There is no monster hiding in the shadows

I believe we’ve made certain emotions into monsters; monsters we fear and avoid. It’s a great shame. What could be vital information, sign posting the way towards our happiest lives instead creates a blockage that we return to again and again, leaving us feeling stuck and wondering why.

One of the most common emotions we do this with is grief. We avoid it like crazy, we cross the street rather than look into the eyes of someone who is going through it, so deep runs our discomfort. We resist allowing it to take us on the journey of showing us who we are, what matters to us, who and how we love. We resist letting it break us open like a seed cracking from the inside and sprouting forth a new tender shoot. We resist surrendering to grief and letting it take us where it needs to.

Some say grief is the price we pay for love. I don’t know if I’d phrase is quite like that. I don’t think love has a price, nor is grief a form of payment however I do think its intensity is in direct correlation to the depth of our love; our love for what and whom is lost to us. Grief is certainly confirmation, if it were needed, of love.

It is painful, yes: tears sting, the heart aches, anger burns. They are not pleasant sensations but nor are they so awful that they need to be feared and avoided as though they will destroy you. They won’t but the fear might. It’s the fear that they won’t end, that they will consumer us and never let us go that can leave us feeling broken.

When we express what is true it feels good, even when what is true is an unpleasant emotion like sadness or resentment. It feels right because it is true, there’s a satisfaction in being able to express it and have our expression met, witnessed and acknowledged – even honoured.

The only time grief becomes truly unbearable is when we resist it.

The cave you fear to enter holds the treasure you seek

Joseph Campbell, 20th century American author

When we grieve well, allowing the process to take us where it needs to there is love and joy to be found. Love and for the person, the relationship, the role, the qualities they had that you admire, the ones you didn’t admire that perhaps don’t seem so important any more. In my experience two wonderful things can happen. Firstly those qualities become available to you in a way that

Grief came up in several conversations with clients this week and it’s a theme I often explore personally. I share some further thoughts in this video. I invite you to take what’s useful, listen for what resonates with you.

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