Being present with grief

Harrison Ford is such a perfect actor for the part. It’s been a few years since his Indian Jones days, and he’s still an incredible actor. In Apple TV’s “Shrinking,” Ford plays a seasoned therapist alongside Jessica Williams and Jason Segel. 

They’re an interesting trio, mostly self-aware, and like us, so very human. While they each have very different lives and personalities, each is navigating or trying to navigate a loss. 

Most of us don’t like feeling sad. Long ago, I spun a story that no one likes a sad girl. That story evolved over time, and in positive psychology, I learned the art of reframing to see the growth opportunities and wisdom to be gained. While it’s a solid strategy to implement over time, I often skipped over the necessary grieving stage, thinking I could fast-track my way back to happiness. 

Positive psychology is not about techniques to always feel good and a ticket to bypass grief. It’s the ability to recognize and embrace the whole kaleidoscope of emotions, be present with them all, and trust that they will eventually cycle through. 

In Martin Prechtel’s book, The Smell of Dust on Rain, he shares stories about the past ways that people grieved in community, supported and held tightly until the griever could be steady on their feet again. This is a form of presence for each other. He also shares that grief is a form of praise.

“Grief expressed out loud, whether in or out of character, unchoreographed and honest, for someone we have lost, or a country or home we have lost, is in itself the greatest praise we could ever give them. 

Grief is praise because it is the natural way love honors what it misses.

Grief and praise make us alive. “

Honoring what we miss can be a balm for our grief. 

In “Shrinking,” Ford’s character suggests a 15-minute ‘stop-and-cry’ technique for those struggling with grief. While this is TV land, his process has some validity with some variations. 

The takeaway? Embracing your grief is a courageous act of presence for yourself.

I am sending love and courage to all of you who are grieving. 

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