Posted in building the new world, End of the World Prophecies, grief, world changes

It’s Really Ok to Grieve

There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that we are currently traveling through the death of the world as we have known it.  I also know that death, in this case, is not an ending.  Instead, as the old world is imploding upon itself, a new world is beginning to be born.  While we may have hope in the new that is coming forth out of this dying, it is also important to grieve.

Grief is the miraculous process that we have been given to move through that which is ceasing to be.  Grief creates the pathway through which we can release the old while making way for the new.  Grief, when engaged in fully, also helps to heal us from the loss so that we might be open to receiving the new life that is promised on the other side of the death.

The process of grief has been said to present itself to us in the following faces:

  • Shock
  • Denial
  • Bargaining
  • Depression
  • Anger
  • Sorrow
  • Acceptance

As it relates to the death our world is currently facing as brought forth through Covid-19, humanity is wavering somewhere between the stages of shock, denial, and bargaining.

Shock is the feeling we are all having as our lives have suddenly experienced a dramatic change.  Holy crap – this sh*t is real!  For many, (myself included), our lives have simply stopped.  With shock, all we can do is acknowledge the dramatic change while attempting to find our way into and through it.  As wave upon wave of new (and sometimes false) information comes our way, we may find our shock retriggered.  Again, acknowledge the trauma of the shock while trying to find a “new normal” for yourself.

Denial is when we don’t believe it’s real.  This is the state the U.S. was in for weeks/ maybe months as the virus was devastating other parts of the world, but hadn’t yet impacted us.  Many continue to be in denial over the potentially critical nature of the virus and the fear that many are experiencing as a result.

Bargaining is the stage that seems to be most apparent right now.  Bargaining is often characterized in a literal sense as in bargaining with God over the fate of a loved one.  Bargaining is also recognized in:

  • Desire for information: If we could only find enough information and the right information around this virus we will all be ok.
  • Attempts at control: Trying to find ways we can control the virus and the life we are living in the face of a pandemic. Some recent examples include:
  • Arguing over the perceived loss of civil liberties.
  • Protesting the stay at home orders.
  • Arguing for stricter stay at home orders.
  • Wearing masks/not wearing masks
  • Creating theories around what is true or not so that we can feel better (or in control)
  • Needing to be right.
  • Pointing the Finger of Blame: All the ways in which we criticize and condemn others for their response to the virus and our judgments around their response. This includes all the ways we shame others by telling them they are wrong.
  • If/Then scenarios: This somewhat falls into the control category. “If I wear my mask everywhere I won’t get it.”  “If I’m only with those who I know haven’t been exposed, then I’ll be fine.”  “If I think the right thoughts, take the right supplements, eat the right foods, then I will be fine.” 

 

All of these are natural human responses to grief.  There is no judgment of these reactions and none of them are wrong.  This is what we do when the world that we have known is suddenly yanked out from beneath us and we are left floating in the void of the unknown.  We are looking for something to hang on to, something that is concrete.  We grasp after the illusion of control when the world around us is completely outside of our realm of control.  We cannot delay the inevitable.  Neither can we stop it.

But there is one thing we can do to ease our fear and heal our pain:

LET GO

When we peel our grasping fingers off the throat of the dying world and allow ourselves to surrender to the unknown – this is where we find peace.  When we cease grasping after control, we will find that there is no risk of sinking into despair because instead, we will find ourselves being gently carried to whatever the new world might be for us.  When we let go we are able to grieve the loss of the old, find healing for our loss and be made ready for the new life that is silently calling to us from out of the depths of the void.

Where are you finding yourself in the grieving process?  What aspects of the dying world are your grieving?  What might you begin to let go of as you move through your own grieving process?

 

Posted in grief, Uncategorized

Surrendering to Grief

Today’s blog explores the process of grief as it relates to the losses and disappointments of our lives.

Wisdom from a Friend

A wise friend once shared with me regarding grief, “When you are grieving, your emotions are not your own.”  How true I have found that to be, both in the process of grieving my divorce and now grieving the loss of a significant relationship.  As a Spiritual Director, I know all about the grieving process and have been a source of witness and support for many of my clients as they have moved through the losses, disappointments, changes and deaths in their lives.  I should have this all figured out and grief should be easier for me because of my knowledge and experience in this area, right?  WRONG!  The good news is that I know that I am grieving (which is a far cry from what most people seem to know about their emotions related to grief) and that I have had enough experience in this area to know that instead of resisting the grieving process (as most of us do), I can simply SURRENDER and in surrendering to the process and letting it have its way with me, I will find quicker healing and will be more prepared to find the new life that is promised on the other side of this loss.

Pinball Wizard

The emotions that come with grief are kind of like being the ball on the inside of a pinball machine – getting battered about the walls, getting hit by the paddles of sadness, pummeled against the buzzers of rage, flipped about by the hammer of denial and wishing and hoping you could just sink to the bottom of the machine and that this is really just a dream and none of it has really happened or that you will get that magic email or phone call that says, “I’m sorry, I was wrong, can we start over?”  (that is called bargaining…..also a face of grief.)  Like the ball inside the machine, we really have no control over where we are getting hit or in what direction we are being thrown.  We simply get tossed about in our emotions as the Spirit within us works at healing our pain.

The Mummy

The good news is that while we are getting haphazardly battered about, with every punch of rage, collapse into depression, flood of tears, negotiations in bargaining and denial, strands of what has been fall away from us, like a mummy being unwrapped from its death dressings. Some of these strands are the illusions we might have created around the situation.  The things that we may have made up in our heads or the way we wanted to hear or see things fall away so that deeper truths can be revealed.  Some of the strands are those of deep pain – rejection, fear, loneliness, rage, anger, confusion.  Other strands are the hopes and dreams we had created around the relationship and as we peel away the strands of these dreams, we are prepared for the new dreams in our life to begin to take root.  Many of the strands are memories – all the things that made up the relationship – the good and the bad, the joy and the sorrow, the gift and the challenge.  All of this unraveling is happening so that we can be cleared of what was, examine it for “what is mine in this” and “what is theirs” and so that we can be made ready for the new life that is promised on the other side of the loss.

It

It describes the hardest part of this journey for me….and probably for anyone that has been through the loss of relationship – the evil clown demon that seeks to torture us in self-loathing, self-flagellation, relentlessly coming at us with our own unhealed inner wounds.  This is the evil clown that taunts us with all the negative self-talk it knows we are expert at inflicting upon ourselves.  I will spare you the gory details, just know it is as scary, disturbing and disgusting as Pennywise – the evil clown demon of Stephen King fame.  And to me, there is NOTHING more scary than clowns in general, let alone this demon clown!

I Can See Clearly Now

Ok, not yet…..but I know that in addition to the promise of new life, lies the promise of clarity and beyond clarity – compassion.  I know that all this grieving will bring healing (and much has already taken place).  I also know that it will be greater clarity and understanding  – what really happened and why?  And even more than this, is the promise of compassion – that moment when the finger of blame that hangs in midair pointing toward “them” and then back at “me” will finally fall to rest at my side.  In that moment, I know that I will love myself for all I brought to this relationship, that I will love them for all that they brought, that I will look upon it as a happy and gifted time in my life and that I will be able to bless both of us as we move forward in our own respective truths.  And for the record, this is my highest intention in this loss and the ultimate goal that keeps me going even in the face of grief.

Brought Together

In closing, I share a poem that I still believe to be true – if not for a lifetime, at least for a reason and a season….and for this I will always be grateful!

Brought Together

Copyright 2012  Lauri Lumby

They asked them, “How did you meet?”

“We were brought together,” he replied

She stood in stunned agreement, with the truth hanging in the air like

an overfilled raincloud anxiously wanting to quench the earth of its thirst.

Brought together?

How true this feels.

The silent, invisible workings of a benevolent Universe

Answering the deepest longings of their hearts

Across time and space

Through dreams and imaginings

And the supposed haphazard circumstances of life.

More than luck, beyond Karma,

Something meant to be

And in this their deepest thirst was quenched.

Lauri Lumby

Authentic Freedom Ministries

http://yourspiritualtruth.com

Posted in grief, Healing

The Healing Balm of Grief

Grief is the medicine that helps us to heal from the wounds of change and loss. When grief surfaces, whether it be sadness, anger, bargaining, depression or denial, surrender to its healing balm. It is only in surrendering to grief that we are able to find the new life waiting to be revealed.

Today my thoughts turn to grief.  Grief is the healing process given to us by the Divine to help us recover from the loss and change that are all part of the human condition, and helps to prepare us for the new life waiting to be revealed.  While the process of grief is never pleasant, it is only in surrendering to this process that we can find healing, release and the freedom to step into the new.  Grief is a journey unique to each individual, yet we all share the same faces of grief, in varying degrees and manifestations.

Rage or Anger as part of the grieving process allows us to purge those parts of the dying situation, relationship or experience that were not and are no longer life-giving.  Anger allows us to tap into those pieces within ourselves that need to be transformed into something new.  For example, if co-dependency was part of my role in a dying relationship, anger may surface related to situations where I indulged my own co-dependency.  This surfacing of anger allows me to examine the parts of co-dependency that need to be released from within me so that I can be open to something new.  Anger can also serve as a sort of defense mechanism, protecting us from the hurts of the loss that we are not yet ready to face.

Denial – Denial serves as a form of deep protection.  If we do not face the loss or the death, then we do not have to be affected by the pain of that loss.  Denial is our companion until we are ready to be touched by the pain of loss and enter into the process of release and transformation.

Bargaining is a close friend to denial.  Bargaining allows us to cling to the hope of avoiding the loss.  In bargaining we rationalize, justify and make exchanges for what we know on some level really needs to end.  Bargaining  can surface in the form of these kinds of phrases, “He really is a good provider.”  “What if we try this next medication?”  “I promise I will try harder.”  Bargaining allows us to hold the pending death or loss at bay until we are ready to face the hard and difficult truth.

Depression – Depression in the process of grief (not to be confused with clinical depression which is something else all together)serves two functions.  It is frequently said that depression is anger turned inward.  This is especially true in the process of grief.  When we are afraid of our anger, or have been told that it is not ok to be angry, instead of embracing the anger as it surfaces, we repress and suppress it.  Denying the healing properties of anger does not help us, but harms us as the anger is contained within.  Suppression of anger eventually turns into depression.  We find ourselves paralyzed, trapped and unable to move forward through the grieving process.  Depression in this form stalls the grieving process.  Depression when it is part of the grieving process can also serve to give us the necessary time we need to really integrate the loss.  Depression is like pressing pause on a cassette player.  It gives us the opportunity to retreat to a place of silent solitude.  It is in this place of guarded silence that the deep inner work of healing can take place.  It is in this place of dark mystery that the miracles of the healing process can take root and begin to grow.  When we start to feel anger again, that is a sure sign that the depression stage is ready to let go so that active healing can resume.

Sadness Sadness, tears, active grieving, mourning and wailing are all part of the sadness of grief.  We need to shed the tears of loss in order to be healed.  We need to grieve the pain of loss.  We need to join with our brothers and sisters who have or are also experiencing loss give movement to the deep sadness within.  Crying, wailing and weeping are all active and beneficial tools of healing. 

The invitation as we face the deaths, losses and changes in our lives is to be open to the process of grief – with all its mysterious faces and manifestations.  It is only in surrendering to and engaging in the process of grief that we can find the healing that we need to embrace the new life that is waiting to be revealed.  While death and loss are never pleasant, we are reminded of the Divine promise that out of every death comes new life.  Can we be open to the new life that is waiting to be revealed? 

Lauri Lumby

Authentic Freedom Ministries

http://www.authenticfreedom.net