Friday, January 30, 2015

The Heart of Grief

Over the holidays, there was a point at which if I heard about one more person who was divorcing I would scream. The holidays tend to do that...dredge up our issues, leave us in touch with our tender inner children. My own inner child hates divorce, hates people behaving in un-loving ways. I was irritated, angry at the world for the presence of this pain, and all too in touch with my own pain over the three divorces I've suffered in my life (one my parents' divorce.) (Not that staying in a hurtful, abusive marriage is a badge of honor either, but there is still a loss).  There was anger that swirled in a fog over the deep, deep grief.
I imagine the heart of grief as a burning fire, a blinding light, so white-hot and angry itself, so all-encompassing when it first encounters your soul. I imagine it burns with such ferocity that at first it feels like you will be burned to the death. And at times I have wished it would: "Just take me so I don't have to feel this pain." Yet there the grief settles, in all her passion. She is stubborn that way, and with her stinging heat, she demands attention.
An inner bargaining takes place for me. I try to run, but can only hide from her brilliance. I try to pretend she isn't there. I try to make a deal, minimize and tell her it isn't so bad that you have to burn so intensely. No, she says, and burns off another layer. Or two. No, she says, this is utter transformation.
 Your house? Gone. Your loved one? Gone. Your family? Gone. The roles you thought you carried in your life? Gone. Your daily connection with those you loved? Gone. The burning has stripped you bare. There you are, just you and your essence.  And what happens is that your essence burns back with brighter fire, brighter than the angriest grief.
It was in those moments, those moments of being stripped away, I felt my Self. Grief has no patience with artifice. She will burn away your masks, your sacred habits, your precious routines, your flimsy beliefs. She will take you squarely to your feelings, reveal to the masses your faults and mistakes, and ultimately show you to your strength....your gorgeous heart, full of love and anger and grief and pain for the world, for yourself, for your community. Full of love. Full of calm compassion. She did this for me.
This is transformation of the wildest, purest, and most destructive kind. It has to be destructive to complete the transformation.
Let us be gentle with each other. Those burning with the fires of grief can use the soothing of compassion. I am ever curious how people deal with their grief over their losses at the hands of fate and by their own hands. Let us be gentle with each other so our grief can emerge. If one does not allow the burning of grief to cleanse, one becomes stuck, bitter, cynical, judgmental, depressed, critical. If the burning heart of grief is snuffed out, a cold hardness, an inner cruelty, will remain.
For we burn with grief like we burn with desire, love, connection, drive, or need. We burn because it is important to burn for something, for we are human. We burn for what we loved.
In memory of loved ones who have passed. I miss you every day.
In memory of dreams that never came to fruition. I let you go.

(thank you to Jesua and Sylvia who in their own writings about grief prompted me to also write. It  is a good day when one is creating)

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Get Lost

Getting lost is an interesting concept...lost in the woods involves not having your bearings, perhaps a sense of panic that you do not belong and cannot find your way home, perhaps a sense of adventure and trust that everything will turn out in the end. Getting lost can be fun, where you meet kind souls along the way, who will loan you a cell phone, give you a ride, or point you in the right direction. Getting lost can also be frightening, when you are faced with your own loneliness and ineptitude, certain danger, and where you realize all too quickly your limitations. Eventually, you realize your own capacities to think on your feet, your fierce instincts, your intelligence to figure it all out.
Getting lost in the woods is one thing. You know that you have your home to come to, eventually, even if your plans are derailed by your wandering. And wandering in the woods is often a welcome reprieve...on some level, you want to get lost, to meet your own self, empty of your familiar, external constructs.
But getting lost is not a welcome situation on all counts. If you are in a marriage, and through myriad subtle rejections, through countless acts of distance, through words of overt destruction, you are lost...lost to the very person you wanted to call home...lost to yourself. It is the same thing, then, when you are told to "get lost" and divorce comes: you have no bearings since nothing is as it appeared. You have a sense of panic that you won't find your way home. And you have a sickening realization that you were deliberately set up to be lost, abandoned, left alone, homeless. Someone wanted this for you out of their own lack of capacity to love.

I fought being lost, fought it with all my might, tried as hard as I could to hang on, offered up my soul. I tried to find my way but was so ill equipped to deal with the situation. And then I realized that what was trying to lose me, was not what I needed or wanted, that in trying to get someone to love me, I was losing myself anyway. I had to stop fighting, to lose illusion of control, to let the other work out their own karma, to grieve fully what was not there anyway.

Out there under the embracing blue sky, the sun shining all the same on rejection as it does on acceptance, the fear that washed over me slowly, very slowly, beautifully slowly, dissolves in the patient waters of healing. It is there I am held in the benevolent presence of friends, angels, my lover's arms. There in the open I can see clearly that I was MEANT to get lost. That all the messages I received about being a wrong person fall away in the light of the truth. And the truth is, rejection was a burden. Judgment was a burden. Criticism was a burden. They were the burdens someone else handed over, and were never mine to carry.

This is coming home of the most delicious kind. This is the journey I was meant to take, to find my own soul, to commit to greater love. It is a freedom like no other. The car is breaking down, single motherhood is a taxing, lonely place, the house needs a million repairs, there are lawyer fees to pay, a degree to finish. And my soul, my soul is free!

Thank you to the darkness, the toxic light people sometimes carry, the burdens of shame. Thank you from the bottom of my heart, a thousand times, thank you. Thank you for this gift, this rejection.
You stand in stark contrast to the light of Love. You show me that Grace is a better way.

Wash over me, life. Wash over me. Welcome me into the places I never knew while I was seeking the rejecting ones, seeking to be good enough for people who will not accept. Spit me out of the cesspool, the whirlpools of  lies and masks, and send me to the clear, loving waters! Carry me onto the bank, where I  can warm myself in the sun and find my home under all-encompassing Grace, in a steady flow of forgiveness.

(this article bears repeating. It really helps me understand how to be lost and how to be found.)

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

A sharing

This article is so incredibly healing I had to share. My dear friend Jesua wrote it... enjoy!