MINDFULNESS & GRIEF PODCAST EPISODE 11
Walking With Our Loved Ones
Mindful Ways to Remember and Stay Connected After Loss
With Laurie Cameron
In the eleventh episode of the Mindfulness & Grief Podcast, I interview Laurie Cameron, author of The Mindful Day, founder of Purpose Blue, and certified meditation teacher. She shares mindful ways we can navigate the emotions that accompany grief, reconnect with ourselves, and continue to relate to the people in our lives that we mourn. Learn more about Laurie Cameron and join her community at at http://www.lauriejcameron.com.
Grief can make us feel like our loved ones have been ripped from our life. It can also make us feel like we are no longer even sure of who we are now that this great loss has occurred. And while it is true that our loved ones are no longer physically present in the same way they were before, and we often yearn for them to be back by our side, the relationship continues. Just in a very different way. How often to we think of the imprint someone we loved has left on our heart? Or imagine what they would have thought, done or said as we gaze at a new child, get our first acceptance letter, or learn how to drive a car.
One of the things we can to do help ourselves navigate grief is to relearn how to connect with our self and our departed ancestors and loved ones. It is important for us to find a way to continue our story, even though the plot-line has changed dramatically. Mindfulness can help with that, and Laurie Cameron has some compassionate insights and practices that can help us do both.
I first found out about Laurie Cameron when my Local Book Store, Curious Iguana, asked me to introduce her at a book signing event for her new release, The Mindful Day. The book itself is designed to help you weave mindfulness into your normal, everyday life, even as you commute, go to work, and interact with friends and family. A lovely premise in and of itself, and the book is well written and a fun read. But what really drew me to the book is her story of love and loss, that is offered right up front in the introduction. And what draws me to her is the way she relates to her losses, and to her life.
Laurie is no stranger to loss. She witnessed her father’s death by heart attack when she was a junior in high school. About fifteen years later, she became a student of Thich Nhat Hahn, the beloved Vietnamese Monk.
I started going on retreats and deepening my practice and when I was nine months pregnant with my only child, Ava Grace, my brother Johnny suddenly died. Within the space of three weeks, I lost Johnny and experienced the most searing grief I'd ever known. And then at the same time, the most exquisite joy I've ever experienced. So I had the depth of the love both ends of the continuum mixed together.
Later, her other brother died, followed by her mother just seven years ago. Laurie uses her mindfulness practice, as well as practices to help her stay connected to her loved ones to cope with an overwhelming amount of personal loss. She uses what we often call embodied mindfulness to pay attention to the physical signs that a wave of grief is about to arises:
So by practicing over time tuning into my body, just really having a sense of the somatic signals or the body signals I can feel the grief coming or the sadness coming and then I, and then I can do something about it. So often what I would do is just simply breathe or take a walk. I love being in nature really grounds me and almost nourishes me like a mother Earth Hug. So really what I've experienced is that a step one is accessing an inner calm. That doesn't mean that I'm pushing away the emotion or denying it or avoiding it. It's just almost like an oxygen mask on myself. Just feeling the breath tuning into my body and just allowing myself, meeting myself with kindness in that moment and just generating calm. And then mindfulness helped me to relate to my experience with kind of a wider perspective.
Despite the great losses she has faced, Laurie herself is still very much fully alive and awake to this one precious life:
These losses continue to remind me of the beauty and the fragility of life. And I also really deeply appreciate my mindfulness practice in helping me navigate that.
I am grateful for the wisdom Laurie shares with us in this podcast. I hope you find her words as helpful as I do!
For more with Laurie, visit her blog article "Turning Attention to Love".