Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Grief Project - Slowing Down, Changing Priorities, and Making Space

Oops!  Sorry didn't post yesterday for those of you paying attention.

There was rhyme to my reason and the reason being, I'm slowing it down and changing priorities.  No, I'm still going to post during every weekly column, Sundays at Grandma's, Letters to Nora, Inspirational Bereaved Parent (when stories are in), and of course The Grief Project.  But on other days I may or may not post.

It's all part of making room for the things that matter.  Two weeks ago I was irritable, overwhelmed and completely unhappy in some ways.  I felt trapped in my job, between social responsibilities, and doing what I really want--to start a book, to Write & Teach!

So one afternoon in the hammock Nick and I made an "Ingredients for joy and meaning list" from one of Brene Browns suggested exercises in her book, The Gifts of Imperfections. Now this is not a "bucket list" or "in the future goals", but what just brings us PURE JOY.   And we came up with really boring stuff:
  1. Spending time with each other
  2. Writing
  3. Relaxing
  4. Spending time with family and friends...
But boring turned out to be good!

After looking at the list, we realized we needed to create space for the real stuff that brought joy and get rid of the things that brought "perceived joy" (what we thought would bring us happiness but really sucked us dry of energy.)

So two weeks ago I simplified; quit the second job, turned down the new job offer that would have been more money with more stress, took the teaching job I always wanted, and finally made a commitment to slowing down and making space for joy.

So I'm opening up room for space - space to write for my blog and the book I'm starting, making room for family and relaxation, making room for healing, making room for growth, and in doing this I'm making room for life...allowing whatever it brings to to open up and bloom inside me.

I didn't plan on doing this in my grief project, but it just happened out of necessity.  I think making space, making room for a change in priorities, and slowing down are necessary parts of the healing process.  One that has made me a little bit happier in my grief.

Resources & Activities

I would suggest reading Brene Brown's book The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You're Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Really Are.  It's not about grieving.  She is a 'shame' researcher, but she talks a lot about whole-hearted living and vulnerability.  Both of which I have been searching for in my grief.  She also has great TEDTalks and I recommend you watch her one on vulnerability first, which is below.

Finding Happiness is important during grief.  It's difficult to do and I have started by trying to identify my moments of joy while grieving with Instagram pictures.  You can follow me here if you like and do the same.  My hashtag is #joygrief. 

My quest for happiness in grief started in the early days of my grieving process when I read The Happiness Project, by Gretchen Rubin.  I still suggest her book because I believe that carving out space for grieving is an important way of making room to allow joy in my life.  If you haven't read it yet, it might help lighten your grief. After all,  she was the inspiration for my Grief Project

Finally, I would suggest trying Brene Brown's exercise of "Ingredients for joy and meaning list" to help you find joy and meaning even in your dark times of grief.


  1. I recently made the decision to do a similar thing...I was called to nurture my introversion, study things already learned, read, write, be I started saying, "No," to a variety of things...and when I did said "yes" it was because whatever I said yes to pushed me more toward the needs of my heart. It feels amazing. I have more energy and I am happier! Thank you for sharing your experience. Namaste.

  2. Lindsey, so interesting that this is what you posted about, when I've been mulling over similar things the past few days, since my last grief counseling appointment. She asked me what I valued in my life, since I'm starting to feel that need to make space for other things, too. I haven't started a list yet like you and Nick did (though I do love lists)... just opening myself up to things that might surface.
    Burning Eye

    1. Thanks for the support! Oh, and love that you are writing for Glow in the Woods. Keep up the good work.

      Lindsey Henke

  3. Lindsey,
    I love that you are listening to your heart and focusing on the things that can bring a glimpse of joy to your days. I love that this will give you the time and opportunity to do things that are meaningful to you. And, as always, I love the help and example you are giving to others who are grieving. You are a strong and amazing gal.

    1. Thanks for the support and compliment.

      Lindsey Henke


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