As I pen this missive eight backcountry mountain travelers have died this winter in snow avalanches in Colorado and twenty-five have died in the U.S. Many of us have experienced a close call in an avalanche this winter or known someone who has had a close call with an avalanche. We experienced two tragic backcountry deaths in two days in early March here in southwestern Colorado. Even if you haven’t suffered a wake-up call or profound loss through a snow avalanche this winter, we all suffer losses of friends, family, pets, job, income, and relationships as an ongoing part of life. If you listen closely, you can hear the silent wails of grief echoing from the mountains of the West.
Ironically this anguish actually initiates us into the process of healing our grief. Experts in counseling encourage us to allow the waves of pain to flow, as they crash like waves on the beach, ebb for a while, then crash again. This natural flow is part of our deep self-care. Like a physical wound’s blood flow cleans the wound, letting the pain flow when our wounds are deep and raw allows our grief to run it’s natural course.
Like a healing salve protects and soothes a physical wound, actions of deep self-care soothe our emotional wounds. Here are three soothing actions to try as those waves are crashing:
1. Light a Candle
Hold the person, or object of your loss, gently in your mind and heart. Feel their presence, their spirit, their life, all that you cherished about them, all they brought to your life. Write about it, share your thoughts and feelings with another person. As you do this, light a candle as a symbol of their light in your life, a light that is not extinguished by their physical absence.
2. Take a Walk Being outside in nature, in the sun, the wind, the snow, the rain is soothes our spirit, especially those of us who love the outdoors and wild nature. The timelessness of nature reminds us of the natural cycles of change. It calls to mind our place in the big picture of the natural world. The repetitive nature of walking is grounding and calming, and physical movement assists our energy in shifting and moving, as it must do when we are adjusting to a new reality.
3. Soak in a Hot Spring Many of us in the West are fortunate to have a natural hot springs close by. (A hot bath or hot tub also suffices). Water soothes and relaxes us. Adding bath salts and calming essential oils like lavender and roman chamomile assist in drawing toxins out of our body produced by the stress of trauma. Allow the water to support you and warm you as you let ‘what was’ and ‘what now is’ integrate in your being.
Change may be constant and unavoidable in our lives, but that doesn’t always make it easy for us to integrate those changes. If you are experiencing shifts in your life, it can make sense to receive support. I invite you to email me with “Let’s Connect” in the subject line to schedule a 1-on-1, private, next steps activation call with myself. We will connect in, hear what’s happening for you, talk about what shifts you are experiencing, and support you in gaining clarity about your best next steps. You will be amazed by the miracles that take place from this very special process.
The Pass Creek Yurt
The Wolf Creek Avalanche School