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Thursday, February 18, 2021

WHAT DO WE DO WITH THE GRIEF?

There is so much pain in the world today as we navigate more months of social distancing, mask requirements, closed restaurants, bars, and movie theaters, and other community-based establishments. People are anxious, irritable, and downright cranky about having to stay home, stay apart, and stay masked. It's no wonder many of us are experiencing anger management problems. I am dismayed but not surprised that people are venting their anger and frustration by posting their displeasure on Facebook and other social media, as well as protesting with placards in public. When people lose the ability to do whatever they feel is their right, they get angry. Due to social distancing, the anger ends up spilling over in the safe bubble of your family. Anger between family members can be destructive, however, isolating the individuals even more. When did you recently release a blast of anger at a loved one when you didn't mean to? Maybe you've been on the receiving end of one of those yourself. Have you had a crying jag yet? If not, just wait; you will.

It’s hard to stay home and have to face myself. Do you feel this, too? It makes me introspective and self-critical sometimes. I have to look deep within and see how I really think and feel about myself, my neighbors and friends, and the situation the planet is facing on many fronts. But truthfully, the toughest topic is ME. My anger and frustration, my way of “bad othering” people, my thought patterns that are self-demeaning or isolating, my grief at the climate change catastrophe facing us (one friend announced that we can’t fix it, only “prolong the glide”), my sense of helplessness as COVID-19 continues to ravage the world, killing thousands daily, my anxiety about folks who don’t want the vaccine, and then there’s the issue of when I can get my first vaccine shot. I long to do my own grocery shopping or walk into an actual store and purchase a blouse. How do I deal with this morass of emotions? I grieve. I have to or I’ll burst - in anger at others and myself. We all need to grieve the changes that have come about due to the pandemic. We need to take time to feel and process our grief over loved ones and friends lost to COVID-19 and other diseases or accidents. And there’s more to grieve: we must look with clear and honest eyes at the video of George Floyd suffocating under a white policeman’s knee and ask ourselves when we’ve had enough of racism. We must face our grief as we watch the decline of species and plant life, the loss of the ice at the planet’s poles, the death of the oceans, the stubbornness and greed of Big Oil and those who would ignore our planet’s obvious signs of the impending decline and death of all life. I mourn the blindness and greed of the growing number of millionaires and billionaires who would seek to gain more wealth rather than contribute to the equality that we know deep within us is the master plan of the Creator. We are created to love one another as sisters and brothers. There is enough food and water and natural resources for everyone, if only those with control of the earth’s wealth and bounty would share with those who have little or nothing. Humans are so vain, so entitled that we cannot see our neighbor’s needs.This is the largest lump of grief that lodges in my throat each day. I can join groups and attend protests and write to my congress-person and attend Zoom meetings on this topic, but I cannot change the hearts of those who can make the most progress to change the balance of wealth and health and wellbeing for all of us. For this, I grieve; I weep.

During Lent, I find it self-instructive to ask myself hard questions. I look into my eyes in the mirror while I do this. If you’re feeling brave, try these:

Is there anything that I should've let go of a long time ago but am still holding onto?

What can I do to further the equality of all people on this planet we call home?

What am I pretending not to know?

Am I contributing to the world in a positive or negative way? Explain.

Am I proud of the person I am?

What will people say about me at my funeral? 

There are many online grief groups and communities that we can join for an hour or more. They are as close to you as your fingertips on the computer keyboard. Try googling “grief groups” and see what comes up. 

AN HOUR OF GRIEF TENDING

Terry Le Page and I are co-hosting a grief gathering (An Hour of Grief Tending). It meets monthly on the first Saturday from 3:30-4:30 pm PST. The next one is March 6th. Here’s the link: https://www.tickettailor.com/events/opendoorcommunication/476659  Grief can be complex and difficult to unpack in one session. If you attend and it helps you, come again the following month. It’s a recurring event, and each one is a little different from the last.

A grief community that I joined in January was hosted by Bernadette Pleasant and Sara Nics. This presentation recurs about every six weeks. It was effective in helping me unleash my own grief about personal topics. I recommend it. Here’s the link: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/grief-ritual-tickets-133769894355?aff=erelexpmlt

If you doubt the effectiveness of grieving in a community or group, read this article from Eden magazine to help you better understand the dynamics involved in grieving in this way.  https://theedenmagazine.com/the-healing-power-of-the-grief-ritual/

Perhaps you decide that joining a Zoom meeting to grieve isn’t for you; if so, then maybe you can spend some time writing or journaling about the things in your life that you grieve. Just writing it down as I did has helped me release and process some of my grief.

May peace reside within you and around you. 

With hope and compassion,

Lynne




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