this well of grief

‘I now affirm that I will look deeply into myself without fear’

Dear love,

These last days I have been noticing it more, this deep sadness in me. I mentioned it one of the last times I wrote, the way suddenly a sadness would sweep through me like Rumi’s broom, such that I would have to just go sit down with it. So it’s been knocking for some time.

The yoga classes I am taking are slow flows, restorative, with much time for stillness built in. Throughout them I am often on the verge of tears, as if my cup is full of them always, but somehow the busy-ness of my mind at other times drains them off enough that I don’t feel the nearness, how close they are to overflowing. I picture a spring, perhaps, filling up from beneath with no place to spill itself into in these days, to flow into life-giving rivulets. My busy-ness gives them some escape, but not enough to keep up with the backlog.

David Whyte is offering recitations of his poetry, snippets. A few days ago, I noticed that the one he was sharing was “The Well of Grief”. I didn’t pause my scrolling to listen to it that day, but it rises in me this morning, I know it well.

“Those who will not slip beneath the still surface on the well of grief, turning down through its black water to the place we cannot breathe, will never know the source from which we drink, the secret water, cold and clear, nor find in the darkness glimmering, the small round coins, thrown by those who wished for something else.”

I awoke this morning to snippets of some nightmares. In one, I had gone to get my hair cut, and was tipping the stylist afterwards. I miscalculated the amount of the tip, and was digging through my purse to correct my error, my brain trying to sift through the calculations as I did so, when the stylist ripped the purse from my hands and angrily helped herself to what she rightly deserved. A smallish nightmare, if you will.  In the second, my daughter was screaming, ‘help me’. I heard it muffled at first, couldn’t make it out, but then ‘saw’ that her mouth was gagged with a towel . That one got me out of bed.

Perhaps I need something to get me out of bed in the morning. Perhaps there is too much stillness in these days, nothing to pour myself into. Nothing to lift my energy. Yesterday’s ending meditation in the Yoga practice invited me to imagine fire in my belly. It was difficult for me to find that flame. Perhaps the ‘opposite’ of stillness is not busy-ness, but passion.

But I cannot deny that there is grief. Is it merely my own, I wonder? Or am I feeling the collective? Is this a reflection of my empathetic soul, or is that a cop-out? I am worried, that is true, about loved ones—their sorrows spilling into me. So many losses – income, homes, dreams, security, life itself. Last night I learned that a young mother, in a freak accident, lost her leg. Of course, these sorrows and losses are always and forever with us in this thing we call life, its just that they are so much more cumulatively present in these times. And though I know that such losses feel as if they won’t be overcome, they will, and all will be well, in ways unimaginably so. Still, this day, here and now, contains much sorrow – so much that it overflows, perhaps.

Do I need to get out of my house (literally—and perhaps step out of Rumi’s guesthouse as well)? The walks in the woods help for as long as I am out there, (I’ll share those tender photographs with you) – the earth is sending flowers, but I am snippy with my partner. This sorrow does not slow him down. He doesn’t understand this, gives it momentary recognition, but is distracted/busy in his own way.  How can I expect him to understand that which I cannot name?

And so this morning’s enneagram invitation in my inbox , ‘I now affirm that I will look deeply into myself without fear’ feels a challenge. I realize I don’t really want to return to that place. I have worked so hard to heal myself, I don’t want to return to woundedness. I don’t want that to be my identity. I don’t want to be a burden.

I don’t want to feel this.

I don’t want to pathologize this sadness within me. Perhaps sadness is the appropriate response to the world right now. Perhaps I need only to sit with it, acknowledge its right to be here, now, welcome it onto my lap and let it cry.…….

Perhaps wildflowers will grow along this trail of tears… or that skunk cabbage I revisited yesterday, with its scent of death somehow bringing freshness to this flooded forest floor, a swath of brightness, the buzz of life.

Hope

Addendum:

After posting this entry, I returned to Facebook, to share it there as well. Greeting me atop the page were these words, reminding me how to embody the wisdom of my years. So, yes to this too. Both/and.

“Ours is not the task of fixing the entire world all at once, but of stretching out to mend the part of the world that is within our reach. Any small, calm thing that one soul can do to help another soul, to assist some portion of this poor suffering world, will help immensely. It is not given to us to know which acts or by whom, will cause the critical mass to tip toward an enduring good.

What is needed for dramatic change is an accumulation of acts, adding, adding to, adding more, continuing. We know that it does not take everyone on earth to bring justice and peace, but only a small, determined group who will not give up during the first, second, or hundredth gale.

One of the most calming and powerful actions you can do to intervene in a stormy world is to stand up and show your soul. Soul on deck shines like gold in dark times. The light of the soul throws sparks, can send up flares, builds signal fires, causes proper matters to catch fire. To display the lantern of soul in shadowy times like these – to be fierce and to show mercy toward others; both are acts of immense bravery and greatest necessity.

Struggling souls catch light from other souls who are fully lit and willing to show it. If you would help to calm the tumult, this is one of the strongest things you can do.”

~ Clarissa Pinkola Estes

1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. emergingfromthedarknight
    Jun 02, 2020 @ 05:01:01

    So so beautiful in depth of expression. ♥️🌷♥️

    Like

    Reply

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