Being Vulnerable to Joy



Much is gained, and much healing takes place when the bereaved gather together to compassion each other at a conference or group meeting. In the hundreds of workshops and thousands of individuals I have had to the honor to serve over the past 30 years I have seen folks companioning each other; grievers of all ages, with different demographics and different circumstances surrounding the death of their loved ones. The greatest healing phenomenon that I have discovered among those who grieve is the power of synergy that is created when companioning someone (listening) with an open heart. Synergy happens between to people who are fully engaged and a very real oscillation of energy takes place.


Aristotle described synergy best by saying “The whole is greater than the sum of its parts”. It is an algorithm for healing that we share, whether in conversation, in the arts, or in procreation, we can create something larger than ourselves than we ever could have done independently. When we share our story and share our life with another compassionate heart, synergy happens. Our brains are built with mirror neurons; we cannot help it; if we hear it, see it, feel it, dream it, think it, smell it, or taste it our brain experiences it. We are built for empathy, we are wired for compassion; it’s in our nature.


In our modern society of today, we tend to intellectualize and not actualize our grief. We often discount what our body, spirit, and soul are urging us to do to survive. We hope there is a pill we can take for it. We intellectualize our grief for a quick fix and ignore all the cues we are receiving from our body and spirit who are already processing the trauma stemming from the loss and know all too well there is no quick fix. We are built with all the neurological response resources we need to survive trauma; we heal from the inside out.


The most important psychosocial skill we have is being an active listener. To actively listen to others and be engaged, is to listen with our corporate brain located in the cerebellum. It is our supraphysical inner ear, and just as our physical inner ear does, it will strive to maintain balance. Unplug ego and simply listen to body, spirit and that wee voice within; nurture ways to become still and mono-focused; this calms intellect and fosters neuropathic listening skills for providing balance. Recognize that feeling your body experiences when it is in balance, foster the feeling, and use it to heal.


We without any effort or conscious thought maintain our balance, our blood pressure, our temperature, our heart rate and a million other things without direct thought. We are built to maintain equilibrium, hormonal balance, homeostasis; the yin/yang in action. Imbalance and friction consume energy; balance maintains energy efficiency and restores vital energies that are needed for survival.


With our intellect, we can research and we can provide the best possible means to assist our being in achieving overall balance or wholeness but yet not let it override the supraphysical inkles that we get from our higher (spiritual) and lower (physical) selves. We have choices, we have voices, and we have discernment. In being vulnerable in our decision making we can help build our resiliency in surviving loss; being vulnerable is the greatest act of courage one can experience.


If you feel stuck in your grief, seek a support group that works for you. If you cannot find a support group that works for you, reach out to a good friend and or family member; let them know you need more than a friend; you need a good listener. It does not matter how long it has been or for that matter who listens, as long as they are engaged. Seek counsel at church, civic groups; go to a counselor or seek a therapist. Read books, watch YouTube’s/ Netflix on loss, surf the web for forums and websites dedicated to serving the bereaved. Be good to yourself, find ways that work for you to mourn lament and process your loss.


Include if you can activities in your life that help creates joy in your heart. Be not afraid to celebrate life, yours and the living memory of your loved one. Climb a mountain, start a foundation, give blood, go for walk, forgive an old wound, volunteer time for a worthy cause. Change up vacations and holidays; create a new ritual of mourning, if only for a day or annually. Attend a national conference of The Compassionate Friends or the Bereaved Parents USA national gathering, a conference of the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors of Military loss (TAPS), the TwinlessTwins conference, Alive Alone, SOS, POMC et al; look for retreats, seminars that represent similar losses. Grief does not have to be a lonely journey or a life unfinished; joy is our birthright, reclaim your joy and you reclaim your life.


With everything in our body, brain and spirit demanding equilibrium, we can find strength in yielding to its power to survive trauma and loss. Just as equally important in grief and maybe equally as challenging is accessing our vulnerability to experience joy. Joy neurologically excites our endocrine system to reduce pain levels and provides an analgesic calming effect on our body, mind, and spirit.  Be vulnerable to the pain to process your loss, be vulnerable to the joy and celebrate their life. Be Vulnerable to your direction. Be good to yourself.


Come on grief cruise with us, we are all in the same boat but we can choose our own direction. Own your grief; reclaim your Joy, reclaim your life.


In March of 2019, Proactive Grieving is going to sea with Journeys of Hope, Healing and Health presenting Proactive Grieving workshops on board as well 20 other fabulous presenters and light carriers with a focus on healing body, mind, soul, and spirit to empower resiliency and hope in grief.


For more information on this unique opportunity and to register to go to:


MC 11/16/18

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