Grief is Natural and Real
Natural cycles teach us everything there is to know about life and death. The tree in a garden will witness more people in its lifetime than a human ever will, which is why I chuckled when the new owners of my California home told me they had never owned a tree before.
The only certainty we have in life is that one day we will die. It’s only a question of when. There is nothing else in our life that is as certain as death. Everything else is simply stories, structures and systems that we created or inherited— which tell us, once again, not only how powerful we are as creators but how much we don’t really know when it comes to the non-physical world.
Many Indigenous people believe we do not die, and instead we walk on. This means there is a continuation of our journey rather than an end. And the truth of the matter is that no one really knows what happens beyond beliefs, stories and recollections from people who share their near death experiences.
A friend sent me these words by Tara Branch, from her book True Refuge: Finding Peace and Freedom In Your Own Awakened Heart:
“In the Lakota/Sioux tradition, a person who is grieving is considered most wakan, most holy. There’s a sense that when someone is struck by the sudden lightning of loss, he or she stands on the threshold of the spirit world. The prayers of those who grieve are considered especially strong, and it is proper to ask them for their help.
You might recall what it’s like to be with someone who has grieved deeply. The person has no layer of protection, nothing left to defend. The mystery is looking out through that person’s eyes. For the time being, he or she has accepted the reality of loss and has stopped clinging to the past or grasping at the future.
In the groundless openness of sorrow, there is a wholeness of presence and a deep natural wisdom.”
None of Us are Strangers to Grief or Trauma
Everyone grieves when experiencing a loss. Animals also grieve in their own way. And facing loss is personal and different for each of us. Many of us have been taught to deeply fear death, but life and death are part of our journey. And like many of us, I am grieving.
Yesterday, a very special person in my life walked on. I had a healthy cry and a walk on the beach. And on this walk, for the first time, I came across a man chanting and drumming. I had never experienced anyone drumming here before and felt it was no accident I came into his path. I stopped and felt the vibrations of his drum hit the sand, the water and my heart.
And yesterday’s post may not have been as clear as some of my other ones because I allowed myself to be distracted; and you may have not even noticed.
I allowed myself to grieve and focus on remembering Ruth Robbins, her joy of life and how she always got me. What I can say about Ruth is that she was not only a force of nature but she truly loved life—all of it. When I was a young girl, she was a very different adult than the ones around me because she spoke her truth and didn’t care what anyone thought. And I secretly loved this about her as she showed me there was another way to be.
As I became my own person, I became less likely to follow society’s manual than her when it came to status and success. But she gave me space and confidence to be my own person. And for this, I am forever grateful.
We each have an opportunity to live fully right now and what’s most important is the choices we make to know ourselves, connect and co-create what we need. Never needing to apologize for who we are or believing we are not enough.
I know, deep in my heart, there are many Ruths in our world inspiring young people to be who they want to be. I was blessed to have a very special one in my life who knew how to live and our very last conversation was filled with laughter.
The moment of absolute certainty never arrives. How we show up for ourselves and each other matters and the question for today is: what is possible when we choose to be powerful creators? What are we living for?
And if you too are grieving, I am sending warm embraces and a dose of peace.