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When Reiki Doesn't Help with Grief

Updated: Jun 29, 2023

Reflecting on 2022, I realize I have been relatively quiet the last couple of months. For months, I felt significant shifts were going to happen, but I didn't know to what extent, and I was unprepared when one of the shifts occurred.

My last blog was about how Reiki could help the dying. That experience was beautiful and loving. Reiki helped me gracefully move through the stages of grief. In contrast, the night before Christmas Eve, an unexpected tragedy occurred to my family once again. My dear cousin's life was cut too short. All I could do was scream at the messenger when told of the news. I was in shock; my family was in shock.

As I moved through disbelief, I went straight into depression and then vacillated between anger and depression. I felt stuck and checked out of life. I knew I had to allow myself to move through stages of grief, but I didn't know how.

I understand grief isn't something you plan for; it's something you surrender to and allow it to fully express when it comes, even when it is an inconvenient time.

You can't will yourself through the grieving process because the stages aren't linear. There isn't a timeline for how long grief lasts. However, it does require self-compassion, time, and patience with yourself as you process emotions.

As I waited for the emotions to move through me, I found my sleep interrupted and would give myself Reiki to help me fall back asleep. Then, upon waking, I would perform self-Reiki, hoping it would help me be present in my day. I even tried to send Reiki to my cousin for her spiritual journey, but I broke out in big sobs. It was all very overwhelming and debilitating.

My loved one's sudden departure felt so traumatic to my physical system that Reiki was not helping me overcome my feelings. I was ready to call a professional therapist for help when I decided to keep that in my back pocket and try another tool in my toolbox. I needed more than just Reiki because grief is not just an emotional response. It also has physical, cognitive, behavioral, social, and spiritual aspects. I needed a tangible tool, something rooted in this earthly plane.

I reached for my box of oily love (what I call essential oils). Our sense of smell is the only one of our five senses directly linked to the brain's limbic lobe, the emotional control center, which is why emotional shifts occur from smelling essential oils.

Consistently using Reiki and essential oils supports my ongoing grief; most days, I can reminisce without breaking down. Instead, I feel deep gratitude for our time together in this life.

Below are a few oils I use for my ongoing grief support. I have used each oil on its own and in a blend. A misting diffuser is not necessary but helps disperse the scent throughout a room. If you do not have one, you can place a couple of drops of essential oil onto your hand, activate it by rubbing your hands together, cup your hands over your nose and mouth, and inhale the scent for a few minutes. You can also use a combination of oils to create a unique blend for your grief support. Regardless of the method you use to apply essential oils for grief, do it with the intention of releasing the pain and trauma you are experiencing.

  • Cypress - This is a choice companion during times like this and other major life transitions. It reminds us that this is only temporary.

  • Cedarwood - This oil helps ground us to the present and helps us endure when we are sitting in the unknown, which feels heavy and uncertain. It helps move emotions through our bodies, preventing us from dwelling in despair.

  • Neroli - Helps encourage a sense of calm due to its antidepressant properties. It allows unexpressed anger to be released and calls in feelings of hope.

  • Ginger - When my grief moved past the shock stage, I felt uninspired, burned out, energetically drained, and stuck. For times like these, ginger essential oil can encourage us to return to the present time and attend to our life.

  • Roman Chamomile - It is one of the best essential oils for grief. It soothes feelings of abandonment and isolation after losing a loved one. It helps bring us back to an emotional balance.

  • Bergamot - Helps reduce the severity of depression and anxiety associated with grief. It brings in joyful emotions and is lovely to use for positive remembrances.

Grief Support Blend:

This recipe is for a 5ml roller bottle. Add the following oils and top off with a carrier oil such as fractionated coconut oil. Apply it to your wrists, neck, or even under your nose.

  • 2 drops of Cypress

  • 3 drops of Neroli

  • 3 drops of Bergamot

  • 2 drops of Roman Camomile

  • 1 drop of Cedarwood

It is important to understand that essential oils are not replacements for medication or medical help.

If you find it too difficult to navigate through the grieving, you do not have to go through it alone. Consider a Reiki session where a safe container is created and held to help you move through your emotions, talk to a mental health person like a grief counselor or find a bereavement support group.

Grief is not always easy to navigate. Using essential oils is one of the many ways to support us on our grief journey. Remember, give yourself time, be patient, and, most importantly, practice self-compassion.

As Always, Be Well, Be Radiant, and Be Love - You Are Not Alone!

P.S. Lovelies,

The grieving process looks different for each individual and being aware of where you are within the process allows you to be compassionate with yourself and others. This site details what a stage looks and feels like.

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