A strategy for dealing with a difficult event or unhealthy thought process is to examine it from different angles or from an outside-yourself perspective. Some call this the “Multiple Perspective Advantage.” Reframing and renaming the stressor can help one to deal with it in a more healthy manner. One vlogger who was undergoing chemotherapy renamed the agent often referred to as “The Red Devil” to something that sounded more therapeutic to her: “Liquid Sunshine.” Having done things like these, I can say that they do help.
Grief is a tough animal. It is one that in my opinion, does not completely go away. It may disappear for a while only to reappear when least expected. Perhaps more positively, it is something experienced, worked on, then packaged and placed in a special room of our minds. We can take it out at another time to be experienced a little differently based on what is happening in life. We work on it, repackage and store it once again. Perhaps at some point it has been worked on enough not to re-emerge, but it remains a part of us. In the case of the loss of a loved one, I feel that the grief only fades over time, enough for us to go on. It is not truly healed until we are reunited once again after death.
Grief also occurs with painful conditions, with losses of identity, of physical prowess, of abilities and of changes in our bodies. I was talking with my cousin Susan, a trained Spiritual Director. She listened quietly as I sadly told her about my inability to ride horses anymore. There is truly nothing like riding a horse. Thoroughbreds are unique with their long-stridden walk, excited energy and incredibly fast gallops. Dressage work which engages a horse’s body, collects the quarters to the point where the horse can trot or canter at a standstill or in a pirouette…it’s magical. Jumping streams and ditches, galloping Hunters downhill and bounding over hedges and post-and-rail fences is exhilarating. I really cannot risk even walking on horseback anymore because one mis-step could severely damage my spinal cord. I know that I am so lucky to have had the experiences I had. But I still miss it.
Susan listened quietly. She said at first that she didn’t know what to say, not having experienced any of these things. “I’m just listening and I’m praying as you speak.” After a while she said thoughtfully, “You know, horses were so important in your life, but I never saw you ride. In my mind, though, I can see you riding a different horse. This one is taking you now to different places in your life. It’s like a spiritual horse. Different, but perhaps just as beautiful.” I loved the thought, and quite honestly it has helped me immensely. I journaled about it and strove to visualize this beautiful animal. Since she is spiritual, of course she can fly and is not bound by physical laws. I have had fun with this and it has been healing. I named her “Grace.”
I hope that you might persevere in trying different strategies. Sometimes when it seems we’ve tried everything, and we’re ready to throw in the towel, we are graced with a new and helpful perspective.
Yes, Grace you are.
I name you.
White as the brightest sun,
Limbs strong and muscled,
Mane and tail flowing
As you carry me to places
I could not otherwise go.
You help to complete me.
You are a gift
Lent by a Warrior Angel
To carry me through dark times,
Through pain and loss,
Galloping over hills and fences
To the greenest fields.
A Warrior’s Horse,
You know no fear,
Your training was the finest.
I can trust you, and God who created you
For me, for now…
Until the day you carry me through the veil
To life everlasting.
We’ll say goodbye then,
Forehead to forehead.
No tears, as there are none in heaven.
My heart will be full as you turn
To gallop back through the veil,
Back to Earth
To the next soul in need of you.