Three of Swords
A long time ago it dawned on me that to deny any avenue of assistance was only to deny myself. Wisdom is wisdom and insight is insight, regardless of it’s origin. Traditional, religious, academic, esoteric or mystical; I am considerate of all! Combined with immersion into the intrinsic elements of my life and the profundity of these experiences influences my analytic practice and thinking. This acceptance has offered me a great deal of healing and growth that would otherwise have been unavailable. One of the many traditions I refer to is the Tarot and recently, like always, the cards read me ….
I don’t know about you, but for me, the first quarter of 2015 has been emotionally intense. Last week I learned a new phrase … “let go or get dragged”! … and oh my gosh, that’s exactly how it’s been … being dragged right behind the bumper of my car. It seems that all of my emotional triggers have been pulled while either driving or parking. ( Friends in LA, you know what I’m talking about.) The result is that I’ve been introduced to my inner-petulant child, who I’ve named Patty (ever see Patty Duke’s performance in the movie Valley of the Dolls?). I’ve witnessed my arrogance and impatience with others, and with myself. And the big revelation … the core underneath all of this — up pops the Three of Swords; the Grief card. My reaction, “you’ve got to be kidding! After all of my work, all of my processing …. Grief? Really?”
Most of us have read about the Stages of Grieving and Healing. There’s so much out there about it … defining it, identifying it, coping with it, the pathology, blah blah blah blah … but what doesn’t seem to be openly discussed is the underbelly of unreleased Grief and how it expresses itself in everyday living. This is where I find myself today. I’m hoping that, by offering you my personal experiences, some may identify and find the strength and courage to take that next step of letting the Grief go.
I am a recovered alcoholic and incest survivor, with an added measure of PTSD thrown into the mix just to keep it exciting. My healing was not picture-perfect. I didn’t fall on my knees one day and find grace. I didn’t have an awakened moment or dream. I didn’t have a teacher or guru tap me on the shoulder and say voila … “you’re healed”. No, as much as I wanted all of that, none of it happened for me.
I attribute my healing primarily to a combination of a 12 Step Program, Kundalini Yoga and in-depth Inner-Child Therapy. By doing this work, I have moved in and out of the stages of healing and grief, like the tides of an ocean. There’s an ebb and a flow to the process. And, to be clear, this is how the normal healing and grieving process is experienced. Not in the spectacular, special-effect ways as I mentioned above. No trumpets, no angels, and definitely no magical intervention. I’m not saying it can’t happen that way, but the norm is a much more mundane affair and requires commitment to honest, dedicated introspection of the self and one’s own actions.
Now let’s circle back around to Grief. Lately, I’ve noticed that although I have achieved a great deal from that concerted effort in my recovery, I don’t seem to actually make it beyond a certain point … I continue to float just offshore. I can see the shore, but I don’t seem to get there. This has become apparent in my relationships and how I conduct my life. I’m there, but not quite accessible. Commitment is difficult and I’m ready to jump at the first sign of trouble. I always enter a situation with a feeling of vulnerability. What and why is it? — Unreleased Grief. I wrapped it around my heart as a reminder to never allow myself to be hurt again. And guess what. This worked for many many years! I pushed my feelings and emotions up into my head where they remained safe amongst the books and information collected, but my heart? It stays quietly wrapped in a thick blanket of Grief never to be touched again by those who might injure it, but now I see that blanket has morphed into a wall.
There you have it folks. Unreleased Grief ultimately hardens into a wall of fear. This fear can express itself in many different ways such as arrogance, impatience, self-centeredness, neediness, piety, imposed intellect, codependency, anger, aggression, phobias, addictions, depression, anxiety, over-eating, over-spending; the list can go on and on. It’s fear that I will either lose something I have or I won’t get something I believe I need. It’s fear that I’m not good enough. It’s fear that I will be abandoned, again. It limits my capacity to receive and experience Love and it limits my potential to fully give myself in Love to others. The problem with constructing an emotional wall such as this is it’s unable to distinguish between good and bad, fake or real, truth or lies. It knows only one thing and that is to block it all out. For me to fully experience all of me, all of you and all this life has to offer, I’m going to have to dismantle my Grief and for me that’s scary because I’ve depended upon it for so many years. I really don’t know how to experience life without it.
I must ask myself what do I know? What has worked in the past and how can I apply it to this situation? When I’m confronted with an unknown such as this, I’ve learned it’s best for me to revert to the tools of the 12 Step program and take it step-by-step. What I appreciate about using this method as a formula for addressing discord in my life is the main subject matter can be substituted for any malady i.e., “Grief” in lieu of alcohol.
-Step One: Admit that I am powerless over my “Grief” and that it is making my life unmanageable. I then begin to write exactly how it makes my life unmanageable which is precisely what you’ve been reading.
-Step Two: Admitted that only a power greater than myself can relieve me of this “Grief”.
-Step Three: Made a decision to turn my “Grief” over to my Higher Power – people say “Let Go and Let God” … not me. Here’s another new phrase I recently learned “Let God and then I can Let Go”. This is the order that works best for me. Thx Hans!
-Step Four: Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of my “Grief”.
There are 8 additional steps. If you’re intrigued by this process, you can easily find them online.
To wrap this up, I am beginning to feel relief from the Grief and, because of my personal experience with healing, I know this impediment is temporary. I will arrive at that distant shore and I will feel the full release of my grief. It takes time, it requires staying mindful and most of all, let me repeat that, Most Of All, I have to be kind to myself. For me, this is the balanced and harmonious way of healing, letting go and moving into the fullness of Love and Expansion.
Truth, Beauty and Love to All ~ Dev