Saturday, August 14, 2021

August 14--Good Grief

Letting go gives us freedom, and freedom is the only condition for happiness. If, in our heart, we still cling to anything--anger, anxiety, or possessions--we cannot be free. --Thich Nhat Hanh

    Today I consider the freedom to grieve. I was blessed a couple of days ago to have a heartfelt conversation with a former yoga student about grief. He lost his wife to Covid in the past year, and he is in the midst of grieving, yet also trying to move forward. It's a delicate balance. Our "get over it!" culture is not conducive to long-term grieving. But how can you get over, in a few days or even weeks, the loss of someone you have been with for decades? It's not possible. 
    I am extraordinarily heartened by the fact that both of my sons can cry easily. Crying is soul-rinsing. It is an absolutely essential biological and spiritual function. Energy must move through and out of our bodies. Long-term containment of grief causes illnesses galore. Grief isn't pretty. We want to fix things. It makes us uncomfortable. But the only healthy way out is through. 

Funeral Blues by: W. H. Auden

Stop all the clocks, cut off the telephone,
Prevent the dog from barking with a juicy bone,
Silence the pianos and with muffled drum
Bring out the coffin, let the mourners come.

Let aeroplanes circle moaning overhead
Scribbling on the sky the message ‘He is Dead’.
Put crepe bows round the white necks of the public doves,
Let the traffic policemen wear black cotton gloves.

He was my North, my South, my East and West,
My working week and my Sunday rest,
My noon, my midnight, my talk, my song;
I thought that love would last forever: I was wrong.

The stars are not wanted now; put out every one,
Pack up the moon and dismantle the sun,
Pour away the ocean and sweep up the wood;
For nothing now can ever come to any good.

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