Experiential Exercise Series: Post #1
In today’s post, we’ll discuss with the first of three entry-level experiential therapy techniques I’ll be featuring in this space.
I believe it’s best to start any grief recovery effort with some type of continuing bond expression (CBE).
So, that’s where we’ll start.
One proficient method of CBE is to partake in the Memory Book exercise.
Now, before you dismiss this as just some “photo album,” read the exercise details below.
It’s anything but a “photo album.”
Like any grief exercise, this one might hurt a bit as you traverse it.
However, the only way we truly resolve our grief and complete it…
Is if we “lean into it” via exercises like this.
So, give it a go.
And try to enjoy the beauty hidden in what you feel as you do so.
The Memory Book
Today, we’ll take a look at another DIY exercise.
Believe it or not, one powerful way to heal death-grief is…
To create a memory book.
And, no, I don’t mean you simply slide some pics into a photo album. 😉
More like this: We’ll create a scrapbook—one that allows you to include mementos and photos of the deceased within a structured “narrative.”
With the memory book exercise, you’ll actively construct a roadmap of memories—a conscious and detailed tribute that tells the tale of a cherished soul.
First, we start with a bit of background on the deceased. Think of this as a “mini bio.” Make this your first page(s) and section.
Include things like: name; place of birth; date of birth (if known); and family members (if known).
Place all this information on the opening page(s) and section, accompanied by anything that may seem appropriate, such as a picture of the deceased as a youngster. Or a birth certificate.
Then, you want to carefully assemble the rest of your memory book, using various “sections.” These sections will mark certain points on your timeline together…or certain characteristics of him/her…or shared activities…or favored things…or just about anything that comes to mind.
Start each section with a statement like these:
- My first memory of you was…
- When you were young, you… (if applicable)
- My favorite times with you were…
- What I love most about you is…
- Your favorite things to do were…
- When I think of you, I…
- I keep your memory alive by…
Let the above serve merely as a guideline.
Make sure to always leave a few blank pages in each section, to which you can later add more content as you discover it.
Remember, you can use anything in your memory book that you deem fit.
For instance, if this were a memory book for your deceased pet, you could include anything from dog tags to treat wrappers to registration papers to adoption papers to award ribbons to, of course, photos, etc.!
Try to create a memory book with the attitude that only you will ever see it. This helps you avoid constraints that may otherwise be in place. And if we can remove the constraints, true healing can begin to take place. Just put it all in there, ya know? All of it. 🙂
That’s it for today.
Next time around, I’ll introduce you to another cool DIY grief exercise that I think will surprise you with its straight-forward potency.