Grief has been a close companion as of late.
Grief and I have been unashamedly baring our souls to each other. And it is a lot like buying a Prius. Once you decide to buy that Prius, you start to see Prius' everywhere. When you open yourself up to grief, it is everywhere.
Oh, I've been worryin' that my time is a little unclear
I've been worryin' that I'm losing the ones I hold dear
In my recent weeks at the meditation school, I've witnessed grief while working with clients healing back pain and releasing trauma held in physical scars. For example, I worked on a friend's scar. She had broken her leg and had been walking with a limp for months. We worked together, then later I saw her in the lodge. She saw me and burst into tears. She had walked to the lodge without a limp and without even thinking about her leg.
The miracle was not that she walked normally that day. That felt miraculous, but she still had healing to do. The amazing and humbling part was the way she had the courage to feel the depth of her emotion. In the crying, she released the trauma.
...the fear that she may never walk normally again
...the grief of how the trauma impacted her and its lingering effects on her life.
...the worry of how this injury would continue to haunt her in the future.
The fear and grief had encapsulated themselves in her scar and had been part of what kept her limping after all those months. Her willingness to feel the emotions was key in releasing the trauma, and in doing so, helped to heal the physical wound.
I've been worryin' that we all live our lives in the confines of fear
Our emotions have to live somewhere. If we don’t let them out, they bury themselves in our body. If there is one emotion we try to avoid, it's grief. We try like hell to bury grief. Because, frankly, it can be devastating. We will feel anything else in order not to feel grief.
I’ve been watching all the ways that I see grief get covered up, hidden within our physical pain and tucked into the deep shadows of our body. We hide it with anger. Anxiety. Control. We hide it by numbing ourselves. Somehow these options feel more palatable. Anger and control feel powerful. Numbing and anxiety are distracting.
And yet, the problem is that when we choose a cover-up emotion, the grief remains. So we keep getting angry over and over, not even sure why, as our body cloaks the grief from arising to the surface.
The beauty in exploring grief is that it has a way of blowing you open. For me, the more I experience grief the more I know, I am not my pain. I am not my grief. It will not destroy me. It won’t destroy you either. You might be blown open and raw, but like the aftermath of a storm, the air is cleaner, the land is cleansed, debris is gone and life feels fresh and new again.
Come on love, come on love
Watch me fall apart, watch me fall apart
In speaking with a psychologist recently about work at rehab clinics, he said that in almost every rehab client he had, there was unresolved grief. That hit me hard. What if, we opened to grief and even better, encouraged others to open their grief to us? What if we could really hold someone in their grief? What kind of gift could it be for all of us?
Only love, only love
Give me shelter, or show me heart
Why do you hurt? It is worth asking yourself about your own stories of grief.
Lyrics by Ben Howard, “Only Love” and “The Fear”