Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Grief & Love - The Ties That Bind

When watching world affairs on television, I have often commented that we all grieve.  It is one of those things that like love, if we remembered we all experienced it we might be less likely as a human race to let our differences come between us.  I think this when I see crowds carrying coffins through the streets, when I see family members crying over their loved ones who have been the victims of bombings and when I see natural disasters and the suffering it brings upon humanity.  We all grieve and we grieve because we love.  The two are intertwined as closely as life and death itself.

“If death meant just leaving the stage long enough to change costume and come back as a new character....Would you slow down?.... Or speed up?” 
- Chuck Palahniuk

So here we are, on this journey and in this very moment.  No matter what your beliefs are for the afterlife, spirituality or being we can all agree that we love and and that we grieve.  Even those with mental illness have experienced one or the other.  Thus you can take away the ego's definitions of grief and love and they still remain fundamental parts of the human experience.  Both cause us to reflect, to grow and to become.  What we become, well, that's up to us.  Grief and love are so powerful in their effects on our brains that we can self destruct at their influence or we can strive to be better.  We can move through them with acceptance or we can dig our heels and stay stuck.

Maybe you're thinking what's so wrong with being 'stuck' in experiencing love?  Anytime you take anything and place it out of balance, where it dictates your not doing something in yours or someone else's best interests, that's when you're stuck.  How many of us have done things without much forethought as a result of love? Exactly! :) On the flip side, how many of us have via someone's love for us or cultivating love for ourselves accomplished amazing things and created amazing experiences?  Now do you get it?

"Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone 
deeply gives you courage." - Lao Tzu

Self destructing because of grief verses moving through its stages with acceptance is all too easy to do.  I see it all the time, in those I love and in others I observe.  I even read it on our local newspaper comments section online surrounding the passing of a beloved local high school member. I myself have even had moments of lingering sadness over people lost on the journey, of the changes life has brought that aren't even death related that bring with them feelings of grief, of mourning what was.

Watching the Deadliest Catch last week, Northwestern Captain Sig Hansen said it best when he acknowledged that there is in fact a time for the fleet to grieve.  This from a man, whom if you have ever watched the show you know works and works and works some more. Thus again, we must find a balance to it, to not let it become all consuming.  After all, we are still alive in the here and now.

So, if we can remember that we all grieve and that we all love, maybe just maybe that compassion can lead to acceptance of our differences.  Maybe those two fundamental life experiences can shift the consciousness of people one by one towards being and away from ego.  It's already happening really.  Those of us who aren't experiencing grief tend to show nothing but compassion and love to those who are.  We lend a helping hand, a dollar, or our time.  We are moved to act by both grief and love and by doing so we become who we're meant to be.

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