On GrievingDec 01, 2020
This year I lost my friend. I lost my dog. I've been actively grieving, daily, for all animals who suffer at the hands of humans. Sometimes I feel like I can't take it anymore. I would sacrifice my life in less than an instant if it would end the suffering of animals at human hands. That would be such an easy price to pay I would not hesitate.
With smaller but similar-tasting impact to me, I lost my income. I lost my earning power. I lost my savings. I lost my communities. I lost my home. I lost my social life. I lost my lovers. I lost companionship. I lost my way of life. I lost my freedom. I lost trust in my leaders. In so many ways, I lost joy and laughter.
As the dark, cold, nights creep in, it feels like time to grieve. To let go. To release. My beautiful friend Angie recommended the book The Smell of Rain on Dust by Martin Prechtel, which is like a long poem. Here are some things he says, they're not all in quotes but they're all his ideas:
We all have reasons to grieve. We "faithfully pant over the trails of our lives in situations we neither believe in or belong as civilization's absurd imperative goes rushing past in it's never-ending state of emergency." Yet the "fact that commercial culture always panders to the lowest common denominator of awareness and taste should not stop us in our personal revolution to become real human beings.... If there is ever to be any real peace on earth, all people need to relearn and reestablish the now diminished and hidden arts of Grief and Praise, for one without the other is not possible."
He says "a person who can turn loss into grief and grief into a song of life-giving praise, can metabolize grief into beauty."
So, as we could not have light without dark, summer without winter, he says we can not have Praise without Grief.
Actually, grief is praise of those we have lost. If we do not grieve what we miss, we are not praising what we love.
And so I grieve.
And I invite you to join me.
Grief deferred is a major source of illness. Grief and praise are love in motion. Praise and the depth of our grief expressed for one another keeps the world in love. And love is health.
And when the sorrows of our losses go ungrieved, we are guaranteed another war, or violence breaks out in the streets. Choosing not to have grief when grief is there is to burden someone else with having to do your grieving. The unwillingness to grieve makes people search for someone upon which to project blame for the feeling of the loss they bear, which turns all losses into a war of revenge. He actually says that "wealth is deferred grief piled up."
So grief, like a welcome rainstorm on parched sand, is not an illness, but a primordial institution of the human soul. If we have not 'lived' and 'lost' enough, then we cannot praise. And if the way we live does not praise life, then we are not alive.
Praise rehydrates the cultural existence we have left waiting in a dry-as-dust spiritual drought of possessive self-interest.
Don't be a human who will not kneel in front of what gives you life.
Be someone who has loved ALL the way and lost more than the rest.
And thereby stay in love.
For your dark nights, I send you blessings.
I hope you are fortunate enough to have lost more than the rest. And you grieve openly, freely, and wildly for all you have lost this year.
Perhaps the pool of our tears on the ground will plant seeds of renewal and clarity as we venture into the dystopian future that is as full of promise and potential as it is of anything else.
May we fully embrace the darkness so we may fully embrace the light.