Can you have grief without gratitude?

According to the 5-element theory, the metal element and the season of autumn are associated with the emotion of grief. This is related to the idea of letting go, as the organs connected to this season are the lungs and large intestine – the organs of elimination within our body.

Grief is a big emotion and if it becomes stuck in our bodies it can create a lot of problems, preventing us from moving forwards in our lives and ultimately causing us to stagnate. But it doesn’t always have to relate to the loss of a loved one, although this is when most of us encounter the emotion of grief.

The feeling can be just as powerful when your favourite mug falls to the ground and becomes smashed; or someone eats the last slice of that delicious homemade cake; or even when you can’t buy your favourite tea anymore because it’s been discontinued.

These are all examples of times we might feel grief. I’m not saying that the loss of a loved one is equivalent to someone eating the last piece of cake, but the underlying concept is the same – change.

At this time of the year, we can be confronted by unresolved grief, and a quick look outside is enough to realise that nature itself is encouraging us to let go. As the energy draws back down, drying the leaves and causing them to fall from the trees, we are left with the promise of a new bloom come next spring. It’s a cycle and one that we might become more aware of at this time of year.

There are plenty of ways we can move forwards from grief, one suggestion is through the practice of gratitude. I’d like to think that gratitude and grief are two sides of the one coin.

Instead of grieving the mug or the last piece of cake, we might focus on feeling grateful for the person who gave us the mug or whomever baked the cake. Why not start a gratitude practice – each night before turning the light off write down 3 things you are grateful for from the day. You should aim to have 3 different things each day and use this as an opportunity to seek out the positive in your everyday life.

Next week I will have 3 Yin Yoga poses to help you deal with grief