Of late, I have contemplated the experiences of grief in my life, and how I have managed to move on from them into another and more enlightened time. In some ways, it is no different than writing a book, I suppose.
I have written material that is more than twenty years old, when I first began my research in my practice with my pioneered therapy. Reading back pages of history, I see different things in those writings than I did at the time I wrote them. It’s not unlike writing a page of poetry or prose, or a letter to a friend. Sometimes it clearly states what I meant to convey, and other times it needs a rewrite.
I’ve decided grief is like a rewrite, in many ways. If I write precisely and eloquently in words that reflect the feelings of my heart, I am content. If I fail to be accurate, I toss the page and start again with a fresh idea percolating in my head until I am satisfied that the words on the paper convey my feelings in a full and completely satisfying way in my heart.
Grief is like that, I suppose. When I give myself permission to clearly give voice to what I feel as a spirit having a human experience, I feel satisfied and sated in my expression, whether I write, draw, cry, sing, scream, breathe through the sobbing, or breathe through the silence of the feelings that go so deep, there are no words to describe what happens in those holy moments inside my soul...
Those sacred times forever change me, of that there is no doubt. Once I am forever changed, I don’t go back to visit where I lived before. Instead, I embrace what I have learned as a result of my expression and externalization of grief, and I move on from that experience. I learn that, despite my fear that I would never stop crying if I let myself start, I did stop. I learned that the depth of such feeling is not a place of shame, but a place of sacredness and awe, that I am capable of such depth of feeling! As a human person, I find it a spiritual revelation that I am introduced to a conscious awareness of how deeply I love, and how deeply I feel the loss. That is a holy thing to experience, in my view. Without having expressed it, I might have continued to judge myself as being weak or out of control, when I am in awe that the exact opposite is indeed the truth.
I must also learn, as a result of surrendering to my grief, that it takes courage to surrender the old pages of my grief to the trash, in order to make room for the new ones that go ever deeper and into new places of experience and insight. It is such a remarkable journey we spend in life, getting to know ourselves and the deeper truth of what it means to be human.
If I did not dare to give myself permission to grieve in the first place, I would not get to know myself at deeper levels. If I did not allow this grief to mould and change me, I would perhaps not learn from these sacred experiences in life. If I pretended it was all meaningless, I would not be able to extend the hand of compassion with such fearless and solid integrity. By daring to share the narrative of my experience with the public in the form of my book, By Grace of Mourning, I give others the insight and permission to accept that grief work and mourning is a natural and healthy response.
In the human condition, it brings us to a place where we join together in compassion, and we share our learning and insight into the mysteries of what it means to be human. A burden shared is indeed a lighter load to carry. Such are the gifts offered in the life of caregivers who live a life of service. Here is a clear place where spirituality brings us united as One in a common goal of all things living. When we do this with humble servitude, we learn the gift of grace, and how we are all so much alike in our desire for peace as a human species.
When we remember this, and live in the moment of NOW, peace comes to those who dare to evolve from the most desperate pain of their lives. Since the pendulum swings equally in both directions, we gain so much peace from so much pain, and we recognize the sacred gift of the experiences we choose to overcome.