Grappling with grief in the wake of a tragedy

Mourners leave a church service held nearby Sandy Hook Elementary.

How does one handle the news that 27 people were shot in an elementary school, 20 of whom were small children? Managing our feelings in situations like this can be confusing and overwhelming. How do we find any power when we’re powerless? How do we go on with our day-to-day lives when such a tragedy is unfolding so close to home? How do we act normally without fear of going to the movies or the mall or dropping off our kids at school?

The reality is that the answers have not been laid out for us. Many people anesthetize their discomfort — alcohol, food, TV and so on can provide a temporary numbing effect. Other people may go into avoidance mode and act like nothing has happened in order to cope. Some are hypersensitive to the tragedies of the world and plunge into a state of total depression.

There is no right or wrong way to feel when it comes to tragedy. But there are tools that can greatly guide you through your emotions and help you find power in a powerless situation. If you’re feeling overwhelmed and deeply emotional about the shooting in Newtown, use these tools.



Step 1: Honor your feelings


If you avoid your feelings, they will come up at some point and in some form. Feelings live deep within our body. Often if they are denied, they may manifest in the forms of sickness, anger or fear. The first step in dealing with tragedy is to fully honor your feelings. If you need time alone, spend time alone. If you need to cry, cry. Sometimes it’s helpful to write about how you’re feeling. This step can be very cathartic, and it’s crucial to moving forward with grace.

Step 2: Set loving intentions

When people pass on in a tragic way, a fearful energy vibrates throughout the world. Everyone psychically picks up this energy. Whether you realize it or not, you’re directly affected. The only power we have in these situations is the power of loving intentions — meditation and prayer. Spend time in stillness by yourself or with loved ones. Come together to hold the energy of the situation. Send love and light to all the victims involved. For the next 30 days, commit to praying for their peace. (If you need help with meditation, you can visit www.gabbyb.tv for my free guided meditations.)



Step 3: Be kinder to everyone


At times like this, we must let go of all littleness and focus on what is real. Now more than ever, make the time to be with your loved ones. Hold them close and remind them of how much you care for them. Take time to connect with family and community. When tragedies like this happen, everyone feels it on a visceral level. The only way for us to raise the energy of our nation is to bring in more love immediately. Fear and chaos cannot coexist with love. But where there is love, there is real power.

None of us can undo the tragedy in Newtown. But we can come together in a spirit of love to move through our feelings, support one another, bless the victims and heal.



— Gabrielle Bernstein is the author of “Spirit Junkie.”

Metro does not endorse the opinions of the author, or any opinions expressed on its pages.



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

NYPD: Man denied money punches 65-year-old at Bronx…

A 65-year-old man was punched and shoved at a D train station in the Bronx last week when he denied another man money, police said.

Local

New York Governor Cuomo's office intervened in corruption…

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo's office meddled with a commission he created to root out corruption in state politics, pushing back whenever it focused on groups tied to Cuomo, the…

International

South Korea ferry fugitive found dead with bags…

By Ju-min Park and Sohee KimSUNCHEON/INCHEON South Korea (Reuters) - South Korea's most wanted man, whose heavily decomposed body was found in an orchard last…

News

NY judge throws out lawsuit by Empire State…

A New York state judge has thrown out a lawsuit in which longtime investors in the Empire State Building claimed they were shortchanged out of hundreds of millions of dollars…

Books

Art imitates life (almost) in David Shaprio's new…

David Shapiro talks about his book, "You're Not Much Use To Anyone."

Movies

Interview: 'Happy Christmas' director Joe Swanberg on making…

"Happy Christmas" filmmaker Joe Swanberg talks about the collaborative nature of his films with name actors and the difficulties of getting indies seen.

Gossip

Is Justin Bieber now a Calvin Klein underwear…

A source told the Daily Mail that Justin Bieber "has shot for Calvin Klein" and that they "hope the results will be released later this year." While probably…

Gossip

Peaches Geldof's death was drugs-related, coroner rules

LONDON (Reuters) - The death of Peaches Geldof, the daughter of musician and Band Aid founder Bob Geldof, was drugs-related, a coroner ruled on Wednesday.The…

NFL

Fantasy football: Johnny Manziel could give your running…

Fantasy football: Johnny Manziel could give your running game a boost

NFL

3 storylines to watch as Jets open training…

Jets head coach Rex Ryan might be in for an even tougher job in 2014 after arguably his best coaching job last season.

NFL

David Tyree hiring has gay rights advocates angry

Former Giants Super Bowl hero David Tyree will re-join the franchise as its new director of player development.

NFL

Ben McAdoo's new offense has Giants excited to…

Even Tom Coughlin feels he has a lot to learn about offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo’s new offense, which makes the veteran coach very excited.

Education

Elementary school students like their healthy school lunches…

When the federal government first rolled out its healthier school meal guidelines in 2012, elementary schoolers weren't happy. Much was written about how America's youngest…

Tech

Learn Braille with these gloves

U.S. scientists have designed high-tech gloves to help users understand Braille in a matter of minutes.

Home

5 New Ikea products that will change your…

We round-up the latest must-have products.

Food

Recipe: Wolfgang Puck's Buttermilk French Toast

We recently spent some time chatting with restauranteur/celebrity chef Wolfgang Puck at his Wolfgang Puck American Grille in the Borgata in Atlantic City. Puck wanted…