Grief; Healing my heart one piece at a time

Written by Amie on October 5, 2013 – 2:09 am -

my heart is on the outside of my body

My sweet doggy died unexpectedly a few days ago. My heart feels like it is broken into a million pieces. There was no warning, no time to plan a good bye. He was too young to go. But yet he did. One day he was a healthy, high energy, happy guy, the next he was gravely ill. How could this be? The grief is deep and it is raw. I grieve for him, and yet I feel I am grieving for all of the sad experiences I’ve ever been through. I feel I am grieving my brother’s death 6 1/2 years ago. I screamed when I found out my dog died, and that scream was so deep and so raw, I know I was grieving for more than my sweet dog. It feels as though my heart is on the outside of my body, as vulnerable as it can be. It doesn’t take much to send me into a heavy bout of crying. He should still be here, yet he isn’t. Wishing for something other than what is makes me suffer. But I continue to wish for things to be different. Accepting what is makes it feel too final. I’m not ready for it to feel so final. (and I ask myself, am I also still wishing for my brother to be here? I know the answer to that)

“what do I really know for certain?”

As each hour passes, I ponder the question, “what do I really know for certain?” And I keep coming back to, “not much, maybe nothing at all.” I do know love, I know it is the one constant. It is always there, even if hidden at times. I know I am breathing in this moment right now. But, in the big picture, what do I really know? Not much, maybe nothing at all. And so I keep pondering. Right when I think I know something for sure, it changes. So maybe I know nothing stays the same, everything changes. I know it is difficult to let go of those I love. It is difficult to let go of someone I thought would be around for as long as I needed. I know I relied on my dog a lot more than I realized. He brought a certain safety to my life. And he brought unconditional love. He loved me no matter how grumpy I was, he loved me even if I didn’t take him for a walk every time he wanted to go, he loved me no matter what I did. He was pure love. He showed me complete presence, he saw me for me. He felt my heart, he knew I loved him even when he stole my shoe or my peanut butter sandwich! He showed me truth. He felt my emotions and didn’t even complain when they were pretty heavy.

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Grief reminds me that I am alive and I am human

It feels as though each time I allow myself to really be with my grief, to really embody it, to really feel the pain, a piece of my heart comes back together. Each painful piece, one by one comes back to begin the process of repairing the whole. And I know from experience, once those pieces come back together, my heart will be stronger and more willing to be loving and vulnerable than it was before this sad experience. Grief is such a unique emotion. It encompasses so much. So many other emotions wrapped up in a deep energetic feeling in the body. It really opens me up to so many questions. At first it makes me question everything. Did I love my dog enough, did he know how much I loved him, why didn’t I do more, why didn’t I know something was wrong before he showed any symptoms, did I take him to the wrong place, was there something more I could have done….I went on and on. Until I realized that by focusing on this, I was distracting myself from the grief. I was distracting myself from the pain. Grief reminds me that I am alive and that I am human. There is so much emotion coursing through me, there is no question whether or not I am alive. Grief makes love feel bigger than ever, yet scarier than ever at the same time.

We just keep storing away experiences that hurt us

When I went to a grief ritual retreat a few months back, it opened my eyes to see how much we, as humans, have to grieve. We barely allow ourselves the time and space to grieve. There can be layers upon layers of unexpressed grief within one person. Generations of unexpressed grief is passed on to the next generation again and again, until people finally start allowing themselves to feel it and then begin to heal. There are times during this grief process when I feel deep grief, and I am not even sure what it is. It is a feeling deep inside my body I can’t explain, but I know for sure it is grief coming to the surface to be released. So much sadness covered by layers of protective reactions. We just keep storing away experiences that hurt us, too afraid to feel the pain. These experiences continue to store themselves in our bodies, our cells. Until we allow ourselves the time and space to really deeply feel the pain. Then the energy can be released, and our bodies begin to heal. We feel lighter each time we allow ourselves to heal.

I feel loved, nurtured and supported by those in my “tribe”

Losing my dog has been so difficult. But the one blessing shining through is that I have incredible people in my life who love me. People who are there for me and who allow me to grieve exactly as I need to. This makes this painful experience more bearable. The supportive loving people in my life have allowed me to have the process I need to have, they accept me and my feelings. Having loving people reminds me of the wonderful feeling I had at the grief retreat. I feel loved, nurtured and supported by those in my “tribe”.

in our own processes, yet still sharing the experience

In the Dagara tribe in Africa, grief is shared by all. When someone is suffering, the tribe supports them and nurtures them while they grieve. They stop what they are doing and they are present with the grieving person. This is what I loved. We didn’t tell each other, “it will be okay, it will get better, etc”. Instead, I processed my grief while there was always someone right there with me, not saying anything, just being there for me. There was not one doubt that someone was always standing behind me and had my back. We all were grieving together, in our own processes, yet still sharing the experience. There was beautiful singing the entire time, drumming, candles, and just a complete feeling of safety. I truly wish everyone could experience this, and that this would become the norm for all cultures. Grief is a very essential part of our existence.  Being a part of this ritual was one of the most powerful experiences of my life.

 

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Posted in Connection, Grief and dying, Healing & personal growth, Nurture yourself, Self-love | 3 Comments »

Feels like a death

Written by Amie on January 21, 2013 – 1:59 am -

denial can be a protective shell

I feel as though a death has happened. I feel loss on a very deep level. I have lost people in my life who I was conditioned to believe would be in my life forever. I know this can’t always be true. People grow and change at different rates, and sometimes we come to a place when we can no longer tolerate the behavior of those who, for whatever reason, decide to stay stuck in their story. On some level, it feels as though they were all involved in a tragic car accident and suddenly they are no longer in my life. I didn’t know I would grieve for people I voluntarily cut out of my life. I didn’t know how sad it would feel to know that people who claim to love me unconditionally would choose denial over having a relationship with me. On an intellectual level, I understand it. I understand how denial can be a protective shell that we sometimes need in order to lessen the pain of what is true. But it still hurts on a primal level. What hurts even more is being blamed for someone else’s destructive and dangerous behavior. Again, I understand intellectually. I really do. It is so much easier to blame someone else for “making” you act a certain way.

I feel like I need to hide myself again

So I grieve. I feel as though I am grieving for so much. I am grieving again for the brother I lost to suicide almost six years ago. I am grieving for the miscarriage I had seven years ago. I am grieving for the needs that were never met when I was very young. I am grieving for the unconditional love I wish I would have had. I feel a loss so very deep it is difficult to explain. So many emotions have been coursing through me. Lack of trust has been triggered by this. In this moment, it is hard for me to trust that the universe really does have my back. I have felt myself slide backwards a bit during the last few weeks. I have felt my protective wall come up again because I feel, once again, as though these people don’t see who I really am. I have felt the need to be strong so that their words and actions don’t injure my soul yet again. For so many years I had to hide my true self because it hurt too much to be the real me. I feel like I need to hide myself again. The fact that someone close to me thinks I would be capable of wishing harm to a loved one hurts me. I know the place of pain they are coming from when they say it, but that doesn’t make it hurt any less. It re-opens my wound of not being seen/heard for my true self.

I was depressed and saw life through a negative lens

It is so difficult to be my true self around people who do not want to acknowledge this. People who think they know me but really haven’t a clue. People who would rather stay in denial than  heal and live from an authentic place. Trust me, I get it. I lived a fake life, so to speak, for years. I was depressed and saw life through a negative lens. A place of pure fear. And then I couldn’t take it anymore. I knew I had to get help. This is the part that, even though I understand how a person chooses denial, still confuses me. How can it get so bad that you physically (and emotionally) harm someone you claim to love, and yet still not be able to admit exactly what you did? This person hurt someone I love, and so, I had to make the choice to cut off our relationship. They have so many reasons and excuses as to why this happened, but the bottom line is that the blame is still being placed on the victim. I am beyond sad about this fact. So much history here that would just take too long to write. So much suffering and pain. It makes me sad that this person is in such pain. I understand the feeling of not wanting to ask for help or not wanting to admit what is true. It is hard work. It is very hard work to look within yourself and acknowledge things that could be life changing. Things that are so sad and hard to look at. I understand this, I’ve been there, and still have to go there at times. Events from my past that affect my life today must be looked at and processed in order to let them go. Every single time I do this, I feel a weight has been lifted from me.

I will be easy on myself and take care of myself

I know so much of this doesn’t make sense to you, the reader, because I am not giving details. Even though I want to write exactly what happened, and who the people are, I don’t feel it is my place to expose them here. I know on some level they are all suffering as well, just in a different way. So, of course I wish them well and I hope they find peace. I hope that one day we can all be together again in a healthy way. In the meantime, I give myself permission to grieve for as long as I need to. I will be easy on myself and take care of myself. I will feel my sadness and mourn for the people I wish could be healthy and in my life. I try to accept what is true right now. I surround myself with healthy people who love and support me. I know this is all a part of my journey, and somewhere inside, I knew at some point along my journey, it may come to this. I started “shaking things up” so to speak. I started speaking my truth and living my life in a way that works for me. When a person starts getting healthy, and those close to them are not, this can shake things up. People start clinging even tighter to “what they know”. (It also triggers the pain body in the person who is healing, making them question if what they are doing is “right”). I understand, I really do. I go back to Eckhart Tolle’s description of the “pain body”. When someone changes the pattern, so to speak, the pain body is activated, and it fights hard to keep us in our story, because this is familiar. Our work is to become aware of our pain body, and start noticing when we get triggered. Eckhart has a whole chapter about the pain body in his book A New Earth.

 

The Pain Body

“This accumulated pain is a negative energy field that occupies your body and mind. If you look on it as an invisible entity in its own right, you are getting quite close to the truth. It’s the emotional pain body. It has two modes of being: dormant and active.

The pain body wants to survive, just like every other entity in existence, and it can only survive if it gets you to unconsciously identify with it. It can then rise up, take you over, “become you,” and live through you. It needs to get its “food” through you. It will feed on any experience that resonates with its own kind of energy, anything that creates further pain in whatever form: anger, destructiveness, hatred, grief, emotional drama, violence, and even illness.

So the pain body, when it has taken you over, will create a situation in your life that reflects back its own energy frequency for it to feed on. Pain can only feed on pain. Pain cannot feed on joy. It finds it quite indigestible.

Once the pain body has taken you over, you want more pain. You become a victim or a perpetrator. You want to inflict pain, or you want to suffer pain, or both. There isn’t really much difference between the two. You are not conscious of this, of course, and will vehemently claim that you do not want pain. But look closely and you will that your thinking and behavior are designed to keep the pain going, for yourself and others.

If you were truly conscious of it, the pattern would dissolve, for to want more pain is insanity, and nobody is consciously insane.” ~Eckhart Tolle

 

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