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Redeeming Grief: Part I

Grief is a dying art. The artistry of true Grief is one of surrender. Only when we allow ourselves to grieve in the ashes of what has been lost can we rise on the Phoenix’s wings into the blazing light of the living Present.

The ungrieved past burdens us from within the shadows of the psyche. The incalculable losses compounded from a lifetime in the land of desire and impermanence become the gravitational force of the ego. Lying buried in the catacombs of the unconscious, our losses become the invisible border of the personality.

Against Shame, the guardian of our lost inheritance, most of us are only equipped with Denial. The mechanics of Denial are simple: ‘I will not see what I cannot bear to see.’

Shame is perhaps the most unbearable experience in the emotional watershed. The fundamental ‘I am not OK as I am’ that we learned as children when what was so natural and authentically expressed was met by the Mother/Father Gods with fear, scorn, rage, and threats instead of empathy, compassion, acceptance, and trust.

The only way to see into that darkness is by the light of Love and Compassion. All the parts of ourselves that we cannot meet with Compassion will remain invisible to us to that degree.

All the parts that our heart has not yet grown large enough to encompass will remain orphaned from the waking sense of self, inevitably expressing themselves in unconscious behaviors. The empaths in our lives will feel, and the clear-sighted around us will see, what we cannot. Our intimate partners will meet the orphaned parts over and over--often with confusion--often ill equipped to embrace the Shadows that we project upon them.

Until we cultivate the capacity to meet the unlovable, unacceptable parts with Compassion, which eventually blossoms into Love, we remain blind and estranged from our wholeness.

But even Compassion is not enough.

Paradoxically, Grief finishes the alchemical work that Compassion makes possible. Where Compassion says, ‘hello,' to the huddled prisoners of our Shame, Grief says, ‘goodbye, and thank you.’ The soft belly of our grieving is what transforms the Shame into Love.

Allowing the waters of profound sadness to envelop us as we face all that has been lost, we are washed and renewed. Unburdened of the past, that can only be set free by our authentic Grief, we cross the threshold of our sorrow into the wide open living mystery of the Present.

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