So much has changed this year. I know many of you grieve the loss of physical closeness with friends, the simple luxury of sitting in a coffee shop or browsing through the supermarket. Like me, some of you have lost people incredibly dear to you. Others have lost livelihood. Collectively, we suddenly have come face to face with loss and non-negotiable change.
When loss is so deep it can freeze us. Grief and loss make it hard for us to immediately absorb everything that has happened. So we are a bit like deer in headlights; behaving in unexpected ways or shutting down entirely.
Shutting down has such a bad reputation and it’s true you don’t want it to go on indefinitely. But it has allowed me to take a moment and regroup. It reminds me of the moment when ice arrives for the first time in the winter. Those who live with that reality know you need to take a moment of pause to re-calibrate walking and driving. Business as usual stops with ice!
Ice keeps the reality of our vulnerability very much alive. It makes us come alive in our attention and feeling so we don’t hurt ourselves navigating it. Like ice, grief makes us very aware of how vulnerable we are. Like ice, we have to approach our grief consciously, with all of our attention so it doesn’t engulf us or take us away from the warmth of our lives.
Doing so can make us strangely fully alive.
Our body asks to be the place where we turn our attention. It is where we feel the freeze of shock and the melting into fierce and unexpected emotions. It is the place we feel our pain but also the place where we can feel redemption.By that I mean we can reclaim the ground of being anchored in the thing that is certain. In this moment we have this experienced, living body.
Living in our body is the source of our resilience.
How do you nurture yourself especially, right now, physically? Can you use blankets and pillows, smells of fresh pine, and music to tell your body there is pleasure here? Can you walk and offer your body grounding? Can you take baths and offer it warmth? The comfort we give our bodies melts the hardness and shock we develop in these conditions.