When we have lost someone we love, our job, our health, our marriage, or our deepest relationship, we want to feel some compassion coming our way. We want to know that we are going to make it.

Here are some ways for your body, your mind, and your spirit to meet every day with renewed compassion for yourself to help you make it through the night.

For Your Body ~
First let's have a definition of compassion which is simply an awareness of suffering, whether our own or another's, and working toward alleviating it. Have you treated your body with compassion? Or have you starved yourself or fed yourself more salt, sugar, fat and alcohol than your body needed. I like to ask myself, compassionately, "What are you really hungry for MJ; what are you really starving for?" If it's love, I seek loving people to connect with, people who are affectionate in speech, touch and behavior. If I'm hungry for laughter, I seek funny, witty people so I can laugh and play, too. If I need intellectual food, I find others who enjoy that source of nourishment.

Grief is exhausting so rest often after your loss and don't feel guilty doing so; your body needs sleep. It needs to heal.

For Your Mind~
Have you treated your mind with compassion? After a loss it is particularly important to be cognizant of this. When others ask you to do something that you don't want to do or don't feel up to doing, how often do you say "yes" then feel resentful afterward? How about if you always say "no" no matter what someone asks of you, and then wonder why no one calls you anymore.

Compassion for your mind is opening up your thinking to new ways of being, new ways of responding to others. As a grief specialist (both clinically and personally) I appreciate how the manner in which we were raised impacts our saying yes or no. Raised with many restrictions, you may fall into saying no more often than yes. On the other hand, raised to please everyone you may automatically respond with yes which will eventually burn you out.

After loss, even the loss of the life you thought you would have, offer your mind compassion. Touch it with the words of sages and saints, the biographies of inspirational people. Read from the Bible, the Torah, the Koran, the Bhagavad-Gita, and the Buddha-Dharma. Watch documentaries, programs and movies about people who have met overwhelming adversary and treated that imposter no differently than they would treat a friend.

And speaking of friends, talk to them when sadness and fear feels overwhelming. Not only will you feel better, your friend will be more comfortable calling upon you when they are grieving.

For Your Spirit~
Have you treated your spirit with compassion? Reflect now, for after loss your spirit is searching more overtly for answers. Indulge your seeker self. Walk in the park, the woods, a labyrinth, the beach, any sacred pathway. As you walk, pray, breathe, meditate. When we have had a loss, we need to ask ourselves what loving or knowing this other person, whom we have lost, gave to us. Then we make the gift ours to honor them.

I regard everyone and every situation in my life as a teacher - positive or negative. Every person living or deceased has helped me to learn what to be and what not to be. I've come to understand that most people do the best they can given their experiences, their genes, their psychological consciousness, and their personal gifts. Using every situation as a learning experience has also taught me the value of being grateful for everything that I have and given me a chance to make Every Day Matter. It will for you, too.

Mary Jane Hurley Brant, M.S., CGP
Author of When Every Day Matters: A Mother's
Memoir on Love, Loss and Life
Simple Abundance Press, Oct. 1, 08
Foreign Rights St. Pauls and Better Yourself
Books, Mumbai, India, Jan. 21, 09

Author's Bio: 

Mary Jane Hurley Brant, M.S., CGP holds a Master's Degree in Counseling & Human Relations, is a Certified Group Psychotherapist and a Certified Leader of Simple Abundance Seminars. For almost three decades MJ has also worked with hospice patients, couples, individuals and groups.

MJ writes for several internet sites as an expert on grief and is the author of When Every Day Matters: A Mother’s Memoir on Love, Loss and Life which was published on October 1, 2008 by Simple Abundance Press. This book takes the reader through MJ's journey of loss during the first year after her beloved daughter Katie's death. This book also addresses what transpires in families and marriages when they go through traumas and death. The book is candid, deeply spiritual, intimate and psychological. A portion of the book's proceeds are given to Katie's Kids for the Cure (See katieskids.org) a non-profit foundation which Katie began - which funds research to find a cure for pediatric brain tumors.

Foreign rights (English language) for When Every Day Matters: A Mother's Memoir on Love, Loss and Life (Jan. 21, 09) with St. Pauls's in Mumbai, India for marketing and distribution in India, Sri Lanka, The Philippines, Malaysia, and Africa.

MJ believes her spiritual calling is helping people world-wide to process their grief and find hope again after their loss, no matter what kind of loss they are experiencing.

MJ has a private counseling practice in Bryn Mawr, PA where she meets with clients in person and for phone consultations. You can go to her website to read more about MJ at MJHB.net. The site is also linked to her book's website WhenEveryDayMatters.com