While the holidays are often the time of practicing gratitude for your blessings, they can also be a time of grief—grief around loved ones no longer with us, grief around change in circumstances, and grief around losses in our lives. In this week’s newsletter, Elisabeth Becker, one of our own last year’s LDT graduates and a transformational coach, shares how grief and gratitude can be intricately connected. 

I am loving this month’s 30-day gratitude challenge here at COR. Specifically, I am grateful for all the loss and grief I’ve experienced in my life. I bet you don’t hear that one very much.

Gratitude and grief aren’t combined together very often, especially in our US Culture. Most people associate grief with sadness, pain, and suffering. While these are key aspects of grief, it is not the full range of what grief embodies. Grief is a full spectrum process revealing many aspects of our relationship to loss. In fact, it is the death of things, or the impermanence, that can spark the desire to be present for each moment and realize the preciousness of life.

Grief is a buildup of love with no place to go. Grief is the heart’s way of honoring what it has lost. Grief arises when we lose someone or something. What also arises is gratitude and love for the experiences and connections that have come to an end.

There’s a part of us that focuses on the pain of our loss, the unfulfilled dreams, the failures, and heartbreak. There’s also a part of us that reflects on the gold and the lessons learned from our losses and life transitions. Sometimes the pain and suffering are all that we are present to. By practicing the action of being grateful and being willing to find something to be thankful for, we can bring lightness into the dark.  A gratitude practice can have us truly live each day as if it’s our last.

Sometimes though, the truth is, we might need to fake it until we actually feel it. When we are in pain, we are pulled to only notice the things that bring us down or match our internal negativity. By choosing to notice the positive, we magnify the positive emotions. This practice can be the thing that takes us out of surviving and back into living and leading with our heart and our healthy self. From here, we can hold the darkness and the light. From here, we can heal the pain of our deepest wounds. Without the light, we get stuck in the dark or the depression. We need the levity to open our hearts again and let the natural cycle of grief and gratitude take its course. Grief and letting go is part of the divine recipe for healing.

With that said, more often than not, grief is avoided and only experienced in isolation. One of the biggest reasons people are not facing their grief or sharing it with others is because often times it’s tied to traumatic life experiences that are difficult to be with. Leaning into grief and allowing ourselves to let go is not easy and takes a tremendous amount of courage, guidance, and support. There is a part of our ego structure that is doing everything it can to protect us from feeling that pain ever again. The irony is, the more that we avoid this pain and push grief away, it only prolongs the suffering and delays the healing.

I have personally experienced a good amount of loss over the past 7 years. I lost my mother to cancer in 2010, and since then I’ve lost 10 family members and friends to a variety of illnesses and tragic events. These losses have been the biggest challenge and the biggest gift. It is now clear to me that I have been put on this earth to be a student of grief and practice bravely letting go again and again. My mission is to be a catalyst for love and provide safe spaces for inner growth and healing, as a portal to connect with Spirit and expand inner peace.

Below are a few lessons I learned about grief and love that I’d like to share with you:

1. Saying yes to the pain of grief is saying yes to the expansion of love. We deserve more love. This happens if we follow the thread of grief to its core and allow our brilliant body to release and free it, letting go completely. This clears us out to be able to give and receive love again. It guides us to your essential goodness within.

2. When we hold onto grief, it doesn’t go away and it cannot be avoided. It is a natural response to loss that is meant to move through and be freed. It is not ours to hold onto. The longer we wait to feel it, the longer we are waiting to be open to love. There is a still place inside that already knows how to grieve and heal, it just needs permission. We are not alone. This is a universal experience. This is the human condition. This is the natural cycle of life.

3. The more that we are willing to share vulnerably with others and be witnessed in our grief, the more we are contributing to healing ourselves and the world. It is a particularly important time in the current state of affairs to seek out safe spaces to intentionally turn toward our grief and let it go. Change is happening and now more than ever we need each and every one of our individual lights to be shining as bright as possible in order to live and lead in love.

Thank you for reading and thank you for the unique gifts that you bring to the world. If you are interested in finding out more about my work with grief, including a  grief workshop coming up this Saturday, please feel free to visit my website

We are honored to have someone as powerful as Elisabeth as a part of our COR community. If the holidays bring up grief for you, we invite you to let it open you to even more love, to open up to gratitude for the experiences in your life, and to reach out if you need support.

Let us know how this dynamic of grief and gratitude is landing for you personally. We are always happy to hear from you.

Sending you so much love,
Elisabeth and the COR team