Tuesday, June 05, 2012

The Other Side of May... a reflection on grief

“When the river of the soul takes your weight into itself, you can release that which has died into the next world so that you may live more fully in this one.” Karla McLaren – The Language of Emotions

If a single month could be a lightening rod for grief-filled events then May would be my designated “rod.” Before you jump into sympathy mode or start asking yourself what might have happened to me in the past few weeks, let me assure you that things are well and there were no significant “strikes” this year. Conversely, it was a period of time where I was able to dip deeply into the river of my soul and emerge on the other side living lighter and more fully.

The winter months were filled with countless live-giving events and boatloads of adventure. By the time mid-April arrived, my body was in deep need of rest and restoration. It seemed somewhat ironic (or not) that May was just around the corner and my calendar allowed the spaciousness to sink into relaxation alongside remnants of previously glossed-over grief.

Teeny Me @ Bandon Beach
Unresolved grief and heartache form like mist over a morning pond. Vaporous, we can put our hands through it and almost pretend nothing is there, but the moisture and residue permeate into our deepest core nonetheless. We want to push the hurtful feelings away with words like, “I should be over this by now,” “I’ve already gone through this process once, twice, a hundred times,” or “I’ve moved past this and don’t/can’t/won’t move backwards again.” This is the place we often get stuck, because we believe if we acknowledge the pain it will grow rather than dissipate. There is a difference between fondling the story—turning a tale over and over in our minds and relishing the attention it brings us—and necessarily feeling the depth of grief or experience. If we haven’t allowed ourselves the space to sink fully into grief, then it will continue to return repeatedly like the morning mist.

My personal experience was that for multiple years May brought events of heartbreak and tragedy stacked and piled upon each other. I responded by attempting to move forward, not slowing down, and pushing through the pain rather than relinquishing and melting into it. I rarely found the space (or acknowledged the need) to sink into the slow movement for which my body longed. Like crop-generating fields, we can continue “producing” for numerous years until all the nutrients (life/spirit) are leached from our soil and there is nothing left to give. Just as the fields need to lie fallow to regenerate, so do we. This May became the month for me to rest, relax, restore and unplug... to lie fallow.

Turtle Steps
In hindsight, I realized that most of the month was spent living on the water... Maui, the Oregon Coast, Lakebay. There I stood watching and playing with the tides as I felt my past and present connect to the deep river of my soul. Grounding, resting, watching, letting go... my spirit was washed like baptism as I named, felt, and honored the waves of longstanding grief.

Today, I find myself on the other side of May. The past is still the past—where loved ones have moved on and my heart bears the scars of breakage, but I arise cleansed, refreshed, and more clear after having dipped deeply into the river of soul rather than continuing to paddle madly on the surface of a stagnant pond.

Ponder this...

·      What is lingering in your life that must be mourned? What do you carry that needs to be released completely?
·      Notice if statements like 'I should be over this,' 'I’ve already gone through this once,' or 'I don’t want to go backwards' arise in your mind indicating a resistance to fully accepting or honoring loss and profound transitions.
·      Consider how and where you can make space to sink into the river of the soul.


Dianna said...

Such a beautifully felt and written post. The photos and the feeling meld into an illuminating place - could be darkness - but the light definitely shining in you.


Kayce aka lucy said...

thanks, dianna. i appreciate having you go "old school" and actually comment in writing :) xoxo