Four Questions to Find Solid Ground
Learning to ground ourselves prevents greater loss halfway through healing.
We in the West are young in thought and practice. Although we lay claim to ancient beliefs, our Western perspectives have much to learn from common practices in the East, such as lament.
Lament is so much bigger than letting your tears fall. It is the practice of allowing our sounds to speak on our behalf. When we have no words, our spirit reaches deeper for the emotion and brings our cries to a power much beyond our own. We admit we are in distress, and in time, find release.
When we lean into the practice of lament, we engage the heart of our creative selves. We are made for expression, and in grief, that expression is cut short. We often believe the lie that if we do not have words, we have nothing worth saying. But articulating emotion is not limited to eloquence. It is our deepest cries that allow the guttural truth of our loss to rise up, be heard, and release from every aspect of our being.
Lament is intentional and pointed. Our questions, directed at the self and our loss, must be equally intentional if we hope to rise again. Below are four questions that may help you understand the intensity of the grief you’re experiencing.
- What emotion am I feeling right now after expressing my sorrow? Be specific. Not just anger; is it rage? Disgust? Disappointment? Practice identifying the specifics, and ask someone to talk it through with you if you feel stuck.
- Do I feel this emotion anywhere in my body as well? Maybe your head is pounding, or your fists are clenched. Is your stomach upset?
- What “Next Right Thing” can I do for my body to address the grief?
A simple response. If your throat hurts, make tea. Maybe take a walk. Taking care of yourself in the physical makes a difference. Nothing complicated; we are going slowly.
- How does this emotion connect to the love I felt for the loss I suffered? As you come down from the big responses, sip your tea and observe yourself. Moving through grief consistently, even in little moments like this, is crucial for healing. Like preparing for a speech; the very first time is intimidating, but the more often we do it, the more familiar it becomes. It may still suck, and we may still get stage fright, but in our hearts we are building confidence, resiliency, and leaning into the beauty of our own complexity.
Whether or not you are in the habit of taking notes and journaling, your grief process will benefit from these compassionate observations of self. The next time you notice the floodwaters rising, let them crash through the barrier and practice these gentle questions as you return to a sense of quiet.