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Grounded in Grief

Updated: Aug 26, 2022

….And the two shall become one…….

Whether you have experienced this as a married couple or have experienced this as a soulmate or a special friend, you know the feeling of completeness that a relationship like this provides. It is intimate, real, safe and fulfilling. Life with this person is both exhilarating and calm. You have history and memories. You know each other in ways that no other person can or ever will. The roots go deep and wide and stability is the foundation of your life.

In the yoga tradition we talk about chakras. These vibrating centers send energy throughout the body. At the base of our body sits the Muladhara Chakra. It symbolizes the heaviest part of our being and our physical presence of earth. We describe muladhara using adjectives like safety, nourishment and belonging. It is here that our sense of security originates, as does survival and safety. Muladhara is where the foundation of “two becoming one” originates and resides. The Sanskrit word muladhara can be translated as root support.

Muladhara is also associated with the sense of smell. Our reliance on our sense of smell begins as newborn infants. We rely on the smell of our mother that draws us to her breast for nourishment, which insures our survival. As we mature our sense of smell signals danger like fire, gas and rotten food. It senses apple pie, homemade bread and brewing coffee. These scents are stored in our brains via the limbic system and attach themselves to memories.

So, how does the muladhara chakra relate to death, grief and life?

Death creates a sense of loss, severing, tearing apart and uprooting. It wrecks, dismantles and creates chaos. Death destroys all that the muladhara represents. Security, safety and survival feel barely attainable. Our foundation is shaken to the core. Our life is uprooted. We miss the little things like a hug and a smile. We miss the big things like conversation and sharing inside jokes. We miss being a part of a couple. The scent of roses reminds us of funeral flowers. The sight of our loved one’s tennis shoe reminds of the walks we used to take. Our favorite song comes on the radio and we are reduced to tears. The other end of the couch is empty and the bed is cold. The scent on her clothes hanging in the closet is fading. We crave the touch that calmed our nerves. The laugh is no more. We feel scattered, unstable and vulnerable.

When we are grieving, we can find ways to help us feel secure and rooted. We think of what makes us feel safe and we participate in those things. What helps you feel grounded? For me, being outside brings a sense of peace and security. A good barefoot walk around the yard, sitting under a great big tree or digging in the dirt while planting flowers gives me a feeling of stability because gravity keeps me firmly on the ground. Often a walk or run will help one feel grounded because moving our hips gets the energy flowing all around the muladhara chakra. Another idea is being conscious of things we are grateful for. Listing these out can be a great reminder that we are safe and secure. Being with people that love us reminds us that we are not alone and we belong. Wearing our loved one’s shirt can feel like we are being embraced, while sitting in their spot on the couch can bring us the peace that we need. Whatever it is that helps us feel grounded and rooted will bring about a sense of security and safety that will reaffirm our survival.

Remember that grief is hard. There is nothing easy about grief except feeling the pain of it. Although feeling uprooted and vulnerable is common in grief, common does not make it tolerable. Feeling safe and secure is of concern. Each one of us is unique and what will assist you in feeling safe will be personal to you. However, I do know that you will survive Grief in Life.


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