By Marisa Wright, birth and postpartum doula
Loss, grief and trauma – these are such heavy realities to carry. Often overlooked by society and misunderstood as weak or too uncomfortable to talk about, too taboo. And so it becomes isolating and even heavier. But the silence is being broken. In New Zealand’s pioneer culture, incredibly strong and inspiring people are beginning to share their stories of struggle and of rising above and finding their power. More and more people are finding commonalities, and there is strength, beauty and healing in that itself. It is normal, to feel emotional as a human being, and it is necessary to heal in order to thrive.
No one can tell you how to heal, how to begin your journey. Every story is different, every person is different and we find endless ways to connect, reach inward, breathe and rise again.
But it is necessary. Sadness, and all the accompanying emotions need to be expressed or they become stagnant. Stagnant emotions become physical manifestations, clouded judgment, limits to how we live, parent our children, and love our partners.
Later down the road we know that feelings of fear, anger and uncertainty have the ability to inhibit physiological birth, bonding and the postpartum experiences, which can deeply affect women throughout their lives.
They inhibit our joy and ability to be present. Later down the road we know that feelings of fear, anger and uncertainty have the ability to inhibit physiological birth, bonding and the postpartum experiences, which can deeply affect women throughout their lives.
And so we know that we must begin, we must heal, but when someone in is a place of deep grief it can feel impossible to see any sort of solution. Like being in a jar of soil and water that’s been shaken, we are clouded.
And so it becomes necessary to reach out, to find the healers in the community or connect with one across the world; therapists, light workers, groups and workshops, even a good friend can be transformative. Tell your story, in all its raw truth, to someone who can simply hold space and hear you. Surround yourself with supportive people who understand the importance and ceremony of this process. Sisterhood is powerful. Cry as often as you need, when you need it, even if it’s years down the road. Survive when you just need to survive, and then take one step.
When you are ready, ceremony can be a gentle yet powerful way towards transformation. It can be multilayered and involve a group of your most trusted friends, or be a single, simple ritual performed once a day or as needed in the beginning, the essence and meaning changing as you go.
Regardless of what you choose, there is power in ceremony when you open yourself up to the higher meaning. Here are a few of my own most treasured practices –
- Deep Self Care – You cannot pour from an empty cup. Make time for yourself, be shamelessly indulgent each day, even if for just five minutes, make time for your process, invite what you need for healing.
- Meditation – Begin with a simple practice of clearing your thoughts and inviting forgiveness and love each morning. Put your hand on your heart and ask “How can I step into my power today” then let any expectation go on the next breath.
- Pulling a card – Find a good deck that resonates with you, I love the Goddess Oracle deck by Amy Sophia Marashinsky. Gentle guidance can be just what you need to clear those muddy thoughts and find focus.
- Art therapy – Pastels, painting, watercolor – whatever you choose don’t worry about the end product, enjoy the process. Don’t think, let go, infuse your canvas with emotions rather than a picture. When you’re done you can reflect for a while or release the image.
- Fire Release Ceremony – On a piece of paper write any fears or negativity you want to clear, take a deep breath, then burn it with love. You can alter this to suit your emotions; screaming out then throwing a rock into the ocean or writing thoughts on sticks then sending them down the river.
- Writing – Once again, let go, don’t think about what you’re going to write, just begin. This could be a journal entry or something more specific. One exercise I like to use in workshops is writing the sentence “When I think about my healing journey I feel…” then quickly and spontaneously write 12 endings.