Grief is the agony of an instant. The indulgence of grief the blunder of a life – Benjamin Disraeli
As we go through life we lose friends, relatives, parents, looks, youth, wealth, health, jobs, reputation, possibilities, opportunities, love and at the end of it all, life itself. Wanting or not loss is part of the human experience. Denying it leaves us in limbo.
Great grief takes away the ground from under our feet. We falter and look for support. It hurts deeply and it often feels like it’s going to swallow us whole. Grief brings a period of mourning, introspection and the possibility of growth.
Grief without transformation devastates. Like a deadly virus it eats away at hope, enthusiasm, and beauty leaving behind only sadness and despair.
Many of us experience grief as a form of fear. The fear of life itself swallowing us whole and leaving us trapped.
Grief, as hard as it is, needs to be acknowledged and given respect. There is no other way. In our weakest moment we are asked to find the courage to walk through the loss and feel its full impact. But as we do so, something amazing takes place. For the courage we show, we receive knowledge and understanding in return. And at the end of our journey our hearts will see life and the world in a different way.
We learn to appreciate the simple things that take place in our daily lives. A word from a friend means more and a spontaneous laughter more gratifying. We also gain the organic knowledge that life is fleeting but our inner-strength steady. Love for ourselves and compassion for others becomes the side-effect of loss.
Grieving is not easy and not something anyone looks forward to. But when time does come we must be brave and put our arms around it and in loss we find our own transformation. It is the cycle of life.
Losing a spouse is often listed among the most stressful events of life. Kristine Carlson, author of “Heart Broken Open,,” lived through one of those stories we hear about on the news. She enjoyed an envied and idyllic life as wife to the mega-bestselling author Richard Carlson of “Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff.” One day, she kissed her beloved goodbye as he boarded a plane to New York City — and he never came home. He died in his sleep on the plane from a random blood clot that traveled from his leg to his lung. Kristine was in her early 40s, mother to two teenage girls, and alone.
Here is a video of one of Carlson’s grief circles with John Welsons, author of “One Soul, One Love, One Heart, Awakening from Grief,” discussing how our cultural stupor blocks us from feeling happiness, and why we feel we have to apologize for expressing emotion:
Grief has been very much on my mind lately. I’m not doom and gloom, but I believe I’m coming full circle in understanding the structure of grief, and most importantly how grief can be turned into healing.
As we go through life we lose friends, relatives, parents, looks, youth, wealth, health, jobs, reputation, possibilities, opportunities, love and at the end of it all, life itself. Wanting or not, loss is part of the human experience. Denying it leaves us in limbo.
Great grief takes away the ground from under our feet. We falter and look for support. It hurts and often feels like it’s going to swallow us whole. It also announces a period of mourning, introspection and the possibility of growth.
I believe one the hardest feelings we deal with when grief strikes, is the overwhelming sensation of loss. Loss means we had something which we no longer have. Initially, there is nothing positive about it. But, if we are to heal and to change as human beings we must embrace the loss and transform it.
I remember when my husband passed away how I kept saying to myself and others; “There has to be something positive out of this incredible pain. If not, it is complete devastation and I may not survive.” I soon found what was positive for me out of all that I had lost; it was a deeper understanding of love, life, compassion and empathy. As well as becoming more comfortable in my own skin.
Less than I year before from my late husband’ passing, I started the Love Project Inc., a book of our history together and I also added a number of social causes to my agenda.
When we hurt we can either stay in pain and anger or we can turn our scar into a new way of being.
The great poet and theologian Rumi, said “Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing,
there is a field. I’ll meet you there.”
That’s the gist of Anne Naylor’s post. To find ourselves at an evolutionary point where feelings are neither good nor bad; they just are.
Having feelings and emotions is part of being human. Being dominated and controlled by them is neurosis. We cannot stop feeling and we cannot become different people. But we can allow the emotions and thoughts to exist without bowing down to them.
If we don’t underline and hang on to the negative emotions we actually have the possibility to turn pain and discomfort into something more fulfilling. Grief, the ultimately negative experience, if allowed to exist can teach us about empathy, compassion and letting go.
When I lost my husband I kept thinking that pain and loss could not be all that was left of him. As I allowed my grief all the space it needed without clamming to it and berating myself, I found the wisdom of acceptance.
Loving acceptance of our vulnerability and insecurities bring us emotional freedom. And with that compassion for others.
Can We Be Emotionally Free?
By Anne Naylor
What would life be like without emotional burdens like anxiety, depression, guilt, rage, self-doubt and shame? What does it mean to be “emotionally free”? Is it possible? Is it even desirable?
Part of the tool kit with which we human beings are born are our emotions. They must serve a purpose, or we would not have them. So far, so obvious. What would life be like without love, passion, enthusiasm, joy, excitement, exuberance, compassion, empathy or frustration, anger, resentment, envy, jealousy, greed and fear? Positive emotions serve to move us forward and expand our horizons. Negative emotions can trap us in a miserable downward spiral of hopelessness and despair…Continued
Good article on using the internet as online support system or to find out local organizations.
Writing in the NY Times on September 3rd, Paula Span described the emergence of online support and caregiving “communities.” One such site — Lotsa Helping Hands — has succeeded in facilitating the creation of almost 30,000 of these “communities.” They are all local, and they exist to recruit and coordinate volunteer services for members of the community who are in need. For example, a single mother who must undergo chemotherapy and needs help with child care, shopping, etc...Continued
In the post the writer, Piper Weiss, describes the different ways people have coped with loss. Michelle Williams (who lost Heath Ledger) found solace in gardening. Gwyneth Paltrow who couldn’t cut her hair when her father died because that was the hair he knew, then one day she had to get it cut right then and there because her moment of letting go had arrived.
Today is my fourth wedding anniversary. I am here but my husband isn’t. We actually only got to commemorate our first wedding anniversary. Chris passed away nine days before our second.
As in any match you look at your opponent square in the face. You want to measure up its strength while letting it know you are not afraid.
When the bell goes off, you approach it with determination. You find your way in, you put your arms around it and you hold it tight. You smell its sweat and you dance around with it until you are able to take it down to the mat. You hold it there and you pay your respects. You let it know of its worthiness and that you will always be mindful of it.
At some point in our lives we become aware of some inevitable big themes; loss and death. Even the lucky ones, who will only experience the loss of others from old age, will have to come face to face with grief.
I don’t want to talk about the pain loss causes but do want to talk about fear.
Once we have experienced our first life changing loss, how do we continue to live life with courage and commitment, fully knowing that more loss will take place including that of our own selves?