I have shared some “Public Service Announcements” about grief based on my own. Recall:

Grief PSA Series #1: Time does not heal all wounds. (March 22, 2021)

Grief PSA Series #2: When you lose someone you love, it never goes away. (April 3, 2021)

Here is a third to consider: We can welcome our experience of grief without welcoming the loss itself.

In talking with courageous grievers in search of a path to healing and peace, I have noticed a recurring intention of many of ours. While some in pain self medicate or anesthetize (#nojudgmenthere) many of us actually WANT to face our grief but just don’t know what the hell to do with all of the pain.

We read, write, seek, talk, meditate, pray…we want to be open and not afraid to go into the world every day. One way I have heard this expressed, and have also experienced myself, is trying to get our heads and hearts around acceptance. We try to get to and stay on this enlightened path, and make lemonade out of lemons, but when it comes to full acceptance and even welcoming the experience (so we can find the gifts amidst the heartache) we can get stuck and condemn ourselves for not being “further along” in our quest to make peace with it.

I recently had an insight about this lofty goal of acceptance and welcoming tragedy: Maybe a more self compassionate “goal” or approach would be to open to the acceptance of our “feelings and experience of the situation” as opposed to the “situation itself.”

It’s hard to imagine traveling so far along a spiritual path that I could actually, sincerely and unabashedly say “Thank you that my Daughter and Son died.” Or “Thank you that my 21 year old living son cannot sustain his life without a feeding tube.”

What I can imagine, is saying “Welcome, my sacred feelings of sadness, rage, regret, helplessness, AND love, compassion and healing…I see you, I feel you, I accept you without judgment.” In other words, maybe those of us who are not willing to be defined by our tragedies and are committed to spiraling up spiritually, could start with accepting and honoring our emotions ABOUT our loss, and relieve ourselves of some expectation that we should accept and even celebrate the loss itself.

No one wants to suffer. Nor do we want to lose. Yet my experience is that these situations we didn’t ask for, but have befallen us, can be softened by opening and not judging how it hits us day to day, even moment to moment. I have found self compassion to be a bridge to a less rocky trail than the one I am on when I tell myself I should be “doing better” by now.

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