Grief is one of the things that lets you know that you are but a small part in a bigger something.
Grief is an experience familiar to us all. A raw and essential human experience. It is so powerful that you cannot ignore it.
It moves through you, makes you shake. It shakes up your life.
Little things that seemed insignificant; that you were able to suffer through, now seem inconceivable. It stalls you, it forms like a high wave, steep-sided, pulsing, and pushing forward; crashing into the pebbles on the shore with a thunderous thud. Then all is still.
It forces authenticity; it causes a soul connection.
It reminds us of the ways that we are the same as our ancestry, the smile, the fondness for biscuits, even the stubbornness, the quiet determination, the rage. Yes, grief visits our doors with all the shadow, and the light, reflected in the great mirror of life, transported down the ages.
I took this idea from a channel by Lee Harris, an energy intuitive. He speaks on grief and says that in present times, we are facing more grief than ever before; collective grief, personal grief, grief for our national identities, and grief for our biodiversity.
The grief process is, in fact, a death and birth wave that moves through you.
My friend reminded us all of why grief is vital in a Facebook community that we all belong to, called Drop The Armour Dojo — where we practice dropping the mask; the armour, and have real and vulnerable conversations.
He lost a lot of his dear friends.
He shared this poem with us all by Rashani Ray:
There is a brokenness
out of which comes the unbroken,
out of which blooms the unshatterable.
There is a sorrow
beyond all grief which leads to joy
and a fragility
out of whose depths emerges strength.
There is a hollow space
too vast for words
through which we pass with each loss,
out of whose darkness
we are sanctioned into being.
There is a cry deeper than all sound
whose serrated edges cut the heart
as we break open to the place inside
which is unbreakable and whole,
while learning to sing.
Grief comes from deep within. There is a cry deeper than all sound. There is hollow space, too vast for words, where all of creation springs.
There is the brokenness; a shell cracked open, and emergent wisdom comes from acceptance to the waves of energy that pulse through you.
David R. Hawkins, M.D., Ph.D., describes grief in his book ‘Letting Go: The Pathway Of Surrender’. He says that in grief, we feel that things are too difficult; we’ll never make it.
Yet, as the poem states, being cracked wide open lets us see ourselves so vulnerably and open, we get to know that we are not just the skeletons that we leave behind, we have some essence about you. Commonality exists through the ages.
Grief must be surrendered to, accepted, and embraced. Repressed grief can last for years, passed down for lifetimes. Hawkins states:
Grief is time-limited. This fact gives us the courage and willingness to face grief. If we don’t resist the feeling of grief and totally surrender to it, it will run out in about 10–20 minutes; then it will stop for variable lengths of time. If we keep surrendering to it every time it comes up, then it will eventually run out.
In my opinion, grief is how we honour the people we love. Grief takes on the way that we need to honour them; to remember them, to sanctify their life in our memories — witnessing their energy, commitments, achievements on the Earth.
To perform those little rituals that made you feel connected to them, places you went together, things you ate; that extra biscuit that they snuck you when no-one was looking. Unconsciously we all seek to honour our loved ones in this way, whether it’s making cakes or flapjacks, or walking the local beaches where you used to chat.
I think that the spirits of loved ones passed must enjoy this process, as they pass over to wherever they are heading. It’s something to perform a ritual of remembrance with the funeral. In the way they would’ve wanted, or the way they stated. With their character and essence written through it.
It’s hard now that we are grieving in a pandemic, funerals seemed distant and cold. Not everyone that should be there can be there. That adds an extra layer to the grief; makes it more intense, less shared. No-one hugs each other, rightly. Hugs help to comfort and sound the pain through each other’s nervous systems and down into the Earth. The narrative that emerged is socially distanced, which I understand because being physically distanced is socially kind and acceptable at the moment. Yet, I like the idea that we don’t emotionally and socially disconnect from each other. There are ways to be intimate in grief in this time at a physical distance — eye contact, mirroring body language, a soothing tone of voice, knowing and understanding the other person’s boundaries and values.
It’s very grounding to know; to feel, someone else’s grieving with you.
Culturally, it’s hard for people born of western habit to consider surrendering, everything in our culture screams against that; it’s all about conditioning yourself, having an identity, progressing, and being rigid.
Grief rips through these concepts, like the woman who wouldn’t stop raging after her child died, told in ‘The Gift’ by Edith Eger. She burned down everything in her life, lost her home, her husband, and her other three children, she had to start anew.
Westerners might say how stupid she is, and how ridiculous that sounds. Did you catch those thoughts in your head?
Grief made her do that. She didn’t have a choice to carry on her old way of life; she was only making the decisions that were available to her. If she had been able to let go of the resistance to the grief, then maybe she could’ve saved the life she had, with the loved ones who were still alive and caring about her safety.
Who am I to suggest that she let go of her child? She obviously wasn’t ready, and it took her five years. I’m sure she was doing her best at every stage. I’m sure she’s a strong and courageous woman.
In ‘The Choice’, also by Eger, she says of two separate women who were grieving loss:
Both women were responding to a situation they couldn’t control in which their expectations had been upended. Both were struggling and hurting because something was not what they wanted or expected it to be; they were trying to reconcile what was with what ought to have been.
Grief isn’t easy. It’s not a linear line, it’s a squiggled, messy, jumble of an experience.
We talk a lot in fantasy; for life in general, dreaming up options that were never in our immediate environment, and lamenting the choices that we never dared to move towards.
It’s O.K. not to have courage sometimes, dear one. Give yourself a break. Regroup. What you tend to find is that courage will be there if the thing you really want arrives. You’ll know when that happens.
The great force of grief can help you to achieve those things. If you allow it to wash over you, then something that you’ve been hiding from yourself might become clear — crystal, like the teal waters of a shallow sea.
It helps to realise that letting go of the resistance to the feeling moves us quickly through it. Traditionally women have said out of their own experience and wisdom: “A good cry makes me feel better.” Many a man has been surprised when he learned the truth of this.
Is it then our shame over our strong feelings that keeps grief locked up inside of a rib-cage prison?
Do we not know how to let our tears cleanse and ripple through us?
It’s ancient wisdom, yet it’s so simple. Crying is good medicine for grief; time is a healer for all wounds. Even the ones that aren’t physical.
Take your time, dear one. Honour the dead.
Happy Halloween, Happy Samhain, safe passing.
This post was previously published on medium.com.
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