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By Hilary Illick

Feeling Is HealingAll of us experience grief. Varying degrees of grief, of course, but none of us has managed to dodge loss. Loss and grief are an inevitable part of the human experience. Learning how to navigate grief is as beneficial a life skill as knowing how to use an umbrella.

The key to moving through grief seems to be self-acceptance and self-love. Experts in the field of grief speak to the importance of being compassionate with ourselves as we move through our emotional reaction to loss. We benefit from allowing ourselves to show up however we show up on a given day, feeling whatever emotions we may be feeling, whether they seem conflicting or tumultuous. Grief counselors encourage reaching out for help and seeking a community of support.

Self-acceptance, self-love, feeling our feelings, compassion, supportive community – do any of these sound familiar?

In a certain way, the first couple days of the Hoffman Process are about processing grief. We spend time naming and expressing feelings about all the many losses we experienced in childhood. For some, this might have been the serious loss of one or both parents or a sibling. Some experienced loss of the family unit when parents divorced. More universal is the sense of loss over not having gotten the love and care we longed for as children.

All of us, on some level, experienced the grief of having abandoned our true selves by taking on patterns and developing a false self in a desperate attempt to get love and to belong. The Hoffman Process allows us to grieve the accumulated losses we experienced in childhood. People look radiant at the end of those first days of the Process, cleansed. A deep healing has taken place.

Throughout the full week of the Process, we receive the opportunity of being with our true selves – the sometimes messy, furious, despairing, serene, stuck, playful, spontaneous creatures that we are. We practice accepting ourselves at the Hoffman Process. We experience self-love, and being present to all that we are – to our intellects, our emotional selves, our bodies and our ever-present, always radiant spiritual selves. We reach out for help to our spirit guides, our classmates, our teachers. We create a community of support throughout the week of the Process. We take this experience, these practices, with us back into the world, into our lives.

When these lives of ours contain loss and grief – which they will, as an inevitable part of human existence – we can choose to be present. We can be present to what is going on inside of ourselves, and to tending to ourselves with compassion, staying attuned to what we need, and dedicated to trying to soothe and comfort ourselves. And by being present, we can be a presence – a healing presence – for ourselves and for others. This does not mean the loss isn’t painful. It doesn’t mean that we will not experience and deeply feel the anguish and despair and deep sadness that is a part of the grief process. We will. But as the adage says: Feeling is healing.

This experience of feeling and healing is in our cell tissue. We have done it, and we know how to do it. At the Process, we took a week out of our lives and allowed ourselves the space, time, and rich peace to feel and heal. We practiced our deep human capacity to heal ourselves. As we greet our experiences and inevitably encounter loss and grief, may we remember all of this. And may we remember the deep healing practice of self-acceptance, self-compassion, and self-love.

If you would like more information to help you with grief, check out the Quadrinity Check-in on Hoffman’s Practices page, https://www.hoffmaninstitute.org/practices/, or listen to it on our Audio page, https://www.hoffmaninstitute.org/audio-tools/. If you would like to talk with someone in our office, please call us at 800-506-5253.

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