in a river of grief, then on a boat

woman wearing dress and brown hat sitting on boat

In my late 30s I experienced an epiphany. I transformed my life because I surrendered into it. There was a lot of work before that preceded that opening. Up to that point my life was analogous to the life of a flower. A sprout pushed its way up through the soil, stems and leaves unfurled and buds formed straining to open. When the bud burst open resounding at long last to the light a transformation occurred filled with joy and the relief of surrender into a greater multiverse.

This epiphany allowed a choice point: continue to follow the whims of ego, in other words pursue the momentary desires, interests, likes or dislikes or accept destiny. I chose to surrender into the undiscovered country of a strange inter and multi-dimensional universe of great depth and wonder; into the rarely glimpsed book of destiny. It required patience. It required a path to healing of my core being.

The next step in this journey was the “accidental” uncovering of horrendous wounds of early childhood. There was an intense obsessional compulsion to know everything that had happened back then. The world of PTSD, flashbacks, body memories, blackouts, freeze-frames of trauma intruding into what I ordinarily expected as my contiguous life that did not (does not) have the same connectedness of ordinary memories because love was shattered. Diving deeply into it with the tools of spiritual practices, therapeutic techniques of hypnotherapy, EMDR, emotional release and reintegration as well as “traveling” into the past utilizing shamanic practices only works to a degree before traumatization reoccurs. My desire to know everything about the trauma in the way I’ve remembered my ordinary life never happened. I felt disappointed and I was also relieved once I accepted the different paths within myself.

My friends didn’t want to hear about my traumatic past and began to shun me so I contained the bleeding and confined my explorations with my therapist for a time. Other healers and seers saw clearly into my woundedness but I did not see as clearly as they were experiencing me. I had reached a plateau and I decided to shelve the wounded experiences and only focus on what was presented in the moment and not dig for stuff.

I had remained clean and sober from pot for 19 years (1985 to 2004) when I slipped with my much younger partner. The only insight that I was afforded was that in 1985 and the times before pot served to fragment my already fragmented self. In 2004 I saw that the fragmented parts of myself and though still fragmented were held together cohesively by me congealed with my attention and care.

From 1991 when the first memories of trauma began revealing themselves to 2001 I worked intensely on myself and then reached a plateau (’01 was the year my therapist retired).

Earlier this year there was a shift in my physical body and I began to open myself for a change. The universe provided an opportunity presented to me from my spiritual soul partner, colleague and mentor. When she presented me with the opportunity I had been waiting for it took only moments to accept.

She offered a homeopathic formula to help bring buried and stuck grief to the surface for processing. It has been a difficult and immensely rewarding process so far. Of the people I have shared some of this process with have misunderstood the position I take within the flow of emotions.

Maladoma Somē (see end notes) reported that grief is the most common emotion that all humans share. Grief is the process when it is not resisted or prematurely stopped via cognitive processes of compartmentalization and the subsequent emotions of judgement, self-criticism or condemnation on the one hand and stoic determination, anger and rational suppression or repression of grief into a lifestyle of condemning the self and / or others on the other can be released to then convey what is underneath.

When I began taking the formula it was in the evening when I first began — result: I slept for three hours and was awake working on a path to exposing the grief as the emotional connective tissue to the wounds. Release the grief and the horrendous memories shift and become multifaceted revealing the blessings while releasing my attachment to the intensities of the horror.

There was something blocking the work, something in the back of my neck on my left side that was the part of blockage or resistance. Something I could not see clearly enough to find and remove. I called out for help. Help arrived in the person that I once was in my most previous past life: a Polish Jew working for The Resistance and constantly hiding from the Nazis. He was trained as an engraver and was employed by the Polish Mint. He pulled something out of my neck which was simultaneously released from his neck in the same area. It went back to source where it disintegrated into ash.

The next morning, I was looking at a friend’s Facebook post when all my chakras opened and a profound compassion, love and understanding poured out of me to him (not that he necessarily needed it). I was surprised that this open feeling of compassion continued to branch out to many more who may have needed it to feel included since compassion is an emotion of inclusion. (The funny thing is that the content of his post was not of a personal nature at least on the surface and remembering the content was not important.)

Though some of the subsequent work of releasing grief has been filled with anguish and intense physical pain — such as a lava-like substance that was hot and filled with the bile of anger and hatred flowed out of the joints of my left hand and fingers. So far, the arthritic pain that has felt trapped in my body has decreased by as much as fifty percent.

These pockets of grief within me are spread like butter over toast throughout my body, persona and into the depths of me. The emotion is not me as it once was when I had first uncovered the trauma. I am above the feelings of grief and not immersed in them as I once was in the beginning.

I debated about putting this account due to its highly personal nature. I meditated on what to do and have decided to enter it here. In the midst of the on-going grieving process I discovered that part of my mother’s being was trapped in my body. It was only when I freed her did I realize that part of her had merged with me when I was a baby.

The “Ah-ha” moment arrived.

My mother was a difficult parent to live around. My sister concurred that she had been very critical towards both of us; very true. She was never happy with either of us.

My mom had poor boundaries with me and later as an adult I chose to establish and maintain better boundaries with her. She would burst into my bedroom door without ever knocking. She did what she called: “snooping” in my closet rifling through my stuff. I asked my dad if I could have a lock on my door. Before I could tell him why he said “no,” and walked away. In order to have privacy I took long 4-hour baths locked in one of our two bathrooms on a Saturday night. I took to burying time capsules in the backyard where I knew she would never look to have private secret things — for my eyes only. She wanted me to take French in High School so I could speak romantic French phrases to her. I failed French in my passive-aggressive style so I wouldn’t have to do it. And the list of behaviors bordering on the inappropriate and at times crossing the line went on.

My mother passed in March of 2015 from dementia. I had very little contact with her after the death of her body. My father had contacted me many times after his death.

In a session that lasted half the night I was able to extricate my mom’s spirit from my body and keep her from coming back in. She greeted me five or six times after I had freed her in her child-like manner and appeared to have said thank-you without actually coming out and saying it.

It was a relief to reclaim my body as my own and to begin to have a relationship with my mother as an individual to an individual, which continues to evolve.

I am not the grief and conversely, I am not the joy. I sometimes feel grief and I sometimes feel joy as well as all the emotions of the rainbow and the darker shadow.


Malidoma Somē author Of Water and Spirit. The author came to our community to speak about his book, drum at our community center. At one point he looked out at all of us and said:

“I see that many of you you have been initiated many times

but because there was no community to support and accept your initiation

you returned to you life as you now know it.”

_________________________________________________________________________________

More on Grief:

The Smudge of Grief

4 thoughts on “in a river of grief, then on a boat

  1. Pingback: The Smudge of Grief – psychesweather

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