When staying positive and hopeful in the midst of a pandemic starts turning into a full-fledged effort, it could be a tug from what’s lurking in its shadows — hopelessness. And buried deep within the constructs of hopelessness is often grief.
The truth is, there is possibly much we are already grieving deep down. Our humanity, physical resilience, mind’s stability, freedom, finances, health, security, togetherness, belonging, safety and so much more that we once built our lives upon and stood on firmly now sways beneath our feet while we are to stay still. It is counter intuitive and can feel daunting. It presents us one of two paths forward — stay positive, or touch base with grief. Neither are favourable nor unfavourable, both paths open up into wholeness if we don’t stand gripping tight on either.
Grief often only asks to be seen and felt to be then released. But when we don’t, it hardens into hopelessness, agitation or restlessness. Grief is a defenceless feeling so there is often an impulse to layer it up, do something else, take our minds off it, distract, get on, or swim through an invisible mountain of tasks. Our avoidance is sometimes in feeling we may not have the capacity to contain grief. But we forget, grief can also be allowed through in stages. It doesn’t have to tumble through all at once unbearably (though understandably it could). Either way, it all forms part of life’s steep learning curve.
When we allow grief through we hold the pause button and draw ourselves inwards, creating a bubble of compassion that insulates us from the flux of external chaos. In here, we breathe and make space for losses to gradually bubble up, each making itself known to be seen and heard. We allow bubbles to engulf us right into their depths and take us over in waves. We let our bodies do what it needs to do — rock, hug, whatever — we trust the body’s natural intelligence. These are ways it releases and self-soothes. We feel the pain and feel it fully, accepting the intensity life brings. Such intensity leave behind traces of beauty when allowed through, like storms that reveal nature’s prowess. Experiencing traces of beauty that grief leaves behind often dissolves our hardened edges, urging a surrender towards nature’s forces. It is surprising how much relief and ease dances through the body as grief releases itself. We are then left with a smile and a strange sense of presence, as if the process just brought us closer to ourselves.
Grief is beautiful, painful, compassionate and intense. It’s not something for daily experiencing but once in a while, worth allowing through.
This article can also be found published on Medium.