Growing through Grief and Gratitude
Embrace the uncharted territories.
There are moments when our growth requires us to wade through intense grief. It asks us to shed what we once knew, who we once were, and how things used to be—none of this is easy. For me, growing through my grief sometimes feels harder than what hurt me to begin with. Nevertheless, it's been those muddy, hard-to-get-through moments that I've stumbled upon deep gratitude for the journey, even when it's kicking my ass.
Over the years, my writing practice has involved peeling back the layers of my tenderness and greeting whatever comes up with grace, honesty, and compassion on the page. I often think about how I'd mentor my younger self and what lessons I would have liked to leave her with if she had been under my wing all those years ago.
The questions I've been exploring for a few years now are:
What does growth require of you?
What is your growth making space for?
As I sat and reflected, the following came up.
Growth requires shedding.
Growth requires grieving.
Growth requires discomfort.
Growth requires self-trust.
Growth requires love.
Growth requires rest.
Growth makes space for healing to happen.
Growth makes space for forgiveness.
Growth makes space for bravery.
Growth makes space for new beginnings.
Reflective questions like these always give me pause. As I sit, think, and write, I'm reminded there is much more to learn. We're never done learning. Being a student of life gives us those not-so-gentle reminders more times than not. Growth, for me, has been a wake-up call. Especially in those moments where I can see the changes happening. Every day that I commit to growing and becoming better, I commit to being wrong about what I thought I knew and being willing to find peace in a new direction.
At every point of this adventure called life, I've realized that it's totally fine to feel a bit lost and not always have all the answers. I'm unlearning that I have to know where every step of the way will take me. One of the greatest lessons I've uncovered on this journey is that I don't have to have everything figured out to reach where I want to go.
A profound realization over the past few years has been releasing the idea that I have to fight to find my way back when I'm lost or unsure. Daily, I'm exploring what it means to leave room in my life for the unknown, the wonder that greets me, and the grief, too.
Growth requires infinite learning. Lessons allow new pathways to present themselves.
Honoring grief as you grow is essential because it allows you to navigate the complex journey of life with authenticity and emotional resilience. Recognizing and processing feelings of loss and sadness helps us better understand ourselves and the world. By acknowledging grief, you give yourself permission to heal, learn, and transform. Balancing our grief and growth is a practice that encourages emotional intelligence, empathy, and the ability to see others through a compassionate lens.
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Embracing grief as a natural part of growth has empowered me to let go of what no longer aligns with my life and make space for new experiences and connections. Ultimately, honoring our grief enables us to live a more meaningful and fulfilling life, celebrating the joys and sorrows that shape our path and help us bloom into who we are today.
If you're reading this and feeling stuck, adrift, or emotionally exhausted because you're uncertain about your path, please know you're not alone. Your journey of growth is ongoing. Embrace the uncharted territories. Allow yourself not to know what the next step is. It's okay not to know all the answers today, tomorrow, or even in the distant future. Be patient with yourself.
I hope you nurture the curiosity in your life. I hope you have the self-compassion to embrace any moments of confusion, using them as opportunities to evolve amidst whatever challenges you encounter. I hope you remember that many things can be true at once. You can be grateful for growth and grieving through life's changes.
Remember to be your greatest ally as you heal, change, and grow. Practice treating yourself with the same kindness and compassion you'd offer to a loved one. Your progress may not always be linear or quick. Stop rushing yourself to get to the next phase. Be present with where you are today. Embrace each step forward, no matter how small, and understand that setbacks are natural and temporary. Each step you take will serve a purpose, big or small. It's all a vital part of your evolution. Keep sight of how far you've come. Celebrate the resilience within you that drives you forward, and forgive yourself for any stumbles you may have along the way. As you evolve in this experience called life, remember to extend self-love through every ebb and flow. The relationship we have with ourselves is the foundation of our lives—nurture it with patience, understanding, and unwavering love.
Reminder: I am teaching alongside Julia Cameron, Anne Lamott,, and more at an amazing writing retreat. Details are below.