From Toko-Pa Turner
Gift from the new year — a single piece of paper with quotes about grief from Toko-Pa Turner’s book, Belonging: Remembering Ourselves Home.
There is nothing on the paper
to say where it came from
who typed it
if it was a gift to me
or . . . ???
I find it contains deep thoughts to share today
The author begins by exploring the answer to the oft repeated question, “What is grief?”
“Grief is the response to a broken bond of belonging. Whether through the loss of a loved one, a way of life, or a cherished community, grief is the reaction to being torn from what you love.
We grieve the loves we’ve lost.
We grieve our abilities vanishing through illness and age.
We grieve the loss of faith in our religion.
We grieve our children leaving home.
We grieve the paths we didn’t walk.
We grieve the family we never had.
We grieve the suffering of the planet.”
I chose that paragraph because we have all lost our person; yet, there are other things connected with that loss that we are keenly feeling. And those “connected things” vary greatly from person to person.
Next, she speaks about our culture. I have felt some of what she phrases so beautifully here:
“Yet in our culture, we are deeply unskilled with grief. We hold it at a distance as best we can both in ourselves and in each other, treating it as Joanna Macy says, ‘The enemy of cheerfulness.’ . . . it can feel very dangerous and weak. Perhaps because we feel we’ll drown in our despair, or because it means falling apart in a world that values ‘holding it together’ above all else.”
So many holidays span the end of the year, from November through the end of December and then through January 1st there are parties, celebrations, gift-giving, bright lights, candles, and gatherings.
The phrase Toko-Pa quotes from Joanna Macy might be helpful to hear if your mind, body, and spirit finds itself weary from a culture that sees our grief as “the enemy of cheerfulness.” It’s easy to feel the pressure of the whole world celebrating when grief feels especially heavy during this time of year.
The quotes ended with one that moved me in a hopeful way:
“Have you ever noticed how beautiful a person is after they’ve wept? It’s as if they’re made anew again by the baptism of tears. Indeed when something stuck can be released through grief, we are freeing up a greater capacity to love.”
Freeing up a greater capacity to love.
I never thought of it like that.
“While grief may look like an expression of pain that serves no purpose, it’s actually the soul’s acknowledgement of what we value.”
Thank you, Toko-Pa Turner for your tender words.
Much to reflect on in the coming week.
Belonging: Remembering Ourselves Home
by Toko-Pa Turner, 2017 Nautilus Gold Award
Published by Her Own Room Press
Toko-pa Turner is a Canadian writer, teacher, and dreamworker who blends the mystical tradition of Sufism with a Jungian approach to dreams. In 2001 she founded the Dream School, from which hundreds of students have since graduated. … Google Books
Born: Devon, United Kingdom