Why grief exists – some random thoughts and reflections from a conversation.
- When we are grieving, we are processing meaning, values, philosophy, and impact.
- We buy our joy by experiencing our grief.
If we cannot meet our grief with our full attention, our attention everywhere else will be compromised and distracted… partial. Grief is an oft-resisted invitation to feel fully the honor, the joy, and the loss of a relationship that has changed, and that has changed us, both in its presence and its passing.
It has its own timeline and it can consume our oxygen.
Connecting with the mundane world becomes harder compared with the more liminal and abstracted conversations with the past, and the passed.
Intimacy arises through shedding the skins of denial and self-avoidance. Feeling our grief travels us back to our intimacy; intimacy with self, intimacy with truth, intimacy with a grounding reality.
It is a relief.
When people feel persuaded to ‘cheer us up’ that act undoes our focus and can tear us out of the grieving that we need to do to be whole, transformed, enformed, reformed. Grieving is our portal, part of our becoming, part of transforming what has been into what might now be, to a new version of us that is shedding something of great personal intimacy and attachment.
A grief unmet, unexamined, un-participated in is a grief abandoned and, like any unmet need, it will take over our subterranean life, damaging relationships, happiness, dreams, and simplicity of purpose until it feels seen, is heard, and welcomed in. Without integration, there is a split in future lines.
Grief is a transactional journey of the soul. We trade our temporal joy for a deeper belonging. It must be a full surrender of the soul, not a feeble negotiation, and this is traded for something we are waiting for. We are not in a position to negotiate, only to agree and, when we do, we deepen our presence in our own cosmology, our own soul’s journey of becoming.
It can provide richness, understanding, gravitas, integration, evolution (personal), profound belonging, joy, and simplicity – a way forward. The future of my soul is embedded in resolving my grief, my loss.
The accusation or fear of ‘wallowing’ is actually describing the state of unsuccessful grieving and needs help to complete itself. It is not an indulgence or narcissism, it is an isolating ineptitude in need of facilitation to complete itself – a soul wandering on the moors of our night vision.
People don’t like suffering. They choose it when they cannot grieve properly – however old the wound. It is a no-man’s land. It causes tension, defensiveness, irritation, cynicism, and dissociation.
Grief is not optional. It is also not the enemy. It might be the one unwanted guest that needs the place of highest privilege in our attention. May we sit at the hearth of its embers as the flames roar.