“Grief, I’ve learned, is really just love. It’s all the love you want to give, but cannot. All that unspent love gathers up in the corners of your eyes, the lump in your throat, and in that hollow part of your chest. Grief is just love with no place to go.” ~ Jamie Anderson
The process of grieving is a healthy expression of love. Grief, as many would say, is simply love with nowhere to go.
As we move through life, we will inevitably experience the pain of losing someone, or something which we hold dear. Then as if life has just built a dam in the middle of your relentless gorge of love. All the love that so naturally flowed from our heart to our object of affection is abruptly forced to come to a halt.
With the object of our affection gone, our love suddenly has no-where to go.
In order to aid the healing process, we can learn to channel that love – that bubbling force of life – into other practical forms of expression. Doing so will not only restore the light and nourish the seed of compassion within your inner being, but you will also make a huge difference in your community.
Think of the theory of the butterfly effect, which states that one action, no matter how small, is enough to exert influence on a universal scale.
**Please note that this article might not be for you if you have recently lost a loved one. You may not have the energy to participate in the following suggested activities. I’d recommend exploring articles in the “Newly Widowed” category on this blog for more-fitting tips on handling grief at the initial stages.
HERE ARE 7 WAYS YOU CAN CHANNEL YOUR GRIEF INTO PRACTICAL EXPRESSIONS OF LOVE:
1. ADOPT A PET (OR TWO)
If you don’t already have a furry companion, this is the perfect time to make a difference in the lives of lost, or previously abandoned animals. Visit a local animal shelter, or consider swinging by the local chapters of national organizations such as ASCPA, or the Humane Society, to see if you can find a good match.
2. VOLUNTEER AT AN ANIMAL SHELTER
You might not have the resources, either time, energy, or financial, or the emotional balance to adopt a pet at this time. That is perfectly okay! Offering a hand at a local animal shelter would be a great alternative. Doing so would actually allow you to spread your love to a greater amount of furry friends than if you would have adopted one. Plus, if you plan on adopting in the future, it would give you an idea of which breed you’d prefer, AND you’ll take part in helping them choose the right family.
3. LEND A HAND AT A SOUP KITCHEN, OR ANY NON-PROFIT ORGANIZATION
Being able to serve other fellow human beings in their time of need is a blessing. You might consider the following options:
- Join construction projects via Habitat for Humanity
- Participate in disaster-relief efforts via the Red Cross
- Helping homeless people get back on their feet
- Serve at your local Food Bank
- Chat with the elderly at nursing homes and assisted living centers (you will gain their wisdom and make their day!)
Regardless of how you choose to make a difference in your community, there is now a plethora of non-profit organizations to choose from. In helping someone overcome a challenging time on their life journey, you are also healing yourself simultaneously through these efforts.
Whether it’s planting your favorite breed of delicate peonies, or low-maintenance succulents, or to create a small farm-to-table garden in your own backyard, gardening is where you are able to see the watering of love from you flourish into physical form.
Although it does take quite a bit of patience as you wait for those seedlings to blossom, the ultimate satisfaction arising from the stroll through your garden every morning. Catching a whiff of that freshly bloomed rose after the morning dew, is delayed gratification at its finest. Not to mention, the aroma of flowers has the power to raise a heavy spirit any time of day.
5. PLANT A TREE (WITH THEIR ASHES)
This is a sacred way to return the remains of your loved one’s physical body to the earth and to also plant the continuation of their essence.
From a scientific perspective, the tree planting will provide us all with oxygen, help reduce the level of air pollution, and flood our bodies with negative ions, which will significantly reduce rates of depression and help prevent us from developing prevalent chronic diseases.
Spiritually speaking, spending time in nature amongst trees, beaches, and mountains, will help raise your vibration as they gradually strip away the negative energy trapped in our bodies. Plant a tree with this national organization.
6. CREATE A MEMORIAL
It could be donating a certain amount of money at the park you and your loved one used to frequent. You may consider purchasing a bench to mark your favorite spot with an engraving of his/her name and a simple message representing their ideals and aspirations in life. Or it could be a simple as having their name and a loving message engraved on an item that held significant meaning to you both.
7. ESTABLISH A FOUNDATION IN A CAUSE THEY BELIEVED IN
This is another great way to be in service to the either the local or global community depending on which cause your loved one strongly supported. Although I did not establish a foundation for my fiancé (this is on my to-do list for the future though), I did donate to the Texas Children’s Hospital and Never Thirst in his name. One of his life goals was to be financially sufficient to where he would be able to build a school for children living in underdeveloped countries.
Whether it’s redirecting the love you had for your deceased loved one through working with animals, or plants, or something more charity based, there are numerous methods to channel that grief into actionable expressions that would benefit not only yourself, but other fellow human beings as well.
How would/did you celebrate and honor your loved one’s life? Let me know in the comment below!