Invitations for Those Feeling Stuck, Paused, or Otherwise Immobile in Their Grief

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The Psychology
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Invitations for Those Feeling Stuck, Paused, or Otherwise Immobile in Their Grief

Invitations for Those Feeling Stuck, Paused, or Otherwise Immobile in Their Grief
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Words by:

Tracey Wallace

Illustration by:

Words by:

Tracey Wallace

Illustrator:

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In one of our recent Instagram Live sessions, we were joined by the amazing Jasmin Jenkins. She is local to Los Angeles, California, and is a phenomenal grief guide and coach at Fall Up.

In this session, we talked about a topic that really hits home for a lot of us. That is, about sitting with difficult emotions and grief –– especially in this time of global pause.

She has an amazing process to help invite grief in and deal with it in really healthy ways. We’ll go through two different breath exercises in this session to do just that.

You can watch and participate below, or read the transcript after the IG Live.

View this post on Instagram:

Join us and @jasmin.jenkins as we walk the a beautiful meditation around grief, and breathe through difficult emotions.

A post shared by Eterneva ♾ Ashes To Diamonds (@eterneva) on May 19, 2020 at 11:57am PDT

Dani: Welcome, Jasmin! Thanks for being here. Let’s start with a quick explanation of who you are.

Jasmin Jenkins: First of all, thank you, Dani. I'm so grateful to be here with you having this conversation. My name is Jasmin Jenkins.I 'm a grief guide.

That means that I support people in the spectrum of navigating their grief journey. I support them in finding their invitations, because ultimately grief is an invitation to growth.

Fall Up is a community that I founded to support people navigating the full spectrum of grief. So everything from a breakup to the grief that comes from death. Instead of falling apart, we believe as a community that, together, we can fall up.

Dani: I know you have a beautiful approach and method to welcoming grief so we can better heal. How do we even start with something like this?

Jasmin Jenkins: Sure. So, let's start with our breath and with the anchor that is our breath.

If it feels comfortable for you, you want to close your eyes and take a few mindful, intentional breaths here.

It's midday for a lot of us, and we're all dealing with collective grief right now. So give yourself permission to pause and to get in touch with your breath by bringing that loving awareness to your life force.

Inhaling, rising into your body, into your heart, and exhaling with gentleness and kindness. Releasing anything that doesn't serve you, anything that doesn't allow you to be fully present where you are in this moment.

Take a few more breaths in your own way, in your own rhythm, rising into your heart and releasing into your space into what's supporting you. Give yourself permission to expand, and permission to release where you're contracted. And then, give yourself permission to arrive here.

Wise friends told me that gratitude is the antidote to grief.

And I truly believe that as we intentionally connect to our breath throughout the day, we bring gratitude into our bodies and our hearts and our stories.

Thank you for being willing to go into your breath with a little mini meditation. When you want to open your eyes again, I invite you to open your eyes.

My teacher, a meditation teacher, Harshada Wagner, who I studied with several years ago, brought me into the truth that life is a meditation.

Dani: Thank you for grounding us all in breath. I know a lot of us are going through a great pause right now with coronavirus. I would love to know about how pausing for a second can help us grow more into our grief.

Jasmin Jenkins: We're all very aware right now. We have been in this global pause, and a pause can be an incubator for expansion.

When we have grief, when we have a disruptive event, a transition that's unexpected, it can be a little difficult at first to understand that we can grow through it. Settling with our breath and meeting the pause where we are at, whether that’s a pause in grief due to a job loss or the loss of a family member or friend, and using our breath as a tool to move into the invitation can help us navigate.

Grief can have a lot of messy edges, after all.

In that breath, when you exhale, ask yourself, “What is this teaching me? What is here for me in this pause where things are more still and things are more silent?”

For some of us, of course, things are a lot more frantic!

Either way, how can each of us soften into the present and rise into a place of strength despite circumstance? When we resist our grief, we create more suffering.

  • Grief can be sadness.
  • Grief can be anger.
  • Grief can be depression.
  • Grief can be anxiety.

When we can just give ourselves the grace to breathe into the present moment, we can start to extricate ourselves from that place of stuckness and move into a place of expansion. From there, you take it one breath at a time.

Dani: I find that people are being really hard on themselves for grieving what they think are smaller things –– not being able to walk across a stage, not seeing family in person –– because of the gravity of the situation and because some people are losing their lives. Is there a way that you’ve found to address those thoughts with breath work or other mindful practices?

Jasmin Jenkins: Absolutely, and it's the simple practice of bringing your hand.

Ego is thoughts, and thoughts are what run through our mind. Heart is feeling, and we heal through feeling.

So, it's sometimes as simple as taking your hand –– whether you're walking on the street or you're sitting at your desk –– and just taking a few mindful breaths and settling into the support and the structure that your body provides for you.

It can be simple. Sometimes I do it when I'm walking down the street and it feels really amazing. And I hope that people see me and think, "Oh, maybe I should touch my heart too and get connected!”

The heart is an amazing electromagnetic field. There's a lot there to heal through and be guided into.

Dani: What's your process around when you get to a very difficult state of your healing? How can you get myself back to your center on those harder days?

Jasmin Jenkins: It can be as simple as saying, “I'm supported, and I'm held.”

Reminding yourself that you are held by the divine, I believe, and in the divine realm. I think that a lot of times we perpetuate our suffering when we forget this basic thing.

Healing is a remembering. It's a remembering that we're held. It's a remembering that we're guided. And, it's allowing ourselves to move back into that space of comfort and ease and warmth.

So, it’s important to create a loving mantra that represents what it is that you're navigating.

Something like: “I'm held in my grief. I am empowered in my grief.”

It’s also important to remember that when we surrender to the divine, we're opening up to miracles. We're opening up to expansion in a way that our minds can't always comprehend.

Dani: I think about that word “surrender” so much, especially in this moment where a lot of us are realizing we are in a lot less control than we want to be. There's so much beauty in that, though.

Jasmin Jenkins: Absolutely. It's about finding the pockets and small openings to ease you into learning to flow with life again.

When we're stuck in grief, we freeze.

Healing and bringing the light in, bringing the connection in, bringing the play in, is what starts to thaw us out. It is what warms us back up to the fact that it's a miracle to be here.

There's a beautiful Buddhist meditation that I shared with a new friend recently, which is simply looking at somebody that you love or practice with and saying, "I'm going to die and you're going to die. And all we have are these precious moments."

It's reminding us that this life is precious, and we don't have to be serious about it. We can play. Play is a really medicinal part of healing.

Dani: Have you found there are healthy ways to bring in others, bring in a community into a healing process like this?

Jasmin Jenkins: Yeah, I think it's intentional. That intentionality can start by having an intentional question that you ask at night.

If you're with your loved ones right now, or even if you're quarantining and can’t be physically with them, bringing a question to the forefront of your familial conversation will create the possibility for renewal and expansion.

That’s because one or two intentional inquiries can start to shift a family system. This helps to lighten things up and not be so focused on what’s for dinner or for dessert or what is going to be on TV.

Dani: Do you find in your approach that it's the best to just jump right into these things? Is it about coming with the intention to play? Is that what you think opens up people to having these more difficult conversations?

Jasmin Jenkins: I think, like any time when the ultimate intention is to move into a place of depth, you have to trust your intuition and read the room.

You need to see what's happening and hold it in your mind's eye what you want to build toward, while knowing that if there's something different that is presented to you and that needs to be tended, that you tend to that.

In time, whether it's 15 minutes or 20 minutes down in the dinner, then you bring a question that can elicit more friendliness and ease and joy.

It can be something simple like, “When was the last time that you danced?”

Seriously, if you're not moving your body and you're not creating and connecting to the energy within us, the electricity that is within us, that's an indicator that something is off. We aren’t here to judge it, but just to say, "Okay, there's information for me there."

Dani: I would love if we could do another re-centering of our breaths. I think we've had a few people join and thank you for joining! We're talking about dealing with difficult emotions and grief as an invitation.

Jasmin Jenkins: Absolutely. My four invitations are the invitation to:

  1. Pause.
  2. Breathe.
  3. Feel.
  4. Heal.

We get to arrive back into a place of healing every time we choose to bring that loving kindness to our breath. So, let’s do it!

If you want to close your eyes with me and those who are present and who will see this in the future.

Thank yourself for showing up for your grief and for honoring where you are, for knowing that you are exactly where you need to be.

In the same way that we use our breath to expand in our bodies, we give our grief that permission to expand with intention and care around it.

Let's take four inhales and exhales together.

Inhaling, rising into your body, into your heart, bringing awareness to the fact that we are in a pause right now, this is a difficult pause for many of us. And still it's a pause.

Rising into that and releasing anything that's stuck right now, rolling out your shoulders.

On this next inhale, rising with intention into your breath. The breath is always our anchor. It's there to guide us to support us. And when we have tumultuous emotions throughout the day or weeks, it’s important to exhale, and let any stuck energy go.

Anything that doesn't serve you, let it go.

On this third breath, let it invite you to pause into the invitation, to feel, knowing that there's so much that's come up in terms of feeling and this experience. As you release on your exhale, let go of any feelings that are old, that no longer serve you.

Lastly, on this fourth inhale, rise into the invitation to heal, knowing that your healing journey is uniquely yours. It is as unique as a fingerprint and your time is sacred and divinely orchestrated.

Slowly with care and control, give yourself permission to fully exhale into this moment, acknowledging yourself and your courage.

Then when you're ready, I invite you to blink your eyes open.

It takes a lot of courage to show up for the conversation of grief. There's so much resistance culturally around having a conversation about grief or shame in experiencing grief. That's why I really appreciate that you've titled this conversation, “Perfection and Grief can't Coexist.”

Grief is messy and it's real and it's human and every human has grief and we're all grieving right now.

My hope for everybody who's been present and who will see this later today or this week is that you really understand that one breath at a time, your grief can become an invitation to growth and to healing.

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