Learning to thrive when living with grief and loss
“Tears have a reason to be here, a tear is a prayer. It’s also a way to say yes to life. It’s the other side of joy. If you can’t express your grief, you can’t be genuinely happy. Tears enable us to be alive.”Sobonfu Some
There is much in life we avoid, emotions are one. The chasing for JOY yet the resistance to acknowledge and feel the grief. Grief and Joy are two sides of the same coin – we can not have one fully without the other.
How many times have you laughed and ended up crying or crying and ending up laughing. there is a call in the collective, in our communities, in our relationships and lives to fully show up in an authentic way. To bring ourselves fully and to allow ourselves to emote. To communicate. We crave and long for love, for deep and intimate relationships, yet, how can we have these when we do not actually allow ourselves to feel?
Here is an invitation, to go gently, without judgement to begin to explore that which is real, that is hidden, that is numb, that is causing our addictions so that we may finally excavate our soul and allow ourselves the liberation and love we deserve.
Grief Tending in community is a profound way to learn how to live with the grief and loss we experience every day. Drawing on the works of Francis Weller, Joanna Macy and others we come together in circle to share our grief and undertake Rituals of Renewal.
We draw on Joanna Macy’s Water element rirual
Water container and Water
We may also touch on:
Francis Weller 5 Gates of Grief:
The First Gate: Everything We Love, We will Lose:
“My grief says that I dared to love, that I allowed another to enter the very core of my being and find a home in my heart.” p25
The Second Gate: The Places That Have Not Known Love:
‘What we learn from our parents: “the slow insidious process of carving up the self to fit into the world of adults. We become convinced that our joy, sadness, needs, sensuality, and so forth are the cause of our unacceptability … that these pieces of who we are … are, in fact, shameful…” p 34
The Third Gate: The Sorrows of the World:
Never more than now has the call to listen to the world and answer been stronger. 5G, the loss of species, plants, land mass, rising waters, politics, war, chemicals, BEES, so much for us to be aware of and mourn.
“We are born expecting a rich and sensuous relationship with the earth and communal rituals of celebration, grief, and healing that kept us in connection with the sacred.” Francis Weller
The Fourth Gate: What We Expected and Did Not Receive:
“There is another gate to grief, one difficult to identify, yet it is very present in each of our lives. This threshold into sorrow calls forward the things that we may not even realise we have lost. I have written elsewhere about the expectations coded into our physical and psychic lives. When we are born, and as we pass through childhood, adolescence, and the stages of adulthood, we are designed to anticipate a certain quality of welcome, engagement, touch, and reflection.
“We are designed to receive touch, to hear sounds and words entering out ears that soothe and comfort. We are shaped for closeness and for intimacy with our surroundings. Our profound feelings of lacking something are not a reflection of a personal failure, but the reflection of a society that has failed to offer us what we were designed to expect.” p55
“Another facet of loss at this gate concerns the expectation of purpose in our lives. Deep in our bones lies an intuition that we arrive here carrying a bundle of gifts to offer to the community. Over time, these gifts are meant to be seen, developed, and called into the village at times of need. To feel valued for the gifts with which we are born affirms our worth and dignity. In a sense it is a form of spiritual employment — simply being who we are confirms our place in the village. That is one of the fundamental understandings about gifts: we can only offer them by being ourselves fully. Gifts are a consequence of authenticity; when we are being true to our natures, the gifts can emerge.” p57
The Fifth Gate: Ancestral Grief:
“This is the grief we carry in our bodies from sorrows experienced by our ancestors. Much of this grief lingers in a layer of silence, unacknowledged. Many of our ancestors arrived in the Americas after leaving their homes, family members, and communities behind. Some arrived here after being abducted and forced into slavery. These generations often survived without a feeling of home, living with only marginal connections with the Old Ways to guide them. The traditions that had nourished and held their people for hundreds, if not thousands, of years were difficult to sustain on the new continent.” p63
“Grief expressed out loud for someone we have lost, or a country or home we have lost, is in itself the greatest praise we could ever give them. Grief is praise, because it is the natural way love honours what it misses.”
― Martin Prechtel
Joanna Macy’s draws on the elemental ritual of water learning how we can allow our emotions and grief to flow freely rather than being suppressed and turning toxic in our bodies and psyche.
Grief of the world, the loss of our animal and plant species, our humanity, of our personal losses with loved ones, our health, loss of friendships, grief comes in all guises, it takes us to places we are often afraid to go, so we block it thinking we ‘should be over it’. Grief can be a friend, a guide, an invitation to learn who we are even more, to reclaim the parts that have left with the other, it can also light the way into action for this world, our planet.
Grief brings, rage, sadness, numbness and so much more, when we are able to access our emotions and allow them to flow we begin to heal. We begin to live life again. We will always know the loss, yet we grow our lives around the loss and recognise that as the heart breaks to one, it is always open to LOVE.
Together we remove the shame and open to the gifts of love that loss can bring, the gift of an open and compassionate heart.
This is NOT a therapeutic space but IT IS a space of non judgement, inclusivity and warmth. You are welcome. Your feelings are welcome.