Grief is The Medicine: Giving Space for Our Grievances

“Grief is the way love honors what it misses.”
—Martín Prechtel 

We all meet and face death, loss, grief, sorrow, and letting go. It arrives in many ways: divorce, illness, death of a loved one, loss of a job, or an end to a relationship. Old patterns fade, forests burn, and species go extinct. Climate change and war change our society. It's common to ask, what is the “cure” for grief? We wonder how to navigate this feral land that is wild, unknown, delicate, and so vastly different for each of us. It is a conversation rarely spoken aloud yet yearns to be seen, voiced, heard, and witnessed. A conversation that is vital for our individual and collective care, well-being, healing, and growth.

Learning to embrace our grief is a radical act of conscious suffering. We intentionally take the u-turn towards ourselves, lean into our heartaches, offer breathing room to our individual and collective grievances, and honor the fragility during times of great loss with care and tenderness. One might say the “cure for grief” is grief itself. To meet, see, be with, feel, learn, and cooperate with its forces, and to allow it to shape and mold our hearts. Navigating these waters is a process. It seems to come in waves with no timeline, no agenda, no check the box done, and what’s next. Giving space, learning to welcome, being with, and digesting our grievances in healthy ways will be the work of a lifetime. Therefore, going through grief is how the healing process unfolds. 

It can be easy to get swallowed in the sea of turbulence as grief at times takes on a life of its own. Directly experiencing all the waves invites grief to be a compass that can lead us to greater connectedness. The continued softening into the heart of compassion becomes medicine for the wound. With warmth and openness, we learn to let ourselves have our experience, give pain room to be there, and be expressed in its many forms. Connecting into the heart over and over allows grief to move and flow in and through us. Compassionate care cultivates infinite resources at the core of our being to embrace the fullness of grief. Befriending these depths in a loving present way teaches us its crucial role in honoring all cycles of life.

Sacred community is another medicine for healing. Together we gather a sense of being there for ourselves and belonging in our shared grief as our losses are given voice. This helps transmute our experiences into a salve to soothe our own hearts, each other’s hearts, and the broken heart of our world. Communal care opens a portal for suffering to alchemize into fertile ground. Together we become stronger to meet, embrace, and work with what we are given to find meaningful ways, ceremonies, and rituals to be with sorrow.

Mark Nepo says, “If we know love we will know loss.” To grieve for something or someone is to celebrate and praise it as we mourn its loss. It is the way love-heart-spirit honors a loss of connection and honors what we say goodbye to and miss. This praise says we wholeheartedly expressed our love. This celebration stretches our hearts to include both grief and gratitude where a holy journey begins of re-inhabiting the broken heart and bringing it back to life.

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Jess Frey (she/her), E-RYT 1000, is a Kripalu Yoga educator, life coach, and artist known for her authenticity, motivation, and depth.

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