If It Isn’t Meant to ‘Cure’ Grief, What Good Is Therapy?

#truelove #allowing #dating

GPS for the Soul – The Huffington Post
If It Isn’t Meant to ‘Cure’ Grief, What Good Is Therapy?
There’s a lot of sketchy stuff going on in the world under the guise of “grief therapy.” Sixty-day cures, 30-minute solutions. Diagnostic labels that show how “unwell” you are, and medications to fix that for you.

Therapeutic approaches to grief run the gamut of wise and beautiful stewardship to diagnostic medical lecturing.

I’m a therapist.

I’ve been a therapist for well over 10 years and was in related social and education services for the decade before that.

In my work as a clinician, I had to give people diagnoses. That is the way that therapists and other professionals get paid: We give a diagnosis that the insurance companies have decided they will reimburse for care.

Choosing a diagnosis, at its root, is a checklist and a process of elimination or inclusion. If I give you a diagnosis, it tells any other people you might be working with that you share at least some of the same challenges that other people with the same diagnosis do.

At its best, a diagnosis gives your team relevant information without you having to go through the same questions over and over again.

“At its best,” however, is rarely how it’s used or seen.

Even before I became widowed, I never was much for pathology: that medical-izing of normal human experience. I gave my clients the least stigmatizing diagnosis I could while still accurately conveying their struggles.

I couldn’t see someone as being deeply flawed just because they were in pain. I refused to treat anyone as though what they were feeling was inherently wrong.

After becoming widowed, I found myself way too many times on the receiving end of that medical view, being told that who I was, and how I was, was wrong.

As though my intense, deep grief were pathological and corrupt: a sign of an unwell mind.

I didn’t just get it from the people around me — the friends, family members, and casual acquaintances. Some of the most corrective and judgmental people were other therapists. Some had even been my colleagues. One I had even looked to as a decent teacher in his field.

The overwhelming response from both the pros and the casual observer was that since I was in pain, I was clearly doing it wrong.

Seeing a therapist is tricky business — so many (even some good ones) subscribe to that over-arching belief that grief needs to be corrected somehow, that it needs to be pushed through.

If you’re on this grief path, no doubt you have heard a zillion and one suggestions about how you can do your grief better. You’ve been encouraged to get out of it fast, to go back to “normal” life.

But there is a different way to approach grief.

Many, many years ago, in what seems like an entirely different life, I was studying herbal medicine. The subject for one class was herbs for immune disorders. What the instructor taught that day has stuck with me now for over 20 years.

She said that many clinicians approach an immune disorder with herbs to stimulate and push the immune system, trying to get it to work harder and faster. That approach is misguided, she said. When you have a condition like this, your immune system is already working as hard as it possibly can.

Trying to make it work harder is only going to fail.

The herbalist taught that what was needed in this situation were herbs to come in underneath the immune system, herbs to walk up beside it and support it. The most useful medicines are the ones that don’t push, but give the system roots. Nourish it. Help it continue to do what it is trying to do.

The system isn’t working wrong, it’s working as hard as it can.

Grief has your heart working as hard as it can.

When you are in pain, you don’t need to be fixed. You don’t need to be labeled as broken, your feelings shoved into codified lists. You don’t need to be pushed to get better fast.

What you need are those things — those people, those places, those words — that come up underneath you and give you roots. You need those things that nourish you, that help you do the work your heart already knows how to do. The work it is already doing.

A good therapist is a wonderful thing: They know that there is nothing about you that’s wrong. They know their role is to listen and validate, to come up alongside you and provide support.

They bolster your roots; they lend you stability.

Good therapy isn’t a cure for what’s wrong. And that makes all the difference in the world.

How about you? Have you found a therapist who truly listens and supports you in your grief? Let us know in the comments. And if you haven’t found that right match yet, I invite you to schedule a 30 minute phone call with me to see how we might work together. You can schedule your free session here.

Megan Devine is writer, grief advocate, and clinical counselor. She is the author of the audio program When Everything is Not Okay: Practical Tools to Help You Stay in Your Heart & Not Lose Your Mind. You can find this and other resources on her website, www.refugeingrief.com.

When Did We Lose Our Way?
There are things in life that we often take for granted. The obvious wonder of a beautiful sunrise, the sound of wind chimes, or the smile of a child become lost in this electronic, instant-answer world. The importance of humility and grace is often over looked and should not be lost. It starts with the simple admiration and respect for our elders and educators. When did our gratitude toward our teachers become replaced with expectation and entitlement?

Throughout the ages, in societies like India and China, a teacher is always honored and included in the student’s prayers and thoughts even after the classes are completed. Often, students would send money back to the teacher as a sign of affection and appreciation. When did we forget to take our shoes off for the sacred?

As the student embarks on the road of life, ready to embrace and apply the lessons learned, it is a constant challenge to preserve the essence of our study. How come we stray and lose the sacredness of who we really are? Today, we sue our doctors, we complain to the principal about our child’s teacher, choosing to deflect and defer instead of listen and process. When did we become so self-indulged that we forget to be grateful and thankful to the people that educate us? We need to remember and honor those in public service. The teachers, the physicians, the healers are all dedicating their lives to help people better themselves, and yet, our society places more admiration on the CEO that makes seven figures.

As I pause and reflect upon my recently completed teacher training, I realize how wonderful it was to watch each student crawl, walk, and finally fly. The process helps each person to expand, empowering the individual who absorbs and ultimately embraces the philosophies to become a teacher with their own vision and expression. The process also feeds me. I make new friends, and I have an inner joy when I see many of the students I trained become successful teachers in their own right. The practice is challenging. At times, there are some who need more time or who are unable to complete the training. It is a difficult moment. But it is this honesty, above all else, which allows the student to grow and enables me to help those who need more time to move on.

Over the years, I have found my students to be grateful for the honest and direct feedback, as well appreciative of my desire and dedication towards expressions of excellence. But sometimes, an individual can get caught in an unfortunate spiral and disillusionment, losing their humility, grace, and forgetting the very essence of why they enrolled in the training to begin with. And with that, I know, the method is true.

Yoga is the perfect discipline to work through personal obstacles as a mindful human being. As modern Yoga evolved and became an established career, the student/teacher role still is rooted in the age-old ideals of the past. You must love the person enough to say NO so they can grow, just like you tell your child out of love that certain things are not acceptable. It is important to stand on the fundamental pillars of grace, sacred and divine. No pearl was ever made without a little irritation.

I remember my journey through the yoga world, and I can still feel the excitement of discovery. Each class touched my core. The seminars I attended as a young student were electric, with hundreds of people in the room at once. I had a thirst that was difficult to quench. I was mesmerized.

At first, we were individuals, and then we were family. I am forever grateful to my teacher, John Friend. His dedication, style, and passion motivated me to be more. Many of his disciples continue to be leaders in the yoga community to this day. I dedicated 10 years to studying yoga and meditation with John. He taught me to become the best I could be by breaking old habits, refining my practice and committing to many hours of hard work and studying. When I was around John, I felt like I knew him from a previous life. That feeling stays with me, despite all that happened. He had thousands of followers. Being part of such a strong network intensified my experience as a student; it felt more real. I met people from all over the world. Because of our shared experience, we knew each other on an extremely intimate level. We understood each other in a way that even our own families could not comprehend.

Working so closely within a community was good for me at that time in my life. I was able to lose myself. By losing myself, I was able to reclaim a better version of myself, which is all part of the growth process. It was a scary yet fantastic journey.

Our community thought that John was truly a wise man with deep knowledge about the path to happiness and integrity. Yes, even teachers, who become elevated because we empower them, can succumb to human frailty and temptation. With the absence of humility and grace, the masses can and do withdraw their empowerment. We all yearn for sincerity, and as a society, we flock to leaders who can inspire. Although individual choices and mistakes have mired John’s image, I have forgiven him. I realized he was only a man on the same path as we all are. However his powerful and wonderful lessons and practices were, at their core, motivational, inspirational, and for me, transformational.

He changed my life and the lives of his other students, forever. I feel we should cherish those who change our lives, even if they do not live up to the expectations we created. Instead, we should offer blessings. That’s when we really start to learn about love and the nature of the universe.

G-d understands that the good and bad are equally part of creation, that difficulties can become our greatest blessings or teachings.

I can use the lessons I learned in my yoga life experience, (steadfast commitment to working hard and playing hard while maintaining humility and grace), on any path that I choose to follow. Like the wonder a beautiful sunrise, the sound of chimes, and the smile of a child, these are the things in life we should not take for granted.

Love and Light,

To learn more about Osi Mizrahi, please visit her website, Facebook and Twitter.

For more by Osi Mizrahi, click here.

For more on yoga, click here.

3 Ways to Clear Your Mind
The benefits of meditation are too many to resist sitting quietly for a few minutes. Meditation has been shown to lower stress, reduce risk of depression, improve sleep quality and boost working memory.

Whether the reason for the resistance is a physical limitation (stiff knees) or a mental one (distractions), the beauty of practicing ancient martial arts, such as tai chi and qigong, is that you can cultivate stillness without standing still.

Both tai chi and qigong focus on centering your chi, or life energy. The Chinese believe that illness in the body is caused when life energy is blocked. Tai chi and qigong clear those blockages and restore the body’s natural energy back to balance.

Both practices link the breath to a series of movements that center chi, resulting in a feeling of calm. This is what makes it an optimal meditation practice for anyone who has a challenge sitting still.

While it’s best to learn the sequences from an experienced instructor, these three meditative moves will help you get a sense of the centering power and peace of mind that comes from the practice of tai chi or qigong. Do each move for three to nine repetitions, and strive to practice for about 10 minutes every day.

1. Commencement
Stand, knees slightly bent and feet apart. Initiating the movement from the wrists, raise the hands and arms in front of you to shoulder height, then bend at the elbows, keeping the hands relaxed. The wrist should lead the movement as you drop the hands, with the palms facing downward. Inhale as you raise the arms; exhale as you let the arms fall. The movement — fluid, like a waterfall — focuses your mind and relaxes the entire body.

2. Wave hands like clouds
Stand, knees slightly bent and feet apart. Shift your weight to the right, bring your left hand up (level with your eyes) and sweep it across the body as you shift your weight to your left foot. (The opposite arm sweeps across the navel.) Keeping the motion fluid, raise the right arm to sweep across the body in the opposite direction. This movement directs energy throughout your body to help you become calm and tranquil.

3. Balance yin and yang
Stand, knees slightly bent and feet apart. Slide your left foot in, and lift it up as you raise your right arm. (Focus your gaze at one point to help with your balance.) Bend knees and slowly lower the foot, shifting your weight to the left and raising the right foot and left hand at the same time. Continue, lifting the opposite hand and foot in a gentle, fluid, rocking motion that mimics the soothing feeling of being rocked as a child.

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