October and grief

At the end of September we crossed the Equinox and that perfect balance of day and night, now finding ourselves quite noticeable in Autumn proper. The beautiful red and yellow leaves are falling off the trees and the shortening days are touched with a chill. Autumn instils in us an unavoidable sense of loss- a loss of light, of warmth, even the loss of summer birdsong.

In the Chinese 5-element system, Autumn is the time of year to best support a period of ‘release’, when like the trees losing their leaves, we are poised to let go of things, people, resentments, memories or parts of ourselves that no longer serve us. Autumn offers the perfect energy to help us work through our grief.

Which is very timely as this last month has been a trigger for us all. The death of the Queen seemed to have acted as a conduit for so much unresolved grief across the world. A deeply felt and unnamed sorrow for all the things, experiences and people we’ve lost over the last few years. It was a welcome invitation to let it out, to honour the pain and loss we have all experienced in our own ways.

Grief is the gap between what you want to be happening and what is actually happening. Grieving is the essential process of coming to terms with what IS happening and letting go of what you ideally wanted to be happening.

Many experts have dedicated years to studying loss and the emotions that come with it. The most famous model was offered by Elizabeth Kubler-Ross, a psychiatrist who created a theory around five main stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. The stages are non-linear and people can experience these aspects of grief at different times and they do not happen in any particular order. They might not all be experienced and feelings might be quite different depending on the cause of the grief.

For grief doesn’t only come with death, but from any big life shifts like ending significant relationships, illness, the end of a project, the loss of a dream. Mourning is an intimate and unique experience for each of us and there is no right or complete way to do it.

For me, I have been drinking a lot of White tea through this time, not only because its totally delicious but because it too supports the Autumn energy of release with its calming and purifying action on the body and mind. A perfect companion through these uncertain times, it reminds me to honour the natural world as a guide and support system through this crazy life journey!

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