I’m just getting around to reading an article I saved from September. I kind of regret not reading it earlier because there is so much knowledge both personally and globally about grief.
Sutherland opens her discussion with the rather bleak statement that extinctions of animal species are happening fast and furious. She then notes how long before the possible end to human life will follow. That’s depressing.
Sutherland presents that here we are faced with this looming end of life for us all and that we are ignoring this because of fear or sorrow to come. She then asks the question "How will we bear this grief? And wont grieving make it harder for us to act?"
Her answer to this is not to avoid grief but to include it. Grieving can change how we act and make a difference.
She includes a paragraph discussing the gender of emotions and how societies value masculine traits over feminine ones. Outrage over sorrow, assertiveness over receptivity. Sutherland askes, Is grief seen as feminine? Is that why we fear it if we don’t have it. She posits that perhaps we can feel for our grief or another's grief while realizing grief can be a powerful path to knowledge. True that.
Grief is a buddha. Not something to learn lessons from but the way it is sometimes, the spirit and body of a season in the world, a season of the heart–mind. Grief is a buddha, joy is a buddha, anger is a buddha, peace is a buddha. In the koans, we’re meant to become intimate with all the buddhas—to climb into them, let them climb into us, burn them for warmth, make love with them, kill them, find one sitting in the center of the house. You’re not meant to cure the grief buddha, nor it you. You’re meant to find out what it is to be part of a season of your heart–mind, a season in the world, that has been stained and dyed by grief, made holy by grief.
There is a significant amount of knowledge and understanding in this article. I will read and reread it. I will take sentences and deconstruct them to find meaning. For now my immediate take away is that I have for years presented closure (i.e. grief) is a myth, closure is indifference, closure is denial said pretty. My goal during that time was to tear at my grief digging at my heart and soul to find meaning in my grief and my memories of Donna. That was then.
As I read this piece and begin to understand what ‘grief is Buddha’ means. I see grief as part of me. Grief has made me what I am today. For me to rent my heart over my grief is to miss the fact I was made whole by my grief. I have come to find new within me and within the world. While this is a new understanding I am angry that I am unable to share this with Donna. To have Donna benefit from my knowledge and change. I am angry that I still struggle to find meaning and purpose daily. I fill my time with chores that are emotional Band-Aids in a time elapsed life. And my anger at me remains. That is my next exercise.
A quote from the article:
"We do not disappear, nor do we drown. Neither do we cry forever. But if from time to time these tears are called from us, they’re no longer frightening; they are a small ceremony keeping us close to the world."
More to come on this.