After a loss, there is a period where the body and mind disconnect; a period where everything even the things you love feel uncomfortable and difficult to bear. Your mind is busy trying to make sense of the recent event while your physical and emotional body are desperately trying to deal with the loss. The sadness you feel is crushing. It forces you to take shelter not only from the outside world but from yourself as well. The emotional impact grief can have on your health and well-being is often underestimated. When the emotions are not tended to, it can start to adversely seep in your day-to-day life, affecting your home environment, your social and work life including your relationships.

Corinne Laan, The Art of Grieving

Corinne Laan, The Art of Grieving


An authentic way to embrace grief is through the practice of rituals. When you hear the word ritual, you may think of religious rituals or rituals which are performed in a sacred setting by a spiritual leader or that it involves a certain type of belief. However, in modern culture the word ritual has a more fluid meaning and is often used to describe any activity or practice done on a regular basis.

The magic of rituals – from brokenness to wholeness

In this fast-paced life, making a conscious decision to slow down, breathe, reflect in order to process a loss and attend to your emotions is an absolute must. When emotions are acknowledged and you in turn accept them with self-love and compassion, it can bring greater awareness and insight into your own strength and ability to build a future you did not think was possible. This is where rituals become your ally as they provide an oasis of calm where time slows down long enough for you to attend to all the emotions that need to be expressed and channelled into a less destructive force. Rituals provide a safe haven where vulnerability and inner strength can coexist; where confusion and serenity come together and transform into inner peace.

Rituals provide a creative way to move with the pain of a loss and heal a broken heart. A ritual with its well-defined structure provides a safe space to explore and honour your loss with compassion, love and reverence. Within its safety and carefully planned steps, exploring the reality of the loss together with the emotional pain which accompanies any loss become less daunting. Through rituals you can delicately weave the emotional trauma, sorrow, mourning and healing into the rich tapestry of life. Rituals are essentially versatile and can be used as self-care practices to help move through grief.

In addition, rituals awaken your very own healing abilities as the practice encourages you to tap into your inner wisdom and intuition. A simple ritual can take you from feeling helpless in the aftermath of a loss to gradually rediscovering your power. When a ritual is performed with intention it has the amazing potential to reconnect mind and body. It can pull you away from feeling broken to making you feel whole again. Rituals is a wonderful platform where you can safely explore the changed person you have become since the loss, prioritise your needs and find new meaning in life. The simple act of engaging in a ritual can dissolve any negative thoughts and uplifts your mood and lightens your heart. When you feel lost in the chaos of grief, it has the power to help you stay grounded.

Rituals encompass all the essential elements of the healing process: keeping an open heart, making your intention clear, focused attention, release, hope, love, faith as well as a commitment to do the healing work. A ritual is a simple and yet eloquent expression of deep intentions that engages your mind and body in a powerful and delicate manner. Rituals create not only a space where the mind becomes less foggy but a place of solace as well, where holding on to hope, faith and love feels natural.

Any ritual you choose to process your grief has the great potential to heal but the ones which hold special meaning for you will have the biggest impact. The magic of rituals lies within one’s ability to remain curious about one’s healing journey while keeping an open mind and open heart.

Corinne Laan is a natural healer, grief specialist and author of The Art of Grieving: Gentle self-care practices to heal a broken heart (Rockpool Publishing, £16.99).