A part of my journey in finding my way back to life after my son died was the teachings that came out the suffering of my loss. When we are in the chaos of Grief, our instinct is to hold on tighter. To grip, grasp, control our surroundings and ourselves. To work harder, do more, try to fight our way through to the other side where the world makes sense again. This is what we have been taught to do by our society, but Grief can also teach us how to slow down, sit in the unknown and lead with love so that we can embrace the parts of ourselves (and the world) that are changing. To create positive change, both inside and out, we have to BE in the chaos and explore our shadows to find the answers that we seek. Our fear will not guide us through. Hate does not conquer hate. Only love does and compassion for the parts of ourselves (and others) that are hurting. To rise up out of the ashes of destruction, we are called to heal deep, ancestral patterns of trauma and loss. When we do this, we become free from the past and have the opening to start anew. This is the work of our times. This is the Gift of Grief and Chaos. And, it may be the very opposite of what our minds tell us to do. When we are hurting we want to bypass or resist the pain and hold on to something, anything to keep from going under, but at some point we have to sit in the fire and let go. Only then can we soften around our edges, lighten our grip on what we are trying to do and step back so there is more space for the Divine to come in and help us find peace. When we are aligned, we can then manifest what is true and good and WAKE UP to the call of our soul’s purpose.
When I lost Noah, the world went dark. I was lost in the ‘tunnel of terror’ for days, weeks, months, years – it all blended together into a bleak, groundless period of time where I wandered between the worlds of the living and Spirit. Untethered. Broken. Lost in the chaos of my life path taking such an unexpected and painful twist, that I had to experience navigating through it. Within the tunnel, chaos and fear presided and I had nothing but myself to hold onto to keep from slipping away. But, as I was tossed and thrown in my nightmare, my shadow grew bigger and I learned how to sit in my own skin and feel the pain. The tunnel was a scary place to be, much like our country feels right now, but there was value in what I learned there. I was forced to become brutally honest with myself. I felt almost naked as I came to see issues that had always been there, but were now so in my face that I could not ignore them anymore. My grief broke me open in a way that cultivated greater compassion and understanding for myself and most importantly, self-love and acceptance. In the tunnel, I found my spark. The light of my essence that was so much brighter, stronger, more forgiving and loving than I had known before. I learned that I wanted to be in the world, to be happy and whole again and that I had the resiliency to weather the shit storm of my life and not only survive it, but thrive. As I slowly, tentatively emerged from the tunnel, I found my voice and power in a way that was new. Who was this new person I was becoming? The anxiety and self-doubt that I had struggled with throughout my life had a different flavor. I felt like a warrior. A Heart Warrior capable of overcoming the most unimaginable pain and finding my way back to life with a greater authenticity and gratitude than I had known before. A Heart Warrior that had the courage to be vulnerable and strong. Our country needs us Heart Warriors to rise up together and lead this revolution with Love. My new favorite Phish song says it best.. “Vibrating with love and light. Pulsating with love and light. In a world gone mad. In a world gone mad. There must be something more than this.” I, for one, believe there is. Out of chaos and darkness, we can rebuild ourselves and the world to create something better.
Wendy Black Stern