Each of us has experienced loss in our life.
We’ve had things and loved ones just ripped away.
We’ve been betrayed, we’ve gotten our feelings hurt or our heart broken.
We’ve had to loosen our grip and let go gently.
We’ve turned our back and walked away… or maybe flat out run as fast we could.
We’re left standing there with our trampled hearts in our hands, with the slow dawning of understanding that life will not be the same after this. Our suffering includes everything from small pinpricks to the devastating feeling that the ground has given way beneath us, that we are set adrift.
Most often, we think of grief as the reaction to losing a loved one, but we also grieve when there are other losses in our lives: divorce, loss of a job, the end of a big event that has been inordinately time consuming. Grief is the process through which we sift through what’s left, pick up the pieces and figure out how to put them back together, heal what we can and gather the strength to move forward. Things never go back together the way they were before, because we aren’t the way we were before.
Impermanence is the nature of things. All things rise, hang around a while, then leave (or end) in one way or another. We are continually, irrevocably, altered by the events in our lives and the lessons we learn along the way. Sometimes we grieve. Sometimes we celebrate. Suffering and Joy walk hand in hand the whole way; they are two sides of the same thing.
We suffer when there is pleasure because we know it will eventually end.
We keep vigilant for Joy because we believe that there must be
a light at the end of each dark tunnel, a silver lining to each storm cloud.
Our suffering tells us of our attachments, our capacity for Love. Our grief calls on us to stop what we’re doing and feel into our hearts and souls. Life breaks us open in ways that may not even be apparent at first (or even after a little while) – but, if we’re lucky, our sorrow may show us the way into deeper levels of compassion, for ourselves and for others. We break because we love. Yet it is our need and ability to love that heals us, that gives us the courage and strength to try again… again, again.
“Tears shed for another person are not a sign of weakness.
They are a sign of a pure heart.”
~ Jose N. Harris *
How can we be gentle with ourselves as we transition through the tough times? Grief is not a scripted, scheduled thing, but a process that each of us must go though in our own way and in our own time; it has a life of it’s own and will not be rushed. How do we recover?
~ Dive into the rawness of the pain. Allow yourself to feel it all the way as deep as it goes. Use the breath to sit with difficult emotions; stay with them, feel them, allow them to move through you. Ask the pain what is has to teach you. Maybe journal a conversation with your pain and grief.
~ Give yourself what you need most. Care for yourself as you would a small child.
Take some time off. Shutter the windows and doors and wail in the dark until you feel all wrung out.
Find a shoulder to cry on, someone to hold space for you to process your sorrow; sharing our pain as well as our Joy helps us to know we are not alone in our grief, nor is it impossible to recover from it.
~ Sift through all the broken pieces. What’s left? Invoke healing light and blessings to help bandage the holes in your heart. Pray. Meditate. Find the Stillness within and Rest there. In the stillness we can connect to all the Love in the Universe.
~ Move your body. Take a soothing bath. Rest some more.
~ Let go of the suffering; hold onto the love in your heart. Feel your breath rise and fall within you. Dry you tears and marvel at your own resilience, even with your battle scars and vulnerabilities. Send well-wishes out into the ether. Continue to Love. Love. Love.
“We think the point is to pass the test or overcome the problem, but the truth is that things don’t really get solved. They come together and they fall apart. Then they come together again and fall apart again. It’s just like that. The healing comes from letting there be room for all this to happen:
room for grief, for relief, for misery, for joy.”
~ Pema Chodron *
~ Invitation ~
How have you recovered from the losses in your life?
What has worked and what hasn’t?
* Jose N. Harris, Mi Vida: A Story of Faith, Hope, and Love
* Pema Chodron, When Things Fall Apart: Heartfelt Advise for Hard Times
I am a wife and a mom, a yogi, an artist, and a writer… but not always in that order! I tend to think in collage and have trouble starting my day without coffee (black). I am a contemplative and a seeker on this wonderful, odd trip that is this human life. I love to have adventures and detest fences of any kind. Dedicated to my journal, I blog part-time at www.vignettesfrommylife.blogspot.com