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Grief, Loss, Intense Sorrow
and Almost Unfathomable Pain
Childhood and youth can be stressful times for anyone, but the struggle with dyslexia can rob kids of their childhood and replace it with heavy fears and concerns. The journey into adulthood is colored by critical beliefs that limit joy and life force and keep triggering trauma and low self esteem. Sadness, loss and anger are constantly in the background. There is often deep grief and loss around having been let down and not getting the support one should have had, and for many missed opportunities at school or work. This grief runs deeply into the heart, and the pain of so many losses can be almost unfathomable.
Because dyslexia runs in families, a child’s difficulties may trigger a dyslexic parent’s trauma. As a result of their own trauma being triggered, a dyslexic parent may struggle through their own loss to help their child, and their feelings may be further compounded by guilt. If their children succeed in ways a dyslexic parent did not have the support or opportunity to do, the parent’s joy at their child’s successes can be mixed with a deep grief around the loss of what they missed themselves.
Help On The Quest:
Our life force is unstoppable, and yet sometimes it meets an immovable object. Your life force consists of things like your particular gifts, interests, vitality, creativity, humor, curiosity, uniqueness and ability to love and be loved. Immovable objects are those things beyond your control, especially when you are a child. Immovable objects that many kids experience are divorce, the death of someone close, bullying, moving a lot and leaving people behind, mean teachers, as well as abuse of any kind. As a dyslexic you have your own brand of immovable objects if your schooling does not fit your needs and has been a journey of peril and endurance instead of expression and learning.
When adults don’t explain things to kids so they understand what is happening, when they don’t help kids when they need it, or when they blame kids for what is out of their control the pain that kids experience is equivalent to the pain of breaking a bone. I mean that literally—the brain processes those kinds of emotional misses as though a bone has broken. And yet children are often left alone with that pain and have to make sense of their experience in order to not go crazy. Unaided, the sense kids make is that something is wrong with them and that whatever happened is their fault. They then put away their life force—their creativity, joy, humor, self esteem—and are left with precious little comfort for unbearable aches. They begin to see life through the lens of the error messages they adopted to make sense of things (“There’s something wrong with me,” “I’m not smart,” ‘It’s dangerous to be seen.”) Their unstoppable life force has run aground on the immovable object.
The good news is that your life force is waiting for you to let it flow again. But first the ache must be tended to. What is involved in healing when the heart aches so? Part of the answer involves being present with the ache—to actually let your heart be pierced, to feel the pain and let it move through you. We contract through difficulties, but when we learn to be kindly present with our experience, when we re-open we do so with more strength and creativity. We find new vision and surprises that we never even dreamed existed.
Another part of the answer to working with the ache involves the kind hearts of others who can remind you of your gifts, offer you dignity, and who can guide you step by step through the process of feeling and moving through the heartache instead of putting it away. Because if you put the ache away, you also put your life force away and stay contracted.
Many parts of your being may do everything they can to keep you away from the ache, saying it is best to avoid it. But learning to actually be present with it, especially in a one-step-at-a-time way with a caring, understanding guide, can lead to a huge transformation. Dyslexics often have learned to be invisible and to not ask for help. Yet how we learn as children, and how we heal as adults—how we are wired biologically—is to share our sorrows and joys with kind, understanding, consistent people.
- What was once only the neural path of remembered pain transforms into . . .
- . . . the neural path and memory of someone offering kindness and support while you ache, of someone being available when you need them, of someone who honors your unique being and helps you to understand who you are and always were
Then you come back home. Then you come alive.
Please note, the exercises you will find here are not meant to replace professional help. If you find that they are activating to you, please seek the guidance of a professional. If you are in the San Francisco Bay Area and would like a free consult to see how I might accompany you on your journey, please reach out and call me at 415/668-5130.
Support Practices for Grieving:
Letting the heart be pierced is something you generally work your way up to. First you begin by learning how to engage in practices that help you feel safely grounded and present in the moment. It’s even more effective to engage in these activities with a group. Here’s some things proven to help you learn how to ground and be present:
Tai Chi or Qigong
Group Activities like playing music, dancing, or singing
Guided Visualizations can be really helpful ways for your to learn to calm your nervous system. They also can help you be inspired to find your favorite symbols that represent healing. Many studies have shown that imagery helps heal trauma and emotional difficulties of all kinds:
- A therapist trained in visualizations can offer them to you as part of your work together.
- You can find free visualizations by searching the web and going to Youtube
- For a fee, and sometimes with some freebies, you can check out visualizations by the masters like Reggie Ray at: https://www.dharmaocean.org and Belleruth Naparstek and others at: https://www.healthjourneys.com
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