The grieving process can be likened to the cycle of seasons we all endure in life. We have no control of these states and they are organic and natural just like grief and mourning. Each day we are faced with a new atmosphere, a new environment and a new dawning of the ‘unexpected’ – just like grief.
The sky and seas and the moon dictate the nature of our day/night. The unpredictability of turbulence, calmness or danger prepares us to pre-plan and brace ourselves for the unknown. We are just sitting ducks forced to abide by what nature has in store for us. This can be a great metaphor for those who grieve as our daily states change from hour to hour and we can not predict our emotions just like we can not predict nature. There is no homeostasis – Everything is unstable and forever changing. Grief offers us an imbalance and we have to try very hard to maintain and ‘regulate’ stability in our lives again.
In comparing grief to our seasons we have days where the sunshine itself is self-soothing and we feel enlightened by endless rays of warm, nourishing and soul satisfying glimpses of ‘joy’. This can be compared to those moments on a beautiful Spring morning where the skies are blue, flowers are in bloom and there is a sweet smell of nature in the air. We enjoy the ‘new beginnings’ of nature’s gifts and we welcome the birth of many new wonderful and delightful presents from mother nature. These moments give us a glimpse into feelings of happiness and joy – These feelings enable us to be with nature and immerse us in ‘feel good’ moments thus releasing feel good chemicals into the body. We must remember though that even if these moments are fleeting we must sit still and enjoy this beauty around us as it is important to remind ourselves that grief and joy can co-exist.
Summer days can be overwhelming as the heat of the scorching sun can burn us if we do not protect ourselves from it’s fierce rays. As a result, we are reminded of our fragility and need to ‘protect’ our wellbeing during this season just like we need to do in grief. We must apply self care just like we apply sunscreen in the warmer months. This season teaches us to keep hydrated and protected from the elements that can cause damage to us. This month can also gift us with the most awe inspiring sunrises and sunsets. Summer can gently remind us to savour the moment and encourage us to immerse ourselves into nature’s gift of the sea and sand & all that surrounds us during this season.
Autumn is a splendid season. The ever changing colours of this month gives way to the winds that come and blow away the leaves that once protected the trees that stand tall. Without the leaves the tree is left vulnerable as it’s bare soul is now on display without protection from it’s precious coat. This image of many naked, bare trees can be likened to how we feel whilst we grieve, we are stripped back to the very core of our being, we have no where to hide. We need to be patient that with time and healing we will prosper again even though our grief journey will leave us vulnerable many times over and this will happen numerous times over the course of our lives and just like deciduous leaves of a tree, we can fall apart and become fragmented at any time.
Lastly, we have the turbulence of Winter and the pitfalls of dreaded cold and stormy days/ nights. This season forces us to stay indoors and ‘hibernate’ to keep warm and ensure survival. In grief we often experience moments of hibernation where we want to hide and run away from the harsh reality of our losses. The rain itself can be a great metaphor for the tears that flow endlessly. However and in reflection, this season is necessary to ‘feed’ the Earth and enable new growth in Spring. The grieving process can not be halted, if we aim to grieve in a healthy manner than we must surrender to what our body and mind tells us. We need to ‘feed’ our bodies and minds with what ever it is that will enable us to experience grief whilst taking care of it as we would a little child.
In conclusion, the four seasons are a wonderful example of how impermanent our emotions are and how healing is a continuous cycle that has no start, middle or end. We need to experience one season at a time before we can endure another one and so forth, this is cyclic and part of our wonderful ability to re-birth ourselves after each new season.
Written by Janice Butera
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