Muse: to reflect, contemplate, to
meditate in silence on some subject.
“May we try not to skip over the moments in our lives that we don’t like.” ~Elijah
No one likes to feel pain or suffer. These are usually the moments we try to skip over or try to hurry past in some way. But all of our life experiences have something to say if we take the time to listen. There is no getting out of how much things can hurt in this life. When we try to do this we not only miss out on part of our lives but we also end up carrying that pain with us and it influences how we see the world and how we interact in the world.
May we all learn to take the time to allow all of the experiences in our lives as they shape us into more of who we came here to be.
Please feel free to share this “museletter” with others that you think may benefit from it.
I wonder if the seed packed in the ground feels the dark soil is a form of hell before it blossoms into a flower.
Darkness, like pain, narrows our focus and asks us to pay attention. When we find ourselves in the heart of our darkness it can feel like hell. In this murkiness, we can forget that darkness is also a fertile ground where most things begin to grow, even us.
We often wonder how we can grow through this painful experience or what it even means to “grow.” Growth is probably as individual as our grief is but there does seem to be some common threads that are interwoven through this growth process as we find our way through the dark.
Growth can be defined as something expanding or becoming bigger. When we learn to grow through grief we do expand in many ways. Our hearts that have been broken open become larger as we develop an increased capacity for empathy. We also tend to have a greater appreciation for the small things in life and we develop more in-depth relationships that give our lives more meaning and expand our appreciation for the world around us.
First, just like a seedling, we must understand that we can’t rush our growth. We have to let our healing take root while our tears water the dark soil of our pain. When we allow the dark soil to do its work, hopefully, in time, we will learn to bloom where we are planted. Our soil needs plenty of nutrients such as tears, having the ability to adequately grieve and mourn, candidly telling our stories, and our soil must be nurtured with lots of love, time, support, compassion, and understanding.
Change (growth) is hard for all of us but can be even more difficult when it’s an unexpected or unwanted change. Part of the growth process is being resistant to being in this new place that we never wanted to be. We endlessly try to find our way back to familiar ground. When we are transplanted into this unknown territory our usual response is one of disbelief and refusal to accept that these are our new surroundings. We will wrestle with this new reality until we understand we aren’t going to win this wrestling match.
After we have exhausted all other avenues we begin to look around to see exactly where it is that life has planted us. We can feel like we have been forced into a very painful, unwanted hibernation. This darkness can feel very stifling and may even feel like it is crushing us as it makes it hard to breathe. We may get the sense that nothing is really happening as we lie dormant in the dark soil of our grief but our new life is beginning to take root even though we can’t see the new growth.
We have reached the place of surrender. Surrender is not giving up. Surrender is allowing life to be as it is rather than continuing to resist and tense against the circumstances of our life. Surrender is a place of possibilities not defeat. In this place, we begin to work the soil we have been given. It is hard work as we try to understand how this experience has affected us. We will begin to look at those parts of ourselves and our lives that no longer fit as this experience has changed us. Those parts that no longer fit we begin to weed out. We will also surrender to the whole range of our feelings and let them move through us as our heart begins to open wider and deeper as we begin to cultivate the wisdom that comes from our grief. It is also a time of questioning. We may ask questions such as, “what does it mean to be where I am now” and “who am I now?” It is a place where we search for answers even though we probably won’t find any obvious ones. It will take time for us to grow into the answers to our questions. As we surrender we begin to make meaning from our experience as we let it shape us into who we are becoming.
After we have tended our soil for a period of time (this period of time varies for everyone) we will feel some upward movement from this dark place. Our roots have grown deeper and stronger in this new place and we begin to slowly inch our way up through the soil. This is more of a two steps forward and three steps back type of movement as healing is never a straight line. In time we will begin to emerge through the soil and begin to grow above ground. At first, we may feel awkward and overwhelmed as we come into this new way of being but we must remember we carry in our roots all that we learned while we were growing in the dark and these nutrients will help to guide our continued growth. After a while, we will begin to blossom in this dark soil in a way that we never thought was possible.
Hopefully, this journey will help us understand that even in our greatest pain we can learn to trust the growth that happens in the dark and maybe even find out how to bloom wherever we are planted.
“For survivors, the word closure often connotes that
the bereaved are underachievers who flunked a grief course.”
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:
If I bloom where I am planted it means..
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.
Photo Credit: Jason Robb
When I was a little kid, I cut my hand and ran into the house to my mother, screaming and bleeding all over the place. And she did the most miraculous thing. She wasn’t always adept at these things, but this time she was really good. She grabbed the magic towel. Our magic towel was always in a place of honor–it was on the bar of the stove. She took the magic towel, she wrapped my hand up in it, she took me onto her lap, and just embraced me. She just rocked me. Through the presence of her touch and her not being scared of my pain, I gradually calmed down.
After I’d calmed down a bit, she said, “Let’s look.” And she unwrapped the towel, and she showed me the wound. She showed me that it is possible to look into our wounds and be with our wounds, that all of us can do this, that even a child can do this. It was a beautiful experience to have as a child, and it’s been a great teaching in my life.