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Landscapes of Grief

Landscapes of Grief: A Compassionate Approach to Understanding, Self-Care, and Nurturing Your Nervous System

Bereavement on all levels cannot be metabolized without the grieving process. Without this necessary expression, we remain hungry ghosts, filling ourselves up with all manner of ills of addiction and dooming our lineage to repeat harmful patterns of the past.

Grief is challenging to put into words; it's a powerful emotion that, once navigated, can teach us core lessons that profoundly change our lives. Some of my most significant breakthroughs occurred when I surrendered to feeling my emotions. Only then was I strong enough to seek guidance from within, allowing me to evolve and become a better version of myself.

Whether someone you love has passed away, you've experienced a breakup, or you're a deep feeler absorbing collective sorrows, grief is neither entirely good nor bad; it's a part of life. Grief doesn't need to be hidden; it can be collectively honored and given the space it needs to transform us.

Some of my most profound realizations have come from deep meditation on grief I've experienced – from closing my first ever business, to heart-wrenching breakups and the loss of family members, both human and animal.

Grief is Nonlinear

What I don't see enough people talking about is the shapeshifting qualities of grief. One moment everything is normal, and the next, you find yourself on the brink of breaking down in a grocery store aisle when a song reminds you of a loved one. Sometimes, you may be furious and speaking negatively about someone you loved, only to realize the next day how you could have done better. Avoid judging your grief– give it space to grow, and don't limit your expectations of what grief should look like. It can be gentle and nourishing even in the midst of crying your heart out.

How Grief Disrupts the Nervous System:
  • Sleep Disturbances: Difficulty getting a good night's sleep.

  • Brain Fog: Inability to hold your thoughts and think straight.

  • Lowered Immune Response: Increased susceptibility to illness.

  • Increased Stress: Difficulty processing emotions.

  • Hormone and Endocrine Disregulation.

  • Fatigue and Exhaustion.

  • Heart Rate Irregularity.

Understanding the Stages of Grief: A Nervous System Perspective

Denial, anger, bargaining, depression, acceptance—these stages represent critical milestones in the healing process. Failure to comprehend these stages from a nervous system perspective traps us in a cycle of stress hormone addiction. Coping with deep, earth-shattering feelings is more of an inside job.

Thinking in terms of brain chemicals, grief is a collection and activation of cortisol, a stress hormone that spreads through the neural networks of our brain, causing the fight-flight reaction. With grief, usually a longer spiralic experience, cortisol is released and absorbed more often, potentially leading to long-term issues like anxiety. The brain becomes accustomed to this stress hormone release, an all too easy setup for habit-forming on a chemical level, which is very challenging to overcome.

As one source said "Grief affects our limbic system, the system of nerves and networks in the brain, as well as the pre-frontal cortex. This can throw off how we regulate our emotions, our concentration levels, our ability to multi-task, and our memory function. Hormonal changes can also affect eating and sleep patterns, causing anxiety and restlessness, drastically affecting how you feel."

Working with Remedies for Grief:

Herbal remedies are the oldest form of healing and are essential for healing a broken-open heart. If possible, start incorporating nervous system-supportive remedies immediately after a loss, as this can help balance stress hormones.

Conscious Seed Remedies for a Grieving Heart:

Brain Food: Nourishing Support for Grief

  • Alleviates brain fog symptoms, supports adrenal function, enhances neurotransmitter responses, and includes heart-supporting Cacao.

Moody Bloom: Botanical Comfort for Emotional Well-being

  • Provides a boost of feel-good chemicals like dopamine and serotonin, specifically crafted for moments of sadness and depressive emotions, and its botanical blend supports mental and emotional well-being.

Kava Chai: Tranquil Support for Mind and Body During Grief

  • Ideal for relaxing the mind and body during times of grief, enriched with Kava and Turmeric for pain reduction, and can be enjoyed throughout the day or as a comforting nightcap.

Lion's Heart: Inner Peace Elixir for Emotional Courage

  • Dose up on inner peace, emotional courage and mental strength, formulated in response to chronic grief, anxiety, and depression, and provides support during challenging times.

Dream Cloud: Serene Elixir for Restorative Sleep

  • Solution for achieving restful and deep sleep, crafted with nervines and sedative herbs, facilitates a night of restorative and healing sleep, and has a calming influence on the mind, promoting peace upon awakening.

Forms of Grief: Spirals of Living After Loss

Various forms of grief exist, and they all bring a unique set of challenges. When in the depths of bereavement, life may not feel good. Emotions can leave you feeling anxious, exhausted, numb, bitter, and angry, just to name a few. If you're experiencing difficult feelings, it may be related to grief.

Self-Care in the Era of Grief, Loss, and Heartache

Embracing grief requires expanding our emotional capacity. Rituals, therapeutic writing, taking walks, and artistic expression are tools for processing grief and setting realistic expectations for healing.

Advice If Needed:
  • Incorporate everyday rituals that nourish your nervous system.

  • Listen to music that helps you feel good inside– it's okay to feel good.

  • Take walks outside– fresh air and nature are healthy for your body and mind.

  • Ensure restful sleep– going to bed early benefits your nervous system in the long run.

  • Connect and share your evolving grief story with supportive community. Remember, you're not alone, and it takes strength to have loved deeply.

  • Be consistent about your self-care– take remedies that help you grow from the grief you're experiencing. Allow yourself time and space; healing isn't linear.

My parting words are, we're all learning to compassionately embrace the ache of grief in our hearts. Grief isn't linear– it can be one of our great teachers in life if we allow it to be. From my experiences with grief and deep feelings, it's taught me how strong I can be and how powerful emotions are. It's helped me expand my capacity to feel more.

Written by Chelsee Joel, Founder of Conscious Seed

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