Lack of Grief: A Thorn in the Flesh

It’s Good Friday here in Coronavirus Land. We might say on this “Holy Week” that the virus itself is our thorns, or the fear being distributed by the media is pricking and piercing us, for some it is the Federal Government that is sticking it to us.

For me, it is all of the above, but the thorn that is so troublesome and painful is the sore lack of going down into adult grief over the millions of different losses, difficulties endured, and the damage done to families and friends.

There is no demonstration of adult grief in the morning or nightly news about the crisis pandemic. The newscasters are telling us how many people now have the virus and how many have died or will die. They keep a straight face at best during their report on it, at worst, they smile a little and end with a “feel good” or “America Strong” piece that lasts less than 20 seconds.

From the very “Top Down” no models for mature grief, no dissent into the soul, and certainly no weeping. No Kaddish for the dying will ever be spoken on commercial TV, radio, or Internet.

If, as I believe, grieving is the doorway through which we step into our maturity and our humanity, this weekend, or hopefully, for the coming sad weeks ahead, let’s add some gravity to the Nation, not just short-sighted checks on toilet paper, but engage in the alchemical process of turning our heavy lead hearts towards all of those golden people who are suffering from all the losses, changes, short-changing, and fearful transitions.

“…Max grieves alive in an office on Lower Broadway, lone large mustache over midnight accountings, not sure. His life passes – as he sees – and what does he doubt now? Still dream of making money, hired nurse had children, found even your immortality…” Allen Ginsberg’s poem, Kaddish

Grieving: The Doorway to Healing and to Maturity

This is the time of year when a lot of grief may rise to the surface, and a season that should not be about money.

In that regard, when I first started my counseling career over 30 years ago, I did so with the objective to just help folks. Even though I have kept that objective in mind, there are many who could not afford my long-time standard rate of $150 for a 50-minute session, and therefore, it limited the number of people I could reach and help.

So, beginning today and going through January 2, 2017, for the first time ever, I am offering my phone sessions for a “pay-what-you-can rate.” If you, or a friend, or a family member, would like a session with me, just pay what you can, even if that means nothing.

Let’s see if together, we can make this season a little more, if not enjoyable, then at least, bearable.

During my 30 years of counseling and working with men and women, I have been asked so many times: “How do you grieve?” or “How do you begin grieving?”

girl-218706_1920

Here are the five things necessary to do deep grief work around any change, transition, death, loss, break up, or divorce:

  1. One needs an awareness that grief is the proper response to all loss and change and that it is a doorway into our maturity.
  2. We need to devote as much time as it takes, letting no one tell us to move on or out faster than we are ready because, as we know, time is the great healer.
  3. In order to do deep grief work, one must ritualize the process. These rituals move the pain and the sorrow up and out faster than a catch-as-catch-can approach to grief can ever achieve.
  4. We need a community of supportive people as we go through these transitions and losses because grief is not to be done entirely alone but in a community.
  5. Having navigated our way through the treacherous waters and shed our tears, we need to employ our community and have a celebration that says we came out on the other side.

Also, one of the seven stages of grief is anger, and the coming holidays can be a time when people feel angry about all kinds of different things. Additionally, it is a season when a lot of folks get depressed, anxious, family histories surface, and loneliness prevails. directory-466935

Loneliness can be a precursor to alcoholism, drug addiction, physical illness, and depression. One of the hardest things, especially for men, is to admit to anyone that they are lonely. If you find yourself in this psychological and emotional state, be sure to reach out and tell someone and not suffer silently by yourself.

If you would like to learn more about grief work, or how anger expressed appropriately equals energy, intimacy, and serenity, or if you are in need of help with other issues, please take me up on my offer of a phone or Skype session for the “pay-what-you-can rate.”

Also, please know that I am doing this as much for me, as I am for anyone who feels the need to make an appointment.

Additionally, beginning January, 2017, I will be opening a full-time counseling and coaching practice in Austin, Texas, but we can do some of this work over the phone or via Skype.

So if anyone out there is hurting and needs some help, remember I want to help you whether you can afford to pay my full fee, a part thereof, or nothing at all.

If you or someone you know would like to schedule a session, please call me at 678-494-1296, or email my assistant, Kathy McClelland, at assistant@johnleebooks.com.

Take care of yourself during this holiday season, and please:

  • call me if you would like a phone, Skype, or in-person session,
  • tell your friends and/or colleagues about my new full-time counseling and coaching practice in Austin, Texas and;
  • don’t forget the 2-day Intensives in Austin, Texas or Mentone, Alabama.

Thank you, and I hope you have a wonderful holiday season.

hands-751068_1280