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    Fat Grief

            Grief is like fat. If I store too much of it, it will weigh me down, compromise my ability to live, and create all sorts of problems. And grief can kill me. Just like fat can. Hold onto enough of either, and I look different, feel different, act different. I have to adjust to all of the excess that I’m carrying. In the process, I lose my vitality, my joy, my self.
             I know how to get rid of fat. I’m less adept at getting rid of grief. Most of us struggle with one or the other. Many of us with both.
             Throughout my life, I have, like all of us, suffered many losses. Little ones. Big ones. Ones you forget ten minutes after they happen. Others you never forget.
             But I never learned how to grieve. Anything. I never knew what to do with the pain. Every significant loss I’ve ever had, every deep pain I have ever felt, therefore has the potential to stay alive inside of me and wreak havoc until I let it go.
             I feel losses very deeply, but I rarely acknowledge that and then grieve. We all experience loss differently. For me, it’s as though a piece of me gets ripped out and leaves a hole. The hole can be filled, but only if I allow myself to feel, to grieve, and to let go of the pain. If I don’t, the hole remains. So after half a life of losses, I feel like swiss cheese.
             Only recently have I began to come to terms with how the losses of my life have shaped me. How a pervasive loneliness and sorrow resides deep within me, an amalgamation of all the losses I’ve never let myself fully feel. In certain circles, it’s called grief work. And right now, I’m working overtime.
             I know this is the way out, because the only way out is through. Through the pain. For years, like most people, I tried to go around the pain. I tried to get past it without actually feeling it. I employed all sorts of creative methods to handle the pain without having to go through it. And like a heroin addict trying to kick without going to some form of rehab, it just doesn’t work.
             There’s a saying that goes “If you’ve spent your whole life walking into a forest, it will take more than just a few weeks to walk out of it.”. I need to remember that when I’m frustrated with my progress, as I am at the moment. I’ve spent my entire life stuffing pain. I’m not going to be able to let go of it all in a few short months. Although I’ve been doing inner growth work for many years, I really just started doing grief work. Even though I experienced a profound opening last summer, I still have much to do.
             And for me, grief work is where the rubber meets the road. It’s taken me this long to come to the point where I can start to really feel and thus release all that stored hurt that has buried itself all the way into my subconscious. As much as I just want to be done with it, it doesn’t work like that. It’s a process who’s time table I have to honor. As long as I show up and do the work, the process does it’s job. How long it takes isn’t completely under my control.
             Years ago, I shared the following poem with a friend who was going through a rough time. He said it helped him. So it’s time I share it with myself again and with whoever reads my blog. Because these are words I need to hear. And if I need to hear them, it’s a good bet that somebody else does too.

    Keep Always

    Keep looking. Keep finding. Keep looking.
    Keep asking. Keep answering. Keep asking.
    Keep crying. Keep laughing. Keep feeling.
    Keep succeeding. Keep failing. Keep learning.
    Keep loving. Keep living. Keep growing.

    ©2009 Clint Piatelli. All rights (and a forest full of Wrongs) Reserved.

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