Rethinking Grief & Loss in 2020 - Tornado of Chaos & Change
Years from now, when we look back on 2020, we will realize the sheer magnitude of cherished things we've needed to leave behind, the relentless adjustments we've had to make, and for some of us the loved ones we've lost.
For now, however, since we're in the midst of what I'll call a "tornado of chaos and change" - figuratively inside the tornado - we are unable to grasp the full picture of our predicament. In some ways, that's probably a good thing, for our ego-self would have a melt down knowing the details and being unable to stop the world from changing.
Rethinking Grief and Loss
While grief and loss are a part of the human condition, coping mechanisms of the past are like a small band-aid on a giant still-bleeding open wound.
Why is now so different?
First of all, the pandemic arrived in early 2020, upending our lives and forcing us to make constant adaptations. Uncertainty has been at an all time high. It's much more than the pandemic of course, but that one thing has had a huge impact on our daily experience. That one crisis, and how it's colored our view of reality, influences our reactions to other losses and crises.
- Illness or death of loved ones and pets - not related to the pandemic - can be more difficult to process when we are already coping with pandemic-related life changes
- Losing a job, stressful on its own, can take an even bigger toll on our well-being in today's uncertain environment
- Even a thing we want to do, like moving to a new home, can involve unique challenges if things like home deliveries of furniture aren't available
For people who have lost loved ones to the corona virus, often unable to be with them towards the end, there is an inconsolable sadness and sometimes rage about the gross mismanagement of the pandemic by authorities.
There's a new buzzword in 2020 - corona virus grief.
What is it? It's pandemic-connected grief involving losing one's daily routine and familiar things. That will look different for each person, but the general impact is the same for all of us.
This is an example of how it plays out:
- You can't go to your regular places or have the same type of physical contact with people you're used to seeing
- There's a sense of loss, and perhaps disorientation - for you are accustomed to your routines
- Negative thoughts arise about the changes
- Emotions like anxiety or anger then come into play, catalyzing more negative thinking
- Before you know it, your energy drops and you may feel weary and simply want a nap, as your creative juices are unavailable and you're not inspired. Sound familiar?
What We Can Do
I suggest we update our thinking about grief and loss - factoring in the big picture of humanity's mega changes that will be unfolding in the 2020s. Pandemics will come and go, as will other things we can't possibly foresee ahead of time - all of these things requiring us to be flexible and open-minded as we find ways to adapt.
We must have a long view, for this isn't just about 2020 or the duration of the pandemic. The more we think short-term, in fact, the harder it will be for us to cope with loss and the disorientation of changing how we live.
We must discover an evolving set of coping mechanisms we can apply this year and beyond. The foundation of these involves developing and applying spiritual qualities: adaptability, flexibility, openness, patience, gratitude, being able to forgive, and being willing to change one's mind. In the process of developing these qualities, we also develop more self-compassion and self-love. These things factor into our ability to be resilient in crisis - this year and beyond.
Most likely, you're already developing these spiritual qualities. If that's the case, know that these qualities take lifetimes to develop. Therefore, if you are already familiar with them and are currently able to apply them some of the time, this reflects lifetimes of spiritual development. This means you have long prepared to be here now, and that you are more resourced than you can now perceive! Allow that knowing to register in your heart and being, and use it as an inspiration for the next steps.
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Selacia is a globally known writer, DNA intuitive healer, spiritual teacher, and the creator of The Divine Changemakers. Author of a number of books, she wrote Your Guide to Earth’s Pivotal Years and writes an annual guide to the coming year.
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