Dear Friends/ Fellow humans/ Shining stars
It’s been a while since I wrote.
I realise I need to elaborate more on the sacred nature of deep healing, following the assault I experienced last December. It’s not been quite as instant or as simple as I may have portrayed in my earlier post. (if you want more information about exactly what happened, read February 13th 2013 post).
I had the added challenge of not being in my own home or near my family, being in transition when the ordeal occurred, so it felt as though the rug had been pulled out from my life. I have been living out of a suitcase since last September, and as much as I would like it to have been easier it wasn’t. There was the grief and added pain of feeling displaced -like a refugee, the heart break of the work (the HIV treatment) I had given so much for, not succeeding, and wondering if I would ever find a home and sanctuary again, being far from children and family- a sense of chaos and powerlessness.
The thoughts, How could this happen to me? How could anyone do this to me? Where are my friends and support ? How am I going to survive? – my very survival, life and safety felt at stake. How to keep going when the future seems so uncertain and the pain so enormous?
With the healing and processing following my trauma I realised there was a huge grief, tapping into abandonment, fear and safety issues and wounds from the past getting all mixed up together. Much of the time it can be easy to beat ourselves up when the culture is screaming, “Get back on the treadmill, Keep going, Don’t feel, Be happy, no matter what is going on.” I have had to learn to befriend the grief and heartbreak, taking the time to allow the nature of deep true healing, really allowing and being fully with it and not going into a facade of numbness. Having it be OK to not put on a front.
I have had to cultivate great patience and self – love for myself to fully allow my healing process.
Holding my own harsh thoughts or comments from new age people who come up with (and there were a few), What did you do to create this ? Calling on your personal responsibility, or comments like, You must have a lot of stuff to attract this to you, are unhelpful, when one is in a deep sacred process and can actually be more like blame when there is no heart-centred compassionate connection.
Why losses happen is much more a part of the human story and is a mystery. We are often trying to get out of our grief and loss instead of recognising how much that is a big part of our experience of being alive and is as important a teacher as our joys and successes. We often think we ought to be done now but realising that this is part of my story and holding it with dignity and no shame is very liberating. When we recognise that life has both losses that keep on coming AND also great joys. It is a series of continuous losses and continuous blessings, and learning to be OK with the peak and trough of the waves like a surfer.
To learn to grieve and at the same time to learn to develop immense joy about life, Having both wings of your experience there for you, I start to see grieving as a spiritual experience.
Grief is really like waves, you have the peak of the wave, then you go through a trough. If you allow yourself to go with that then the wave will go to another peak; we really have to trust the process and not be afraid of it.There can be a great beauty in this as long as we stay in the heart and allow that river to flow.
Grief is like a great river coming through us leading us somewhere. We are not going to be the same after an experience of grief, if we experience it fully from the heart and befriend it. From this place we discover a greater vision for our life, discovering how we can serve others more, leading us to greater empathy, greater sense of solidarity, a greater sense of wanting to contribute peace and justice in the world. If this is suppressed it can lead to stress, anxiety, panic attacks and depression. Allowing the process helps us become bigger-hearted people that love, care and live even more brightly.
As Chris Saade says, “When you are in that time of grieving, your soul is being woven by life.” Finally from that place of freedom, openness and joy begins to shine through.
Often people can feel ashamed or bad for what they are going through and beat themselves up unnecessarily. There is a culture of shame around grief and many of us carry multiple hidden griefs; the planet is carrying huge grief. Our productivity may not be strong at the time of our grieving. More time is needed for resting, sleeping, being in nature, meditating, praying etc.
This beautiful and sometimes terrorising experience of being human can be so raw and so sacred.
It takes courage to lead an authentic life to feel your feelings and be true. There is power, gifts and blessings awaiting when we can go into the painful uncomfortable feelings. Much of what needs addressing on our earth will be accomplished when people really tell the truth and acknowledge the pain about what is happening. Being the authentic you that you are, is the source of love, compassions and power.
Much of this is taken from Mandy Eppley’s and Chris Saade's model of heart- centred grief .
It’s not really possible to go through this deep process by yourself, a certain amount of midwifing or holding is needed. On our own we may not be strong enough to block the despairing catastrophic thoughts and feelings, the tragic dark despair that can come. It is necessary to go through to get to the other side- like the dark night of the soul. Having the space to be vulnerable, fragile, shaken; needing, deserving AND receiving good support – it’s not possible to hold this alone. Its vital to allow the grieving with no time limit to really heal post- traumatic stress.
Chris and Mandy have a whole program of incredible support for people going through loss and grief. Their model of heart- centred grief has 7 clear steps that are very empowering to know of.
The 7 Steps :
1. Affirm Your Grief
This step teaches you about the importance of honoring and affirming the sacred nature of your grief.
2. Open Your Heart
When your heart has been broken, it may seem like you will never be able to love others or the world again. This step speaks about letting grief open your heart and how by doing this, healing can begin.
This step shows you how grief is a most important experience of sacred initiation. It initiates you into your calling, your purpose in life.
The saying “there are two sides to every coin” is a good example of Paradox. This step teaches you that life’s journey is constituted of both grief and joy, that grief as well as joy are noble and necessary to expand our heart. We can learn to experience both aspects of our emotions fully and with time do so simultaneously, thus experiencing the full paradox of life.
5. Spiritual Fortitude
With respect for all religions and philosophical beliefs, this step speaks about letting your “heart spirituality” be the sturdy and supportive container of your grief.
Within grief and loss there are gifts that can lead you to find your unique way of serving peace and justice in the world and making a difference. This step encourages you to look for those gifts and then take action in the world.
7. Celebration of Life
It is so important to celebrate your WHOLE life – both the grief and the joy. This step is about honouring and celebrating the depth of your grief journey.
Why is the depth of grief and pain so intense and why does it last so long ? It seems that deep grief opens up our heart and breaks all resistance around the heart making us more loving, open and compassionate. In our benign universe that is the higher purpose, opening us to great love. We need to be there for each other and the cycle of life swiftly turns with those receiving giving again and vice-versa. Feeling the depth of sorrow giving another full support can be an enormous privilege.
From James O’Dea’s book, Cultivating Peace, … ‘This is how I pray in circle after circle. I offer my hearts capacity to open. I allow the molten lava of suffering to flow through it. Then when it is ready, in silence, in stillness, this heart becomes witness to the incomparable beauty of healing. And everything within me becomes a song.’
Out of this place of allowing comes a rich soulful presence that is spacious and grounded.
Recently I had the privilege of spending the day with Byron Katie in London and have to say she is an expanded being and through her process of enlightenment and the “work” is able to reach a place of peace very fast. The work certainly helps but I am not there yet and also have to allow the time of the healing process, like a plant growing up out through the soil up towards the sun- it takes times and cannot be forced.
With love and calling in great shining miracles for us all,