I am sitting to write and realize how much time has passed since my last written reveal. I often record audio clips or videos out of ease and access. There is a quality of something different when my fingers start typing on this key board. It feels permanent and clear. I have a story brewing inside of me and I feel a huge impulse to allow space for it to emerge on paper.
This is my story of GRIEF.
The past months I have had content in my world that has left me in the continual and relentless experience of what I would say is “grief”. I air quote this word because as I have allowed it to move through my world and into my body without restriction, I have come to know it more fully. It is more than the typical despair, pain, sadness, sense of loss and grief. It is FULL, magic, tenderness and creates a sense of awe and connectedness that I could not have imagined.
In sharing some stories this past week of my sisters “death”, I realized again that what I was sharing, seemed almost happy and fond, upbeat and “positive”. I had an instant judgement of myself for seeming so nonchalant and “cold” about the whole thing. This is a judgement I have felt in the presence of numerous people in the past months. This judgement is what has led me to the freedom I now feel in expressing my “story” and experience of death and grief.
I have come to discover that grief, death and loss are but experiences in my body/device. They are another state of BEING as is happiness, joy and resentment. They are not better or worse than any other emotion/energy or feeling/information. They are an opportunity for me to soften, invite and allow the MORE that I am becoming. I do NOT intend to sound glib here but rather, to offer permission to allow whatever is present ….to PREsent. When I get stuck in the “right and wrong” or naming of this energy/information, I allow the history and what it has meant in the past to dictate my feelings about it for the present and future. Not wrong , just slow and small.
I have come to discover that Grief, death and loss are not linear experiences in my world. I experience them, I cry or yell or talk about it and then they “go away” is NOT how it has worked for me. What I have experienced is a cyclical state in what seems like….a relentless journey of discovery. My grief, death and loss are circular, they come back and they go away. They are triggered by different and seemingly not connected content in my world. I may see a yellow butterfly or a shooting star and it sends me into a whole lot of tears/water and gut wrenching heavy “grief”. A song, a smell, a memory, a color and type of food a mannerism of my children or the visiting with one of hers. All of these experiences can and are triggers for what lies below the surface. That which lays dormant until the perfect alchemy exists to allow me to touch my loss.
It is in these moments that I get to choose…. I can be sucked into the content of what triggered the energy and information or I can choose to know that I am a quantum biological being and that this is but a moment ( or seven:) ) of opportunity for me in my own evolution. I can choose to let go of content and surrender to the wave giving my brain nothing to do but focus on my breath. I can choose to soften, sit, invite and allow what is presenting OR I can choose to tell and re-tell the story in my brain stoking my fire of intensity, rage, outrage, sadness and blame.
Most certainly, I have chosen both of these options. Neither one is better or worse but I can tell you that, the latter option is messier, slower and much much more painful. My pain and despair comes in the moments where I compartmentalize, blame and stay firmly inside of the content. Not wrong or bad just slow and agonizing. I have found myself inside of these moments and wanting the pain of loss to stop. My thoughts to stop. My life to stop.
Grief, Death and Loss have been a close acquaintance of mine for many many months if not years. I wouldn’t have said this prior to June of 2017 but I know it as a truth for me in this moment. In the past months, I have made “friends” with my experience of grief, death and loss. I no longer keep an arms distance from it. I say hello and offer the experience a softer and more kinder welcome. Sometimes I roll my eyes and say what the F&*!...but then… I take a breath, soften, invite and allow. This approach and choice has allowed a much less pressurized experience for me. When I invite and allow, I do not want to throw or spew my outrage at others…. ( which has been a patterned behaviour for me ). Instead, I choose to soften like a child who is hurt. I allow my tears and heat and sadness to come to the surface of my experience. I call upon and make space for my vulnerable SELF. I allow space and time. No rushing…nothing else matters except what is presenting in the moment. My day to day meetings, tours, work, events, tea dates all take a back seat to this…. My dear and relentless friend GRIEF.
I know that some of you may be thinking…. How could I ever get a pay check if I allowed myself to STOP every time I Felt?
Well, What I know for mySelf is that when I do NOT make space for these moments/triggers…they will undoubtedly come back and with a fervor and intensity that destroys. It destroys ME and everyone and everything around me. A trigger gone ignored will continue to speak and attempt to come to the surface over and over with a pace and ferocity that will BE heard. The ultimate and final step in this attempt to be heard is a DIS-EASE in my body. Energy expressed in the physical tissue has been attempting to be “friends” for a long time. I know this to be true for me and many other women I have been in circle with over the years.
I can feel a thought of “ let’s get to the beauty part”. Let’s move on from the relentless despair part shall we? Make nice with the intensity and despair. Constant “depression” and darkness. Let’s talk about the part where this all comes to an end and I have moved passed it.
Hmmmm I am not there and I do not believe that I will EVER BE there.
I have become well acquainted with my darkness and despair…my grief and loss. Comfortable in the dark and scary places of my experiences of grief, death and loss. It’s weird to think how comfortable I have become. Many times in the past months I have heard myself say…I think this is what the mental health community calls depression. Followed closely by a huge…phew thank goodness I do my check ins with people who know that they are energetic beings and that these “feelings” are but a physical experience in the tissue designed for me to know myself more FULLY.
They have meaning and implications if I say so. They are NOT my physical or mental ME….but rather the essence of who I AM…My SOUL… calling to me to soften my device to allow so that I may create more capacity to arrive more fully into my physical experience. I AM that wave. I AM that experience of grief, death and loss. I AM the tight belly. I AM the tears streaming down my face and the snot that goes with it. I AM the heat. That is ME knocking on my own door for my own evolution. There is nothing to fear or shut down. There is nothing to label or fix. There is nothing that can hurt me. I AM SAFE.
Let’s talk about safety.
My good friend Louise Lebrun introduced the notion of safety to me a long time ago…. I experienced This concept over and over in program rooms and writings exchanges with many women. What I now know intimately is that SAFETY is an inside job. Safety is found within me. The amount of capacity I have to hold “yucky” feelings/ideas/thoughts/notions/experiences/beliefs/values/attitudes is directly related to the amount of SAFE I feel. This wasn’t a small feat. The first step on this journey to BE safe came with the knowledge that what I came to know as “ emotions and feelings” were but chemical messages in my body and that my body was a quantum biological device designed to break down or digest those exact emotions and feelings. I learned to shift my language around this and started referring to/redefining those words as energy and information. If my body/device is designed for this experience then I could trust it to do what it was intended and therefore, could surrender to the experience without fearing harm. More safety equals more capacity. More capacity equals more safety. And so on….
Another concept I learned was that my life is about me and your life is about you. Hmmmm…wait a second. As a person who has spent much of her life blaming others, how could this be true? What do you mean I create my own life? How is that possible when all of this trauma and drama was inflicted on me? That’s not my “fault”!
I have discovered that Fault and blame are a strategy I have engaged to make the experience inside of my body feel better. I feel shitty so I will blame you and perhaps that intensity and “not enough” feeling will go away. I know the victim game well. But let’s get back to the part about my life being about me and yours about you…. If I am the creator of my own life, then I choose how to create and what to create. I have ALL the power. I have all the choices. Yes. In knowing this, there is no need for blame. There is no need to put outside of me, anything in my life and world. It all is a reflection of my inner state and level of safety to explore and become.
I have discovered that my grief does not exist in the places and spaces where those close to me have “died” and left this planet. The majority of my Grief, death and loss has come in day to day experiences in relation to others. For example. I have experienced a great and deep loss as my children grow and morph into who they are becoming. I am saddened and grievous in many moments as I dance with the reality that they no longer need me and perhaps they never did. I am at a loss with how to help or engage them now as teenagers. I am at a loss with how I have “raised” them. I am at a loss as to how violent and angry I have been with them and to them over the course of their lifetime. I grieve the lost opportunities for tender moments because I was in complete denial about my own truths. I grieve the experiences where I cannot remember certain times in their life because I was so wrapped up in my own grief and despair. I grieve the loss of their innocence and my own. I grieve when they chose to feed their bodies food that I do not deem “good for them”. I grieve the choices they have made and the ones that they will make. This list seems to go on and on and on.
I do not mean to say that I regret my choices but rather recognize a needed process for grieving or letting go of what has been, what will be or what I thought was to BE. I have discovered that my grief is firmly rooted in my disappointment of what I “thought” it would be like Or what I wanted to have. My grief is a derivative and direct correlation to my expectations. What I thought would be or should be and the disappointment/grief that follows.
I feel like life is about this. Just as we are quantum biological and intended to morph and change… so too are we meant to have expectations and grieve the loss of those expectations. The changing of what has been is seen all around and inside of us. We see the seasons change, we see the changes on the planet, we see changes in ourselves, our body shapes, our health, we see changes in our children our partners our friends, we see changes in who lives on the planet with us and those who choose to leave. Ever changing. Ever grieving.
I think that perhaps the experience of grieving could be explained as feeling deeply with the intention of letting go of that which no longer exists or never existed in the first place. I am clear that I can fully and in full flow, grieve an idea or thought or expectation that has never come to BE. It is in the letting go that I no longer struggle with what was or should have been. I do not mean letting go as a dismissive experience or event that it is “easy” to do. I mean it as a softening and inviting of all the feels to be free to express so that they may not “drive my bus” any longer. If I do not make space for the full measure of feeling and letting go intention, I am doomed to RE -LIVE the experience over and over. The other experience that I have had is that this thing/idea/notion/belief will taint all other experiences in my life until such time as I welcome it and make space for it. Put on a warm cup of tea and invite it in.
This past year I have created a FULL on experience with my oldest son, Aspen. Aspen was diagnosed with an auto immune DIS-EASE. His very own body/device has turned on him. The intelligence of his body has turned on his own tissues and sees them as a threat to be killed. There has been soooooo much internalization and attempts to rationalize this experience for me and others. From the beginning, I was super clear that this was an opportunity for me to let go. Let go of expectation, task or what had previously been expected of me. I knew that this too was for my own evolution. That my “LIFE” was not separate from all that this DIS-EASE brought into my world and his. That the content had changed but it was only to be lived breath to breath impulse to impulse. No other way through it but invite and allow.
Here I am 15 months later and soooo much. So much opportunity to live or shut down. So much content. So much information. So much exhaustion. So much overwhelm. So much darkness. So much drugs. So much pain. So much change. So much unknown. So much uncertainty. So much loss. So much confusion. So much questioning. So much………..
I have no more answers or explanations than I did 15 months ago. I have so many more questions and curiosities that continue to go “unanswered”. My level of presence waivers from deeply connected to almost on the verge of leaving my body/device. I cannot sit here and tell you all that it has been, what it meant, and currently means. I cannot tell you a perspective shifted and he’s cured. I cannot tell you that he knows what this is for him or I for ME. I cannot tell you that the drugs worked or didn’t and we tried natural remedies. I cannot tell you the full impact on me, him or our intertwined families. The fact of the matter is that the relentless experience of this DIS-EASE is an omnipresent thread that has woven itself into the very core of SELF. Or perhaps it is an aspect of SELF. MY SELF. HIS SELF. Because I know that I am a creator of my world, I trust in this vile and painful friend. I trust that all is as it should be.
I do not always appreciate this sentiment and it certainly does not bring me comfort. I DO know it to be a truth that I carry. One that, in some moments, is all that I have. All that I know and is the ONLY thing that stops me from leaving this life.
I have a deep safety and trust in the notion that I am the creator of my world as is Aspen of his. Who am I to say that this DIS-EASE should be fixed or stopped or mitigated in any way? I can say that in this moment and admit that there are more moments than not where I despise and grieve the pain and trauma this brings for him/me. I have been brought to my knees over and over inside of the despair and grief this content brings me. I am certain that my body/device should have had a heart attack by now for the pressure and rage that pulses through this device week by week. Yet it has not.
If I choose to remember that GRIEF is a long lost friend who wants tenderness, space and time… I can choose amidst the chaos and trauma…so sit with it. Make space for it. Soften, Invite and allow. This IS the only strategy I have left. There is literally nothing else that I can do. As the last year has taught me, no amount of drugs, or technique is going to change or dissuade this DIS-EASE. The intelligence in Aspens body/device far supersedes the messages awaiting him there. This is his path to walk and I alongside him. Sometimes, when I forget, I want to help and change and take away all that this is for him. I am ALWAYS met with the reminder that I can do nothing other than BE present with and for mySelf. This is not a powerless experience, although sometimes it self like that…. This is an active and strong and deeply powerful place to stand. My breath and presence is ALL that I can choose and that is ENOUGH.
I feel like my words are ending…for now… and I can feel the buzz of declaring all of this out loud. I can feel the potential both lost and what is to BE. My dance with GRIEF is not over…not by a long shot …but I feel like it is cracking me wide open and that I too mySelf am dying. It is not by coincidence that this…my 40thyear on this planet…. that my intention was as graceful death and rebirth. My year has been FULL of death. Perhaps this is the RE-Birth phase I long for. I can feel a deep desire to die…not in the physical sense but in the ethereal sense. In the energetic sense. I want to lie down with my experiences of grief, death and loss like a gentle lover and hold space for it all to integrate and be re born.