The Sixth Stage of Grief – Finding Meaning

The Sixth Stage of Grief – Finding Meaning

Grief and loss can be challenging for many of us. I don’t think I really knew too much about it growing up. However, later on in my life (maybe from about 30ish), I became acutely aware how much loss I had experienced (without actually realising it).

A few years back now, I wrote an article called – Coping with Grief and Loss – Insights in to the Grieving Process. If you are interested, please click here to read it. Today, I wanted to elaborate on that post and share about the Sixth Stage of Grief as it resonated with me when I heard it. However, before we start, let me share with you –

  • What is Loss?
  • What is Grief?
  • What Types of Loss Can Cause Grief?
  • The Original Five Stages of Grief,
  • The Six Stage of Grief – Finding Meaning, and
  • Some Insights in to Finding Meaning.

Let’s get started…


What is Loss?

Loss is being parted from someone or something that is really important to you. Loss can come into our lives in lots of ways, and it affects each of us differently.


What is Grief?

There are a number of definitions about grief, including –

  • “…intense sorrow, especially caused by someone’s death.” ~ Google and Oxford Dictionaries
  • “keen mental suffering or distress over affliction or loss; sharp sorrow; painful regret.” ~
  • “deep sadness caused especially by someone’s death” ~ Merriam-Webster
  • “The normal process of reacting to a loss. The loss may be physical (such as a death), social (such as divorce), or occupational (such as a job).” ~


What Types of Loss Can Cause Grief?

Honestly – any type of loss can cause grief as grief is a reaction to a loss. Some examples of loss that can cause grief include –

  • Losing or leaving a job,
  • Death of someone you love,
  • Divorce or relationship breakup,
  • Retirement,
  • Selling the family home,
  • A pet passing,
  • Getting injured (especially if an athlete),
  • Loss of health,
  • A significant person in your life getting sick or ill, and
  • Loss of a friendship.


“The pain of the soul and heart is much more powerful that the pain of the body” ~ The Prophet.


The Original Five Stages of Grief

In her book On Death and Dying, Elisabeth Kübler-Ross discussed what the dying have to teach doctors, nurses, clergy, and their own families. The book is a discussion on some of the key emotional reactions to the experiences of the dying.

If you choose to read the book, you will see there are 5 stages that are described. The stages are used so the author can clearly articulate the experiences of the people she was learning from and they overlap. The five stages of grief are –

  1. Denial and isolation,
  2. Anger,
  3. Bargaining,
  4. Depression, and
  5. Acceptance.

You can see a visual of the diagram here.


The Sixth Stage of Grief – Finding Meaning

David Kessler has created the Sixth Stage of Grief. The sixth stage of grief evolved from the work of Kübler-Ross work after Kessler became a protege and friend of Kübler-Ross. They wrote two books together (Kessler 2019). In his book Finding Meaning – The Sixth Stage of GriefKessler clearly articulates the five stages –

  • “Denial: shock and disbelief that the loss has occurred, 
  • Anger: that someone we love is no longer here, 
  • Bargaining: all the what-ifs and regrets, 
  • Depression: sadness from the loss, 
  • Acceptance: acknowledging the reality of the loss.” (p. 1)

After Kessler experienced a significant loss of his own, he came to realise there was a six stage – meaning. Meaning –

“allows us to transform grief in to something else, something rich and fulfilling.” (Kessler, 2019).

Finding meaning takes time and depends on the loss and the situation / person. However, over time, finding meaning can help to start to find a path forward. Meaning can take on many forms, including gratitude for the time you had with loved ones to acknowledging the fragility and value of life. Kessler (2019) says that people –

“who are able to find meaning tend to have a much easier time grieving than those who don’t. (And) they’re less likely to remain stuck in one of the five stages.” (p.3). 

Some Insights into Finding Meaning

It is important to remember that grief and loss is complex process. For me personally finding meaning in my own experiences of grief and loss has been useful. However, for some of the losses it took me a long while to discover any meaning, so be compassionate to yourself!). A few insights that might help with finding meaning include –

  • We all respond to changes in our life in different ways – there is no right or wrong way to find meaning. There is also no timeframe to grieving and / or finding meaning.
  • You are the only one who can find the meaning.
  • Being able to acknowledge and accept the significance of a loss is important and helps to find meaning.
  • “Meaning doesn’t require understanding. It is not necessary to understand why someone died in order to find meaning” (Kessler 2019).
  • “Your lost is not a test, a lesson, something to handle, a gift or a blessing. Lost is simply what happens to you in life. Meaning is what you make happen.” (Kessler 2019).


Over to You…

I hope this has given you some insight in to the sixth stage of grief – finding meaning? If you have any questions, please ask them below or contact us. Also feel free to join our toolkit, to help you live with an open heart!


References –

Kessler, D. (2019). Finding Meaning – The Sixth Stage of Grief. New York, USA: Scribner.

Kübler-Ross, E. (1969). On Death and Dying: What the dying have to teach doctors, nurses, clergy, and their own families. New York, USA: Scribner.

Reconnecting With My Menstrual Cycle

Reconnecting With My Menstrual Cycle

I don’t know about you, however for me, I grew up with a number of messages about being a female and how I ‘should’ act. As an athlete, I pushed my body hard. Yes I wanted to be the best I could be and in the end I lost connection with my body. There were many reasons for this, however this evolved in to losing contact with the flow of my menstrual cycle and the many benefits of being connected with it However, over the years, step by step I reconnected to my menstrual cycle.


The Menstrual Cycle

The process of having a period happens on average of once every 28 days, although this can vary from woman to women. The correct name for this process is the menstrual cycle and the discharging of blood is called menstruating. Following are four phases of the menstrual cycle and a brief explanation of each phase.

Phase 1: The Menstruation (Bleeding) Phase –

The menstruation phase is the beginning of the menstrual cycle. If the body has not conceived (or had a fertilised  egg implanted), the uterus lining is eliminated (i.e. through bleeding / period). The lasts between 3-7 days (as all women are unique). During this phase, women may experience a range of symptoms including cravings, lower back aches and fatigue.

Phase 2: The Follicular Phase –

This phase starts the day bleeding stops up until ovulation. In the follicular phase, the ovaries are being prepared to release another egg. This phase lasts approximately 7-10 days.

Phase 3: The Ovulatory Phase –

The ovulation phase of the menstrual cycle is the shortest phase and lasts better 2-4 days. It is the stage where your body releases an egg for fertilisation (which is great if you are wanting to have a baby).

Phase 4: The Luteal Phase –

The final phase of the menstrual cycle is the luteal phase. This phase lasts between 10-14 days. If the egg is not fertilised, a period occurs. This might be the time you experience pre-menstrual syndrome (PMS). Symptoms of PMS include cramping, headaches, bloating, irritability and cravings.


How Did I Reconnect to My Menstrual Cycle?

I started tracking it through my journal (I journal the majority of days) and also using an app. Yes it took a little bit of effort to start with, however I think it is worth the effort. I now know when I am paying attention to my body, taking care of and listening to my body, I can make more informed choices. I feel as though I am more in flow with life. I also feel much more in flow with Mother Nature (which I feel is very important for the world).


Reconnecting to Mother Nature


Over to You…

I hope this has given you some insight in to the menstrual cycle and how I reconnected to my menstrual cycle. If you have any questions, please write them below.

Ready to reconnect with your heart and start living a more connected and whole-hearted life? Then click here to receive the toolkit 🙂


Poem – She Let Go

Poem – She Let Go

During the past few years, I have been realising that life is a lot about (un)learning and giving up or untangling from what no longer serves us. Subsequently, today I wanted to share with you this poem. Hope you enjoy the “Poem – She Let Go” by Reverend Safire Rose.


She Let Go…

Without a thought or a word, she let go.

She let go of fear. She let go of the judgments.
She let go of the confluence of opinions swarming around her head.
She let go of the committee of indecision within her.
She let go of all the ‘right’ reasons. Wholly and completely,
without hesitation or worry, she just let go.

She didn’t ask anyone for advice. She didn’t read a
book on how to let go… She didn’t search the scriptures.

She just let go.
She let go of all of the memories that held her back.
She let go of all of the anxiety that kept her from moving forward.
She let go of the planning and all of the calculations about how to do it just right.

She didn’t promise to let go.
She didn’t journal about it.
She didn’t write the projected date in her day-timer.
She made no public announcement and put no ad in the paper.
She didn’t check the weather report or read her daily horoscope.

She just let go.
She didn’t analyse whether she should let go.
She didn’t call her friends to discuss the matter.
She didn’t do a five-step Spiritual Mind Treatment.
She didn’t call the prayer line.
She didn’t utter one word. She just let go.

No one was around when it happened.
There was no applause or congratulations.
No one thanked her or praised her.
No one noticed a thing.

Like a leaf falling from a tree, she just let go.
There was no effort. There was no struggle.
It wasn’t good and it wasn’t bad.
It was what it was, and it is just that.
In the space of letting go, she let it all be.
A small smile came over her face.
A light breeze blew through her.
And the sun and the moon shone forevermore.

~ Reverend Safire Rose


Over to You…

What did you enjoy about the Poem – She Let Go? Did it remind you about something in your life? What does it mean to you? Time to reconnect with your courage?

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