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How To Own Joy After Loss

Lissa Rankin's picture


Me and Trish Rankin (Mom), Owning Joy After Loss

Me and Trish Rankin (Mom), Owning Joy After Loss



For those of you who are intrigued about the Owning Joy After Loss workshop I'm facilitating this weekend, I thought I'd share a few tips with you. If you just lost someone or something precious, it’s almost impossible to imagine that you might one day Own Joy. But trust me. It’s in there somewhere. How can you facilitate the process of finding it? Whether you’ve lost your job, your house, your marriage, your health, or a loved one, these little nuggets will help.

  1. First off, don’t skip grieving. You can’t possibly hopscotch straight past loss to Joy. But you don’t have to wait years to experience Joy again. When you feel it bubbling up within you, embrace it.
  2. Realize that being joyful does not undermine your loss. Don’t make your life a testament to what you’ve lost. You’re not proving anything (that you’re right, that you loved dearly, or that you deserve attention) by staying stuck in your story.
  3. Take a gratitude walk. Get outside, walk around, and think about what makes you feel grateful. Count your small blessings. Maybe you’re grateful for the purple lupine or the cottonwood that makes the air feel alive. Perhaps you’re grateful you no longer have to sort your loved one’s laundry. Maybe, by losing someone you love, you’re free to follow your own dreams, after being a caretaker. Look for the opportunity hidden in your loss, and don’t judge yourself.
  4. Make sure you get enough sleep. Grieving is hard work, and it’s hard to feel joyful when stress is keeping you up at night. If you can’t sleep, seek professional help.
  5. Try Laughter Yoga. Yes, such a thing really exists. We know that laughter is good for us, but who feels like laughing when you’re feeling sad? Laughter yoga is a combination of yoga breathing exercises (pranayama), childlike playfulness, and laughter. It’s based on the notion that your body can’t tell the difference between real laughter and fake laughter. In other words, fake it ‘til you make it. Chances are, you’ll feel so silly, genuine laughter will follow. Stay tuned for Mojo Monday this week- it’ll be all about Laughter Yoga.
  6. Be creative. Sometimes, creative expression can put you in touch with healing energy you didn't even know you had. We made our monsters in our workshop today, and everyone was shocked what came pouring out with nothing but a piece of paper and a few magic markers.

    Drawing our monsters

    Drawing our monsters

  7. Surround yourself with people that bring out the best in you and allow you to feel exactly what you feel. These people are precious. They will hold the space for you when you feel sad and need support. And they will share your joy when you find it.
  8. After a reasonable amount of time has passed (during which you get to cry whenever you damn well want to), set aside time to grieve- but don’t allow yourself to wallow. Maybe every Wednesday is wailing Wednesdays, when you get to sob uncontrollably all day long. But when Thursday rolls around, brush yourself off and give yourself permission to experience Joy. Go bowling. Watch a funny movie. Meet your friends for a lunch date. Pick wildflowers in a field. Don’t let your loss define your entire existence.
  9. Get outside and exercise. If you can’t get motivated, ask someone else to make you accountable.
  10. Do something silly. Play on the swings like you’re five again. Stand on your hands and have someone take a picture of you. Paint your toenails green. Get your face painted. Shoot silly string at your best friend when she isn’t expecting it. Dance when nobody else is dancing. It’s okay. People know you’re grieving, so your friends will give you a long leash.

    Barbara, Joanie, and Trish, Owning Joy After Loss

    Barbara, Joanie, and Trish, Owning Joy After Loss

  11. Check out the website created by Pink Posse member Christa Scalies, Giggle On. Christa’s whole mission with her website is to help people overcome loss by finding their Joy. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry. You’ll find yourself doing yoga breathing on a whoopee cushion. I swear, you’ll love it.
  12. Find a spiritual community to support you. If you’re not a church-goer, try a yoga class, a spiritual dance experience, or a dharma talk.
  13. Eat well. When you’re grieving, it’s easy to lose the motivation to prepare healthy food, so it’s easy to let your health slide. Joy will be hard to find if you’re ill. Take care of YOU.
  14. Make a date to get out of your home at least once a week. Schedule friends that will pick you up and be playful with you.
  15. Play happy music. Leave it on in your car. Keep a mix CD in your CD player. Make a happy Pink Playlist for your Ipod. Listen to it whenever you can.
  16. Remember, pain is inevitable. Suffering is optional. Choose Joy instead.

    Barbara, Carol, Joanie, Trish, and Kathy with their monsters at the Owning Joy After Loss workshop

    Barbara, Carol, Joanie, Trish, and Kathy with their monsters at the Owning Joy After Loss workshop

What works for you, Pinkies? How do you Own Joy After Loss?

With love from the Owning Joy After Loss workshop in Ohio,

Lissa

Comments

Lissa Rankin's picture

Amen, Mommy!

Amen, Mommy!

Trish's picture

I just found this. What a

I just found this. What a great wrap-up to our weekend! Although we did some creative soul searching, writing and crying, we laughed, played, had a silly lunch where we decorated ourselves with ribbons and pipe cleaners, did Giggle Therapy( Yoga Laughter) and sang ridiculous songs at the top of our lungs, lakeside where passing boats stared in awe (likely thinking we were drunk-no alcohol served!)After losing Daddy I desperately needed to laugh so I watched only funny movies or a safe TV series. It helped. So Ladies! Get out there and laugh. I guarantee it will help offset those Wailing Wednesdays ( mine were Tragic Tuesdays but no matter. Healing comes, if we allow it!

Lissa Rankin's picture

Oh good, Paty and Maria. I'm

Oh good, Paty and Maria. I'm so glad it helps. Baby steps....

MARIA LUCERO's picture

this is great i just found it

this is great i just found it and i definitely will keep looking at it thanks maria

Paty Weinrich's picture

Just loved this and will

Just loved this and will share this with my neighbor who just lost her dear husband. Please keep me posted.

Paty

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