Sunday, January 17, 2021

The spiral of grief

Grief is not something we “get over” by following pre-prescribed stages, but a partner that we dance, play, honor, argue, and weep with as the cycles unfold. Its appearance and the ways it longs to be tended are unique for each person.

The timeline for this voyage is not knowable by the psychiatric community, nor by insurance panels or teachers of spirituality, but is birthed and unfolds within the open pathways of the holy human nervous system. To rush, force, or pathologize the experience of grief is to work against nature.

The grieving process may not have an endpoint or state of completion in which we come to some final resolution, where we “finish” and land in some untouchable place, free from our embodied vulnerability, somatic aliveness, and from falling apart and breaking open yet again. For it is this alchemical rotation of vast cycles of rupture and repair that touch and open the human soul.

While it may be tempting to hold some fantasied end state as a goal which we reach as we “master” life or learn endless new metaphysical theories, the heart is not interested in mastery. But in entering, playing, and unfolding the mystery in more subtle and sensitive ways.

The heart itself is endless, and the visitors of grief may companion us in their various forms for a lifetime. They arrive not to harm, but to reveal a portal into wholeness, mercy, and luminosity. Shifting shapes, circulating, and rotating, as they open and close passageways in the landscape of the interior pathways.

Grief is not so much a process that we “make it through,” but a non-linear, purifying midwife and shepherd of the unknown. It moves not by way of straight line, but by that of circle and spiral.

Photo by Myeongae Lim