Thinking Out Loud: Finding Inner Peace
Are you at the point in your grief work that you would like to have that tortuous pain go away? Is it wearing you out, and you just know that you will never feel joy again? Does it seem to persist, and each day returning with that same deep feeling of emptiness?
How long will the heartbreaking anguish last? No one can tell you, because each grief is one of a kind. Reducing the pain begins and ends when you are ready to confront it. Here is what others have done to find peace of mind, allow grief to come and go, yet continue to love the deceased and keep them alive in your heart. Taking action in one of these areas can ease your pain and eventually lead to inner peace.
Seek to spend your time with people who have big hearts, are open minded, and have consistently been able to take the big punches in life. They are the ones who rebound and continue to embrace life and reinvest in the world. Learn how they do it. They may or may not be in your family. Look anywhere, even in current books on grief written by those who have survived major losses. They have many ideas you can use.
Love more. It is so easy to forget in the fast-paced culture we live in that love has a profound impact on every person; it is one of life’s absolute essentials. Its power molds and influences. It is the need to be part of a greater whole, of value to others, or very close to a certain few. It is a reality that changes life in dramatic ways. You can love more in two ever expanding ways: continue to show love for the deceased as well as for those you come in contact with on a daily basis.
Loving in separation will include memorials, symbolic remembrances at family gatherings, even talking to the deceased as you see fit. Showing more love for others is expressed in being more tolerant and understanding of those you disagree with, less coercive and more cooperative, consistently kind and respectful to all regardless of their position in life. These are tall orders, but they are part of a social inheritance guaranteed to bring peace into your life.
Never treat failure as an enemy. If you want inner peace, you must see failure as learning something that brings you closer to your goal. Don’t beat yourself up because of a miscue or a weakness, especially when grieving. As a former junior high basketball coach, I used to tell my players to make all of the mistakes they want; just don’t make the same one twice. Pick apart the factors leading up to the mistake, learn from them—and carry on with new insight. We all have lots of failures (learnings) ahead of us.
Join a group. As difficult as it may be at this time, think of a group you would like to be a part of and find out what their goals are. If you have no idea for a group, go to your Sunday newspaper and look at the local section and the various group meetings for the week. Attend a few meetings and give yourself time to adjust to the new surroundings. If you attend a church, you may find a small group that you would enjoy being a part of. You will be surprised at the new interests or hobbies that may be brought to your attention, which will stimulate your thinking in new directions. Among other things, group membership will meet a universal need and help you focus outside of yourself.
Determine what you value most and use your energy expenditure to support that value. Think about that for a while, even if you feel life has no purpose for you now. Patiently work to let go of those thoughts, images, and emotions that are massive energy drains. You know what they are. It could be toxic people or places. It could be old wasteful habits. Maybe even a lack of self-discipline. Perhaps you may have to let go of an old dream and create a new one. Decide on what is most important and start building on what you value.
In summary, making changes always starts from within, with an ever-so-small step. Finding peace of mind is first of all an inner commitment you make with yourself; for now, make it your biggest priority, even though your grief is still fresh. The journey is an arduous one at times, and will take everything you’ve got to ward off the seemingly insurmountable obstacles to inner peace.