March 9, 2022
What are rituals? Merriam-Webster defines a ritual as follows: “an act or series of acts regularly repeated in a set precise manner.” A grief ritual, then, is any action, done with intention, that helps stabilize you throughout the grief process.
Acting in a repetitive and precise way from day-to-day can serve as an incredible anchor amid the chaos of grief.
If your grief process is anything like mine, it has a way of unsettling you at the strangest and most inopportune times. And as a result, my entire being shifts into a state of overwhelm. Knowing that I can return to a known and intentional act not only affords me comfort, but it also makes me feel as if I have some control along the grief journey. Am I the only one who feels completely out of control as I grieve?
In addition, grief rituals can offer a meaningful and long-standing connection with a deceased loved one, as well as create sacred opportunities to mourn.
Perhaps you enjoy the repetitive and scheduled nature of writing to process through grief. You might engage in daily stretching exercises designed to help you physically express your emotions. Whatever the case, grief rituals are powerful vehicles for transformation through the grief process.
Over the years, I’ve incorporating daily journaling, painting, and wearing my parents’ belongings as rituals to help me feel connected to them. Beyond the activities themselves, what’s most important is the intention behind them. Throughout the past year, I’ve begun to schedule writing time — that is, focus on grief in a set manner. Doing so has not only helped me prioritize grief processing, but it’s also afforded me a known space. This has proved to be a powerful consolation for many of grief’s unknowns.
If so, wonderful. Continue to lean into them with intention. If not, I invite you to consider the following questions:
As you explore your answers to the questions, remember to participate in any grief ritual on your own terms, and be open to transformation. And finally, be sure to exercise self-compassion as you explore what’s most meaningful to you.
I’d love to hear from you. Feel free to share your thoughts below.
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