Sunday, November 13, 2016

Surviving Year Two: Week 14

Facing the Unknown

This is Week 14 of my Surviving Year Two Grief Project. Details about all my Grief Projects, as well as Grief Resources can be found here.

A lot has changed in the last week, including the fact that Donald Trump will be inaugurated as our 45th President of these so called "United" States. While I watched the election unfold and realized what was happening, it felt almost identical to the night my husband died before my eyes. I was filled with fear and shock and incredulity. Just as I sat by my husband's dead body, hoping against all rational hope that he might just "wake up," so did I watch those Electoral Vote bar graphs, hoping against all rational hope that somehow the blue bar would suddenly skyrocket up and change the horrible outcome I knew was coming.

So now we live in a world where a fascist, racist rapist with no civic, governmental or political experience of any kind is the most powerful man in the world. This is an unthinkable reality and yet here we are. This week, as we all have begun living this new, unthinkable reality, I realized that I already know what it's like to live in an unthinkable reality. I could not have imagined that I could survive without my husband, and yet here I am, one year and three months later, living without him.  That truth gives me a strange sense of hope for all of us.

Something that has helped me a lot in this past year and now during this past week of new grief and pain, is that we don't know what's going to happen. There sure are a lot of horrifying scenarios that could unfold, but we don't know if they will. Now more than ever, we must be here now in the present moment, and feel all the feelings we are feeling. We must keep working for a better world. We must keep loving each other. We must protect the vulnerable and the oppressed whenever we can.

The morning after the election, my Athena statue took a tumble and her head snapped off. She lost her owl and her shield as well. Yesterday, a good and kind friend got down on his hands and knees and found almost every single broken piece of her and patiently glued her back together. This feels very symbolic and significant. We are broken but still fighting, thanks to the help of our communities. We will survive this.

Athena Healed

The words of the wonderful writer, teacher and mythologist Martin Shaw of the Westcountry School of Myth & Story also helped me this week. I want to share some excerpts from his wonderful Facebook post this week, but definitely read the whole thing here (it's actually worth a click just for the adorable photo of him giggling with his dog):
We do not live myths out as some kind of horrible karma. We don’t brush by them and become infected. But they do have a habit of riding alongside when life turns up the volume. They synch up. But that’s as an aid for deeper understanding, not as a kind of prophetic set of ever tightening knots on your liberty. Just thought I’d mention that.
Ok, and while we’re in deep I’m going to say something else. Become a prayer-maker. Why? Because what you face in your life is bigger than you can handle. It is. Go to a place with shadows and privacy, and just start talking. There is some ancient Friend that wants to hear from you. No more dogma than that. Use your simple, holy, words. Then sit. Listen. Go for a walk. Let in.
Then you fight like a lion for what you can affect, and you surrender the rest. Self-help at its worse will pump you into a kind of Herculean mania of self reliance, and will most likely leave you grievously burnt out. 
Wander your oak valleys, linger in ornate chapels at dusk, get thrown out of the tavern at midnight, be kind, kiss the wounded, fight injustice and protect, protect, protect all the trembling bells of delight that you notice out of the corner of your eye when everyone else is oblivious. Value yourself, know yourself, don’t be naive, but don’t be afraid of love. Carry it.
If you are frightened, or tired, or sick in heart, then let these words hold your hand in the dark.
Thank you for witnessing me. See you next week.

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