A riddle: Everyone has one. It has taken your entire life to create. Yet you don’t always use it when you most need it. What is it? Your spiritual toolbox. 

What is a spiritual toolbox? It is a set of activities that you use to bring comfort and motivation. For some people, reading a book or exercising always lifts their spirits. For others going shopping or chopping wood is what's needed to take them from their doldrums. Creating your own personal list of ways to feel better is a great method to start feeling better now. Notice it is not about doing something once you feel better, but doing something in order to feel better. Grief can paralyze you and create such inertia that taking even small steps can take a big effort. However when the action required is something that you already enjoy, then it becomes easier to begin.

In my programs we brainstorm lists of activities that people want to put in their spiritual toolbox. Here is a list of the ten most popular steps (not in any particular order):

  • Exercise
  • Reading uplifting books, including the Bible
  • Listening to music
  • Prayer
  • Going out with friends and being with family
  • Journaling
  • Shopping
  • Watching a funny movie or television show
  • Knitting or other crafts
  • Playing with their dog or cat


Each of these activities helps to take you from the pain of grief and redirects your energy. It brings comfort and sometimes even fun again into your day. You may find that some of these ideas appeal to you or you may be thinking of other things that you want to add to your toolbox. Take a moment and write down your personal list. 


Once your list is completed, there is a step to take that helps to set it in your mind. Close your eyes and take three deep breaths. Begin to visualize what your toolbox looks like. Do not put limits on it or think it “should” look a certain way. I have had people tell me that they have visualized Craftsman toolboxes, wicker baskets, shopping bags, even an upside down hat! Let your toolbox come to you without judgment. Once you see your toolbox, begin to mentally visualize placing each of the items on your list into it. You may need to have someone read to you the list or you can put it on a tape recorder and play it at this point or even peek at your list, close your eyes again and continue with the process. Once everything is in the toolbox, impress upon your heart that these things are there for you whenever you need them.


The final step is one of preparation and action. Download or purchase your favorite music so it is available when you need it. Go to the library or bookstore and have books and movies at the ready. Make plans to go out with your friends. Record your favorite funny television shows so that you can always play them when you need a good laugh. 


Every day choose something on your list and find the time to do it. There may be times when tears begin to flow as you read a favorite passage or watch a movie that you enjoyed seeing with your loved one. Honor these tears as they allow you to remember the good times. Your spiritual toolbox is a tool for healing, not forgetting. It allows you to connect with your loved one, your Higher Power and, most important of all, with yourself.


Nancy Weil is a leading authority on humor and grief. She serves as Director of Grief Support for eleven cemeteries and is a Certified Funeral Celebrant and Grief Management Specialist. Through her company, The Laugh Academy, she offers products to ease the stress and pain that grief can bring. Bandages for Your Heart on DVD or CD, Laugh for the Health of It on CD and her new book, If Stress Doesn’t Kill You, Your Family Might, can be ordered by clicking here.


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Comment by Nancy Weil on October 19, 2011 at 1:26pm
Many people take comfort in reading the Bible.  I know one woman who reads the Psalms for comfort.  Mrs. Houston, thank you for sharing the verses that bring you comfort.
Comment by Mrs Houston on October 19, 2011 at 11:18am

I appreciate this post. Prayer and studying the Bible really helped me with the loss of my brother and other dear close older "aunts" who I lost to cancer. Alot of times I find that people are so hurt from their loss that they may initially do several things:

1. Blame God for their loss and be angered toward him

2. Attribute God in a positive thought for taking their loved one so He can have another angel or maybe to relieve their pain, suffering

3. Lose all hope in God feeling that if He cares why does He allow so many good people to die.


When you are hurting so bad you want answers, you want comfort. There's only so much friends and family can say to console you. All you want is to see, feel, hear, touch the person that you lost. Depending on your personal beliefs, you may feel differently than I but I found who better to give me comfort than the one who created us. Surely somewhere in the Bible He must explain why we die, if He cares, how He will end death and when He will do so?  If you are a Bible reader, I hope you enjoy the following comforting verses....

  1. WHY WE DIE? (Romans 5:12) That is why, just as through one man sin entered into the world and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men because they had all sinned—.
  2. DID GOD TAKE OUR LOVE ONE? Lastly a loving God would never take someone from people that love them. “With evil things God cannot be tried nor does he himself try anyone.” (James 1:13).
  3. FUTURE-Jesus Christ, through God's Kingdom will soon do away with death forever. God “will actually swallow up death forever, and the Sovereign Lord Jehovah will certainly wipe the tears from all faces.”—Isaiah 25:8. ▪ Health care will not be an issue because “no resident will say: ‘I am sick.’”—Isaiah 33:24.▪ Grieving will not be necessary, for “death will be no more.”—Revelation 21:4.
  4. COMFORT-(Psalm 34:18) “Jehovah is near to those that are broken at heart; And those who are crushed in spirit he saves.” (Philippians 4:6-7) Do not be anxious over anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication along with thanksgiving let YOUR petitions be made known to God; 7 and the peace of God that excels all thought will guard YOUR hearts and YOUR mental powers by means of Christ Jesus.
  5. HOPE-We also have a loving hope to see our dead loved ones again, alive and healthy. Jesus already showed he could do this when on earth and will soon do it on global scale (Acts 24:15) “and I have hope toward God, which hope these [men] themselves also entertain, that there is going to be a resurrection of both the righteous and the unrighteous." The Bible teaches us that God yearns to bring back to life the dead who are preserved in his memory. (Job 14:14, 15) His Word, the Bible, gives us a wonderful hope, namely, the prospect of living in a paradise on earth and seeing the resurrection of our dead loved ones. (Luke 23:43; John 5:28, 29)

These verses have kept me going through the years. When I’m down or something triggers my grief, I keep these verses nearby. I hope they encourage and comfort you too. Also, I have a FREE brochure if anyone would like, “When Someone You Love Dies.” It has all the scriptures in a handy compilation. ~Best Wishes

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