the sacred work of grief


I’ve been sitting with grief this week. Watching it flow in and around me like the tides coming in through the wetlands. Most of the time, we wish we could stop the current of pain coursing through our core, the palpable constriction of breath, the burning sensation in our eyes.

We attempt to keep grief at bay, to avoid or distract, to compartmentalize and carry on. But the waves will come and we must learn how to build safe and comforting anchors in the midst of the storm.

For those who endured childhood abuse or neglect, there is a devastating convergence of trauma and shame. The injuries inflicted by those we trusted and the failure of others who did not respond to our painful emotional experience creates a cloak of shame, pain and sadness that leaves us outside the embrace of love and worthiness.

The grief ebbing up from these places of sadness and despair is profound and isolating. A tender part of us is banished to the farthest shores of our soul.

This penetrating shame creates a rupture, we become disconnected from kindness and self-care, and our inner critic is deafening. Most of all, we fear being seen. We may appear ok, but we pull back from trust, from connection, and vitality. Our soul has been shaken, we’re numb, and in a way we start to die as we pull away from that for which we long.

We must move patiently and with gentleness as we bring this tender hidden part back into a place of acceptance and self-compassion before the healing waters of grieving tears can start the process of reconnecting with our self and life.

Entering into grief, pressing into the sharp points, is necessary for healing. We cannot go around grief, or over it, or under it. We must embrace and move through it. But, we cannot move through this complex grief as a wounded child who would be swept away by the torrent, nor can we rush through it.

We must move through this difficult phase from our adult self, offering a gentle, affirming and mindful space to hold the sorrow and suffering. Therefore, doing this work with the support of a deeply empathetic and present guide who can support us as we learn to hold ourselves is vital.

Trauma is where our power was taken from us, but grief is an opening where we can enter to take back our power. When we truly weep for ourselves and for what was lost, we invite the cleansing waters to heal us. We take solace in knowing that our grief is deep because our love is equally deep.

As we hold the wounded child from a place of compassionate care, we feel safe, we realize that we do matter, and we are worthy of connection. In this moment, the soothing and restorative tears flow on the sacred ground of our transformative journey.

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