I write to gain perspective or a new way of looking at things. A way to puzzle through some of the complex things that make us even more complex as Human Beings. Sometimes I have to remind you, and myself, that I'm no different than you. I don't know all the answers; I don't even know all the questions. Especially with very sensitive issues or topics. I don't shy away from them, but occasionally it causes me to worry that taking them on could alienate me.
I do not presume to know how you feel; I never discount how you view the world. I respect what you know as real for you. And while I respect that it is truly how you see the world from your vantage point, there are times when I will most respectfully disagree or challenge you to consider a different way of seeing.
I am not a licensed therapist. I am not a mental health worker. I was in health care and absorbed a great deal over 20 years, but not as a clinician. I am a communicator and so, in order to take complex information and boil it down for the average person to understand it, I had to first learn it so I could modify it for public consumption. I'm very, very good at it. But, I remind you I am not a licensed practitioner.
I am married to a caring and deeply spiritual man who is a funeral director and views his work, not as a vocation, but an avocation. He is compassionate and intimately familiar with grief and grieving; we both share that ability to be unflinchingly present to people when they are raw with emotion. I have been a social worker as part of my career. And, I have training as a healer in terms of Reiki; I am a Reiki Master of the Usui tradition. That's the extent of my qualifications, except for the fact that I am a very seasoned Human Being. And for the remainder of this post, that's the qualifying voice with which I will be speaking.
Lately, the theme of loss and grief has filtered through several corners of my blog world. I see it and hear it very clearly in the words others are leaving for our reading. The momentum seems to be building and I have left comments with the writers, some of which have caused a maelstrom of emotional response. That reaction suggests that I should more deeply discuss my thinking. So, I share my ideas with you here without the massive emotional charge that is generally invested in this topic. I invite you to read it the same.
If you type, "pictures of grieving," into a search engine, you get a wide array of images that represent this topic. Some are fascinating; some truly horrifying. Most are despondent and dark, attempting to capture the harshness of grief. The utter loneliness and desolation of the griever. Very few, however, are able to show the profound spiritual depth we gain from the gift of grief.
Some few, some miraculous few, make us drop to our knees as we witness the courage, bravery and testament to love that grief forges in us.
Such as this one...a global representation of the profound grief a mother experiences in the death of a beloved child. No matter how old that child may be, no matter how long the parent had the gift of that child. It does not matter...
What is most compelling about this image is the Madonna's expression. The sense of grace, courage and acceptance this woman imparts while grieving. Acceptance, not of the loss or the details around it, but acceptance that grief is the exacted price for having been given the gift of loving another. It's part of the circle of life. Courage in facing it, moving through it, releasing it, and living after it, is the Magick of the circle. Just as the ability to love is a gift, the ability to grieve is also a gift, but we don't view it as such until we live it and through grace, come out stronger on the other side.
Many get stuck in grief and refuse to move on. Refuse to move forward out of a misguided sense of loyalty. Believing that reliving the grief represents how much we loved someone. Refusing to move because of mistaken belief that if we let go of our sadness, we let go of the person. It's a way of holding on to the one who is gone.
Some of us get lost in grief and wish to move on but don't know how. Some do not have others who will determinedly wade into the darkness, insist that we grab hold, and lead us out.
There is no time table for grief. How fast or slowly an individual moves through it to the far shores, is dependent on so many things. Willingness; being hopeful; a solid sense of Self; a support system that is grounded and loving; one's passion for life; a connection to Spirit; faith in the rightness of things most especially when we can't see or feel it; the ability to trust in the Divine's plan for us; and a desire to live life after major change. A curiosity to see where life leads.
If these things are missing, it becomes difficult to move on. Some get stuck because they do not know how to move through it. But, some stay stuck because it's the only thing they have that's theirs. Some live the grief because it's the only thing that is left of the person we miss. It's the only thing that makes us feel unique, different, or special. Some wear grief and loss as though it is a badge of honor. We keep grief because we think it proves we truly loved someone. Eventually we become defined by our loss instead of known and admired for the courage to take up life once more.
If those around you do not feel you're moving on, some will challenge you. They'll say things like, "Okay, hasn't it been long enough? Time for you to be getting over it, don't you think?" Their words are intended to be supportive but leave holes when they hit your heart. Their concern and fear for you comes out as impatience. Their honesty sounds like judgment. But, when you can finally be honest with yourself, you'll know when you're hanging on to hurt too long.
And, if you don't know how to release it, that's the time to say, "I think that's possible, but I don't know how to let it go. I don't know how to not let it define me anymore. I don't know what to do." Once you admit that, the resources will begin to appear. When you feel the rightness of returning to the living, the way to do that will make itself known. A prayer is always answered.
Occasionally, a griever is surrounded by people completely supportive that they're wounded. They continue to support the 'woundedness' believing they are being loving and kind. Some want you to stay hurt without even being aware that they do. If they live with hurt and dysfunction as part of their construct, they think it usual that you should have the same in your life. On lots of levels, misery loves company and many feed off the drama often associated with intense emotions. If years pass and you still identify your life by your grief, and others around you tell you it's all right that you do... It is NOT all right. Not.
While Love and Grief are corner stones of our Human Experience, Spirit, who loves us does not intend for any to stay stuck in grief, which is a negative state. We are not meant to live with hurt, loss, anger, fear, abandonment as the definers of our existence. We are challenged by our losses and experiences to grow our spirits- grow our bliss. This means we must eventually put grief aside and learn what it means to live a new way. We are meant to continue to share ourselves by living in the light, not surviving in the shadows.
In the Buddhist tradition, all pain and suffering is created by our unwillingness to let go of strong emotions and our insistence on remaining static. Being told this makes us rail- "How dare someone say I am miserable by my own design!" But, if we stop allowing ego to run the show for just a minute and consider that statement, we can also ponder that if that's true, then- We Are Happy by Our Own Design! We possess the power!
We are travelers on this Earth. We are meant to walk through the days of our life, stopping briefly for rests along the way. We are meant to travel through our experiences as we quest to find more. We are meant to flow through our emotions so we can continue to feel, be, and learn. As a Seeker, the question you need to ask is, "Am I moving on? Am I traveling well?" If the answer is no... I think you know what you need to consider.
When, in cemeteries, we see statues of angels mourning, we immediately think it's a representation of the grief felt over one who has died. We very rarely consider that the angel is also weeping for the griever. Grieving that we are hurt, feeling lost, hopeless, lifeless. The grieving angel cries for us frail Humans as we face our demons. They weep with us and for us. They assist us as we move from grieving to remembering.
Your grief is singularly yours. It is another expression of the divine thread you are in this tapestry of life. No one should discount it or make it feel less-than. Likewise, when someone who cares reaches out, regardless of how clumsily they may act or say, don't discount that. Don't say, "Well, you can't know how I feel and what I've lost! How dare you suggest that you do?!" Because the fact is that all of us have suffered loss. All of us. And, while some are more difficult to move on from, our shared humanity means that all of us resonate with what you feel. We all know what it is to grieve something.
Accept a hand when it is extended. Hear the words of concern when they are said and not how they are said. Allow a show of support when it is proffered. Take comfort in any form it is given. Consider help when you know it's time to move on.
And, share your hard-won gift of knowing what it means to move past grief, back into life with others who have lost and grieve. You can be the life line to the one who is in the darkness. But, only if you put grief aside and walk into your life once more. Only if you have the courage to define your life by what is in it instead of being haunted by what has gone from it. I wish you well in your travels. God & Goddess speed you on your way.
Namaste' Till Next Time,
Holly aka A Fellow Traveler
All images courtesy of the Internet except the last one which is mine.
5 hours ago