Photo of a road heading into the sunset.

In grief…creativity, spirituality and healing are inextricably linked

Photo of a road heading into the sunset.

Though my love, my passion, and my greatest satisfaction, comes from helping people heal following the death of someone they love, I have also worked with folks wanting to access their creativity, artists and non-artists alike. I’m pretty fond of that work too. Among the benefits…it renews me and provides a balance that allows me to stay present to the grief work. Besides it’s fun.

As I was writing a new bio for an upcoming creativity workshop, this statement popped out. I don’t think I’ve ever stated it this clearly before though it’s certainly the foundation from which I live and work, and have for a very long time.

The statement…”creativity, spirituality and healing are inextricably linked.”

What comes up in you when you hear that? Huh? Yes!!! No way!?

And what does it mean when applied to grief and grieving?

Sure got me thinking, so here’s my first run at it…

1. Creativity is the single most important and natural quality we possess as human beings.

When I was practicing as a psychotherapist, I was continually amazed at how my clients’ creativity would emerge as they began to heal. It was almost always the first quality to emerge, and as they consciously embraced their creativity they supercharged their healing. Interesting, yes?

2. Spirituality does not mean religious though they have much in common.

I tend to think of spirituality as being about the questions and religion being an attempt to find the answers. That’s probably a bit simplistic but I’ll let it stand for now.

Spiritual questions are always about looking for meaning. Why are we here? What does it mean to be alive? Where do I find meaning in my life? What does it mean to love? How can I love more fully? Why does love hurt? What happens after we die? Is there a relationship between my life now and what happens when I die? What does death mean? Do we really die? Is there a God? And what does that mean? What role does God play in my life? Why did someone I love die? Why does it hurt so much?

These are philosopher’s questions that each of us grapples with in our own way and in different ways throughout our lives. Each one of us may come up with very different answers, and the answers we come up with may not stand the test of time or life experience (as when someone dies). Sometimes those experiences deepen our beliefs but I think it’s safe to say that none us remain unchanged in this regard (another loss to be grieved perhaps?).

I should add here that I rarely talk about spirituality. It seems rather presumptuous to think I have answers that might help you in your search for meaning. I’m much more interested in providing an environment in which you can explore your questions and come to your own conclusions.

When people are grieving, crises of faith are common, and it’s definitely not my place to short circuit your process by offering quick solutions. All I can provide is a safe environment to explore the feelings and questions as they come up.

Ultimately spirituality is about finding meaning and it is in that sense that I use the word.

3. Healing means to make healthy and whole.

To the newly bereaved that sounds rather impossible but that’s exactly where grief takes us. The ultimate purpose of grieving is to put the pieces of a shattered life back together. Yes, it’s newly configured. It rarely looks like your previous life but it takes the experience of loss and creates something new that is indeed, healthy and whole.

Ah notice that word creates. We’ve come full circle. Healing in the context of grief is an act of creation, and conscious creation at that. It is about finding new meaning (and there’s the spiritual again) in the life and death issues that we all struggle with when someone dies.

Ultimately grief is about creating a new and meaningful life. One that contains and encompasses all that was in our life before the death, all that is part of our life now, and all that will be part of us as we move into the future as a healthy and whole human beings.

Photo Credit: qbq903

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