The secrets of an open heart

I’ve been feeling grief. Tuesday I did not get out of my pajamas, and I've had rolling spells of tears for weeks, at first seemingly unconnected to anything. I ride and feel. Then lightness. Ride and feel.

Sorrow comes when it comes and has a variety of appearances.

I’ve written about my son’s death. It will be 7 years on August 20, which is also my daughter's birthday. Feelings arise from the loss of Michael. This time it was witnessing my daughter’s grief.

A friend who works with those experiencing stillbirths writes about grief as physically embodied at a cellular level. Physicists and philosophers call these unfinished energy patterns impressions. In the yogic tradition, they’re called samskaras, an energy that has not passed through. 

I’m aware that there is leftover energy inside of me from my son’s passing.

My grief is one thing, but witnessing my daughter’s grief is another. 

This is what happened. When she expressed her feelings, I responded by giving her information about self-care. That might seem like a kind response, but it isn’t helpful when someone is sobbing. What she needed was for me to be quiet and listen. No words, no advice, no help. Just be with her pain.

I know why it’s hard to keep my mouth shut. Being with her pain is deeply uncomfortable. I might rationalize that I was trying to help. But honestly, my reflex reaction was an attempt to rescue myself from my own pain.

Being with our feelings, quietly and with presence, will help us heal. Remembering that feelings come and go, are impermanent, and ever-changing is a view that supports being able to do this.