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.
The change of seasons brings up a lot of heaviness, the last of the Winter energies asking to be metabolized and released. This can feel like fatigue, exhaustion. It can feel like deep sadness. It can feel like depression. Depression, however, is not the same as feeling sadness, grief or tired unless you resist your experience.
Emotions are life force energy manifesting as a current of information to guide you in making decisions, in navigating life, as well as into a more conscious relationship with yourself and with Spirit. Emotions serve a lot of different functions, many of them are shut down in the same way life force energy is generally shut down, with several few acceptable expressions of it. As a consequence, many of us have come to believe that our emotional life is bad, that it isn't safe to have emotions (or be ourselves) or we fear our emotions because we do not know what to do with them.
What can happen is a shut down, which manifests as depression. All these emotions go inward because we don't know what to do with them. We turn in on ourselves. This is the birth of self-criticism, shame and self-loathing. Especially if we weren't held, seen or supported to understand our own inner experience.
Emotions are relational, they happen in response to our relationship with life. Healing relationships and cultivating a healing relationship with Spirit can be a relieving balm in our current emotionally neglectful (and abusive) society. One of the most potent ways to use ancient spiritual and soul technologies is to learn how to harness the wisdom of your emotional body to tap into the wisdom of your emotions, metabolize your emotions and experience the liberating quality of this connection with life force energy.
Rebirth. This transition time; a rich initiation into yet another mysterious unfolding of the journey we are collectively dreaming awake together.
When the butterfly is ready to break out of the cocoon, there is a greater effort required to push through the walls, to break free and shake off the final weight of the well worn, nourishing womb sheath. That effort, that final push, can feel like the hardest sometimes. We are here, being called to stretch inner heart muscles, to lean into the wisdom of unknown parts of our soul, to trust in things we have not yet seen or known of ourselves and to befriend the unknown with the courage only love can muster.
This initiation calls forth breaking through yet another unconscious cave we have been living in. Whatever that is for us. Knowing our true voice. Thriving in life as fully ourselves as we can be. Knowing true love. Embodying self-love. Mastering emotions. Living into soul purpose. Experiencing real abundance within and without. The universe knows your deepest longing. Love calls forth from the depths the things that block your way. The old selves you aren't yet done with. The deeper pains to be metabolized in order to liberate the life force pathways.
The Phoenix rises. But, what happens in that fire. This is the in-between. The bardo. A time where the richest re-generation of life, reconnection to soul and revival of innate wisdom is possible. The in-between is a space rich with possibility for liberation. It is rich with initiation. We as a Western society do not honor initiation and the soul rites that provide a healthy, emotional gateway into the next season, the next chapter and the next stage of life. We are here on the precipice, we are rebirthing into Spring, breaking out of the cocoon of Winter.
This time of year has always felt like New Years to me. Planting the seeds of intention from the deepest soul desires discovered in Winter's womb. To shed these final layers of Winter weight that the light of the sun is bringing into view. To renew faith in love and nature and goodness. To clear for fresh new ground in the heart, to find home and comfort in this new skin and safety in the soul of being this recovering human. Welcome to the mysterious miracle of this life. We don't always get to know why, but we get to live it and sometimes that's better.
Grief is our natural response to the transitory nature of life. It is complex and can be overwhelming and confusing. It is a part of our human experience, our aliveness.
You do not grieve for things you do not care about. It is an act of love. It connects you with what is most deeply precious and sacred in the heart of your heart. It clears the pathway to a soul-centered life.
There are layers to it that can make midwifing your way through challenging and obscure.
You grieve for the loss of the person/object/situation.
You grieve for the loss of the relationship you had with what has been lost.
You grieve for the parts of you attached, identified and connected to what has been lost.
Sometimes grief arrives in a mixture, swirling around and overwhelming the heart. It can feel scary to surrender to this initiation deeper into the truths of love, life and the divine nature of this human experience. It can completely re-arrange you and evolve you closer to the nature of who you really are.
This is navigating the in-between. Honoring what has been lost, metabolizing the emotions and complexities of the relationship and allowing the parts of you that need to die so that a new you can emerge. It's not always easy to tell up from down, what is what. We have a tendancy to want the process to be linear, to have clearly defined stages, something to hold on to. But, sometimes holding on keeps us from understanding. From that understanding is birthed curiosity and the seeds of love we need for becoming real.
Grief teaches you to become real. It is the holy devotion of your heart to what matters most to you about life. It is alive. Grief is love.
Everything changes, nothing lasts forever. Seasons come and go, people we love will die (we will too), the landscape of our life shifts and changes like the tides of the ocean. Grief is our natural response to impermanence and change. It is healthy. It is normal.
Grief is love. It is the reflection of an open heart; interconnected and caring and loving in the world. It is our aliveness.
Initiation is movement from one mode of consciousness to another. As the landscape of our life changes, ideally so does our level and mode of awareness and consciousness. We allow life to grow us, shape us and evolve us. From one stage of development to the next, from one moment of spiritual expansion to the next.
Many cultures who move more closely with the earth's natural cycles understand this, which is why there are initiations, rites of passage after hardship, challenges and trials. This Western culture fears death, turns death into a corporate affair and we've built so many walls of illusion to protect ourselves from any proper rites of initiation.
Grief has become trapped. This way of actually living well, of expanding the capacity of our heart for more and more love, to move towards allowing MORE life to come in, to be more connected to the divine, ourselves and each other. This grief offers the opportunity to live even better so we can die well. Death teaches us about life every single day that death gives us another day here.
This is not meant to be morbid. This is truth. Love speaks in the language of truth. Every transition, every loss, every disappointment, every single challenge, obstacle, trial and difficulty is an initiation into deeper aspects of yourself, your own power and an opportunity to embody even more of your soul. So many of struggles people face, like depression and addiction, perfectionism, shame, fear, insecurity are all symptoms of trapped grief, unmetabolized responses to the flow of life and love that is trying to evolve us. It gets stuck in our bodies and we identify with it, it weighs us down, ages us, we project it onto relationships or things around us....our hearts become confused.
Reclaiming the initiatory power and healing potential residing in grief is to take back our own emotional power and remember who we are, what is important to us and how we want to truly, truly live so that we can come to the end of our life with gratitude rather than regrets. The initiation of grief is an initiation into the power of love. It is the capacity of your heart to hold more and more of the divine and to open even more to life in appreciation for the miracle it truly is.
Then, we learn we have nothing to lose but the chance to experience the freedom waiting in our hearts.
Your grief does not need to be healed. There is nothing wrong with your grief. Nothing needs to be fixed. It is a natural reaction to the inevitable changes that happen as a part of life. Grief is purifying and healing, it keeps open the channels of the heart. Grief is another form of love, of loving and extending gratitude for what is changing, what has been lost and what is passing away. Grief itself is healing. It is a form of health to grieve, it keeps you vibrant, alive and open to life. If you do not grieve, it is a heart that is also closed to love and closed to life.
What is broken is a world that does not allow grief to be. What is broken is the lack of space that is held for love to pour its wisdom and grace into your tender heart. What is broken is a world where grief and emotions are pathologized and made wrong, making us feel wrong for experiencing what is normal. Even the death industry has been turned into a capitalistic commodity that has removed the experience of death and loss from our lives and placed it away from us, putting a price on it where it is expensive to die. Where, in times of deep grief one must think about money and expenses. What is broken is the shame that is created in the wounds where love wants to reside. What is broken is that we do not know how to be with what is most natural and beautiful about the flow of life. Love, praise, grief....love, praise and grief.
There is nothing wrong with your grief. There is nothing about your grief that needs to be healed. It longs to sing its song, to be witnessed, heard and held. For its wisdom to be known and for it's love to be praised into an even fuller life than what you had thought was possible.