The Journey of Grieving

It was the sharing her 15-year old son did underneath a hooded ski jacket and mandated mask at his mother’s graveside funeral last Sunday that sent me into a fit of tears, doubled over trying to catch my breath. I wasn’t sure I’d be able to continue being present for the rest of the service never mind the several hour memorial later on that day.

I knew I wanted to participate…to honor my friend…another Jewish, curly-haired, spiritual Goddess that I met in 2003 at the beginning of my work with the Human Awareness Institute. A group of us, I’d say many of them part of my soul group, spent a few years together attending workshop after workshop healing the depth of our pain together in one of the most loving environments on the planet.

Devorah was a soul sister and although we weren’t particularly close the last several years, I wanted to recognize that her physical life on the planet had come to an end and she was making her way to the other side.

Heart wide open, this particular loss felt devastating. Not because we were close but because of who she was in the world and how much I see myself in her mirror.

I don’t know how to say it except to say that usually I’m a warrior in situations like this. I’ve experienced much loss and I know how to navigate it or I thought I did. All of the spiritual growth I’ve experienced these past few months, opened me up to a new depth of feeling, and of the necessity of navigating energetic boundaries. This grief was a true test to my ability to stay present, titrate how much of the sadness I wanted to feel and protect myself energetically when I felt, as an empath, I was taking in too much.

GRIEF is a hard one. It’s so fucking uncomfortable that most run away from it. The thing is it always finds us….when the time is right; when the next layer of it is ready for release.

After the experience of Devorah’s funeral and memorial, I knew I had more grieving to do. Instead of tucking it away for a later date, I invited it forward.

I spent years tucking away grief and you know what happens? It only delays life….it gets in your way of you being your infinite best self.

Keeping your distance from your grief creates blocks in the body, heart and energy field that naturally put obstacles to growth in front of you.

Believe me, I know it’s one of the most challenging feelings to feel and processes to go through in life. And this year we are truly being challenged as so many are leaving the planet. How have you been handling your own grief this year? So many of you have lost family members, partners, children….it’s devastating.

Last week my cousin brought a beautiful practice to our community. It’s a practice coined 20 years ago by Michelle McDonald and made popular by Tara Brach, called RAIN. It goes like this:

  1. Recognize what is going on
  2. Allow the experience to be there, just as it is
  3. Investigate with kindness (get intimate with your feeling)
  4. Natural Loving Awareness

My cousin shared that RAIN supports us in feeling and allowing energy to pass through without holding on for too long. Instead of weeks and years of avoiding grief, RAIN directs us to make space for ourselves with loving compassion to get through the difficult feelings with LOVE.

Recognizing what is going on maybe the easiest part. Allowing the grief to be there is a challenge but with step 4, LOVING AWARENESS or NURTURING PRESENCE….anything is possible!

Nurturing presence is key to loving ourselves…whether we become our own loving presence for ourselves (ultimately, yes we want this) and/or we invite a friend or partner to be with us….this creates a sacred space in which to grieve.

Despite the fact that what’s happening in the world right now is awakening for those of us that are conscious (that includes YOU), there is also so much grief. Maybe it’s personal to you. Maybe you are witnessing the collective experience.

No matter what I encourage you to set time aside for feelings. Get the support you need. Release the energy from your body with mindfulness and love. Try the practice of RAIN.

When we put aside our grief, we get ill….it creates dis-ease….it delays the fullness of our lives (we can’t self-select…put grief aside but keep happiness.) And I personally feel that one of the biggest messages right now is to LIVE FULLY.

Get out of dodge and step into your GREATEST self….full expression and a life filled with LOVE.