The intensity of my grief during the past year has humbled and frightened me. It bowled me over. I was not prepared for the excruciating sense of fear of losing my job. It has impacted every aspect of my life, broke down old structures, churned up unresolved issues, and brought everything into question. How can the fear of losing your job have so much impact? Because part of my identity is the job.
In the past months grief and loss has activated primal forces that surged through me in waves, filling me with anguish, longing, anger, depression, numbness, despair, relief. After hearing the news in February that our company was going bankrupt, I slowly got caught up in a momentum that I could not slow down or stop. Its peak was last September. These forces were not rational, reasonable, or predictable; I was frightened to feel so out of control.
I tried to suppress, truncate, postpone, and ignore it. I was afraid of being overwhelmed, of becoming nonfunctional: "If I let go now, I'll never be able to stop:" Since we live in a culture that expects quick fixes and avoids pain, there is a tendency to pull oneself out of grief. There can in fact be considerable pressure from the outside world to "pull yourself together and get on with your life". What was most difficult is that my colleagues & management expects me to do as if nothing has happened. Get real!
But grief is more powerful than our resistance. In grief, it is natural, though uncomfortable, to feel raw, vulnerable, alone, overwhelmed. Alexandra Kennedy, helped me express my feelings of grief into words. If you want to know more about her, click here.
Even if we manage to suppress it, we compromise our living. Well I compromised for a while and then I shut down.
How can we surrender to the tides of grief? How can we deepen into it without feeling overwhelmed? How can we heal our regrets?
I’m trying to create a sanctuary and face my grief. To understand it. I know I need to make time to explore the intense feelings and thoughts that go with my grief. I’ve been advised to write, cry, sing, meditate, pray, or just sit.
If you wonder whether I’m avoiding or suppressing my grief, let me clear this up for you. I’m avoiding it. It has been suggested to me to use my sanctuary for at least fifteen minutes a day -- to spend that time to listen, slow down, check in.
Guess who is avoiding those 15 minutes? According to my therapist, if I’m feeling good and nothing much comes up during those 15 minutes, that's fine, but I need to keep checking in.
creating my sanctuary
I haven’t been checking in, since getting this assignment. But what is Christmas Break for? To glance backwards, to reflect and ponder. I’m going to be honest with myself and change.
‘I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence;
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I –’
I’m pondering which road to take
I want to take the one that makes all the difference!