingly, it was someone quite different than I thought. I came to realize that I had been carrying around old pictures of myself, which I needed to update in my mind as I took on new roles and became more independent. I attempted to let each new experience I encountered expand my consciousness and let me soar to new (and previously unknown) heights. As I continue down my path, I am constantly asking myself the equivalent of the question: “What do I want to be when I grow up?” I believe life is a quest to find out who you are, and we keep searching until we are no more.
3. “A memory is a once-living thing turned into a dead image. But as long as I can forget you every day, then I will wake up to see you anew the day after. I will see the real you, stripped of outworn images.”
This one is my favorite and holds such a powerful message. If every time we interact with someone, we forget all our preconceived notions of “who he or she was”, then judgment can be obliterated. As each person is hopefully always evolving, we can simply accept him/her as he/she is at that moment in time rather than how we “remember” him or her. Moreover, we can also begin to accept ourselves as we are today and not as we were yesterday or many yesterdays ago. In this way, every day is an opportunity for change and growth.
You may also want to keep this lesson in mind when you think about readjusting the image of your late spouse (or other loved one). This is a topic I will address in an upcoming blog.
I recommend a full reading of The Way of the Wizard
. which is available on Amazon, eBay, and at your local library. Deepak Chopra is a world-renowned authority in the field of mind-body healing, a best-selling author, a global force in the field of human empowerment, and the founder of the Chopra Center for Wellbeing.
Ellen Gerst, a Life Coach who specializes in grief and relationships, is the author of A Practical Guide to Widow/erhood. Born out of Ellen’s own experiences as a young widow, A Practical Guide provides suggestions to help a griever re-adjust each aspect of his/her life without his/her loved one. Her newest book is 101 Tips and Thoughts on Coping with Grief. It is a collection of easy-to-read tips for every day use. Ellen has also written Love After Loss: Writing the Rest of Your Story, which is a blueprint on how to redesign your life to welcome new love after the loss of a partner. For more detailed information, visit her website at http://www.LNGerst.com.