I have been thinking a lot about grief lately. How we each carry grief. How we experience it differently. How it is sparked in different ways. It could be the loss of a loved one who has died. This is the way we often think of grief. Yet, there are so many other sources of grief.
Grief for one’s own journey. Grief for the journey that someone you love must experience although it is heart wrenching and heart breaking to observe.
Reminded over and over again that you cannot save another person from their own journey and you cannot rescue them. Patience in the waiting and the observing is a practice to be recalled over and over again.
Will they find their way? You cannot know for sure until they do. Or do not.
But you can hold the faith, in whatever way and practice that shows up for you, that they will.
The grief you feel personally may be amplified by any grief you feel for the state of the world these days. For Mother Earth and a climate crisis you might feel helpless to prevent. Grief amplified by the toxic state of public discourse that has created so much fragmentation and polarization in our communities and in our families.
It can be hard to look. It can be hard to look away.
You can grieve and also allow joy. States of the human condition do not need to be mutually exclusive. You can feel both and even more at the same time.
It starts with allowing yourself to feel. This can feel risky, even dangerous. There may be fear that allowing yourself to feel will result in becoming more deeply lost, though it is in the feeling you can move through the faces and phases of grief and any other emotional state you may be experiencing.
Sometimes it is head down, one step at a time, one foot in front of the other – literally or figuratively. Remembering to breathe. Breathe deeply. Breathe into the pain. Breathe into the love. Breathe into the heart and the soul.
Other times it is head up, looking around at the wonders of the world that still exist despite the desperation of the times.
The rising and setting of the sun. The phases of the moon. The rising and ebbing of the tides. The stars. The light drizzle. The pounding rain. Snowflakes and snowstorms. The fresh morning air, the high heat of a noon sun on a summer day, the cooling temperatures at dusk.
Look within. Look to nature. Look to love. For what is underneath the grief but the sense of loss. For people. For relationships. For other things held dear.
And if there is grief, there is also love. Love that lives on that, when you touch it, you can touch beyond your grief and find your way into another day.
It washes over the soul
Like waves wash over the pebbles
On the beach.
Captured in the constant
Roar of crashing waves.
The soothing motion
Of gentle waves
Lapping the shore.
Tears well up,
Dropping into the endlessness
Of the ocean,
Both with the tumultuousness
Of raging storms
Close to the surface
And with the quiet depths
So far below.
Not just one face.
Not just one expression.
Not just one cause.
Let it wash over you.
Beneath the storm
To the calm.
Find the love
Beneath the grief.
~ August 2019