Oceana Sawyer : The Why of Grief

Recently, I’ve been musing on the ways that grief shows up. Perfectly reasonable people appear to be walking around going about their ordinary lives doing good things in the world. However if you poke, even slightly, at the thin brittle surface, tiny fissures form. Then in one beat, maybe two, a crack emerges seemingly out of thin air, and you are suddenly wading through a morass of unmetabolized trauma  and grief.

Has anyone else had this experience lately?

I have. From all the positions - poker, pokee, witness to the poking, I have had the pleasure of unexpected grief journeys throughout the month of June. The audacity! Did no one get the memo that grief is only allowed at sanctioned workshops and quiet soft spaces where there is plenty of tea and tissues, and most importantly, out of view?

Fortunately, many dear ones in my purview ignored that memo and went for it, body and soul. Grief is a wild messy territory of emotions that come with a potent charge to transform an ordinary life and infuse it with wisdom and energy for the next stage. That kind of transformation doesn’t come without a cost - you have to give something to get something. While it may sound transactional, it is no less true.

For in this instance, what must be given is the deepest part of your unformed being, those parts that have never seen the light of day, and received scant attention, acknowledgement, or care. Those tender parts of you that were tucked away for protection from judgment and harsh treatment because they were too monstrous for polite company. Those are the parts that grief wants with a ferocious hunger that will not, cannot, be denied. I say that with certainty because even if you think you have successfully contained it, the joke is on you. Because while you’re busy denying grief it’s due, grief is equally busy having it’s way with your body, your mind, and your spirit.

Grief isn’t even a necessary part of life. It IS life. A rich full life includes grief.

Earlier, I used the word “fortunately” to describe the circumstance of my life this month where people were cracking open all around me, as was I. Never one to miss a good party, this was indeed, one for the ages. There were plenty of tears and even more righteous laughter, a fair bit of rage, lots of shaking and pleading and many moments of delicious emptiness when all there was breath and truth, insight, and joy. The best part was newfound intimacy and lush pockets of fresh resource. The good stuff, the stuff that no amount of spa days and expensive wine or sometimes even therapy can get you. Dropping down through the cracks of your current persona into the layers of shit becoming compost, hard rock becoming crystals, magma becoming energy that can fuel a planet for billions of years, that is the stuff that is available at the core of a grief journey. The stuff that can fuel a life can not be bought, is widely available, and can be yours abundantly for the simple price of your attention.

And that’s all we do in the Grief Circles.

We make space for the grief that is already there, ready and waiting, to have a bit of our attention. It’s a practice that we cultivate so that it can be more accessible to us out in the world where things fall apart and people crack open on the sidewalk in front of the house where a variety of small and large, old and new losses were witnessed, suffered, and repaired in the span of two hours. We do this work in the Rooted Global Village so that in those moments on the sidewalk you have the capacity to drop down with yourself and with others to those juicy places where you can access the wisdom and resource we need in these times of shifting ground - old paradigms breaking down into new ones.

In the grieving is the intimacy and power of belonging to self and the whole of life that is always ending and emerging and ending again. Becoming. Belonging. Living.

Life is

Grief is

~~~ You are ~~~

                          unfolding . . . .

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About the author(s):

Oceana Sawyer

As an End of Life (EOL) Doula and grief guide, Oceana Sawyer specializes in the liminal spaces of active dying and grief. She is currently researching somatic abolitionism and embodied grief as well as developing and holding space for healing through a sensual lens. A certified as a home funeral celebrant, Living Funeral Ceremony facilitator, and Conscious Dying Educator, Oceana also holds a certificate in Grief Literacy from Being Here, Human as well as graduate degrees in counseling psychology and organizational development.Oceana draws upon her meditation practice, experience as a sensuality educator, earth-based spirituality, and intensive study in the expressive arts and integral counseling psychology to bring a grounded, compassionate presence and holistic approach to her work. Through Death Cafes, EOL vision mapping, speaking engagements, and virtual grief events and workshops, Oceana has the opportunity to work with individuals and groups from all walks of life. You can check out her latest events on her website, follow her on her Instagram and participate in her online grief community on Patreon.