Welcome to week 3, by Maria Rodgers O’Rourke
(A quick note from Tracey: If you are having trouble keeping up with writing and reading and are reluctant to comment please don’t be! There’s no RIGHT WAY to do this. Do it in the way that works for you. Meaning, the extent of your writing can be leaving a comment here, if that’s all you have time for. Let involvement with the community be enough. You can return to the book and your journal in the future should you desire.)
Here we go!
I love it when what I need to hear, or read, shows up just when I need it.
Two weeks ago, my family sustained a shocking and tragic loss. A dear friend of my 21-year-old daughter died in an accident. We were numb after we got the news. My daughter reached out to me, her dad, and close friends for comfort and a loving space to sort her feelings.
A few days in, though, I realized I was grieving, too. My heart went out to this friend’s mother, and the unspeakable pain she must be experiencing. But my heart also ached, for me, in the loss of this young person, so full of potential, taken from this life. My own maternal instincts, that had gathered this friend of my daughter’s under my wings, felt the loss deeply. The familiar symptoms of grief – fatigue, sudden tears, feeling tender, forgetfulness, low appetite, restless nights – all appeared. A haunting song I once loved and had forgotten, emerged in my memory. “Since the last goodbye…it’s all the wrong way ‘round,” sang the Alan Parsons Project. The song has played on a loop in my mind. It’s soothing and stirring this grief, and that from past losses, and the grief I think we all carry these days during the pandemic.
As we ended one of our conversations, my daughter reminded me of the angel’s lesson in the movie “It’s a Wonderful Life” – how all our lives are interconnected.
So, of course, within days of this talk, I read in “drinking from the river of light” about another conversation – Mark Nepo’s with his friend, Gail (p. 61) – “about the mystery of being here.” They spoke of the myth of Hades, the Greek Lord of Death, as a metaphor for what we humans experience when someone dies. Hades pulls a loved one from our midst, and the network of relationships connected to that person, into the underworld. To grieve feels like we’re being “tugged underground.”
“This metaphor helps us understand the impact of grief on the living. We’re all connected, and so we can’t help but be pulled toward all that lives under the surface when someone dies…. When Hades takes someone we love, we go under too. When someone we love is pulled under by grief, we are not separate from them but part of the tangle of relationships that binds us. And so, we are all pulled in varying degrees when someone dies. Everyone is affected.” (p. 61-62)
I wish I could wrap up this post with a few insights on what this round of loss has taught me, but I’m not there, yet. Each day, the darkness lifts a little. Yet, it also settles in a bit more, too. Part of me has been tugged underground. My mind expects me to be over it, then a wave of grief comes that takes away my breath and my resolve. What I can do, for now, is be okay with that. And I can attend to the ways I’m being held in this moment – through music, relationships, the wisdom of “the river of light”, coincidences that aren’t truly random – however creation is showing up in love.
Earlier in this reflection on metaphor, Mark Nepo writes: “My passion now is to stay as close as possible to the pulse of what is kind and true – to stay in conversation with whatever happens and to experience more and more ways to listen” (p. 60). Maybe this is one of the lessons this loss offers me – to listen for and abide with all that is kind and true.
What spoke to you from these sections?
SAVE THE DATE
What: Mid-way Zoom meeting
When: Sunday, October 24 at 1 pt/3 ct/4 et
Zoom link will be emailed to you ahead of time. Reminder: there will be no reading assignment or post for the week of Oct. 21 so you can spend some time that week thinking about what you’d like to discuss on the Zoom.
The duration of the zoom is dependent on the conversation, but you should feel free to hop off when necessary.
Schedule to date:
- Week #4 The Inner Experience of Truth through Feelings Are Paints, Tammi Scott, Sept. 23
- Week #5 <<<Break>>> pause, breathe, and catch up, Sept. 30
- Week #6 The Energy of Hope through Love at First Sight, Kim Prendergast, Oct. 7
- Week #7 Living a Making through Drifting in Immensity, Joan Sherwood, Oct. 14
- Week #8 <<<Break>>> pause to prepare for Zoom discussion, Oct. 21
Optional Art Prompt
Can’t take the credit for this one. It comes straight from the section Releasing the Divine. It’s an invitation (just not with words.) On a blank page in your journal, imagine that the design is waiting, fully formed, in the blankness, waiting for you to release it. Be still and quiet until you begin the conversation with your supplies and the paper. See what happens. (We talk about this in class ALL the time. Work in concert with the process, letting go of the need to control it, letting go of the judgment around whether it’s “pleasing” to you or not.)
A link will remain here to week 1 in case anyone wants to review the spearheading guidance. Week 1.