|Feeling Grief & Compassion for the World|
This is Day 128 of my #6MonthsOfGrief Project. To learn more about this practice, feel free to visit Day One, where I explain this project in more detail.
I haven't talked a lot about the greater grief that falls down on those in personal grief, but today I must. I woke up this morning to hear of the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history. When I am already living under a veil of despair and grief, and news of something this horrendous falls across my already heavy shoulders, it feels unbearable. Why is there so much hate and fear in our country? How does one man decide that he has the right to slaughter an entire nightclub full of happy, vibrant, dancing people? So many precious lives were ended before their time last night. I don't claim to know what the survivors, and families of the survivors feel — I can only go more deeply into my own grief. I am already mourning and now my mourning includes the heartbreak of this tremendous loss.
I actually created today's image quite awhile ago, but never used it until today. There is compassion in this image. There is a red, beating heart, despite being shot through with an arrow. There is even a voluptuous pregnancy feeling of new things to be birthed. Today I am reminded so much of the morning of 9/11, when we all awakened to such deep brutality and inhumanity.
|My 9/11 dream is included in this excellent book.|
I am walking through a forest that has been chopped down. It is a sea of stumps. Every single tree has been cut down. I stand in the middle, sobbing. Who could do this? I walk up to one of the stumps and see the huge, beautiful spiral inside. I get lost in its magnificence. These trees are so old. I can see all of history in these trees, and I'm struck with the beauty and power of seeing this part of the tree. It's a part of the tree that I never would have seen, if it was not chopped down. This spiral is taking me so deeply down into myself — to a place so ancient and so powerful, it overwhelms me.
Destruction brings Creation. Grief brings Compassion. Brutal Deaths bring Awakening Consciousness. There is no "reason" for this brutality to happen — I am not saying that "everything happens for a reason." Any widow will tell you how useless that statement is. What I am saying, is that we live in a brutal world that is also full of beauty and strength. We must continue to grieve. We must continue to heal. We must continue to fight ignorance and fear. We must stop letting mass murder be an answer to our problems. We must remember that violence and chaos has been a part of our world since the beginning of life. We must remember that compassion and love can heal.
I don't have any answers. I only know grief and the glimmers of hope and love that pull me out of my grief, even for a moment. I am crying, today. I am holding on to hope, today.
I am very aware that this project can bring up a lot around yours or other's grief and loss, I will always follow every post with some online grief support resources that have helped me. Please feel free to let me know of online support that you have found healing in your grief, as well:
Art with Grief:
- Filmmaker Gemma Green Hope made a short animation in memory of her grandmother
- Photographer Sarah Treanor Takes Moving Self-Portraits to Cope with Her Fiance's Death
- When the Fall Comes, a film about Grief by Adriana Marchione
- Self-Portraits: Expressing Emotion Through Art on What's Your Grief?
- The Hard Romance of Grief by Mark Liebenow
- The poetry of John O’Donohue
- How Grief Can Make You Sick
- What's Your Grief?
- The Grief Geek
- Modern Loss's excellent resource list
- The writings of Tim Lawrence
- The Rules of Grief are for Other People by Shawn Doyle on The Good Men Project
- Grief Bibliography on Grief Healing
- Teresa “TL” Bruce's What to Say When Someone Dies
- They Brought Cookies: For A New Widow, Empathy Eases Death's Pain by Ann Finkbeiner on NPR
- A Field Guide to Getting Lost by Rebecca Solnit
- Megan Devine’s Refuge in Grief
- The Geography of Sorrow: Francis Weller on Navigating Our Losses, interviewed by Tim McKee in Sun Magazine
- How to Be a Friend in Deed by Bruce Feiler in the New York Times
- 12 Things to Know About the First Year of Grieving Someone You Can’t Live Without by Laurie Costanza in Elephant Magazine
Thank you, and see you tomorrow.