Salve for Broken Hearts

Leigh Harris MS, LPC, NCC, CCTP • Contact Leigh  @relatecounsel

After the recent tragedy in Uvalde, Texas, a lot of us are feeling sad, angry, overwhelmed, anxious, frustrated and powerless. With the loss of lives due to mass shootings, on top of the pandemic, global war and economic hardships, our hearts are hurting. Collective grief is when we all experience loss together. Grief is a complex process and these are powerful emotions. It's important we have healthy ways to deal with them. If we don't transform our pain, we will transmit it, but that only increases the pain and separation we feel. But how do we transform pain?

Kintsuji, pictured above, is a Japanese form of art in which broken pottery is repaired with gold or silver lacquer, which repairs and transforms the piece into something more beautiful for having been broken. We can use this to
help us heal ourselves and the world around us by creating beauty from the broken pieces.

• Creating through writing, journaling, music, painting, planting, cooking, arts and crafts and building helps us to release the pressure of emotions and express what we are feeling.
• Share what we are feeling. "Grief shared is grief divided." Reach out to others. Being in a community with others is the antidote to the loneliness and isolation that accompanies grief.
• Many people who are grieving experience peace in nature. Planting, walking, being with animals, feeling the sun, wind, and rain, hearing birds and engaging in spiritual practices and meditation help us feel connected, find beauty around us, quiet our minds, and is calming and soothing.
• While loss is universal, grieving is very personal and unique. Because of this, people grieve differently and on their own schedules. Be gentle with yourself and others.
• On my own journey of grief, when I am feeling overwhelmed by sadness and pain, I try to find gratitude. Maybe it's a beautiful day. Maybe it's a call or text from a friend. Or being with a loved one. Work that's rewarding. A sweet nuzzle from a pet. Gratitude is healing.

"In times of stress, the best thing we can do for ourselves and each other is to listen with our ears and our hearts and to be assured that our questions are just as important as our answers." - Fred Rogers

Photo credit: Tea bowl fixed in the Kintsuji method, public domain (Wikimedia)

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