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Good Mourning: Creative Healing

Creative expression can be extremely therapeutic.

I've personally tried cooking, learning to play music, creating playlists, drawing, painting, writing, singing, dancing, crocheting, jewelry making and sculpting as a means for connecting to and processing my emotions.

I didn't love all of the activities and skills that I've tried. I revisit some of them, periodically, as something comes up that starts to feel like "emotional indigestion" (i.e. "stuck"); while I have little interest in trying others again.

Mourning is an important part of the grieving process. It's the process of expressing and working through the pain and confusion that naturally occurs with our human grief experiences.

Unfortunately, many of us have been raised with "poor emotional hygiene." We are often taught to "stuff down," hide and/or disown emotions that are uncomfortable, heavy or "bad" as a result of the living in a polarized culture where feelings are mistakenly valued as "good" or "bad."

As a result of our "poor emotional hygiene," many of us may run toward distraction, suppress and judge ourselves for crying or even just having or feeling these difficult emotions. It's no one's fault, but it is our responsibility to figure out how to maintain our personal wellbeing when we recognize these unhealthy habits.

When it comes to grief, the natural reaction to traumatic loss and unwanted major change; these tendencies to shun our pain and discomfort can add deep and intense suffering to our already-challenging circumstances.

Mourning through creative expression can be a boon for those of us who might be stuck on "being strong" or having a "stiff upper lip."

Making something--whether it's something to eat, hear, read, see, or touch--can be a productive way to mourn, acknowledge, release and transform the pain & confusion into beauty and love that remain in spite of our losses.

I encourage those of you who find crying, meditating, journaling or talking particularly difficult; to try a creative expression work through what you're feeling, even if you don't consider yourself "creative."

Try to reframe creative expression as a "playful" experience or an "experiment". ...and if that's not enough to move you beyond your self-limiting belief, ask yourself "what's the worst that could happen if you made something that wasn't beautiful to hang on the wall, or delicious enough to warrant making again?"

The truth is, you have so much to gain (peace, clarity, a new perspective, healing ...and who knows, maybe even learning or having something you might enjoy) in exchange for the small investment in time and effort to experiment.

Give it a try sometime--I'd love to hear about your experience!

#practices #griefmourning #healing #creativeexpression #TEDTalk

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