Meeting Absence with Presence
“This ain’t no place for the weary kind,
This ain’t no place to lose your mind,
This ain’t no place to fall behind.
Pick up your crazy heart ’n’ give it one more try.”
How to grieve? I don’t know. It’s a skill I have yet to acquire. Part of me resents having to acquire it.
It’s awkward sitting here with this weight on my shoulders and thinking „um… yeah… what do I do now?“
It’s an uncomfortable place to be stuck. If you stay here long enough you calcify. The absence becoming your final reality, a well so deep you can never fill it, even if you throw all your joy and aliveness at it.
It is a living thing this grief. You have to feed it, with love, with care and presence. The absence, however huge and insurmountable it may seem, is contained in the space of your heart. It seems that you grieve with the same bigness as you love.
It seems grief is an expression of love.
So if love and grief are two sides of this multifaceted coin of aliveness, how do I mourn?
What do I even know about this grief?
Where do I feel it? In my body?
What does it feel like?
Is it expansive like anger? Or contracting like depression?
How does it relate to the vividness that suddenly suffuses my experience of this world?
Does it have a face?
Does it have a voice?
And what is it saying?
Other people say things about grief
I cried every day for two years.
It helps me to remember that she is in a better place.
I know that this isn’t the end, just another transition.
I ask myself what would she have wanted.
What good are the wishes of the dead to the living?
Freeing grief from the mind
When I am willing to have an experience as it is, I have a choice about how I to react to it. To move through the grief I need to experience whatever comes up. And to fully experience it, I need to free myself from the idea that there are wrong and right ways to express grief. It might be that I need to cry huge howling sobs every night, or it might be that I need to run after aliveness like an adrenaline junky on a motorbike.
An emotion unexpressed festers into judgments and helplessness. To get back, or to stay in a place of health and aliveness I need to give myself space to express, rather than jumping into „dealing with it“, or „getting over it“.
This is my Practice
Sitting in presence.
Breathing in presence.
Walking in presence.
Feeling all the feelings, with presence.
Moving through the absence in presence, getting to know it like I know my home, like I know my body. Letting it be a living, breathing thing, so that some day it will be just another part, integrated and unquestioned, the way the existence of an extra toe might not be questioned.