I will never be able to emphasize this enough: your grief is not a problem.
Living in a culture that generally views the human experience through a deficit or deficiency framework has left this unfortunate imprint in our collective unconscious that our pain, sorrow, and grief are wrong. So, we have not learned how to care for ourselves, to see ourselves as good or love ourselves when we feel bad.
It even becomes a point of separation in spiritual circles where these aspects of human experience are labeled low vibration or something we need to clear and get through as quickly as possible to find the nuggets of gold and move on to the next thing.
A culture that functions out of deficit, and profits off of this scarcity, has deeply ingrained into the collective unconscious that we need to search for what is wrong, what needs to be fixed, lest we bring sorrow upon ourselves for failing, and be left on our own to deal with it—because authentic sorrow, pain, and grief can make a lot of people really uncomfortable.
One of the agreements I’ve carried in my grief circles is to observe when bearing witness to another’s share, what arises, because we often have a tendency to want to shut down grief with spiritual platitudes, or tell people that everything will be okay because it touches places in us we are not comfortable with. We explore what it’s like to be in the fire of it—because the connectivity and love there are powerful.
People come to me all the time for tools to fix or deal with grief. And, I never offer tools. Not right away anyway, and not in the way they think they want. I am not a tool person. I say that the best tool I can offer you is to hold space for your grief. I will deeply listen in the darkness with you. We will find what your system needs for support, nourishment, nurturing, and affirmation, so you feel safe to let grief do what it needs to do. We might even breathe, move, and pray together.
This way, you will learn how to do this for yourself and then others in your life.
It’s actually magic, but in an ordinary, normalizing Earth wisdom kind of way that we’ve lost touch with.
When we see our very real human experience of grief and sorrow as a deficiency or weakness, it can easily get suppressed or repressed via using “tools” and or “practices” as weapons against ourselves. We engage in even more violence toward ourselves via addictions.
Grief is a somatic experience that serves as a metabolizing and purification mechanism in our physical, emotional, soul, and psychic bodies to clear what is not love and to heal us open when our attachments are gone.
It remakes us.
It pulls us into the fertile void where we meet the divine intelligent nature of life that is both creative and destructive, filled with desire and longing; it offers up to us the places in us that haven’t yet been met by this love inside of us, and shows us what hasn’t been metabolized, what longs to be woven with intention, prayer, song, story, ceremony, and contemplation.
In a deficit culture, where we split our preferences and aversions into “the light” and “the dark,” we miss the bridge that helps us to integrate all that we are.
We don’t need to worry about creating something in the future to solve the problems of now, but rather, to offer ourselves and each other an infrastructure that knows exactly how to hold grief, sorrow, and pain. How to utilize the cold darkness of winter, whether it is actually winter or a “personal winter,” with the reverence it deserves.
This way, we create the new from an entirely new space of consciousness, rather than using the same tools of the old structure to try to build something new.
Most communities lack an infrastructure to hold space for winter—when support is actually the most needed. It’s a lost communal art.
There is nothing wrong with you if you are grieving or contending with old pain.
This year has been a collective winter, a deep death cycle. We are in the jelly (caterpillar —> butterfly) part, perhaps being made new, but likely still slowly, slowly dissolving in a way we don’t have much control over right now. We must just be here and learn the necessary skills for being in what seems to be a long, dark winter that is rearchitecturing us.
There’s no need to rush it.
There’s a lot of aliveness and creativity and movement here in the silence and stillness too. It’s not the kind that needlessly fills the void, but rather nourishes it with its quietude.
If we pay attention, the night isn’t empty at all, but has her own fullness. There are things we can only see, hear, or know once we’ve settled into the night a little bit.
We discover it’s not about flipping the script, trying to get egoic control over deficient beliefs or “mind over matter” ourselves out of our humanity, but instead seeking and learning what our weary soul bones require for nourishment, nurturing, replenishment, expression, and wisdom transmission from stars deep in the night of our marrow.
It’s here, when recovering from the trauma and losses of our lives, from living in a deeply disordered world, we learn that the divine intelligence of life, Eros, the sensing, genius, feeling, knowing, sensual, creative, and feral energy that longs to express itself as us is fully trustable.