WHAT ABOUT GRIEF?
When I was about ten at our local Catholic primary school, we began every day praying on our knees behind our desks. One morning we were asked to pray for ‘Polly’ and her family as her mother had died the night before. I still remember looking over at her thinking, I didn’t even know that could happen; and then wondering how she could look so normal when something so terrible had happened to her.
I didn’t know then that I’d later spend many years of my life coming to terms with something terrible that happened in our family and working out how to recover my balance. I had similar thoughts; I didn’t even really know this could happen to us; and how will things ever be normal again?
My understanding of grief has grown across my lifetime, with the loss of a number of loved ones, particularly the loss of my husband. During Paul’s short but terrifying illness we spent a lot of time with doctors. While we were grateful to science and medicine, traditional Western pathways divide us into tiny segments and many treatments focussed only on quantitative measures of this and that. However, behind the statistics was a whole person – body, mind, spirit, relationships, identity etc: and we explored a number of wisdom traditions and practices to support healing.
I still regularly practise many of these myself and teach them to others in therapy and in workshops; integrating cultural and spiritual practices as they prove useful to me and to others.
What I’ve discovered and what I help my clients explore is that:
- Grief is both highly personal and universal;
- Grief can affect every part of us;
- Unresolved grief from the past appears in the present.
- Healing is possible.
My latest book, From Grief to Healing: A holistic guide to rebuilding body, mind and spirit after loss, has just been published by Llewellyn Worldwide in hardback and kindle versions. It was important to me that the book was lovely to hold and look at; and that the information could be easily accessed. I want it to be a comfort and a guide.
Each chapter focuses on one aspect of the experience of grief and loss, exploring its nature and its limits to better understand what may be happening within us. It uses that same lens to identify some pathways for healing.
- Invited – the reality of grief and the need for healing
- Bereaved – the impact of grief and loss
- Heartened – the emotions of grief and healing
- Reminded – the thoughts of grief and healing
- Embodied – the symptoms of grief and healing
- Spirited – the energy of grief and healing
- Connected – the relationships of grief and healing
- Accompanied – the experience of children in grief & healing
- Remembered – the rituals of grief and healing
- Transformed – the wisdom of grief and healing.
In addition to information and personal insights about the topic, all chapters use a common set of practices to assist:
- Chakras – focus energy for awareness and intention;
- Affirmations – focus self-talk for assurance and hope;
- Journal – focus expression for healing;
- Meditation – focus the mind for calm and clarity;
- Movement – focus the body for grounding and flow;
- Essential oils – focus the whole system for healing;
- Ritual – focus daily experience for healing.
The spiralling nature of my personal grief prompted me to look deeper and wider to find those things that might help. This understanding expanded through my Metavision training in process-oriented psychology and has been deepened through my work as a counsellor and coach. This book draws on all of these experiences to support those who are grieving.
I’ve come to see that that because loss and grief are fundamental human experiences that affect all parts of us, we have much to learn from each other – things that may ease our burden and offer hope. From Grief to Healing is my offering into that space.
There is more information about the book, including a recent podcast interview on Just Ask Spirit at https://www.amandamackenzie.com.au/books.html#/
In 2008 I established Dragonfly Consulting & Coaching after leaving a long career as a teacher and educational leader. I worked as an executive coach and facilitator of quality conversations for individuals and groups around vision, strategy, culture and capability building. Since graduating from Metavision in 2015 I also work as a holistic counsellor and psychotherapist. When I began that work I used to try and keep my practice in two parts; those who had come for coaching and those who’d come for counselling. Of course, it was a false and short-lived dichotomy and I now work with clients in an integrated way and use various modalities and tools to support them.
I have previously self-published two titles for those who want to learn to coach others in the workplace; and for school leaders who wish to have more influential conversations. My gratitude card set is for everyone.
- POWERFUL COACHING: Tips and Tools (2014) with S Adams & M Darcy
- SCHOOLTALK: Conversation protocols & resources for school leaders and teachers. (2019)
- GRATITUDE CARDS. (2016)
Two of my other joys are singing blues and jazz in a band; and a little vintage shop I share with a friend. Life is good.