Grief and Loss: Your Voice Can Change Your State of Mind

Losing someone or something important to you brings with it powerful emotions.  Sadness, disappointment, upset, and a sense of lack of control are common feelings that accompany death, loss and situations in life which have come to an end.

Grieving, while painful, can also open us up to a lot of good. It can provide new opportunities for experiencing deeper connection with ourselves and others.  The Hebrew tradition of Shiva is the practice of openly mourning for seven days following the passing of a loved one.   The idea is to openly grieve for a week, so that following, you can gradually resurface back into life.

If you’ve ever lost someone important or very close to you,perhaps you can identify with the experience of:

The Vacuum Effect Caused by Sudden Absence: It’s so strange having someone suddenly not there. Even though there may have been pain for the loved one going through and you having to watch them go through it, the vacuum created by the person suddenly being gone feels odd. You walk down the hall and look into the room, expecting to see them, but there’s no one there.

Exhaustion:  If you were care-taking a sick loved one, you know the experience of shifting your priorities on a regular basis, as you’re called to respond to a variety of needs. Being the loving person you are, you put everything aside and follow through. Being the responsible person that you are, you might also make the mistake of taking care of others at the expense of taking care of your own needs first.

I arrived to Los Angeles during the last days of my stepfathers life. He was in much pain, in hospice at home, screaming much of the time. I was sleeping next to his room. Not easy to sleep through the night with the noise and death in the air.  I haven’t had a full night’s sleep in more than a week and a half. Following his death, the constant visitors, high emotion and exhaustion has been taking it’s toll… my mind isn’t so sharp and my body and legs are filled with cramps an discomfort.

Sudden change and loss require us to take even better care of ourselves than we are used to doing.

So this morning I took myself to the park to enjoy a fourth of July family celebration. While the noise of the music and the screaming crowd of children were jarring on my nerves… I was happy for the change of scenery. I chose a far off corner from the activity and parked myself on the grass in the shade of the jacaranda tree. Such simple pleasure. This was the first time in two weeks that my body lay flat on a surface (I’ve been sleeping on a small couch in the den).

Your Voice Can Change Your State of Mind

Too exhausted to even fall asleep, I remembered a  simple yet powerful music exercise –  the personal healing vocal chant used to ground and relax yourself during times of stress.  If you want to know what it’s made up of so you can do it too…it’s really simple…you basically feel your pulse, entrain yourself with it, and then start humming using your pulse as the metronome.  I’ll be teaching the exercise later this month in the Facilitator Training at Remo Recreational  Music Center in North Hollywood.  There’s a similar exercise included in the Stress Release through Hebrew Vocal Meditation course as well.

I lay on the grass and found my pulse and began to hum. Immediately I felt my body relax. My eyes closed, as I felt my voice nurture and nourish myself back to a state of equilibrium.

Whenever you are feeling a sense of loss or grief, even during the day for little things, you can use your voice to change your state of mind.  Where could you see yourself trying this out?

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