The Power in Mourning
Releasing the Old Me
This post is a personal account of three somewhat disparate themes that came together experientially for me over the course of decades:
* It is okay—even normal and healthy—to mourn the loss of that which hurts us.
* Looking for a magic bullet is a way to avoid responsibility for oneself.
* The grieving process can draw joy, power, and all other blessings.
I hope sharing my personal journey reveals more aspects of these themes than theoretical exposition might, and that some of the lessons I learned through my experiences are useful to you.
Letting Go of the Old Me
Forty years ago, I started putting the old me to rest. The old me:
* None of my problems are my fault.
* Circumstances dictate my happiness or lack thereof.
* Poor me, nothing I can do about it.
* I expect society or someone to rescue me from life.
The New Me Is Happy
A new me began:
* I admitted that, while I don’t cause every problem that comes my way, I sure the heck cause some of them.
* I admitted I sure the heck can exacerbate problems that are not originally my fault.
* I rose above circumstances to thrive, even though the situations would’ve crushed–if not killed—most people.
*I am proactive, taking command of my life.
* I began daily self-examination that allowed me, among other things, to spot when I was not fully participating in life, co-creating the cosmos, but was instead needlessly centered in inner turmoil (explanation about this is below).
A Magic Bullet Is Part of Death Culture
Expecting someone to save me from life was subconsciously wishing for death. Numbness. Life is inescapable as long as I breathe. Life includes hardship and misery. Life is also beautiful and joyful. Expecting a person or circumstances to be a magic bullet robs me of life’s beauty and joy. The idea of a magic bullet is death culture.
Recently, I found the old me is still here, in subtle ways I had not spotted:
* I felt that if a certain friend would only love me, would only see how much I love him, would only accept my love, would only see the lengths I go to, to do every last thing he asks of me, then I would feel okay. Ha! (Argh, the hoops I jumped through! Good grief, yes, the old me remained.) If my feelings do not seem subtle to you, I agree. But they were operating in me subconsciously for a while.
* My moods were swinging from a sense of security and contentment to despair and rage when he would disparage my efforts, belittle my expert opinions, or assign negative motives to my positive actions. (His way of doing all this was also subtle, at first. So I didn’t recognize it initially.)
I am grateful that I was taught a life of self-examination.
I am grateful I was taught that self-examination had to include looking for selfishness.
I am grateful I learned that, when I let myself be emotionally bounced around by circumstances or someone’s opinions of me, I am selfish, in that my inner turmoil robs me of time, energy, and focus needed to contribute to community, participate in life, co-create the cosmos.
I am grateful I have tools to change myself. It is a wonderful thing.
Mourning the Old Me
So here I am, letting go of the old me more deeply.
I grieve her passing.
It is not enough yet, more tears will spill.
Enough will spill.
My tears will be the pyre from which my Phoenix new self will rise again with new powers, including the power to leave my friend behind, soon.
I don’t want to face the pain of weeping, but it will end.
by Shedding Tears with the Wrong Person
I want to avoid the pain of mourning and the scariness of self-reliance by crying in my friend’s presence, hoping that my pain will motivate him to change his behavior.
I see no evidence he would change. Besides, he has a right to be exactly as he is.
My tears with him would be attempted manipulation. My tears would be shed in the expectation that he would take responsibility for my happiness. But only I can step up to the plate to meet my needs.
I will cry alone and with those who respect my grief. Good for me!
Avoiding Mourning by Living in Anger
Though I will move away from my friend, the old me would prefer to live in anger at him, at me, and at the world instead of facing loss and grief and striking out on my own. Anger feels safe because it provides me a false sense of control. Grief feels wild, untenable—my Dictionary app defines untenable as “not fit to be occupied, as an apartment, house, etc.”
My grief is without walls, tumbling me in to a void, the impossibility of false ideals coming true, the futility of old selves remaining.
But I do not have to live in anger, and I need not live in grief, with its emptiness of uncertainty.
I have to enter, visit, and move through grief—enter, visit, and move through its emptiness of uncertainty.
Avoiding Sorrow Would Make Me Lose Myself
I reject escape from grief. Sorrow avoided would become a stone in my heart, stone growing until I became Richard the Lionhearted—ever-militant, with pretenses of superiority, instead of admitting that my crusade is simply rage and the desire to control the wild.
I choose life.
I would lose myself if I did not let go of—and grieve—my old self.
If I do not let go of—and grieve—closeness to my friend, he will continue to rob me of myself.
Moving through Grief into Joy and Power
So I will mourn my losses, face the emptiness that grief pulls close to me, and embrace that wild void. It is life.
Hence, a home worthy of occupancy will come:
I will know my Gods and myself more fully, more than ever give myself over to life that I might serve life, and more than ever allow the feral void to bear abundance and all other blessings to me, if it will.
So mote it be!
If you resonate with my above sentiments about self-sufficiency and facing emptiness, please check out my event that starts January 16, 2021—Shamanic Rituals that Fill the Spiritual Void: https://outlawbunny.com/2021/11/03/shamanic-rituals-that-fill-the-spiritual-void/