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Recently, a part of me died as I let go of living inside of a story that kept me safe for a long time.
The problem with that story wasn’t that it wasn’t true—it was, is, and always will be. The events actually happened, and the impact on me was more true than I could ever imagine.
The issue was that holding on to it kept me from opening up to love and feeling the nutritive soul food of my magical, powerful, resilient, and wise ancestors. It kept me from feeling connected to a love that has always been there and from a power living deep within me. It kept me from claiming my birthright.
As I spent time with my family, I was overcome with rage as grief, as well as deep, vulnerable wells of tears that made me feel as if I was dying.
There is a raw, tender death from which every evolution and rebirth of the new arises. The phoenix arises out of the ashes of its own death, a symbolic death that serves more love, life, and light in the world.
I often tell my clients that the grief process is really what the death process looks and feels like for the living.
Healing is grieving.
If we truly long to evolve into a state of freedom, it’s necessary to make friends with the grief process the same way that a snake knows how to shed its skin.
We cannot change and expect things to stay the same. If we learn to make space for it, grief becomes filled with more grace, love, and honor, rather than fear and suffering.
One reason the grief process can feel excruciating, beyond the obvious, is that when we have a lifetime of unmetabolized grief stored up in our bodies, we fear it more and more because it feels like an abyss of pain that’s too deep to dive into—and it’s true.
At first, we need to titrate and become familiar with the tapestry of our grief, the architecture of our lives that was built around avoiding grief of what never was, what has changed, choices we’ve had to make, spiritual emergences, and the inevitable loss of life, relationships, transitions, illness, and all things human.
Yet, our healing and evolution call for an honoring of what was. What was there. What has died. What no longer was. It’s an initiation in the crossroads we cannot avoid, with starry-eyed focus on what is emerging and always with the new, new, new.
In a true death and rebirth process, we actually have no idea what will emerge or who we will be until we are on the other side of it. It cannot be premeditated or predicted based on our desired outcome or ego idea.
Dying into our next evolution is a deep surrender into the murky territory of letting go.
What does it mean to symbolically die? To experience inner death?
We have all experienced this in one form or another—after a breakup or when a loved one dies. Our grief changes us. We mourn who we have lost, along with the relationship we had with them. We die.
The parts of us that were identified with that relationship and person, the parts of us that were attached, and the younger wounded bits emerge for their voice in the mourning process if we allow ourselves to surrender and to being remade in the fire of this kind of love.
It’s there when we shed an identity rather than wearing it like a tired old scarf we carry around for memories.
The addict identity inside must die. The codependent. The one who protected herself with her wounding. The one who hid her magic to protect herself. The one who denied her desires. When we mourn these parts of our wounded self properly, we integrate the magic and genius, releasing the pain back into the flow of life force herself.
We become free.
When we reclaim our exiled selves, there is grief there we must feel—the pain of why we separated from ourselves in the first place and the grief of never having been loved the way we needed. That orphan within who we relegated into the cave with Medusa, who we thought we’d turn into stone if we ever looked at them again.
The exiled self holds so much hope, love, innocence, magic, creative potential, and it is the key to mending the golden thread that ties us to our ancestors. In the reclamation of this part of our psyche, the part cast out in culture only values a small box of gifts and ideas.
This kind of grief gives us our power back from the soul thieves of our culture. It mends the roots of the psyche down into ancestral soils where we can find our ancestors and memories. We understand what it is to be in a world that valued the soul before having bank accounts and productivity.
I look upon my addictions and see them as a way to avoid grieving, disguised as socially accepted ways to mourn. In reality, they just drown with toxic mimics of comfort.
My addictions were a way to seek soothing, to mother myself in a way that tricked me into thinking I was getting the nourishment I longed for, and which I never received in the first place.
Only now, I realize that as hard as it is to evolve, it doesn’t have to be a struggle, and there is a beauty in the surrender of my heart breaking open to love over and over again.
Something in it makes me feel fearless, even when I’m scared. Strong when facing the mystery. Rooted in the ancestors who survived much before me, feeling their love that opens inside a longing for me to be free of the pain of suffering.
Our society has failed us by lying about grief and relegating it behind closed doors. It whispered secrets and gave us only three days to mourn over libations that prevent us from lovingly navigating the dark waters of the Mother’s womb, remaking us more alive, more present, and more grateful in this one wild, precious life.