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Living Gracefully With Uncertainty and Change (#2)

By: Cara Barth

In my first discussion of this series titled “Living Gracefully with Uncertainty and Change”, I presented an “Introduction to the Process” where I explained, “Everyone goes through the seasons of life” as well as the fact, “Change is the only certainty.”  As we progress into this next discussion, let me share a thought on how one might gather tools to go through transitional chaos and come out with foundational clarity. One major tool for success is gathering information, “Knowledge = Strength”. The more we understand a process, the more empowered we feel!

Knowledge of the Phases: If someone dies or leaves us, we lose a job, a friend, a pet, change careers or another large part of our life is disrupted, we experience loss. Grief is the healing process our subconscious uses to help us “re-adjust” to life altering changes or transitions. Individuals enter into these transitional cycles and spend some time bouncing from feeling to feeling until we reach a point of acceptance and re-adjustment. However, one thing to understand is that there is no particular order to this process. As we move in and out of the cycles, before reorganization and recovery occurs, we must be kind to ourselves, and here enters the “maître” or grace that was spoken of earlier in our previous discussion. Simply put, grace must first and foremost be gifted to ourselves, and then it can flow out to others whom are present in the shifting seasons of our life.

There are many theories and explanations of the grief cycle. I have found through my own experiences, research, study of many sources and reading books such as Dan Moseley’s  Lose-Love-Live, there are “Six Transitional Grief Patterns” that hold true and are foundational:

1: Loss/”Pain” → 2: Shock/”Anger” → 3: Protest/”Remembering” → 4: Disorganization/”Guilt”

→ 5: Reorganization/”Forgiving” → 6: Recovery/”Gratitude”

As I stated earlier, these are not “defined” transitions, but touch points where we can explore the losses through knowing we are not alone in our process and finding grace in the growing pains each place holds. Nick Hornby described this well in his book A Long Way Down when he said;

“Hard is trying to rebuild yourself, piece by piece with no instruction book, and no clue as to where all the important bits are supposed to go….The outward manifestations of an inner combustion are never very directed.”

Strength in Process: As hard as this might all seem, take heart my friends, for the Lord created us to be beings that can survive hardship. He has placed deep inside each of us coping skills which allow healing in a productive way, IF we allow ourselves to take the faith steps needed to do so through each grief phase as it arises. Each cycle can teach us about whom we truly are and what we will become in our next season.

Because of limited time and space, a detailed conversation around each of the “Six Transitional Grief Patterns” will occur throughout the next few weeks. As I close this discussion around the phases of loss, I pray you feel more enlightened and empowered.

I will leave you with a final thought….

“The path is the goal. The source of our wisdom is whatever is going to happen to us today. What we do accumulates; the future is the result of what we do right now. When we find ourselves in a mess, we don’t have to feel guilty about it. Instead, we could reflect on the fact that how we relate to this mess will be sowing seeds of how we will relate to whatever happens next. We can make ourselves miserable, or we can make ourselves strong.”

Pema Chödrön, When Things Fall Apart – Heart Advice for Difficult Times: 

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