Letting Go, Part 3: Rituals That Help You Go From Grieving to Healing
Updated: Jun 12, 2019
In part 1 of this blog post series, R.I.P: Letting Go, I discussed the importance of letting go. But letting go is not something that happens instantly. It’s a process and it’s gradual. In Part 2, I gave you some ways to measure the stress of the particular situation you are in right now, and a possible pathway for moving through the grief or pain towards healing using The Change Curve. In this last part of this blog series, I will give you some helpful rituals that can make letting go easier by honoring where you’ve been and what you’ve been through.
The truth is, while we might have moved on in our heads, in our hearts there is often something still left. We often use physical objects to represent these feelings we have. We keep rings or things that remind us of the person or the places we were. We store romantic emails or hold on to gadgets from the company we worked for.
Some people have an altar where they put these things – if it is a loving reminder and it helps you through, that is totally fine. But if not, it is time to let go because there might be still feelings attached to these objects. If you still have feelings for someone you “lost,” there will not be a place and space for someone else until you let go.
Of course, you can’t solve your problems by simply giving away “stuff,” but it is one more step in the direction of letting go!
Creating a space and place in your soul and psyche means you open up to new stories, possibilities and realities. Then you can unconsciously and consciously choose what you would like to be open to in the future. You can pick what you would like to bring into your life.
Many people may tell you that talking can help, but don’t fall into the talk trap: only talking and talking and talking will not actually help you to release it!
The real task involves creating a ritual to release the energy tied to a person, place or situation; “cleansing” the old, and creating a beautiful and embracing space to invite in the new.
Letting go means you have to realize, understand, and emotionally accept (the hard part of it) and then deal with it. The Change Curve describes what is going on and you can see that going through is the way to cope. That enables you to move on and live a fulfilled life again.
Forgiveness is not about saying that the other person was “right.”
Forgiveness can be given and accepted. It is more about you than the other person.
For me, forgiveness means letting go of blocked feelings like anger, rage, bitterness , pain etc., because holding on to them can even make your body react in a way that does not serve you. Holding on to negative emotions over a great length of time can even lead to disease in the body like cancer.
Holding on to being treated badly to show the world that you have been the victim
Is not empowering you – because you give up responsibility. Remaining the victim does not force the other person to change or even feel sorry for you – quite the opposite. Taking responsibility for your feelings gives you your own power back and helps you to let go of any blame, shame and victim behavior.
Forgiveness is also forgiving yourself - for your part in the issue. “It takes two to tango” is an old saying with a lot of truth to it, because we always have a part in our interaction with others. And if we learn from it – that is always good!
You often hear people in stressful situations say – that was not me, or I wasn’t acting like myself. It’s true! Because the real you is mostly a joyful, blissful person.
It is not feelings itself that cause damage (feelings are normal and good) – it is holding on to those feelings instead of letting them pass through. Transformation is needed – you might need to assess and clean up your mess.
What About Death?
Death also confronts us with our own mortality. When faced with death, “life questions” arise like:
What about my life?
Will I have a long life?
Will I still be there when my grandchildren grow up?
These questions we often can’t answer because life is not set in stone. Nobody knows how long he/she lives, and this is a good thing! Because life wants to be lived fully – to live, to love, to celebrate - to grieve, to laugh, to cry – this is what life is about and death is a part of it.
And at the end of their lives, people do not grieve about the loss of “valuable” things like a car or an expensive suit - they grieve about not having had enough time with their beloved ones. And those left behind grieve not knowing a lot about them, not knowing their stories.
To constructively confront the thought of death, you can use your time now to reflect upon the following questions:
Do you do the right things?
Do you set the right priorities?
Do you love what you do?
Do you live a fulfilling life?
What is still on your bucket list?
What do you dream of? (and please know there is no age limit for dreams!)
Live your life to the fullest in a conscious, aware state – don’t let time just pass by.
And be grateful - each morning you could wake up saying: “Wow – I am alive! – Yes! – Thanks universe!!” 😀
Rituals to Help You Let Go
There are a lot of rituals for letting go. Most of them are ancient rituals from different religions and cultures.
At our retreat “Letting Go: Let - it - Go!” we do some of these rituals together.
One of my favorite rituals involves giving it back to the universe by writing things down and to throwing the paper into a fire, or taking a paper and letting it go with a river or sink into the ocean.
Some 21st century rituals can be shocking!
My father wanted to be burned in a crematorium and for me this was like a science fiction film. You enter a high-tech environment – it could as well be a chip company. It was clean and sterile. There were people behind windows watching screens. It’s totally professional and everything is automatic. The room where the coffin was placed was dimmed with candles and felt like a nicer place: there was music playing and candles burning . . .
. . . but then an automatic door opened and the coffin was moved up and transported like a car into an orange hot space and when the door closed (of course, automatically), you could see the flames coming up and you could feel the enormous heat. I prayed it would be heaven and not hell. This was a spooky and shocking experience – it was somehow totally clear that this was it, but kind of hardcore and surrealistic.
So I prefer to think about the ancient rituals like the Vikings did getting to Valhalla. Valhalla was a hall in Asgard where the god Odin welcomed warriors after they were slain in battle.
So, I bought a tiny wooden boat for my father, and I wrote another letter (I already gave a letter into the coffin). Then I burnt it and let it go into a little pond “like the Vikings did.” It was a good ritual that helped me to cope with the shocking crematorium one.
Rituals Help You Release and Reflect
In our modern times, rituals are still valuable and soothing. Find your sentimental objects: if they are digital, print them out and release them to the flame, or you can verbally release your old flame and watch them go back into the spirit - into the whole. Thank your guides for having had a love experience and tell them you are free to move on. Fire is powerful way to let go because it transmutes objects from one state to another. It is metaphoric – destroying one thing, so something else can bloom and grow.
Other items you might sell with the intention of letting go of the past – you don’t own them anymore! Or you can sell them and do something good with the profits, like making a donation.
Rituals can really help you release anything that you'd like let go of so you can finally be free of it.
If we want to let go of something, or decide something, or change something, a ritual helps us create a new commitment for ourselves. Take some time for yourself and think about what a good ritual for you would look like.
You can do prayers. You can mentally pack a bag with all the old stuff and give it to a place you like.
Creating rituals to help let go is very therapeutic. What do you want to pray for? Maybe you would rather do a guided meditation to find a good ritual for you.
No matter what situation you’re currently facing, don’t fix yourself in isolation. Talk to others and try to speak out what you think you need to let go.
Whatever is right for you – will be right!
Whatever you want to let go of? Let – It - Go!
Finally, for myself - as my dad died some days ago now, R.I.P. Dad. I will keep you in my heart, and can let go a little knowing my Viking-inspired ritual brought a necessary peace that was lacking after the crematorium.
As for you, I’d like to help you during your “letting go” process, too. Reach out – let’s talk! Book an appointment or come to our retreat “Letting Go” on the Isle of Wight, where we will have the time and the space to deal with your topics and we will offer a program brimming with professional, warmhearted, loving support; beautiful tools and methodologies, including ancient rituals, meditations, EFT (emotional freedom tapping strategies), and much more. You can work on your issues while being supported and guided in an uplifting community.
Take care – embrace and live your luminous and uplifting life, because YOU matter!