The death of a member of our community, Tippet, has propelled my introspection and reflection around grief over the past few days. His light was simply too strong for his body. He deeply touched the lives of many in our community as evident by the outpouring of words of remembrance flooding social media. The collective grief is strongly felt at the passing of this dear friend, rock, spirit warrior, and gracious soul. It seems to be no coincidence that this shining light departed as we entered into the darkest and rainiest days Seattle has ever seen. My husband put it beautifully- it feels like the city is weeping. As I sat on the solstice and reflected over the past year I was reminded of the frequency of grief that has been a constant tone throughout 2019. My miscarriage early last winter, the death of my beloved grandmother in the spring, selling my first ever home in the summer, and today the loss of a loved community member as we transition from fall into winter again has had me returning to this place of grief and asking what role grief has been playing in my life? I also heard the news this morning of the passing of the spiritual teach Ram Dass yesterday. Another light who's work touched and influenced the lives of millions.
Letting go has never been a forte of mine. I tend to hold tightly onto the things that I love and cherish, sometimes too tightly. I grip and cling until there is no other choice but to let go and trust that what is on the other side is for my greater good. I compartementalize when the feelings are too much for the moment until they come up later to catch me by surprise. This year, my grief has taught me I need to really sit with my feelings. Sit with them in the moment. Be with them. Allow them to move through so they don't get stuck. In Chinese medicine it is said that grief is stored in our lungs. It is no surprise now, looking back, that two days after selling my first home I came down with a bout of bronchitis that evolved into a 3 month process of being sick and under the weather. Not exactly the experience I wanted to have during my second trimester and the lovely energy that can bless a pregnancy during that time. Now, one might say I just caught a bug, but my husband and toddler managed to survive this period without catching what I was working through. So...I'll leave it at that. I had been pushing and not allowing myself to fully feel my grief and process my emotions. My body made me slow down, it made me stop and listen, it made me process. This allowed me the space I needed to go within in order to let go and heal.
So how do we allow ourselves to fully feel and let go when it it's easier to just sweep it under the rug and move on? We have to give ourselves permission to say "No" to other commitments or engagements and set boundaries around ourself to allow space for our healing. We need to surround ourselves by supportive friends and loved ones who are able to support us on our path to healing. And we have to allow ourselves the space and time to heal. To me, this is at the crux of self care. Self care is incredibly individual and I encourage my clients to take the time to explore different ways of creating space that resonate with them. My favorite ways to hold space for myself when moving through my healing process include meditating, journaling and writing, creating (baking, crafts, projects), crying, and dancing/moving mindfully. In creating this space for healing we allow ourself to reap the benefits of fully feeling our emotions. We allow space for the lessons to reveal themselves, we can tune in to what we really want our lives to look like moving forward, and from there we can begin the process of growth.
So what has grief taught me this year? It has taught me the importance of slowing down and what it means to hold space for myself. It has taught me to listen to that inner voice that warns of rest, or asks me to question my decisions. It has taught me to trust deeper that the universe has my back, and that I don't have to hold on quite so tightly. It has taught me that life can be long and fulfilling or it can be taken too soon, so make the best of every moment. Including the infamous toddler melt downs- because even those are precious and fleeting. And most importantly- to do the things you always have wanted but have been too afraid to do. Like writing this blog for example :).
“Your problem is you are too busy holding on to your unworthiness.” - Ram Dass
With gratitude and reverence to- Grandma Vi, Tippet, Ram Dass, and my sweet angel baby.