Muse: to reflect, contemplate, to
meditate in silence on some subject.
“Things take the time they take.”
Nature takes its time. It doesn’t rush or try to hurry things along. It lets things take all the time that they need. As summer turns to autumn we could learn something from nature’s wisdom. Instead of trying to rush through our grief or to rush the process along it would be helpful if we learned to slow down and turn inward just like nature does this time of year.
May we all be patient with ourselves on this grief journey and may we let things take the time that they take.
Please feel free to share this “museletter” with others that you think may benefit from it.
Grief does not change you. It reveals you.
The seasons are changing. We are saying goodbye to summer as autumn begins to take its place center stage. The days are growing shorter and the nights have become cooler. The chorus of crickets and cicadas begin to slow their tempo as their song becomes softer and less frequent. We watch as the leaves on the trees begin to change colors and then start to fall.
In actuality, leaves don’t really “change” colors but instead, their true colors are revealed. When the weather turns cooler there is less chlorophyll that makes the leaves green so the colors that have been there all along are now able to express themselves.
“That’s the secret: there is no turning, no changing. There’s only the death of what has been masking the colors inside. The beauty has been there all along. And we as human beings are like this. Each one of us contains hidden jewels inside” (Safi 2014).
Autumn has become known as the season of grief because just like grief it asks us to slow down, turn inward, and take some time for deep reflection.
Autumn can shuffle in like a whisper while working its magic with painted leaves and softer sunshine along with the added briskness in the fall air. On the other hand, grief tends to trample in like a bull in a china shop. Our skies suddenly turn gray and blustery winds of change blow through us leaving our limbs bare as the colorful pieces of what was once our lives lay scattered on the ground around us like fallen leaves. We are cold, we are numb, we are exposed. Darkness falls rapidly around us and within us, as the life we once knew is forever altered.
As we look around at the fallen leaves of our lives we aren’t sure what to do with these treasured fragments but we know there is no rake big enough or gentle enough to gather our fallen pieces. So we begin to sift through the various shades of red, gold, purple, orange, and brown foliage that once made up our life. We take our time as we pick up each leaf carefully and begin to examine it as we turn it this way and that. Each leaf contains a story of what once was and by studying each one we begin to harvest the memories that will nourish us and sustain us in the days to come.
In this painstaking process, there is a lot of contemplation about what it is that we have lost, how this loss has changed us, and what it is that we will carry with us. It is in giving ourselves time to sift through the fallen leaves of our lives that we will discover our own true colors that have been hidden by the darkness of loss. Our colors of kindness, compassion, love, hope, joy, and the ability to make meaning will come shining through as more of our true selves are revealed.
The Written Word
There are many ways to express our grief and putting our thoughts, feelings, and ideas on paper can be a very healing process. The suggested prompts here can be done one time or multiple times. I’ve learned it helps to set a timer for 10-15 minutes and keep your pen moving for the entire time. I encourage using pen and paper rather than a keyboard as there is a hand/heart connection when writing longhand. Don’t worry about spelling, punctuation, or grammar, just write. When the timer goes off you stop writing even if you are in mid-sentence. Don’t reread your work at this time. Just set it aside for a couple of weeks and then go back and see what your words may have to say to you.
(If you choose to use a keyboard the same instructions apply).
Try this writing prompt:
Grief has revealed in me…
I will list some books, articles, poems, movies, or other resources that I as well as others have found helpful on this grief journey. I hope these resources may deepen your understanding of grief, maybe bring you some sense of comfort, and help you to feel less alone in your grief.