Last week I posted the first part of what I believe to be the most essential things you can do to heal from grief and loss. I believe strongly, based on my work with self and others, that building mastery in these 10 areas can help you move through whatever challenges you may face along your own journey.  As human beings, loss is something that we cannot avoid, outpace, or ignore.  Change is the one constant.

You do not have to master every one of these competencies in order to shorten your time in the darkness.  Many of my clients have built mastery around two or three of these tenets, and have noticed substantial progress in their recovery.  The point is to start somewhere, build on whatever is working for you, continue to have faith in yourself, and to keep going not matter what happens next.


For many folks who are dealing with depression (either related or unrelated to trauma), creativity may be one of the first things to go.  We disconnect from everything so therefore it would make sense that our creativity, which stems from our ability to feel deeply, fades to gray.  Stay intentional about bringing it back if you have struggled to connect to your own creative energy.  Find inspiration as you walk around your community, in nature, or from a good book.  Do what works for you, journal, paint, drum, knit, or sing.  Sometimes there are no words for our experience, and creative expression allows us an opportunity to get it out and communicate our experience to others.


Not everyone believes in a higher power, but most of us do.  Spirituality can be a huge resource for many folks.  It can be a reminder that there is something greater than what is happening to us, that there is a bigger plan for each of us, and faith reminds us that it is okay to let go of the things that are not in our control.  Spirituality  helps us move through fear, grief, and the feelings of isolation that are common in grief experience.


Although we are all different based on who we are and what we have experienced, knowing that I can move through pain and suffering can be incredibly helpful as I tackle whatever comes next.  Many of my clients have confidence that they can survive things because they already have survived things.  The one caution here is that unresolved grief and loss can accumulate over time.  I can’t take anymore!  Make sure you get the help and assistance you need to heal old wounds, so that you are able to learn from them versus simply adding to them.


Although this is one of the easiest to cultivate on the list, it is also one of the most profound.  Staying grateful allows me to shift my focus to what is working versus staying focused on what is not working, what I have lost, or what I’m afraid of losing. The people who I have worked with you have walked through the deepest part of the valley tend to talk about gratitude on a regular basis.  They know more then the rest of us that everything could be taken away in an instant, and have learned to cherish everything they have at any given moment.  Folks who deeply understand that everything is temporary, and who practice gratitude for every experience, tend to be some of the happiest people out there.  Be thankful for the birds, the sunshine, and your breath…especially your breath.


The ability to stay in the moment, is not easy with the noise that surrounds each of us, but it is something to stay intentional about as you move through these challenging times.  Grief and loss is only the beginning.  It can topple us into feelings of depression, anxiety, isolation, and helplessness.  People who are able to practice staying in the moment, only doing one thing at a time, tend to feel more effective, hopeful, and in control of their lives.  If I have a foot in the past, and a foot in the future, I am not in the moment.  It is ok to stay a step a head or two, but steer back to the moment, steer back to breath.  I can’t control what happened or what will, but I can control what I do in the moment.

Now that you have the full list of resilience competencies, what will you do?  My hope is to continue to keep you intentional about this list.  We will dive in deeper, over the next several weeks, as I give you case examples, strategies on how to build mastery, and how to track your progress.  Healing may not happen right away, but anything worth anything is hard work.  You have already come so far, keep going, and never lose faith in yourself.

Clear Reflections

What are the competencies on the list that you have already identified as a part of your resilience?  How did you develop those competencies?

What three competencies are you willing to practice as you build your resilience?  What do you need from others who can support you in the healing journey?

What is a creative practice you can pick back up, lean into with more zest, or begin?  What steps will you take to ensure you are connecting to your creative self?

Who are the happiest people you know?  What do they do to build happiness?  What losses have they endured? Do what they do.

Practice.  Fall down.  Stand up. Repeat.

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