by Derek O'Neill
Loss and death visits all of us. Grief comes, and then goes, only to arrive again. If we continue to treat grief as something to avoid we are not only fooling ourselves, but also hurting ourselves. If there is no acceptance, there is no healing. You cannot control how loss shows up. In our experience of death, we can wish for only peaceful endings of long lives within the circle of people we care about, but there is no immunity from sudden and traumatic events. Accepting this truth at times of happiness is even more valuable than realizing it when there is a loss.
Death is the most difficult loss to accept. Different cultures have practices and rituals. Seeing the body after death is a common tool to help the mind – that can often go into denial to self-protect from pain – and acknowledge the reality of the loss. Ceremonies, sacraments, and rites serve an important purpose for both individuals and communities, but even with available outlets, accepting...
by Derek O'Neill
Emotional pain serves as a message to stop, slow down, and look at the source of the hurt. Pain can obscure the reality that everything is changing all the time. Nothing is permanent. Though suffering will visit us time and again, knowing that the continuum of life is part of being alive reminds us that life is, indeed, worth living. When you clear the mind, you achieve a better sense of perspective about who you are, what you need, and how best to practice self-care. Self-care also means the ability to reach out to others for help if you need it.
Find a quiet place where you won’t be disturbed and make yourself as comfortable as possible. Take two or three deep breaths. As you exhale on the third breath, close your eyes, relax, and let go. Switch off the world for the next ten to fifteen minutes.
Allow your mind to settle into a space of peace. Imagine that there is a gold orb of bright light – like a setting or...