Drinking the Tears of the World: Grief as Deep Activism

“No-one escapes suffering in this life. None of us is exempt from loss, pain, illness and death. Yet, how is it that we have so little understanding of these essential experiences? How is it we have attempted to keep grief separated from our lives and only begrudgingly acknowledge its presence in the most obvious of times. Without some measure of intimacy with grief, our capacity to be with any other emotion or experience in our life is greatly compromised. It is our unexpressed sorrows, the congested stories of loss, when left unattended, that block our access to the soul.” – Francis Weller

There is so much loss in the world at the moment – death of those too young to die, destruction of the environment, losses of homes due to fire, the slaughtering of rhino……the list goes on.

In this article on grief  Francis Weller speaks of the Four Gates of Grief:

  1. the losses connected to losing someone or something we love
  2. the grief that occurs in the places never touched by love – these are the places within us that have been wrapped in shame and that we do not show to the world
  3. the losses of the world around us
  4. the expectations coded into our physical and psychic lives – expectations of a connection with the sacred

“It is difficult to resist the temptation to retract and close down the heart to the world. What then? What becomes of our concern and our outrage for the way things are going? Too often we go numb…”

It is a long article but really worth the read.

8 Simple Words to say When Someone you Love is Grieving

“Our culture treats grief like a problem to be solved or an illness to be healed. We’ve done everything we can to avoid, ignore, or transform grief. So that now, when you’re faced with tragedy, you usually find that you’re no longer surrounded by people — you’re surrounded by platitudes.”  Tim Lawrence

So what can we offer instead?”

This article was shared on Facebook by a good friend of mine. A friend who knows how to “be there with” people who are grieving. To her and my other friends who know how to “be with”  – a big heartfelt thank you for many years ago!

 

Touch

Touch – David Whyte

Touch is what we desire in one form or another, even if we find it through being alone, through the agency of silence or through the felt need to walk at a distance: the meeting with something or someone other than ourselves, the light brush of grass on the skin, the ruffling breeze, the actual touch of another’s hand; even the gentle first touch of an understanding which until now, we were formally afraid to hold.

Whether we touch only what we see or the mystery of what lies beneath the veil of what we see, we are made for unending meeting and exchange, while having to hold a coherent mind and body, physically or imaginatively, which in turn can be found and touched itself. We are something for the world to run up against and rub up against: through the trials of love, through pain, through happiness, through our simple everyday movement through the world.

And the world touches us in many ways, some of which are violations of the body or our hopes for safety: through natural disaster, through heartbreak, through illness, through death itself. In the ancient world the touch of a God was seen as both a blessing and a violation – at one and the same time. Being alive in the world means being found by the world and sometimes touched to the core in ways we would rather not experience.

Growing with our bodies, all of us find ourselves at one time violated or wounded by this world in difficult ways, and still we live and breathe in this touchable, sensual world, and through trauma, through grief, through recovery, we heal in order to be touched again in the right way, as the physical consecration of a mutual, trusted invitation.

Nothing stops the body’s arrival in each new present, except death itself, which is intuited in all cultures as another, ultimate, intimate form of meeting. Nothing stops our ageing nor our witness to time, asking us again and again to be present to each different present, to be touchable and findable, to be one who is living up to the very fierce consequences of being bodily present in the world.

To forge an untouchable, invulnerable identity is actually a sign of retreat from this world; of weakness, a sign of fear rather than strength, and betrays a strange misunderstanding of an abiding, foundational and necessary reality: that untouched, we disappear.

Excerpted from ‘TOUCH’ From
CONSOLATIONS: The Solace, Nourishment
and Underlying Meaning of Everyday Words.
© 2015 David Whyte: Now Available
http://www.davidwhyte.com/consolations.html

What it means to ‘Hold Space’

What does it mean to hold space for someone else? It means that we are willing to walk alongside another person in whatever journey they’re on without judging them, making them feel inadequate, trying to fix them, or trying to impact the outcome. When we hold space for other people, we open our hearts, offer unconditional support, and let go of judgement and control.

In her article, Heather Plett gives eight tips on how to ‘hold space’ well. Holding Space is something that all of us can do for each other – for our partners, parents, children, friends, neighbours and even strangers. All of us need to know that there are people in our life with whom we can be vulnerable and weak without fear of being judged.