self

Why Do I Hurt?

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. 

with love,
Jennifer

If you're not sure or want support, there are ways we can work together. 
If you are curious about the healing techniques for yourself, ping me here

Lyrics by Ben Howard, “Only Love” and “The Fear”

Pity Parties and Dancing with Stuckness

Pitypartiesanddancingwithstuckness

I should have known.  When I wrote about joy last month, I should have known that I would immediately be put to the test.  This past month I had a series of small incidences that sent me into a nosedive.  I know the techniques that help bring me back to a state of joy and here was my test.  Did I do them?  

Nope.  

I delayed, I procrastinated, I came up with reasons why my tools were not worth pursuing.  Dancing to my favorite music?  Meh.  Exercise?  I pulled my hamstring and could not be bothered to go to the pool.  Hanging out with friends?  I isolated myself instead, "saving" my friends from my surliness.  Grumpy dwarf could have taken lessons from me.  I blamed the overcast weather, I blamed my injury, my spouse, I blamed the alignment in the stars, the tides and well, you get the picture.  I was stuck in my morass and as I kept looking for a way out, I had to acknowledge the giant elephant in the room.  

I didn’t want out.  There was a part of me that wanted to wallow in the muck. I wanted to lay in the mess and make mud angels in my cocktail mix of pessimism, pity and blame.  This part of me wanted to put on a black leather jacket and give inspiration and joy the middle finger.  Destruction, implosion and misery sounded way more interesting.

Oh.

Oh.

Um, yeah.  Not my proudest moment but a powerful one.  Something changed when I acknowledged this inner rebellion.  I was able to see more everything more clearly.   

I dug up a blog written by a friend, Elisa Mehl, that had always resonated with me.  I respect her immensely.  She talks about the experience of feeling stuck:

“When we can't move forward, often it's because we are not finished with the experience we are actually having.  What if we were simply present for the rich alive pulsing of the exact state and moment?  What if we didn't pay attention to our mind, or society, or friends telling us we should be more mature or positive or open or accepting or whatever?
 
Often this takes a reframe.  We are conditioned to seeing our "stuckness" as bad.  But what if we reframe the stuckness into an embrace?”

    •    When we try to change something we are outside of it.
    •    By not trying to change something and being curious we get present.
    •    Presence carries us inside, to the center of whatever is going on.
    •    In the center, is our presence.   Presence is life.
    •    Our perspective is different when we are present.

Until I acknowledged my desire to stay in the misery, I was fighting an unseen opponent, one stealth and well-versed in ambushing me.  In getting curious about my desire to stay stuck, I could suddenly start to see my choices again.  I had more space to see and decide and felt less committed to my inky pity pit.  I invited my husband for a surf and went for a walk with a friend and did some stretching.  I even dragged myself to a yoga class. Afterwards, I felt the best I had in weeks and I remembered why I like to feel good. 

It’s rejuvenating and the the world is brighter again.  

We all drop into that hole in life.  And sometimes, we want to stay in the hole.  The key is to get curious about it.  Be present with it.  Acknowledge it.  Then, decide.  Where do you want to go next? 

with love,
Jennifer

For Elisa's full article click here