I will not say: do not weep; for not all tears are an evil.J.R.R. Tolkien
Before we rush to all the reasons there are to be grateful, in this season of thanksgiving, take time to grieve. That sounds weird, I know. But, honestly, who hasn’t felt some sadness or experienced loss of some kind lately — whether it’s an actual death of a friend or loved one, illness, or a loss of a home or job. Maybe you simply miss an experience you used to enjoy but can’t have now due to the pandemic or fires. There are personal losses and collective losses to grieve before we can jump over to gratefulness. I’m sure many of you can relate to this.
Acknowledge your feelings
One of the things we humans do is skip over sad or difficult feelings. Although I’m not suggesting you need to dwell on them, it is important to acknowledge your emotions and let them have a place in your heart. When sadness shows up, welcome her in. Allow yourself to shed tears and fully acknowledge this presence.
Due to a family tragedy and deep sadness I experienced early in life, I used to be afraid that if I started crying I would never stop. It was as if I had to keep a lid on those feelings. But in fact, when I finally allowed myself to feel those sad feelings, they moved through my body quickly. This is something I am grateful for.
Honor the natural rhythm of the seasons
In life there are seasons and cycles. Gestation/germination, birth, growth/full mature expression, decay, and death. The cycle repeats. When we follow the natural rhythm of these phases as in our seasons, we can align with the seasonal energy and receive support when and where we need it.
I mentioned grief. This is an emotion associated with the fall (decay and letting go), and it also happens to be associated with the lungs in the Chinese system of healing. In some cultures, when someone dies it is encouraged and expected for the grieving family to wail and emote audibly, to have a physical full-throated, full-breath, cathartic sound experience. This is known as keening. Not many of us have ever been encouraged to do this. Instead we tend to stuff bad or sad feelings, and this can actually cause us to be unwell or to stay stuck.
Grieve to make room for gratitude
If you have something that needs to be voiced or grieved, something that has been shoved aside, you may want to carve out some time to explore this in your own way. Seek out a good friend to talk to about it, journal about it, or get professional help, or express yourself through art. Soul Collage is an excellent creative outlet to try. My friend Karen Haas offers classes that are amazing. Check them out www.artofpresence.net
The goal is to give these darker feelings and emotions a safe harbor where they can be expressed and understood. Day of the Dead (November 1) is a popular Mexican holiday celebrated to honor loved ones who have crossed over. But It could also be used as a way to honor some other kind of loss. I encourage you to create a ritual of your own to honor what you need to grieve. Then you can let it go and feel life’s blessings.
To everything, turn, turn, turn
there is a season turn, turn, turn
a time to every purpose under heaven
(Originally from a verse in the bible but made into a popular song by the Byrds.)
May your experience of grief and release be an express ticket home to your Gorgeously Healthy self,