Mindfulness and Grief

The circle of life and my meditation practice all lead to a better understanding of mindfulness and grief. I’m in Tucson, attending a funeral. I honestly didn’t have the time to get to a normal Monday post, but I wrote some notes on the plane and made a video in the hotel room.

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Things I’ve learned

In the video, I talk about some of the things I’ve learned that kept me centered and mindful through this tough time. Some of the highlights:

My meditation practice

My meditation practice is helping me to navigate attending a funeral across the country unexpectedly. This post is so-named because I took three different flights with layovers to get from North Carolina to Arizona.

It is times like these that I become so incredibly grateful for my practice. 

My birth father

You may recall the post I did back in April called, “The Nine Spiritual Things You Learn While Traveling.” In that post I referenced how you can get better at communication. It was because I went to see my birth father. 

He passed away a few days ago. I wasn’t sure whether to attend the funeral. In the end I did so because I wanted to be a support to the family and pay my respects. He was my dad. I did it to get to know his family a little better.

I’ve always known that even though he gave me up for adoption, he did so out of love. It is that love that unexpectedly brings up pangs of sadness, too. Actually, not pangs. Moments that envelop all my senses in grief.

These types of experiences shape who we are, you know? The painful ones, the ones that shove you out of your comfort zone are meant, I think, to mold and shape your character to mold you into the person you need to become.

It is in that spirit that I wanted to share – in case it helps others – things I have remembered to do as someone on a mindful journey:

Breathing

To keep breathing. Flying isn’t exactly conducive to calm – at least for me it isn’t; I’m not big into crowds and then there’s the heights thing. I’m sure everyone has something that they have troubles with and this is where breathing comes in. Deep breaths really help to slow things down, to slow you down.

Labeling emotions

To label my emotions. It’s okay to feel what you feel – they are feelings. When I find myself asking,”‘why am I sad”? This sweet man wasn’t really part of my life, or even that I “need to be strong” or this or that – there is no particular way you’re supposed to feel. You just let the feelings come as they come. And label them.

Healing power of music

To listen to my playlist. I listen to it a lot; it’s automatically comforting. I did so again on the plane. Interestingly, I had to smile when the plane was taking off and there was this crescendo in the orchestra from a song playing through my headphones…it sort of brought the flying experience to a whole new level.

Taking to the written word

To write. This is what works for me. You probably know what works for you. Perhaps it is listening to music, drawing, painting, cooking or otherwise allowing yourself to immerse in something that gives you comfort. I wrote a eulogy of sorts – though I don’t even know if anyone will ever hear it.

Walking mindfully

To walk. Walking mindfully through airports and to nearby places from the hotel. Instead of taking escalators and elevators, use your body, let it move and release that stress energy.

Smoke-cleansing / Smudging

To smoke-cleanse. Smudge before leaving the house for travel protection – to shield yourself and also to ground yourself – knowing that you’re going to be around a lot of people with a lot of different energies.

And…I had to share – the song my dad played for me when I saw him last spring. The lyrics say so much; he could no longer speak, so he used the music to do so.

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