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It Can't Be Sunny All the Time. Let it Rain. Grieve.

Updated: Apr 8

In March of 2021 my boyfriend, Damien, died suddenly and unexpectedly at 44 years old.  After some debilitating shock and sadness, I was touched by a sense of Grace.  I began to feel a sense of sacredness.  A feeling that I was being planted in a deep, dark soil and my tears were watering and nourishing me like a seed.  I was afraid to share this with anyone because I did not want to dishonor the pain I, and those who knew Damien were experiencing, but I can’t deny something else was being expressed besides pain.  Is it possible that grief also includes something divine?

Recently I was watching an HBO series called Treme.  It’s a story of post Katrina New Orleans told mostly from the perspective of musicians.  I was struck by how the communities in New Orleans share and ritualize their grief.  Part of Mardi Gras by the river is a continuous ritual where people pour their loved ones ashes in.  There are second line parades that march through neighborhoods as part of a funeral and residents join in dancing and singing whether they know the deceased or not. There is an invitation to pause the daily activities and remember impermanence. 

Then I thought about our culture at large and how little we do to even acknowledge grief.  How we devalue the whole process and in a well-meaning way encourage people to “focus on the positive” It is this imbalance that is oppressive to us as individuals and communities.  It tries to make day more important than night- it wants the sun to always be shining- it tacitly gives us a message that there is no room for sadness.  It impacts our bodies, which are now burdened with carrying unprocessed grief. We become stiff, heavy, and exhausted from the energy it takes to keep our emotions at bay. It impacts our connections with each other, as we have no idea how to support our neighbor when they are in pain because we are too busy running from our own.  It impacts our perspective on the world that says, “happy is good, sad is bad.” Even small losses, like a break up, a friend moving away, a job transition…. Even these losses mostly go unacknowledged in our lives.  Swept under the rug as we put on our brave faces and focus on the positive.

I have learned that pushing away sadness and pain is detrimental to our life force.  The energy we use to keep pain at bay creates exhaustion in our bodies and psyches.  The impact is a stagnation of energy that leads to pain in the body, stiffness and zaps our enthusiasm for life.  Coaching is a space where grief and pain is honored.  We allow ALL emotions to flow through us so that we experience more freedom and creativity in our lives. It is an opportunity for healing and rebirth.

And when we can face our own pain- be it the loss of a loved one, a relationship, a stage of life- we are better equipped for being with the pain of others.  That is how we can really serve and connect help each other heal.

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