Note: Eight days away from regular life has meant many, many freewheeling thoughts that have bubbled over. Today’s message isn’t neatly filtered/edited and formulated the way it usually is. It’s more personal and long, but you’re probably used to it on the blog. Heads-up, though, that this isn’t the typical Monday Tarot Message, but from my conversations with people, it seems like this is wide-spread and more common than we’ll admit. So maybe you’ll relate, or find something to takeaway from it?
Let’s talk about everyday grief. Tiny, daily loss and sadness, outside of life’s big tragedies — past and current. Minor grief that exists even when life is going good.
Grief from our choices, about all that is left behind, moved away from, left unchosen. Grief from healthy growth and evolution, for who we once were. Our past selves, old states of mind, nature and quality of life long gone. Past relationships, even when leaving was the best thing to do. Grief for things being so radically different from the way they are now.
I’ve grieved so much small loss the year. Workshop opportunities, travel plans, my otherwise steady sense of hope and optimism, missed vacations, going to the gym, being in a swimming pool, hugging, spontaneous plans and outings, day drinking with friends, opportunities for unexpected friendship, public transport, loved restaurants, working from my favourite coffee shop, spontaneity in general, being in a crowded space as a normal natural thing, live music — all of it.
It’s easy to brush this all aside as “small”. And it is. Yet it has been particularly pronounced in this year of the pandemic. Everyday grief piled upon tremendous grief.
It’s very likely that every one of you reading this post today has faced tremendous loss this year. Made so much worse in places with completely broken health care systems and leaders brazenly displaying their contempt for lives of regular citizens.
There is also so much loss of a grip on who we thought we were as people. So many truths shattered. The idea that ultimately everything works out — well, does it? That we’re living in a functioning democracy — are we, really? That the people you respect and look up to aren’t bigots or abusers — this one is quickly shattering, no?
How do you process everyday grief? Do you power through it, push it aside as too little to pay attention to? Or do you make room for it, no matter how small it may be?
I’ve found that in examining how I feel about everything I have lost this year, in honouring it all, and allowing myself to feel the real grief as it has surfaced, I started to see some very fundamental ways in which my life had to change and move.
Loss is sometimes a portal to feeling alive again. And grief is the vehicle that can show us how to move on.
Many cultures have ritualised practices for grieving. Where loss and grief are fundamental tenets in living life. Where the goal isn’t to make loss productive, but to give it a place, as it is. Where acknowledging and feeling grief isn’t seen as a sign of weakness or regression.
I find that this grief that my privilege didn’t allow me to even acknowledge — because I have it so, so good — has been a fitting motivator for making changes in how I want to live.
In softening up towards grief, I have found several reminders of the basic inalienable truth of life — that it is limited. And somehow, that has pushed me through to the other side.
One year ago: Finding flow
Two years ago: Walk with me for a while
Three years ago: On letting go of what is meant-to-be, and enjoying what-is
Four years ago: I am eager