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  • Kitty Edwards

Of ritual, grief and loss

Grief is a response to loss.

When disaster strikes – death of a loved one, divorce, loss of home, safety or security – our brain is overloaded and our energies are depleted by the emotional trauma.

Current research indicates that our brains are conditioned to predict the future. When there is a loss, the brain struggles to make sense of the loss. It keeps predicting that things will be as they were before the loss. This causes us to yearn, regret, and revisit the trauma over and over.

Grief can distort memory, disrupt decision-making and the speed we process information.

Living with loss and working with grief is a process of being present to ourselves and re-awakening our connections to our internal energies and the world around us.

We process grief when we utilize all of our energetic capacities. This requires that we activate our three powerful energy centers located in the frontal lobe, the chest and the belly.

The energy center of the brain uses logic and reason to develop wisdom by gathering information. The brain also has the capacity to dream.

The grieving brain is overloaded.

Creative projects, mindfulness practices and simple cloud watching restore the smooth flow of energy of the brain. It takes will to reestablish peace in a grieving brain.

When I use the term “will” I mean that we have a choice. Our choices often require courage and trust in ourselves.

The energy center of the heart is empowered by our ability to love others in relationship to how we love ourselves.

The grieving heart may be burdened with sadness, loneliness, judgement or anger. It is important to recognize each emotion as it arises, honor it, and use rituals – heart centered breath work, prayer, song – to restore homeostasis.

In your heart center we use our will to love ourselves. This is not sentimental love. This is agape love or munay love. This is how you might love your enemy.

The energy center of the belly is our most powerful source of vitality. This is the place from which we find the will to act in the world. The belly is most connected to the resources of the earth.

When we are grieving we need to stoke the fire of the belly. Intentional somatic practices, walks in nature, and rituals that stimulate the vagus nerve can help us move from grief to gratitude in all three of our energy centers.

You don’t have to wait for an emotional trauma to begin your practice of processing grief. In fact, it is most helpful to have personal practices and rituals in place for the times to come.

Wishing you joy in this time of sorrow,


Boulder, Colorado

We Will Rebuild Together


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