The Cook Awakening

Honoring the Little Deaths

February 28, 2018
Posted in: Events, Grief, Life on Life's Terms, Living Into Death, Living with Health Challenges, Meditation, Spiritual Practice

We often live our lives on the surface. Until something happens, a major upheaval. And, even then we might be so caught up in handling the emergency that we don’t slow down enough to actually feel our feelings.

What lies beneath the surface?

I encourage you to engage in rituals designed to bring your internal process to the surface. That could be public ceremony such as the Nest event the Owl Salon offered last month, but it could also be something small and personal, such as creating a sacred space in your home dedicated to a particular event or process you know is percolating, or simply that you’re wondering about. A death. A relationship that went sideways. Your own “empty nest”. A career change. A diagnosis. Noticing that your body has changed with age, even if it’s only subtly. Your first (or fortieth) grey hair. This dedicated space, whether you feel comfortable calling it an altar or not, is a container for your process, a focal point.

One of the central Buddhist teachings is centered on impermanence as an inescapable truth. Everything changes. And, generally, our egos don’t relate to that well. We either want our uncomfortable states or situations to change faster than they are naturally changing, or we want to hold onto our happy states and life circumstances. There’s a counter intuitive result of that grasping — you may have heard the quote from Carl Jung “what you resist, persists.” The same is true of the other side of the coin — the lovely, easy feelings or situations we enjoy are often changed into a less pleasant version when we hold tightly. People we’re in relationship with don’t always respond well when we grasp onto them.

Facing the uncomfortable truth of constant change may feel frightening, but time and time again I prove to myself that it is actually a relief to bring the truth of impermanence into my conscious mind. Part of me relaxes. It’s what’s true. I don’t have to resist anything anymore. I see it in my own experience, and I see it over and over in my clients. That moment when I stop someone who’s telling me their tender, challenging story, and I just say — YES. This is true. It happened. It is happening. Your mom died. Your lover was unfaithful. You have a cancer diagnosis. You will die, whether as a result of this diagnosis, or later for another reason. One day, you will have to let go of all of this.

Then we’re free to grieve consciously. We can move out of anger or denial or bargaining, important parts of the grief process, into sadness and then acceptance.

I offer a gentle challenge: what are you hovering above in your life, emotionally? Is there a recent, or perhaps not so recent change, or death, that you haven’t really processed? Are you allowing yourself to slow down enough to for your life to catch up to you? Or, are you riding a wave of momentum that you secretly hope will allow you to never fully feel your grief? Perhaps you’ve done the opposite, and have sunk into depression, sunk below the grief, feeling immobilized? Similar antidotes apply to this, but we rise up to a gentle and brave acknowledgment of the truth, instead of the slowing down I described previously.

Either way, creating a sacred space in your home somewhere to honor what is wanting to be held is a beautiful and simple way to facilitate your process. Sit with your altar, or honoring table, for a little while often. Light a candle while you sit with it. Meditate there. Do some writing. Invite your feelings to be known, and allow yourself to be fully present with them in your body. All feelings have a physiological component, and allowing your attention to rest fully in your body is an effective way to allow the emotions to unwind. We tend to get caught in the story of our emotions, the mental aspect of them. Allowing your awareness to drop into your body creates a very different relationship with your process, and often moves the process along in a different way. Welcome the sensations.

Let me know how it goes! And, of course, let me know if I can help in the process, if you need some counseling to help move the energy. This is the work I love doing.

This entry was posted on Wednesday, February 28th, 2018 at 12:01 pm and is filed under Events, Grief, Life on Life's Terms, Living Into Death, Living with Health Challenges, Meditation, Spiritual Practice. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.


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