Grief Tonic

angel childGrief is serious, and right now there is a lot, sadly too much, going around.

When my father died, I woke up every day with a pain that felt like my front body had been torn off. Even as I stood, went to work, engaged in daily life, I felt doubled over, gripped with that wrenching, twisting, searing pain. Life was hallucinatory: pretending to be fine while a screaming ache echoed through my hollow insides.

Recently science has been able to demonstrate that the physical pain of grief is real. According to Scientific American, circuits of the cortical pain network become activated when you experience such deep loss. “Grief – in its most basic form – represents an alarm reaction set off by a deficit signal in the behavioural system underlying attachment,” writes psychology professor John Archer of the University of Central Lancashire in his book The Nature of Grief.

While your entire neurobiological system is trying to adjust to radically altered circumstances, mapping possibilities for survival, naturally, you don’t feel like eating. But you have to.

Banana Tonic

When we were grieving, my sister and I ate bananas and yogurt. This Tonic is based on those two simple ingredients, plus a few everyday, enhancing foods. It is easy to fix up, and easy to sip, swallow and digest. It carries enough basic nutrition to keep you strong until you can stomach a proper meal, which itself should be cooked and highly digestible: hearty soups are best, or comfort foods like pb&j or rice pudding.

Sweet is the key taste, but NOT processed sugar. If you are doing the grocery shopping, focus on fresh fruits, dried dates and nuts, avocados, root vegetables, soups and grains that are easy to prepare, and foods high in protein, B vitamins and Omegas, like eggs or salmon.

Please resist the tendency to reach for pizza, pasta, frozen or microwaveable “convenience” foods, chips, cakes, cookies, muffins.  Wheat is genetically altered in a way that makes it hard to digest. Frozen and microwaved food is biologically altered, and hard to metabolize. Your system right now needs easy. It has enough to do just trying to “digest” life. Feed yourself real food, nature’s own convenience food – banana, avocado, apples, dates, pears, soft cheeses, nuts, grains.

Grief Tonic
1-2 servings

1 ripe banana
1 cup apple juice
1 cup yogurt, preferably non-dairy: coconut, almond, your favorite
2-3 dates
1 T maple syrup, or more to taste
1 shake cinnamon
1/4 t nutmeg, freshly grated is best
dash turmeric, optional
5-6 grains of salt, sea or pink

Blend well and serve at room temperature. Do not serve cold. Grief is cold enough.

Bananas and Cream

In an 1843 letter to his second cousin, Reverend William Darwin Fox, Charles Darwin wrote, “Strong affections have always appeared to me, the most noble part of a man’s character and the absence of them an irreparable failure; you ought to console yourself with thinking that your grief is the necessary price for having been born with such feelings.”

angel and child

God Bless the Children, and all who suffer.
May you be embraced by a host of heavenly angels and carried to the light.
Our prayers are with you. 

Angel and child

31 thoughts on “Grief Tonic

  1. Dear Laura ~ I am so grateful to you for writing this post. These food choices are kind to the body (and Earth) on any given day, and your words and intention are especially kind to the soul on darker days. May we hold this grief tenderly, and together as one.

  2. Laura, thank you. As always, you are an inspiration. And thank you for the candles of the children, shedding light among us all. Love, Gail

  3. I have been at an absolute loss as a yoga teacher how to even touch into what’s happened this week in our country — many students, especially parents, are on a news blackout, yet the grief is so pervasive in the collective consciousness. I very much appreciate your making an offering with such insight, nourishment and kindness.

    1. Compassion is pouring from loving hearts everywhere. You are so much of that divine love, Kathy. Thanks for connecting from across the plains. In our heartbreak, we are one. Let’s hope it reaches out to hold the bereaved families and comfort them in some way.

  4. Why should you be sorry for trying to help a world that is overwhelmed with grief right now? Sorry is for when you’ve done something wrong Laura, you of all people know this. I think your recipe is divine and comes from a place of divinity. Since I’ve had such a difficult time with nutrition in the beginning stages of my pregnancy, I think I will try it to see if this recipe helps. It sounds really yummy!
    Much Love,

    1. Sorry that it needed to be written… Sorry that I can’t do more… Sorry that while constantly reaching for the divine I am nonetheless so very human, and often powerless to help. Sorry that you are having such a difficult pregnancy, Amanda. I hope this helps you!

      1. “Oh, I see,” said the blind man….
        Beautifully put and Thank you. I do think I’m starting to turn a corner, so that brings me hope 🙂

  5. I vow to nourish the seeds of love and compassion within me every day and to refrain from watering the seeds of hatred by not feeding any of my senses with what can generate anger in me at this time where I feel so vulnerable! My love goes to you Laura and this community of angels.

  6. thanks Laura Devi for this heartfelt writing. I have been completely emotional lately and feeling the grief of many that are suffering. Thanks for giving some help to all.

  7. Thank you Laura. I thought about focusing on heart opening poses in my class this week, to combat the physical effects of grief, but I realized it’s too soon for that. I’m staying lower in the hips and legs, because it’s grounding and soothing, like this tonic, which I’ll be making in the morning. I’m sorry too.

    1. Forward bends? Child’s Pose? Balancing poses to be more present? Longer shavasana? I know you will be just what is needed, Pamela. You are already so deep and wise.

  8. Laura, what a beautiful post and beautiful imagery. The grieving finally hit me hard today. I think this is how it works for me, it always takes days before I allow the tears to flow – I think I feel as if I need to keep it all together and do what has to be done before it is my turn. I love the sweet message of your post to offer a tonic to soothe our aching hearts. You are an angel and I feel blessed to have you as one of mine.

    Big Love,

  9. A beautiful post touching a sensitive space with delicate and loving hands.
    Laura, there is nothing to be sorry for in the way the world is because it is just where it needs to be and you are just as you need to be. Acceptance is hardest when things are not as we wish they were. As active agents we can only be responsible for that which we do in our lives, and those we touch; and from the first time I talked to you the sincerity and love shone through.

  10. Laura,
    Your recipe means a lot to me, my Greek mother used to make a similar warm yogurt drink which I still remember it as having that soothing effect on my mind and body..a well-needed post!

  11. Such a blessing from the Divine you are Laura~thank you for sharing your grief and your beautiful wisdom with all of us. You have blessed many~and i am humbly honored to be one of those many you have lovingly touched.

  12. Today in Cardiff, we just had a memorial service for my son’s classmate, Mighty Max Spartacus. He was only 8 years old. While the celebration was beautiful it made my heart heavy. A parent can never even fathom the loss of another parent’s child. Came home and made your Grief Tonic for my son and I. It was perfect! Thank you for sharing Laura.

    1. That is so touching, Linda. It means so much to be able to help ease some suffering. And I will devote my day today to Mighty Max! May he be at peace with the angels.

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