Hello Fellow Humans –
In our western society there is a deep drive to have more joy but we seem to go about this in all the wrong ways. We go after things and accolades and even certain kinds of experiences in order to ‘be happy’. But the flip side of joy is grief and if we don’t grieve enough we don’t make room for joy. If we don’t allow for the awareness and feeling of loss and death and the fleetingness of this precious life then we somehow loose the inherent pleasure of contact, connection and aliveness.
Our society has forgotten how to grieve…we allot 3 days and expect folks to be back at work with a smile, we are uncomfortable and don’t know what to say when we learn someone has suffered a loss, we don’t acknowledge the little ‘d’ deaths throughout our life so that when big ‘D’ death touches us we are shocked and overwhelmed and are not sure how to deal with it. We have also forgotten that grief is a community affair…any loss is a loss for us all as we are interconnected in the web of being.
Recently, I have been doing a lot of grieving and wow has it felt good! I had the great good fortune to participate in a grief ritual in the tradition of Sobonfu Somé and the Dagara Tribe of Burkina Faso. She spent much of her life teaching this wisdom to westerners and imploring us to take this wisdom and make it ours. Our group spent several days together in a collective commitment to support and be supported in our expressions of grief. Losses of all kinds were named and space was created for all manner of expression from quiet rocking to wild keening and everything between. And we knew we were making room for more joy and pleasure because it would spontaneously emerge.
In addition to this beautiful ritual I held a virtual Celebration of Ann, my mum, who died last summer. It was an opportunity to bring together family and friends from all over the world (we span 9 time zones, 4 land masses and 4 generations) to mourn and love the woman who so touched our lives. There was space for laughter and tears and memories and learning. We spun a web of LOVE with our tears and pain. One of my brothers said it perfectly…“I don’t know the words to say, the sounds to make, the way to express what I am feeling.”. And this is why learning to grieve is so important…to have a place where the moans and groans, the wild hyena cry, the deep sobs, the slow rocking, the incoherent words can be expressed. Read my friend, Beth’s, blog post on keening HERE…she is a rockin’ grief coach and ritual leader, by the way (check her out HERE)!
May we recover the wisdom of grieving well for the benefit of all
May we learn to be with the sadness and loss of another with gentle presence
May we allow our tears and wordless grief to make room for joy and wonder
May we bring blessings and presence to all we encounter
- Take some time to consider your relationship to grief; being curious about how you allow or don’t allow yourself to feel loss. Consider reading a few titles to open up your perspective…“The Wild Edge of Sorrow” by Francis Weller, “The Smell of Rain on Dust: Grief and Praise” by Marin Prechtel, “Ritual: Power, Healing and Community” by Malidoma Somé
- Be curious about what happens in your body when you feel uncomfortable with someone else’s tears, sadness, grief. How can you tend your own pain without having to take care or shut down theirs. Can it be a practice to simply ‘be with’ the emotion and let it have space and place to breathe and express.
- When you experience a loss of any kind (and they happen pretty regularly) pause, put a hand on your heart, feel the ache and notice where else in your body there is sensation. What kind of sensation? Can you give yourself some time to feel it even though it may be uncomfortable and unfamiliar? See what happens…is there a way it cleans you out? Is there a way it tugs on other griefs and feels like it may never stop? How can you find spaces to allow this flow?
- I offer one to one sessions in person in Bend, Oregon and virtually all over the world. If you would like to learn more about my offerings please email me or schedule a free 20 minute Exploratory Session.
Live Streaming Practice Opportunities:
- Yoga for Resilience, Mondays, 10-11:30am PT, livestream through Body of Insight
- All Levels Yoga, Sundays… Mar 26, Apr 23, 10-11:30am PT, livestream through Two Dog Yoga
- On Demand Yoga Practices…All Levels… through Two Dog Yoga (practice with me anytime, anywhere!)
WHAT I NEED
What I really need is to drink a glass of
water slowly, because there is enough—
there is enough fast in this world.
And every real thing is found inside the
soft arms of a moment.
And because, in the midst of so much
trauma and terror, it is vital to pause for
such holy, ordinary things.
~ Julia Fehrenbacher
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