March 28, 2013

Learning to love the questions and live with loss

To grieve means to bear a heavy burden.  To grieve is to live, for life brings us heavy burdens.  How does the ant move the boulder up the hill?  Only with the help of other ants, with community.  The ant moves the boulder one step at a time.  The ant must find the leverage, by which to position in such a way as to lessen the dead weight. 

The Hindu god Shiva dances the cosmic dance of creation and destruction, she teaches us that each act of destruction calls for an act of creation. We must absorb that thought into our grief so to teach us that we heal our loss through acts of creation. 

Why honor loss?  Grieving takes time. We owe it to ourselves and to each other to feel the pain, to feel the fear, to feel the anxiety and, ultimately, to live the questions until the answers begin to reveal themselves to us. 

The great German poet Rainer Marie Rilke said: Be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves. Do not now seek the answers which cannot be given you because you would not be able to live them. And the point is to live everything. (So) live the questions now....

Grieving takes us to the depths of hell on earth and makes us crawl through glass.  Grieving takes us to love and to loss
We grieve for that which we have loved.
Love and loss are intimately connected. Not only are we all going to die but every moment is changing and as it changes, it brings loss.

All of us experience some level of loss in our everyday lives, from apparently minor situations to major loss such as the loss of a loved one, a job, a relationship, or a dream.
Healing our grief is a step by step journey. This return to crawling in order to heal 

In Good Grief, professional grief educator Deborah Morris Coryell describes grief as "the experience of not having anywhere to place our love, of losing a connection, an outlet for our emotion." 

Is healing possible with grief?  In North America, we are expected to go to the funeral, or celebration of life, as we are now calling these events, be sad for two -three days and then get back to work.  Get over it.  Move on.  

But to deal with grief, we have to learn how to continue to love in the face of loss.

We have to live the questions.

Another thought that comes to me is to critically think of what is loss?
Loss is the removal of something, leaving a hole, a gap, a chasm that cannot but must be bridged.  

I am reminded of the song Many Rivers to Cross, especially as sung by Nilsson and Lennon.  The raw emotions expressed in this song are visceral.

"Well I been ripped, washed up for years, and I nearly survived....

And this loneliness just won't leave me alone
Its drag to be on your own
My woman left me and she didn't say why
And I guess I have to try.

Many Rivers to cross
and where to begin? "

What is loss?  For to have loss, you must have had something to have lost.  You must have known love. Just because this person is gone, does not mean you no longer love them.  In fact, the love intensifies, as it always does when we perceive that we cannot "have" it.  But you still do have it- you still do have the love.  You still can talk everyday with your loss, but the conversation now goes in a different manner.  We can say the conversation is one-sided, but are we listening hard enough?  We know what the other person would have said, don't we?  We move into the terrain of imagination and memory. 

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