Hello dear ones,
Welcome to 2022.
And yeah, I know it’s almost February…I’m giving myself more grace with have-to’s and deadlines, I hope you can too.
Does the New Year feel new and did you celebrate it?
I didn’t feel like celebrating the New Year at all this year because of the fires that happened in our community on December 30th. The Marshall fire came roaring through strengthened by 115mph winds. It was an eery day and 1000 homes/structures were lost.
We could see flames from our front door even though it was 6 miles south of us!
So we welcomed in the New Year in a state of alarm.
Our community is still adjusting to this, and there’s so much grief to process, on top of all the other grief of the past 2 years!
(I’m part of a small collective that’s planning to hold an in person grief ritual in the spring or fall of 2022. I will definitely send you the deets when I have them.)
Right now we’re all living in a time of complex and compounded grief, where we have grief upon grief upon grief.
And so much loss that we cannot grieve, so we may have to set it aside.
And we’re also dealing with ambiguous loss, which is a loss that has no foreseeable end.
Psychotherapist and author Pauline Boss created this term after her studies on missing persons. She recently wrote a new book called, “The Myth of Closure,” which is definitely on my reading list.
She states that ambiguous loss is the most stressful of all losses because it’s living with a loss that has no end and freezes the grief process.
I can for sure feel that “frozenness” with my pandemic grief because we don’t know when or how this pandemic is going to end. I’ve heard some rumors that it’s going to end in March. And that life will finally return to normal.
But, wait, was life “normal’ before the pandemic? I know many things were, but I also think there were many things that needed to change.
And my life with Michael certainly wasn’t normal as we live with quadriplegia and disability everyday.
At the beginning of the pandemic, I wanted to scream from the mountain top, “WELCOME TO DISABILITY EVERYONE!”
Our life didn’t change much because of the pandemic. We were already used to not being able to go to all the places we loved. We couldn’t access all the restaurants we wanted, or do all the things we wanted to do because so much of the world was inaccessible.
And not only that, but our community shrunk and we had less and less people coming around.
So we were used to living small.
But here’s what happened for me…and I share it in hopes that it may help you.
I focused on what I did have and who was still in my life, and most importantly I felt my grief.
I also began to strengthen my inner world more. The more complexity there is, the deeper the roots must go. So I deepened my spiritual practice and heeded the call to go within and relied less and less on the external world.
I began to connect more with my ancestors and started a spiritual practice of connecting to the land around me.
So before we jump back into celebrating the return of normal, I invite to you to drop in deeper and ask yourself-
- What have you learned from the pandemic? What lessons are you going to take with you?
- How have you changed and what’s different-for better or for worse?
- What’s your grief of the last two years? And can you take time to honor it somehow? Who can you gather with to share your grief, and really hear and witness each other?
- And what pandemic practices will you keep?
Here’s what I’m keeping:
- Starting my day with meditation and prayer.
- Honoring my ancestors and the ancestors of the land I live on-the Arapaho, Ute and Cheyenne peoples.
- Working from home and seeing some clients in nature.
Honestly, I’m not sure when I’ll be in a box of an office again. I’m so grateful I can work from home. It helps to be here when Michael needs something, which can be often. And I also love working with my cat nearby.
- I’ll continue to strengthen my relationships with 4 women friends. I call them my “pandemic pod” and we’ve stayed in touch through the Marco Polo app and voice mails, etc.
- I’ll continue to gather to do ceremony and grieve in small groups and do mini rituals by myself.
- I’ll keep tuning into my intuition. It’s like my fierce knowing that I had after Michael’s accident is even more fine tuned.
And I’ll continue writing, prioritizing my time differently, eating better foods-I changed my diet and stopped drinking alcohol.
What else have I done because of the pandemic?
- I stopped buying things and I mainly wear yoga pants, I now value comfort over style.
- I wash my hair less and it’s healthier than it’s ever been.
- I try to walk everyday up “prayer mountain” and tend to the my stone circles.
- I connect even more with nature and talk to trees now more than I did before.
- And I value hugs more and being in the physical presence of another human being.
This pandemic journey has been like walking the Camino where in the end you realize what really matters. And for me it’s my relationships and experiences, not things.
I look forward to cleaning out my space when I have time for that.
And I value every second of every day of my precious time I have on this planet.
So, what about you loves? What pandemic practices will you keep?
These are still grief-full times. There’s so much to digest and process. Be gentle with yourselves and apply compassion, curiosity and keep your grief moving. Be kind to yourself and all others-human and non-human. And remember to grieve well, so we can be well.
Beth, your grief friend.