Karen Austin

Karen Austin

Karen Austin is a student of grief and a lifelong learner in the experience of death and loss.

30 Days of Mourning Day 4

#30daysofmourning Day 4

I love you, and this really long post is particularly important for me to say on this day of funeral ceremony for George Floyd.

We are all in grief over our individual and collective losses.
Many of us are stuffing what we’re feeling right now. people are telling me they don’t know what to with all of this emotion that’s bubbling.

In the grief community, we talk a lot about giving ourselves and each other grace. We honor our pain. We dose our grief. You may not be familiar with these terms as they relate to death and grief and mourning. For me they’re really valuable, especially right now.

Give yourself some. You may be noticing that our collective grief is bringing up other grief for you. Our community unrest may be weighing on you and showing up as fatigue, foggy brain, lack of ability to focus, anger, anxiety, fear, breathlessness.

We tend to think of grief as this thing that shows up with death, and it is, yet it is also a word that describes a host of various emotions we feel as pain and are felt with losses of all kinds.

If this is you, please breathe and take a few moments to give yourself and everyone else some grace.

Honor your pain
Whatever you’re feeling, feel it. Be with it. Acknowledge it. It exists for a reason and only you know what that reason is.

Your emotion is asking for your attention and it is patient. You may be tempted to ignore or push down what you may judge as “negative” emotions. (It shifts me out of judging them if I call them painful instead of negative.)

Someone recently said this to me and it’s quickly become a staple in my emotional self-talk: When you push down your emotions, they go to the basement, lift weights and get stronger.

When you acknowledge your grief (painful internal emotions) you are acting in partnership with your emotion and your body. When you allow yourself to feel pain, you begin to move it through you, beginning healing. When you share it out (yell, cry, call a friend, dance) you begin actively mourning, which is the external expression of your grief.

Dose Your Grief
Our grief is big and you may think you’re too busy or ouchy right now to feel it, to acknowledge your pain. Yet you can take a moment to dose it.

The thing about emotional pain is that it often seems too big to FEEL, like if we feel it all, it might kill us. When my husband died, I did in fact think my grief might kill me. It hasn’t, partly because I learned how to dose my grief.

Dosing for me means I feel some of it. Let some of it out. Be present to it. Cry if I feel like crying. Yell. Dance. Post. I talk to people I trust to hold space for me.

Crying works for me. I have a grief playlist full of songs that make me either laugh or cry. I cry first (I often set a time limit…5 or 10 minutes of really good crying) and I’m ready for a song that makes me laugh.

The point of dosing is to do something (nondestructive to you or others) that works for you to begin to move your pain, your grief, out of your body. It’s a tool for your emotional health toolbox that can be used whenever you need it.

Our individual and collective emotional health is being severely tested right now. It’s okay to talk about it, to feel it, and to be okay with not being okay.

I started a 30 Days of Mourning Facebook group where we can talk about it together. We’ll all be healthier when we do. https://www.facebook.com/pg/imkarenaustin/groups/?ref=page_internal

Who are you grieving? What are you mourning?

#grace #honorthepain

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