Grief & Gratitude ~ Leftover Thoughts from Thanksgiving

by Simla on December 30, 2011

The holidays can be a time of intense emotions, not to mention the added pressure of heading into a new year wrought withthe expectations of new heights to scale, achievements to cross off, the better person you want to become…

In the midst of all this, have you ever noticed your heart’s true capacity for emotion? Or its ability to cradle multiple emotions at once?

Over the past few weeks, some emotionally challenging circumstances have led me to contemplate the unwelcome gifts in life yet again – unwelcome because they bring with them pain, discomfort, fear, apathy, anger, and a host of other emotions that I/we normally do our utmost to avoid. Gifts because – in time – they teach you. They teach you, whether you like it or not, more about yourself, about how to live and be in more harmony on the inside through the external ups and downs of life, how to honor that which is true to you.

And since I didn’t have the capacity to publish my November newsletter in the midst of all this, I wanted to share some snowballing insights with you this month and invite you to go a little deeper yourself during this season of taking stock and moving forward.

The Presence – and Presents – of Opposites

The two prevalent emotions my heart has been cradling are grief and gratitude. Quite fitting, I think, given we are both into winter – the season of endings – and the season of giving thanks. And, interestingly, as opposite as they seem, they have been traveling through me hand in hand.

What are the prevalent emotions you’ve been cradling lately?

Are you allowing yourself to acknowledge what you’re really feeling, especially if it’s uncomfortable?

And can you see the shadow or glimmer of the opposite emotion in that which you’re feeling?

Perhaps a flash of hope or strength in your deepest sorrow?

Or a figment of fear when you are celebrating that achievement you’ve worked so hard to attain?

So, why grief? And gratitude?

Because I’ve been surrendering more to the acknowledgement that there’s a natural cycle to life. Many cycles coexist:  energetic, physical, human, biological, astrological, emotional…

Within all these cycles, however, there is a common theme:  birth and death.

The grief brought on by death or the loss of something or someone dear.

The gratitude for the birth of possibilities this loss creates, or for the as yet-unknown growth and path this loss will yield to, with trust.

Polar opposites, right? And therein lies the beauty. It is this tension between opposites that creates the world we experience.

Each exists because the other one does too. To deny one is to deny the other.

I love deserts. You know: sand dunes. There’s a term used to describe the force of opposites that creates the perfect peak on a sand dune: the angle of repose. It’s the steepest angle at which loose material like sand (emotions) can hold steady and stable thanks to an exact and opposing force from the other side. Balance. Relief. Rest. Yielding with the trust that you will be held up.

The caveat is, the angle of repose will always shift.

Emotional Shifts

Emotions – both “good” and “bad” – can be uncomfortable and stifling if you don’t allow them to shift. To move.

To allow emotions to move, you must first acknowledge them. Then let them be, without judgement. And then release them. With this type of movement your life is better able to flow and find a new angle of repose – the one that is right, right now.

Allowing this kind of movement can indeed be challenging.

Case in point:  the past few years have been an increasingly rapid cycle of mini and not-so-mini births and deaths for me:

Death: my former career
Birth: my new Big Work

Death: old belief systems which no longer serve me
Birth: new belief systems paving the way

Death: my old body, one wrought with pain
Birth: my new body, one that is pain-free and incredibly resilient

Death: attachment to things, places, expectations, and people and to the fear of letting go
Birth: more freedom to let things, places, expectations and people come and go, with love

It’s been a lot of work.

Letting Go to Let It In

Without allowing for opposites, and movement through stifling emotions, and yielding with trust, I venture that the above births would not have been forthcoming. At least not as “easily.” (Ha!)

And, truly, every single moment is the perfect marriage of death and birth, creating the realm of possibility that makes itself known to us in small, quiet ways. And sometimes in massively disruptive ways. Can it be that we can allow and be at ease with both?

How are your emotions pointing you towards letting go of what’s ready to expire… or towards welcoming that new thought, way of being, or truth into your life?

Which possibilities are you ready to make room for?

I invite you to take a few moments to reflect and let me know by sharing a comment below.

And with that, I wish for you a holiday season and new year of welcome possibilities, love, health, and all that which your heart and soul truly desire.


Want to share this article? You may, as long as you include the following blurb with it in its entirety:

Simla Somturk Wickless, MBA, CHC, CNE, is the founder of Delicious Health LLC. Simla is a health, nutrition, and balanced living coach whose mission is to transform Busy Bodies into healthy, Balanced beings TM. Simla loves working with women entrepreneurs, professionals, and autoimmune clients to help them double their energy, tame their stress, get to their natural weight without dieting, and take back control of their health to live intensely pleasurable and impactful lives. Learn more  at or

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: