A big barometer of self-love is how well we are able to parent ourselves through difficult times, mistakes, disappointments, grief and other challenging emotions.
All too often, this is where our wounds are triggered and we enact ways of being that perpetuate the cycle of wounding within our psyches. If we keep treating ourselves and our inner worlds the way we internalized, the way we learned to treat ourselves, then we continue the cycles of pain in our lives without realizing it.
This is the realm of the death mother and one I see most common in clients and my own soul life.
Grief is a very common reaction not only to loss but heartbreak or rejection or disappointment. We make mistakes. We are human. Life has its ups and downs. Things happen. We feel things in response to it.
Living in a world that values what image we project over who we really are, what we can produce over what we express, how we look over how we feel is a culture that is emotionally and spiritually neglectful. It is a culture that values the external to such a degree that we have become codependent this culture, a death mother, in an attempt to receive the nourishment our psyche is so deeply craving and getting ourselves lost in the process.
We have been split in two...our inner nature and our rational nature. Animal and divine has become animal OR divine. The splitting creates a deep chasm in the in-between, a place that rests in our hearts...where we are actually meant to embody the in-between...to be both instinctual and divine, logical and filled with the creative loving energy of eros; to hold a safe container, respect knowledge and wisdom equally and to navigate through the world fully alive in our cells with feeling, wisdom and grace. We should feel safe to be whole. Yet most of us do not.
This is the essence of the soul wound, the split between our two sides; logos and eros, masculine and feminine, animal or spirit, spiritual or science, dark or light, love or hate, good or bad...and on and on.
There's a saying about resentment that goes something like resentment is like drinking a poisonous substance and expecting the other person to die from it.
It's anger and hurt wrapped up in a frustration that our mind projects onto others but an energy we attack ourselves with. It's painful living inside the trance of resentment, a trance we get so used to that we don't even realize how much we are punishing ourselves and attacking life on a very deep, subconscious level.
Beneath resentment is often trauma or grief over needs that were never met.
Trauma means disconnection. It is a broken form of trust in life, love, others and in our ability to meet our innermost emotional and spiritual needs.
Where we have resentment, there is an inner wounded one that didn't get needs met, has a hurt that was never expressed/acknowledged, or there is simply grief over what never was. These kinds of disappointments are real and not to be glossed over.
In order to truly individuate into our true sovereign adulthood and move into our highest potential, we must soothe the inflammation of resentment through watering it with our tears of grief.
Grief does not need to be healed, it IS the healing itself.
It’s the range of love that weaves its way through the cracks in the walls built around our hearts...walls built to protect us but only serve to keep the grief and love inside.
It is the wildness of love that explodes our hearts open, reconnecting us with compassion and connectedness to all the things in this life.
It is the seeds of sanity and self-love.
It is the waves of great letting go, mourning the passing, inner wailing at disappointment, the peace made with taking refuge inside the walls of impermanence that everything will eventually change.
In a trauma culture it’s incredibly important to become aware of ways that we make the aftermath of symptoms of trauma wrong. It is not true that the universe only gives us what we can handle. If that were true, trauma woudn’t even be a thing since the very definition of trauma is an experience that is too much for the system to handle, metabolize or make sense of whether it is physical, sexual, emotional or spiritual. (Note that most physical and sexual trauma also involves emotional and spiritual dimensions).
Indifference to the truth creates complacency and shaming of trauma survivors, people suffering with symptoms of trauma like addictions, anxiety, eating disorders or depression. Isolation. We are wired with needs that need to be met by others. If we start to program this out of us, it is supporting trauma at its core. We aren’t supposed to get used to not needing anything from others.
People are not addicted to their trauma. Nervous systems wired via fear because environments were not safe run on adrenaline, which creates a deep feedback loop. There is a deep disconnect to one’s own vital life force energy. It’s not just physical. It’s also emotional, spiritual and impacts the quality of consciousness through which life is perceived.
Awakening out this trauma trance can be quite intense as our whole inner (and outer) world must shift. We must learn that safety and joy are okay, that our own energy is safe because trauma at its most basic level impacts the very way we experience life. That it’s safe to be here in a real way, rather than the mind yelling at the inner one trying to convince it is safe when it doesn’t even know what safe feels like.
Grief is far from one tone. It is as layered, nuanced and complex as our human experience.
We love deeply. Part of the loving is in the inevitable letting go of what we have loved. Letting the love morph, take a different shape that is sometime no shape at all. That’s the part that hurts. That’s the part that makes us afraid to love again.
Grief is love.
It is the power of life and love and spirit urging you to keep your heart open, to keep loving and expanding, including even the lost bits in your mourning. Because, in every mourning, many of the ungrieved pieces arrive to see if your heart will stay open as a way of staking it’s claim on your wholeness.
Grieve what and who and and how something has been lost. Know that some endings are traumatic; deepening the grief with questions the mind wants answered. Let your heart speak to your mind, to let the mind know that now the heart takes over.
Your heart is wise and strong and knows what to do. For its strength is in how deeply you love. This grief is a last act of loving what has been. This last act will change you. Do not let your mind interfere with figuring out facts and figures, next steps or moves to take.
Grieve your relationship to what’s been lost. Our life is a living breathing relationship. Inside and out. Our engagement with life creates these third parties...relationships; the containers in which we whisper and exchange, connect and disconnect, laugh and cry, find exiled parts or birth ourselves into new ways of being.
The container is gone, but know it will reconfigure and continue to live inside of you.
Grief is the first emotion felt upon entering the world. It lives inside the baby’s wail upon separation from union with source; being held in the womb of creation, fed through the umbilical chord attached to the whole universe. Everything experienced in sensory waves, in the union everything is source washing over itself in different ways.
We spend most of our lives, consciously or unconsciously, trying to find our way back to union, to repair this wound of separation while delegating grief to the more obvious times of death, loss and transition.
Grief lives inside the very cells of our human ancestry.
It is the bridge to union within ourselves..union with our soul, union with nature and others, union with life. It is the way back home released layer upon layer when we learn that grief is the energy that breaks us open and releases the tensions held from wounds of the past, beneath fears projected onto the future that are merely unmetabolized pain bits from the past.
Grief is a process that is an inherent part of life. Everything changes and as humans who deeply love and care, it is natural that we grieve for all the different kinds of losses we experience daily and over the course of our lives.
There are three portals in the grieving process. The grief for what has been lost. The grief for the relationship. And, grief for ourselves; for the parts of ourselves we have lost that were attached, identified with, enlivened by, connected to or known through the relationship that was lost, or as a result of relationships that never were.
This last part of the journey is essential for our freedom from ancestral pain, individuating from our lineage, for self-love and to meet the depths of love in our soul.
This last portal of grief, grieving for oneself, is often overlooked, confused or feared. It's different than feeling sorry for ourselves. It is different than wallowing in pain. It is different than trying to fill an empty, existential hole inside of us with stuff or people or other things. In its unmetabolized form, it becomes shame as the mind attempts to work through what our heart needs to release.
It is an act of compassion and love to acknowledge and honor our own pain. The pain of never having what we needed. Never feeling the love we longed for. The loss of not having needs met. The pain of our hearts being neglected, of the disconnection and abandonment of our own inner wounds. Our own soul wounds.
Grief is love. You do not grieve what you do not care about. To grieve for yourself and to acknowledge with love and compassion all that you have survived, this is the third portal of grace and freedom offered by grief.
Mother's day is arriving this weekend, so this I am aware of feeling within myself and all who I am sharing time with in sessions. There is a lot of grief up right now, for the loss of mothers, the mothers we never had but wanted, the pictures of mother we are sold, lost opportunity to become a mother, whether to mother or not, and the mothers we carry inside of our own hearts. Why are we more fearful of approaching our internal pain and allowing ourselves to offer love at the altar of all we have endured and experienced and survived and transformed and lived through?
Part of rising out of the ashes is the letting go through this grief, it is in fact loving all the places that haven't been loved, that have been made long in their longing or wanting or needing. It is offering flowers at the altar of your own heart.
Pay no attention to all the messages about Mother's Day and the pictures media portrays. Take time to honor in the ways that feel right for you, and take time to honor your own heart. It's okay to grieve for yourself. You are here, which means you survived a lot.
Grief is far more central to the human experience than is acknowledged. There are cultures where space is made every single day for ritually expressing and moving the energy of grief. Space is made for feeling. The more stifled we are here in the West, the less space there is for grief and the natural state of feeling, the more we seem to suffer from emptiness, depression, anxiety and addiction.
Grief is a natural reaction to the constant state of change that is the nature of life. Flow. Grief and all feeling is a response to letting to, to surrendering to this flow of life outside of our control. In aligning with it. In the wakefulness of presence to what is and that gap between what is and how we want them to be.
How do we let go when we want things? How do we let go when the wanting becomes something filled with fear and struggle?
A client of mine asks me this as I traverse my own inner dark waters of clinging and grasping to things that I want, to the unraveling of letting go and the space of love that grief has been washing over me. Underneath, there is the peace with the wanting that is hard to explain, counter-intuitive, but just feels right. There is more letting go. There is always more letting go. But, as I sit with my client, in the face of something she really, really wants to have happen and is doing all the things, it's just simply not happening. What now?
I sit and watch her beat herself up. Go back in time, filled with regret. Searching in her psyche for what it is in her that is blocking this thing from happening. All this pain and shame. I stop her.
Sometimes we have to let go. Sometimes we have to accept things might not happen, accept what is and let go. Sometimes we have to just sit in the grief and not turn it in on ourselves. Sometimes all there is to do is let go. Sometimes things happen the way they happen and we don't get to know why. We don't get to know why things happen for some people and not others. Why we aren't truly all the same, with the same nervous systems or access to the same resources. We do what we can, we still want and move forward, but we also make space to let go and not grip so hard to all the wanting and feeling. Somewhere in there, that thing we want that we think will make us feel free when its letting go that makes us free.
We sit in the space and let the tears of grief open the doors of heart.
Grief is an initiation. Whether we have lost a parent, whether it is illness or disappointment or being alone or a break up or all the myriad of constant losses and disappointments we experience as humans on a daily basis.
We are human. It is healthy and natural to feel and grieve. It is actually the liberating force that has the power to restore our lives and reconnect us with the wild mother, the wild feminine, with the deepest resources of love.
We have to make space for grief. We must make space to learn how to metabolize our feeling, to restore access to the sacred capacity within ours hearts. We simply have to. Spending time in fear of ourselves, in anxiety or codependency or addiction or burnout or fear or shame or feeling alone or disconnected....we simply no longer have time to be dead while we are alive.
Step away from the inner blame game. Life is happening around us and through us. There is far more of a cosmic orchestration moving to the rhythm of it's own symphony that we will ever get to understand. In fact, that is part of the song, not getting to understand why or how or what is behind things happening. Sometimes bad things happen. Sometimes things happen that make no sense. Sometimes things happen that stop us in our tracks and look at life differently. None of these things happen because there is something wrong with you. We've been conditioned by a co-dependent, competitive culture that has placed conditions on success and wealth and love and adoration and belonging. We receive mixed messages about fitting in yet being individual. To feel feelings but affirm away anything "negative." We have created so many blocks to feeling our own hearts.
Take risks. Leap into the unknown. Do your inner work. Surrender and trust and have faith. Faith in something higher than yourself, faith in the power that connects us all together. Faith in the cosmic orchestration and intelligence that keeps the universe together, even after all this time.
Sometimes bad things will happen. Sometimes things don't happen the way you want. Sometimes good things happen. Sometimes nothing will happen. Whatever arises, its always a call to move with the tide of life, to respond to life from rather than react to life. If you don't do anything, nothing will happen and you won't really be living.
Fear is aliveness. Grief is aliveness. Rage is aliveness. Sadness is aliveness. Love is aliveness. Joy is aliveness. We must leap into the entire spectrum to get to experience it all. There is nothing wrong with you. There is nothing wrong with being human. Stop using spirituality and emotional tools to commit violence towards yourself because this perpetuates the exact thing you are trying to free yourself from. Use your spiritual and emotional tools to support your own sanity, serenity and well-being, not to beat yourself up by measuring yourself up on the outside. Love is love. Love is here to free you and heal you back to wholeness. From wholeness, anything is possible.