Spring Cleaning-Grief

How To Find Joy Without Bypassing Grief. (April 2023)

How do we find joy when in a place of deep grief or discomfort? And how do we do this in a way that doesn’t just bypass grief?

Try pendulation. Intentionally go from one to the other. You may have to become a joy detective.

Finding joy when you are deeply grieving may feel impossible, but it is possible. You may simply have to build up your joy muscle. 

So try this:

Notice beauty, seek it out. And when you find something-stay with it, stay with the emotion, the relief or moment of happiness for as long as possible, and try to stay there for at least 30 seconds.

If you suddenly become flooded with grief again, just notice it and don’t judge it. Be with whatever emotion is showing itself to you now. Feel it. Name it out loud, name your grief of losing the happy moment you just found.

And then try to go back to the joy or find something else that gives you joy.

And this feeling of joy can come from anything:

  • Seeing a tiny grasshopper.
  • Taking in the beauty of a shimmering orchid flower.
  • Hearing a bird’s song.
  • Seeing the swirling patterns from incense or a cup of hot tea.
  • Seeing soft clouds at sunrise or sunset or anytime of day.
  • Feeling the softness of corduroy pants or velvet.
  • Feeling hot water on your body in the shower.
  • The smell of earth after it rains.
  • The sound of squeaky snow under your boots.

These are all activated by the senses. So if you are having trouble finding joy, take a moment to tune into what’s around you with sight, smell, sound, or touch. 

Early on in my grief days, I would intentionally seek out the things that used to give me joy before my partner’s accident. I found that they didn’t bring me any joy at all. (This is quite normal by the way).Grief is cruel in that way, it gives you more losses on top of your primary loss. I grieved that making art and dancing no longer filled me with joy the way it used to. But the key is that I didn’t stop trying. I forced myself to show up weekly to my ecstatic dance community. I would stand and sway in the middle of the dance floor and I would go through the motions of moving my body to music. I pretended to be filled with the joy and pleasure of dancing the way I used to. I would do this for a few minutes and then go to the side of the dance venue and do my weird grief dance which at the time consisted of making strange grunting sounds and connecting to a few close people who would just hold me. Sometimes I would just lay there and watch my friends dance.

But I made a commitment to keep showing up for the capacity for joy to return. I kept going to test it out-I’d ask myself-is my joy back? It returned three years later and I cried because I was so overcome with gratitude of being able to feel the pure joy of dancing again.

It seems grief and joy are sewn together with a thin yet strong bond. I mean, why is it that we cry with both sorrow and joy?

I’ll be writing about this more in the future. I’m so curious and dedicated to this relationship between sorrow and joy.

In the meantime, schedule joy! Seriously, make joy dates in your calendar or at least go on a hunt for it if it’s hard for you right now. Need help accessing joy? Reach out and schedule a session with me.

Right now I have space available to work with me as my caseload is low. If you or someone you know is needing some assistance with how to find joy amongst grief, reach out to me.

You could just come for one or two sessions. I recently saw someone who simply needed to be witnessed around the time of their grief anniversary.

My practice is shifting in a beautiful way right now to be more aligned with my personal values, and to what helped me the most in my own grief journey. I’m being called to help you find more connection to Spirit through the natural world, ritual, and the creative arts.

The grief ritual on April 29 is full. If you had wanted to sign up, please let me know as Wendy and I may do another day long ritual sometime soon if there’s enough need and interest to do so.

By the way, attending a grief ritual is one of the best ways to pendulate back and forth from grief to joy. We go from being at the grief altar when our grief rises up, to being a part of the village where we drum, dance and sing the grief song.