Zen and the Art of Letting Go...

We all have something, some emotion or someone, that in order to grow, to break our emotional "lock", we really need to release from our lives.  The key is figuring out just how to do it. Easier said than done. I find the older I get the less I want to or am willing to deal with crap so I try to weed it out of my life, and since that's my choice I am more than good with it. But how exactly does one deal with a loss or pain that has been thrust upon them, one they didn't want or didn't expect?  When somethingisn't my choice I find it very hard to handle. How do we learn to handle grief when we least expect it?

Dr. Elisabeth Kubler-Ross named five stages of grief people go through following a major loss.

Five Stages Of Grief

  1. Denial and Isolation. At first, we tend to deny the loss has taken place, and may withdraw from our usual social contacts. This stage may last a few moments, or longer.
  2. Anger. The grieving person may then be furious at the person who inflicted the hurt (even if she's dead), or at the world, for letting it happen. He may be angry with himself for letting the event take place, even if, realistically, nothing could have stopped it.
  3. Bargaining. Now the grieving person may make bargains with God, asking, "If I do this, will you take away the loss?"
  4. Depression. The person feels numb, although anger and sadness may remain underneath.
  5. Acceptance. This is when the anger, sadness and mourning have tapered off. The person simply accepts the reality of the loss.

I have had 2 major situations this year where I have become hopelessly stuck at step #2 - Anger or rather the step I feel Kubler - Ross has missed, let's call it#2A - Anger & Demi-Tourettes. This is where one feels empowered to strike out at people and finally say everything on their mind, to everyone they know and random people on the street. Usually obnoxious and horribly mean-spirited, it is at least honest. No holding back at this stage. Isn't that a step? For me it is and I seem to be stuck there.  According to Dr. Kubler - Ross our lives can be painful until we move through the stages. That's all well and good but please tell me how?  While I realize that dwelling on both situations is making me miserable I can't seem to move past the anger stage. I need some help so I seek it out.

"Write a letter to them but don't send it, talk to a therapist, talk to them and figure at what created the situation, tell them off and gain some closure, punch them in the head, key their car, buy new shoes, forgive them and move on, don't forgive them and move on..."all suggestions from friends and doctors a like. None help or rather some help at some points of the day and not during others.  While intellectually I understand the 5 stages of grieving, I secretly feel by numbering them we trivialize the emotions. Plus where is the Jack Daniels stage because I was stuck there for a while as well. Whenever one is grieving people seem to expect you to snap out of it quickly or handle it with grace. I am not that person, I am not that graceful. I need to feel the pain to know I am alive and maybe to not make or accept the same mistakes later.

In the end everyone needs to grieve in their own way. What works for some will not work for others. Don't be so quick to judge or give your opinion unless directly asked. Sympathize and support but don't suggest. What is helping me to move on are the people in my life that truly love me, regaining my health and realizing that I am important and worthy of relationships that are worthy of me. That and time. Time to wait out the storm, time to adjust to the new surroundings and time to learn how to let go.