mountain sky

Grief, Fear and Praying up a Mountain

“No one ever told me that grief felt so like fear.” 

This is what CS Lewis wrote in his iconic book called A Grief Observed. He wrote it after his beloved wife died.


This quote keeps coming to me as we get closer and closer to the election. I’m so aware of both my personal and collective grief along with so much anxiety and fear.


Recently one of our young caregivers said to me, “Beth you always seem so positive and upbeat, how do you do it?”


It was a great moment as I pondered-yes, how do I do it-how do I manage to stay upbeat when the world is collapsing around me?


Well, for starters, I’ve had lots of practice-losing my partner to quadriplegia has been the best teacher for me in how to keep rolling with what life gives me. Like literally, since he’s in a wheel chair now!


And I’d also say I do a lot of managing what’s happening on the inside of me often. The inside of me refers to my emotional state and paying attention to my body’s sensations. 

 And I do both of these with massive doses of curiosity and self-compassion.

I get curious about grief and fear. I pay attention to where I have a felt-sense of it in my body, and then I usually ask my body-what do you need right now?


And it usually answers with food, touch or movement. 


If you have the ability to move, this is the best hack for me. Get up and move right now if you like. And moving outside is even better. Nature is a balm for me in so many ways.


So seriously-get up and move your body, go outside and walk, even a short one helps. Why do you think we pace when we’re anxious? You could even just shake or giggle your body.


I just got out on my daily walk and it’s not just about getting some cardio for me. My walk has become a practice of intention/prayer and connection/communication to the natural world, to the other than human beings-the furry, feather and finned ones, the rocks, pebbles and the rooted leafy ones.


My walk goes up and and down in a loop on the foothills near the Rocky Mountains. I intentionally turn my phone to airplane mode so that I can tune into a completely different frequency.


Then I sometimes find small white quartz stones and place them in my hand and shake them as I speak out loud to Spirit/God and to the elements as well. I pray up the mountain. Sometimes this prayer turns into a song. 


I place these rocks on a boulder where I noticed someone started a pile of white pebbles. I leave them there full of my prayers and intentions for my loved ones, my clients and the planet.


Today I needed to do my practice of kneeling to touch a special stone that I have a relationship with-I kneel and place my hands on her and then today I especially felt drawn to placing my forehead on her. 


For me anxiety seems to speak the loudest in my thinking brain-it’s where all those thoughts live-the “what if” scenarios.

So I needed to place my head on the cold stone and simply let gravity hold me there. I softened and relaxed my jaw and I noticed the pressure of my neck releasing a bit by simply letting my head be held by the earth. 


And I paused there. Pausing is always a good trick.


And if you can’t get outside to put your head on a stone-you can easily do this at a table or desk. At the table, it’s nice to simply let your arms dangle beside you as well. Let gravity help you. It feels really good. Try it now and come back to these words on this screen.


Speaking of screens-get off of them as much as you can. Even while you’re working, set a timer where you look away and let your eyes land on 3 items that are pleasing to you.


Okay, I hope those tips help. Move, move often…with this election time approaching.


Reach out if you need more of me. I am here. 


And here’s a few things I’ve been creating:


I have been anxious a lot lately with the state of life right now and also because I’m pivoting my business slightly with the group called Tending the Tenders. So I feel the anxiety of starting something new but I also feel a lot of excitement.

It’s a group for the ones who are supporting the supporters-the therapists, counselors, coaches and other health and wellness practitioners. 


Here’s the link: https://betherlander.com/grief-support-for-therapists/

I want more therapists and wellness practitioners to have more tools for holding grief.

So please pass long to anyone you know could use it. We start this coming Wednesday, October 21st.


And I am also excited to be collaborating with my dear friend Victor Warring, somatic sex and relationship coach, to host an Erotic Grief Ritual. It’s Saturday, October 24th, noon-1:30pm MST.


Victor says it so well, “Eros and Grief walk side by side, hand in hand….the drive towards sexuality, pleasure, life, love, creativity, and the surrendering into death, sorrow, acceptance, and letting go…In these times especially, as we feel the sting of connections distanced, embraces scarce, sexuality denied, relationships strained for lack of proximity or too much.”


We’ll gather together and witness each other while we focus on the loss of eros at this time.


If you’d like to join us, here’s the link to sign up: 



And sign up quickly, I think this one is gonna fill up fast. 

Many blessings to you in your movement practices and see you in November…




 Beth Erlander aka The Grief Freak

These are intense times, we need to have more compassion and kindness to ourselves, each other, and the planet.  I hope you are well. And remember to grieve well, so we can be well.


Thanks for being here.
Click here to join my Grief Freak Peeps.