Friday, September 8, 2023

Tending grief and the path of the wounded healer

Tending to grief is the essence of the wounded healer. Providing sanctuary and safe passage for its unfolding – in the body and in the imagination – requires that come to the ground, touch the Earth, and weep.

Weep for the shattering, for the dying of a dream, for the entirety of the unlived life, the way it was all supposed to turn out. Inside these tears is the alchemical tincture.

Grief is not something we “get over,” step by step, or transcend with our spiritual experiences, but a partner we practice intimacy with, honor at times, argue with at others, and lament with as the cycles unfold.

The goal is not to wiggle into some state where we “never suffer again,” through some fantasied sustained transcendent experience, rising above our embodied vulnerability, but to find meaning in our suffering and to use it to help others and this world.

And to be shown the endlessness of the Beloved and the way she appears in time and space.

To marginalize the experience of grief to work against nature.

There is no endpoint to this depth, meaning, and aching beauty in the soul, no final state of resolution where we land in some untouchable place, free from the wildness of grace. The path of awakening and healing isn’t only about what I will get from it, but also everything I will lose.

Here, we find ourselves in what the alchemists called the rotatio, the holy rotation of vast cycles of rupture and repair that touch and open the human soul. Inside the shattered is light, longing to come through us and out into the world.

The soul is endless and the visitors of grief may companion us for a lifetime. But the grieving, orphaned ones of psyche and soma come not to harm, but to reveal.

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