I miscarried another baby last spring. The grief of this loss has been up and fresh again for me over the past two weeks… serving as an opening for healing tears to flow and as a beacon beckoning to even deeper hurts not yet grieved.
This is a familiar place for me to be. Opening myself to feeling, which often involves grieving, has been and continues to be a huge part of my personal healing path.
What I’ve noticed about grief.
Over the years, I’ve noticed a few things about grief.
I’ve noticed, for instance, that there is something that I’ll refer to as ‘productive’ grief.
In these moments, I am fully consumed by tears, by emotion, by pain and yet, there is an aliveness to it. Everything is flowing. I am sobbing and tears are coursing down my cheeks and I’m a blubbering snotty mess.
And still, I feel this deep connection to myself, to whatever it is I’m grieving… if I even know. I feel connected to something greater than me. I feel held, surrounded by love, resourced.
I have this sense of my ancestors and other spirit allies gathering around me, holding me, encouraging the tears and supporting me in this deep release of feeling.
Even when grieving something that feels so unfair and unjust (like losing my baby) and I’m raging at spirit and feeling so alone and un-cared for, there is still, somehow, this sense of being held.
The wave-like quality of productive grief.
Further, when I’m in productive grief, even in the midst of the most deep pain and sorrow, the grief tends to come in waves. I’ll be deep in it one moment and then, that moment will pass and I’ll feel more stable and whole.
Then, another wave will arrive and again, I’ll be consumed by tears followed by, once again, more of a sense of stability… until eventually, I’ve worked through whatever was needing to be met and released and can return to my more-normal life for a while.
When grief gets stuck.
Then, there are other moments when I have this sense of being stuck, stuck in the muck of grief.
That sense of aliveness, of flow, of connection, is no longer there. I feel isolated, heavy, despondent, hopeless, depressed.
And, if I sink fully into this place, I can stay in it for a very long time… months even… until I finally gain the awareness that I am in this place of depression versus actually moving through and transforming some previously unresolved hurt or pain.
Then, with this knowledge, I can slowly begin to pull myself out of the pit. I can begin to do the things that help me find more of a sense of connection again, to myself, to spirit, to others.
Recently, I’ve become stuck in grief.
I’m speaking to this topic today because I’ve once again become aware of having dropped into more of a state of stuck versus flow with this round of grief.
I think about how the baby I lost would have been born this month and am overcome with grief. I watch a video of the native protestors at Standing Rock being pepper sprayed and am instantly in tears. I hear that all the ‘white’ occupiers at Malheaur National Refuge were found not guilty and am, again, in tears.
These are things worthy of grief! They are worthy of my tears! Of all the tears! As is anything and everything that brings tears to your eyes!
However, the tears I’m shedding and what I’m feeling right now is coming from this place of heaviness, of powerlessness, of isolation within me.
This isn’t grief that heals and transforms… this isn’t grief that leads, once the grief has cleared and peace has landed, to effective and positive action.
Instead, this is grief that leads only to more and more stuckness and heaviness and lack of purposeful action.
Learning how to grieve well.
In my experience, it is kind of normal to move back and forth between the two forms of grief I am describing.
As a culture, we don’t have a lot of experience with grieving and we kind of have to figure it out on our own. We don’t usually have elders who can touch us on the shoulder and say:
‘Hey Sweetie, it seems you’ve gotten stuck in the muck. Here, come with me, let’s find a way out. Let’s find the tears that move, that cleanse, that truly heal.’
Without proper guidance in grieving, it is easy to flail about and spend more time than might be necessary in that place of heaviness and confusion.
Reconnecting with grief that heals.
I’m sharing this story today as a way of bringing myself more in alignment with the grief that connects, that heals, that transforms.
I’m sharing it also in hopes that if you find yourself grieving (anything; all the things!) you can discern whether the grief you are feeling is spiraling you into a more depressed/powerless place or whether it is moving you towards peace and effective action.
The difference can be felt in your body: heaviness vs aliveness; movement (of emotion) vs stuckness; a sense of connection vs isolation.
For you, today:
If you notice yourself feeling overwhelmed or deeply saddened (by the state of the world, the upcoming holidays, anything!) and would like some one-on-one support connecting to yourself, to Spirit and to effective action, reach out. We can set up time for a 30-minute chat to talk about how we might move forward together.