Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Any Change is Loss

Arleah on the grieving process:

Any change is loss, weather it is good change or bad change, and all loss requires some grieving.  Grieving is on a continuum, from the death of a loved one, all the way to “Oh rats, I lost my umbrella.”    The built in mechanism for dealing with this wide range of feelings is the grieving process, which is as necessary as the breathing process etc.

Life as We Knew It Emotions Choices

In the center of the spiral is life, as we knew it, which is followed by all the actions we tried and attempts we made to keep everything the same. In the event of an accident, this is often the “if onlys” and “what ifs” recriminations that we fantasize could have changed the outcome. As we move around the spiral we come to the choices. This should actually look like a web, as it is difficult to know which way to go, and it is easy to get trapped in one of the arms.


The next point is grieving itself, which is essentially an invisible, intangible, and immeasurable internal experience that is difficult to share. The rest of the spiral is benchmark points that create the long-term consequences of change. This is why people resist change (grief); it is hard, even brutal, and very unsafe—unsafe in the sense that life is no longer predictable, measured, or secure.

Realigned Priorities

As people move around the spiral they find that what was important a year ago seems to fade in the background or may seem trivial. These old issues grow into new awakenings, avenues, and endeavors. In short, most of our priorities are realigned. For me, this is where I began to find political correctness less and less tolerable, and my relationships more precious. I found myself more open with people I care about, and more confrontational and demanding, as I didn’t want anything left unsaid or undone ever again.


Different Viewpoint

 As priorities shift and realign, it leads to all sorts of tangled feelings, thoughts, and outcomes. Our point of view is like a kaleidoscope; all the pieces are the same, but what and how we see the world is ever squiggling. This is quite unnerving, as it is hard to predict our own reactions anymore, and that is downright scary. My own political viewpoint began to slide across the spectrum of liberal to conservative, which required a whole renegotiation with the world I lived in. All of this happened over a period of years, so the new outlook was gradual. I don’t know what life would be like if Sharon hadn’t died, but what I do know is what I have rebuilt has been worth the effort. Through all the grieving, where I finally landed is in the present, a very nice place to live.


 I have always seen my life as a journey through a dark and scary forest, where there are all sorts of obstacles, cliffs, and wild beasties to deal with. Every once in a while I come to a meadow—the sun is shining, the grass is green, and it is good to be alive. That is when the integration of all the hard labor is accomplished and I get to rest for a while. What I know about myself is that at some time I’m going to get tired of the meadow, look up and say, Gee, I wonder what’s over that ridge, and plunge right back into the forest. This meadow corresponds to the acceptance and in memoriam stages of grief.

New Behavior Current Behavior

Any new behavior emerges out of the previous points along the way. New behaviors, like standing up for myself better, grew out of feeling more confident that I can deal with the forest, which grew from accepting that, sadly, I can never go back to the way I was. This was an important choice point: To decide whether to go on or shut down. This, then, becomes current behavior, which leads right back to the center of the spiral and starts all over again with any significant change in our lives. Less significant change is simply a smaller spiral. With the pace of change in our world today, there are commonly several spirals going on at the same time, certainly adding to our sense of stress.

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