Richo's words are in blue. I will insert a few of my thoughts here and there in orange. I have bolded to highlight certain points. The bolding is mine, not Richo's.
"Grief work involves the same four steps ... regarding working through any psychological issue: we address, process, resolve, and integrate.
* We address by noticing and naming what grieves us. (Bring attention and awareness and 'naming' to our situation)
* We process by expressing our feelings. (Expression may involve speaking, writing, crying, 'being with', sitting with and being fully present to our feelings...until one feeling shifts to the next and the next... This expressing of feelings is an individual process and takes time. You may find that to be able to 'metabolize' the hurt you may have to express over and over again.)
* We resolve by letting go. (Once feelings have been processed, our body/mind/spirit naturally calms down, releases tension, releases pain, releases hopelessness ...)
* We integrate by moving on . . . (We are able to bring our focus back to our life and away from the wound)
"Grief is irreversible We cannot cancel or change it, yet we try. This is not unhealthy, since we are actually thereby respecting our own capacity for grief. (Your body/mind knows how much grieving you can handle at one time.) We have to let it come through in its own way and time. This may mean that we avoid it for a while, let it in little by little, or even attempt to deny it. We have to be kind to ourselves in our grief, letting it take the lead, not forcing ourselves into a program meant to release it as soon as possible.
(If you feel afraid of the feelings and grief that can emerge, trust your body/mind to know what to do. Over and over I have seen that intense emotional states rarely last longer than 10 to 15 minutes before they begin to abate. You may have more work yet to do, however in one piece of grief work involving strong feeling states - you will become aware that the intense part does not last long. It may take a few rounds or sessions of work. A sense of immense relief will be experienced afterward. You may also expect to be somewhat fatigued after processing and releasing all the feelings you have been carrying.)
".....Grief is composed of three feelings:
1. Sadness that something was lost
2. Anger that it was taken away
3. Fear that it will never be replaced
"These three feelings can be experienced simultaneously or in any order. Grieving about our unfulfilled needs in childhood means expressing the same three feelings:
* sadness that our needs were neglected or unfulfilled,
* anger at those who did not fulfill them,
* fear that we might never....have our needs fulfilled.
(All intense expressions of emotion should be done appropriately. Grief work is not a license to intimidate, scare or traumatize others. Doing this work accompanied by a therapist is valuable ... but not essential. Recent studies have shown, btw, that acting out anger by punching pillows or screaming actually seems only to produce more anger. If you have anger to express, talking about it to someone who can hear it non-judgmentally seems to be the best approach. You can also write about it in a journal.)
"The three feelings that comprise grief are like technologies built into us so we can deal with the implacable truths of impermanance, loss, betrayal, and suffering. We have the capacity to be sad because of the given of losses, changes, and endings; we have the capacity to be angry because of the given of betrayal and injustice; we have the capacity to be afraid because it is a given that threat and danger sometimes beset us.
"Grief work grants us access to our deepest feelings and to our healthy vulnerability... Vulnerability is healthy when it is combined with stability. We feel weak, but our powerlessness does not throw us off course. We are vulnerable, but not as victims.
"...Healthy vulnerability is shown in the same three ways as grief:
1. I am sad that I was hurt.
2. I am angry that I was insulted.
3. I am afraid that I will not be able to get over it.
"...As we express our feelings and let go, we gradually forgive ourselves and others and can get on with life. This happens because our opening to grief, paradoxically, leads to self-comforting. That stabilizes us and we can finally say yes to a world that is bound to deal us gains and losses. We can say to ourselves, "Living through the challenges of life in relationship, I learn to self-soothe. Now my regrets about losses or failures become the building blocks of my sense of personal completeness."
"This completeness/wholeness results from the automatic shifts that follow our release of feelings. We notice we can let go of the charge surrounding what we grieved. Secondly, we let go of blame, grudge, grievance, and the need for revenge -- that is, we forgive. Grief and compassion are not meant to be simultaneous but sequential. We cannot easily forgive while we are angry. But once we work through our grief, forgiveness and compassion follow as graces."
So what exactly is the grief work, you ask? It is in allowing your feelings about the loss, betrayal, hurt or abuse to move through your body/mind/spirit system. In allowing their expression, they are released. You move then from having a gaping, oozing emotional wound, to have a closed scar, that may be tender, that remains a part of your reality, but does not dominate your thinking, behaviours or life.
There is magic in allowing your feelings to move through you. This is what your system requires. The word emotion (e-motion) tells us that the feelings must move - move through you to completion. Once this is accomplished you are able to look for the gifts that may be hidden in the grief. No, you may never forget the loss or the hurt, you may have moments when you revisit the sorrow, but it will no longer govern your life.
Since our system knows how much grief we can safely process at one time, we may find that an issue already dealt with can arise again. It is not because the previous processing/expressing did not work, or we did not do it right, or we are weak. In actual fact, it usually revisits us when our psyche senses we are stronger and can bear the next level of work on the issue. Yes, our grief work can proceed in levels or stages. Our body/mind/spirit is an amazing instrument of unfathomable intelligence. Trust it. We are wired to grieve and bear losses. We are wired to feel, release and continue to live and love.