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Welcomed and Heard

Last night, I was reminded of Masaru Emoto, the author of The Hidden Messages in Water. His life work was about vibration and how thoughts affect vibration. He went on to demonstrate through the use of frozen water, that words of love and gratitude result in beautiful crystals documented on camera. At the same time, he demonstrated chaotic and harmful words create deformities in the crystals.

It’s quite a thought when I think humans are about 90% water. As I navigate through my grief days, I have come to call this week in September, I am familiar with U-turns. It’s so easy for me to beat myself up for not thinking clearly, not feeling sociable, despairing about everything. U-turn after U-turn I’m hearing my thoughts and rewriting them into harmony. I am on my own back, so to speak, aware of my pain and how it creates a filter of despair. Fear does that. Grief does that.

I imagine a rag doll of grief and despair hanging on my shoulders pulling me down. I respect its presence. I invite in another rag doll of love and gratitude on top of it, holding me, reminding me it’s okay. We all sleep in the same bed together. When the time comes that grief has said all it wants to say, when its grip has loosened, my rag doll of love and gratitude will release it. Open its arms and let it walk away knowing we will see it again. It was welcomed and heard. Let it walk away feeling whole in its message and accepted for who it is.

Heavy by Mary Oliver

That time I thought I could not go any closer to grief without dying I went closer, and I did not die. Surely God had his hand in this, as well as friends. Still, I was bent, and my laughter, as the poet said, was nowhere to be found. Then said my friend Daniel, (brave even among lions), “It’s not the weight you carry but how you carry it - books, bricks, grief - it’s all in the way you embrace it, balance it, carry it when you cannot, and would not, put it down.” So I went practicing. Have you noticed? Have you heard the laughter that comes, now and again, out of my startled mouth? How I linger to admire, admire, admire the things of this world that are kind, and maybe also troubled - roses in the wind, the sea geese on the steep waves, a love to which there is no reply?

Participants’ Reflections:

  • For anyone feeling overwhelmed and is a history buff, Jon Meacham has a great new podcast on those who met great challenges in history. The first one is about FDR.

  • What a great receiving for me this morning from all of you!

  • Thank you for the reading and the opportunity to sit with myself. In the Mary Oliver poem, it talked about when I got into my grief, I feared I would die and then I went closer to my grief. I’ve been reading a book by Melinda Gates, about going into countries to empower women and learning about the full extent, emotionally in her body, about the violence against women. And she talks about how she couldn’t handle it and said, “I quit. I can’t process it. I can’t do enough to make a difference.” And then she goes on to say that the ‘I quit’ attitude was the deepening, the heartbreak that she felt to make the commitment, to take the next step to go deeper in the commitment. I’ve been sitting with that concept, and it was good to hear you this morning. There are moments in my life, in what I am doing, where I want to say ‘I quit.’ And I’m now holding that it’s okay to feel like I want to quit; it’s okay to sit in silence with whatever is coming up, to learn from it, and to learn why I did it in the first place. So, thank you.

  • Thank you for the poem and reading and reflections. Thank you for the topic of grief, which is very real. What I heard this morning is to not put grief down, but learn to walk with it, and deal with it. It’s not going away. It’s been 11 years since my brother died. I was very, very close to my brother. I loved him dearly. My mother died when we were adolescents. I kind of adopted him. And when he died, I felt like I lost a limb, I really did. It was a hollow feeling. That feeling never goes away. You just walk with it. As I was meditating, I heard a beautiful melody waft in. Music can be very comforting, something I love. My brother was a classical musician. I remember hearing those beautiful melodies when he was practicing. It still comforts me. It’s part of my self-comfort. Being in community with others is a blessing.

  • Last night, I participated with Starhawk talking about the Equinox which is coming up. One of the things she talked about was managing our grief and our losses. In this time of the pandemic, we are heading into the dark time of the year. When we started the pandemic, we were heading into the light time of the year. And for us to really pay attention to and give air to the losses we are facing: not being able to be outside, not being able to be with people. If we don’t give air and space to that, then we blame others. And blame will stay with us, and it will stay constant, and we will feed it, and it will grow. It was a wonderful reminder for me to acknowledge that I am going into a time where I’ll have losses. Here I am sitting on my deck in a shawl, and I don’t want to give this up. So, thank you for the reminder that we are at the beginning of the dying time of the year.

  • My friend who died recently—her teaching was based on the seasons. One of the things I found encouraging about it was her discussion of the winter. And the reminder that, amidst all the dying that is obviously going on everywhere, there are the seeds of rebirth of the spring. And that we need to focus on that. Part of it is also that in the winter, life is reduced to its essentials, and we strip away a great deal. And I suspect that it’s going to be the dark night of the soul, and it’s going to be intense during this time. And that’s where the sense of community we get from this group is going to be even more important.

  • Honoring the cycles because they are all part of the whole circle.

  • I am in a good place this morning. Fall is my favorite season. I love the colors, the wind, the sound of the leaves. I am blessed to live in a place where, at a certain point, if you walk along the paths, gold and orange leaves will fall all around. It’s glorious. I look at this time, this darkness, is a time when the seeds inside us are percolating, are getting ready to grow, and I love that. I also believe it’s going to be two or three years before we come out of this. This is a time of preparedness. I am preparing, trying to raise my vibrations, my energy. Yesterday, I was reading the book on water you mentioned. I was looking it up. I have someone who does energy work with molecules. Serendipitous. How this time of darkness—darkness is not something to be afraid of—it’s a time of preparation.

  • I think we need to remember harvest, and the richness of what we are learning, what we have learned thus far about the world and ourselves so far. Especially in the context of this group. I didn’t want to skip over that. I want to look at that and take whatever I see forward into whatever we are getting into next.

  • And the truth of the matter is that we have been practicing with ourselves and with being in community.

  • I love the image of carrying grief like you carry a heavy weight. We’ve been doing this; we’ve been learning how to carry this pandemic. And we are getting stronger and we are adjusting and we’re figuring out how we are going to carry it for as long as we have to carry it. I love that image.

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