“What we have once enjoyed we can never lose. All that we love deeply becomes a part of us.” — Helen Keller
Sometimes my brain can be quite literal like when I first heard my yoga teacher say “flow with grace,” I immediately slowed down on my mat and carefully considered how to place my arms and legs gracefully - you know, like a dancer. Years later when I realized she was talking about Grace, you know, like the liberating energy from God, I felt a little dumb, but also grateful I’d taken it so literal before. Every pose I slowed down to elegantly flow, I was being Grace-full. I’ve learned that my body understands, feels and assimilates spiritual passages way before my brain does.
Grace, as I’ve experienced it, is a river that flows towards the ocean of Divine Love. Its waters aren’t transparent and insipid, they contain life’s colors and flavors. One of which is grief.
If you’ve experienced the loss of a loved one through death or a breakup, you know grief. If you’ve experience the loss of a career opportunity, you know grief. Heck, if you’ve experienced Trader Joe’s discontinuing your favorite product, you know grief. Because, you see, if you’re human you’ve experienced and will continue to experience grief.
A thing I know about the river of Grace, and grief, is that it’s unstoppable. Sure you can intellectualize the situation: “he’s in a better place now,” “it wasn’t meant to be,” or “a better opportunity will come along.” However, grief is part of Grace and you need to let your whole be in it because your body will feel it, understand it and assimilate it before your mind can.
When you’re grieving, you’re gonna have to let the flow take your whole through the process.
Sometime you get to step into the river slowly, like when a beloved is terminally ill. You get a chance to adjust to the temperatures of the water and to prepare for the inevitable. Does it hurt? Yes. Will your mind resist it by creating false hopes? Absolutely. But eventually the river’s current will carry you.
Sometimes you get thrown into the river, like suddenly losing a job or worse the sudden death of a beloved. You get no chance to adjust. The moment you hit the water, it feels like you’re gonna drown. It’s messy. Will your mind resist it just the same? Yep. Will you fear that your body can’t handle it? For sure. But eventually you’ll adjust to the waters, you’ll begin to float and the river’s current will carry you.
This is what I know for sure, mental suffering is directly proportional to the resistance to the flow of Grace.
The only way to mitigate grief’s pain is to step into its current with the least amount of resistance. Sure you can learn techniques to cope with it, but don’t try to snap out of it. Do take care of your spirit, your mind and your body to the best of your abilities, but don’t attempt to cheer yourself up. Do hold on to your life-enhancing daily habits like floaties. But if you need to be in pain, be in pain. If you want to be moody, angry or sad, just be. Honor the feelings flowing through your body knowing with full confidence that they will lead to the ocean of Divine Love.
For my fellow caregivers, if you are around someone who is going through the process of grieving, as much as you want to stop their pain, don’t try to get them off the river. You can’t. You won’t. Be a witness, and if you must throw a lifesaver, offer your company, a hug, a prayer, a kind ear or warm meal, but let them grieve at their own rate. Know that this is you too flowing with Grace.