From Love to Grief and Back Again
November is a month of moving deeper into the darkest part of the year, and a time for reflection. Here is a recent reflection. I want to share it with you because your emotional life matters to me and grief is one of the hardest emotions to deal with and I have been learning a lot about it. I had a difficult day recently and didn’t realize I was actually sitting on top of a well of grief. My father died a few months ago, so you would think that I would be more aware, but I have discovered grief doesn’t work that way. The awareness of it comes and goes. As I started to process my feelings, the grief suddenly burst through to the surface and I cried. I often experience clarity after a good cry, and so it was this time. I suddenly became clear about something to do with the flower of emotions I have been working on for my workbook. The flower has five core emotions which make up the petals around a central circle that isserenity (see graphic below). The five emotions on my flower are: Joy, Fear, Anger, Sadness and Shame. You may notice that four out of five of those emotions are challenging. I put serenity at the center because we can always find peace and stillness if we become present. Through being present with my grief, I realized that there are actually three emotions beneath the five on the flower. They are love, fear and grief. All four of the challenging emotions on the flower arise from grief and fear. Suddenly I could see the Yin Yang symbol representing the three (see second graphic below). The entire circle represents our heart and our wholeness. Inside that circle are both love and grief. What is in the center between the two is fear. In this world, we all experience the eventual loss of what we love, whether by death or change. With the ever present threat of loss, we experience fear. But I saw that our wholeness requires us to walk through that fear to embrace our grief. Life is ephemeral. We create more pain when we don’t accept that reality. We are big enough to bear our grief, no matter how overwhelming it may be. It is only the stories that we tell ourselves that lead us to believe that we can’t. In fact, the depth of our love is the measure of our grief (and vice versa). By choosing to walk through our fear, we embrace both our wholeness and our humanity. Peace comes with acceptance and we can begin to see what lies beneath human grief and love - Eternal Love. When you choose to love, you also choose to grieve. I think some people choose not to love because they fear grief. For myself, I would not choose to forego my grief. I miss my father’s physical presence terribly, but by embracing my grief, I experience him every day with all the love I have and I am supported by Eternal Love. I write about this because I believe embracing our grief is critical to healing humanity and our planet. Grief is a very difficult emotion. I do not deny that. When we grieve the environmental destruction and the human losses that are occurring every day (many caused by us) then that can change our choices as well. However, my primary intention for writing about it is to suggest that you too are capable of both profound grief and love, and that in your wholeness, you are strong enough to carry them both with grace. The presence of grief also leads us to profound gratitude for what we have now, in this moment.