Saturday, July 27, 2013

giving your spirit a chance to catch up with your body

I think one of the most difficult, but, at the same time, compassionate aspects of the grief journey is that it slows us down. 

Our cultural tendency is to string our thoughts and our commitments together with no space in between.  We are a nation in a hurry . . . just listen to the voices of the news, talking fast and full of urgency.  I don’t think that pace is helpful and I know it is simply impossible when your heart is aching.  So, grief naturally slows down so we can take in what is changing in our lives and hearts.  We instinctively understand that rushing keeps us from noticing the “now”. . . . and “now” is all we truly have.    

So, in our grief support group, we always begin with a moment of quiet before we start to talk.  That is to honor our need for a margin between where we have been and where we are now.  Margins allow us to bring all of ourselves to this moment.  We can take a deep breath and intentionally enter into what comes next. 

As one person so eloquently put it, we can give our spirits a chance to catch up with our bodies.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

having loved enough and lost enough

   Having loved enough and lost enough,                            
   I'm no longer searching                                                    
   just opening.                                                                      

   No longer trying to make sense of pain
   but trying to be a soft and sturdy home                       
   in which real things can land.                                       
   These are the irritations                                                 
   that rub into a pearl.                                                       
   So we can talk for a while                                                                                 
   but then we must listen                                                  
   the way rocks listen to the sea.

  And we can churn at all that goes wrong
  but then we must lay all distractions
  down and water every living seed.

  And yes, on nights like tonight
  I too feel alone.  But, seldom do I
  face it squarely enough
  to see that it's a door
  into the endless breath
  that has no breather,
  into the surf that huan
  shells call God. 

Mark Nepo

Saturday, July 6, 2013

the courage to grow

One of the blessings that has emerged from the sorrow of our son’s death is my experience facilitating a grief support group for others whose loss is like mine.  It is hard for me to describe the sacred gift of this circle of hearts.  Deep grief must be felt, faced, held and, I believe, shared.  Those are the ways hearts heal.  It is hard work that requires enormous energy,  patience, vulnerability and constant encouragement.  And in the safety of that circle we find the courage to grow a new skin to live in. 

Below is the “welcome” we recite as we light the candle that marks the beginning of our time together. 

We light our candle tonight to represent all that brings us together. 
     - the hope we need
     - the stories we share
     - the burdens we unload
     - the memories we cherish
     - the patience we seek and offer to each other
- and the safety we find here to say what our hearts feel
and to ask what our minds cannot ignore. 

Thank you for having the courage to come.  There is strength for healing in this circle and you are part of that strength.