Andy Eninger is an improviser, writer, facilitator and dog dad.
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ZAK: It's The Best Advice Show where everyday, I invite a different guest on to offer one piece of advice. Today, we're gonna talk about moving through grief in our own unique ways with Andy.
ANDY: My father passed away from COVID-related caused a couple months ago.
ZAK: Oh man. I'm sorry.
ANDY: Yeah. It's been rough on top of a pretty rough year for him and certainly for the family. I'm also in such a busy phase right now. And I'm like, you can't busy yourself through something like this. And so, I just had to figure out something new and someone recommended, well, think of a ritual. Have a ritual. And so now, I have created this box and I put in this box different things that remind me of him and different aspects of him. A t-shirt that he gave me when I was a little kid that I still somehow have, a ceramic chicken because he hoarded his mom's ceramic chickens after she passed away. Some other little trinkets and I pull out this box, I light a candle and I just breathe ten times and then whatever comes up, comes up. But just that ritual has been profound in just letting me move through it and be really aware of it and be mindful of actually letting myself do that. Because I know on the days that I don't do it, I'm a crab. I'm just terrible.
ZAK: So this is a daily thing?
ANDY: Yeah, I do it everyday, every other day. I've replaced my meditation with doing this because it's such a focus right now.
ZAK: So how did you figure out that this would be a good ritual for you?
ANDY: Trial and error. I wasn't sure. I was like, I don't know what a ritual is. When I think of ritual I think of going to church and something huge and based in history. And just simply thinking, well I can make up what it is was completely outside of my experience. I don't know, I'll put together a box and put some things in that box. I don't know what to do with it. I'll just breathe. And I discovered that just that time with those things and those memories of those things also bring is so profound in letting me bring those things to the surface rather than having the be underneath. Here's my little box. I'm gonna use this box for the next ritual. So the next thing. I'm gonna do one thing at a time right now. As I move through this and when it's time to take on the next thing, I want to use this same box and I want to start thinking what the next process that I want to move through...the goal that I'm working toward. But put those signs and symbols into it and use it as a thing that I can return to. Light the candle, put on some music and assemble the elements that allow me to move through that. I think we often feel like ritual has to be something that's handed to us but I think that what's needed in a moment actually lives inside of us too.