Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Opening to Receive Comfort - Sharing Grief

I was reading Warren Farrell's The Myth of Male Power last night in preparation for a panel discussion at the Integral Theory Conference at the end of the month - one of the things I agree with him on is the need to provide ALL returning soldiers (who are mostly men, at least as far as combat experience is concerned) with individual and family therapy.

We strip men of their individuality (as much as that is possible) when we train them to be soldiers, then we send them into battle situations where they see and experience horrible things, which they have to bury in order to function. When they come home, we want them to talk about their feelings, but that runs counter to everything they were taught about being men as they grew up and everything they were taught about being soldiers in wartime.

One of the deepest struggles all men face, and soldiers in particular, is profound, crippling grief. Keeping that pain inside is what men have been taught to do, and yet allowing ourselves to be vulnerable, allowing ourselves to receive comfort is exactly how to heal that pain. Sharing the pain eases our own suffering, but it also allows those close to us to feel even closer, to feel apart of our lives.

Allowing ourselves to process and release the grief, in whatever way we can do that, does not make us weak or girly. It takes incredible strength to face emotions that we secretly fear might overwhelm us or even annihilate us.

Today's Daily Om looks at this idea in a more general way - it seemed fitting that it came after reading that section of the book last night.
Opening to Receive Comfort
Sharing Grief

Grief is part of the human experience. Sharing our grief allows us to ease our burden by letting someone else help carry it.

When we experience something that causes us to feel shock and sadness, we may feel the urge to withdraw from life. It may seem like remaining withdrawn will keep us protected from the world, but during these times it is important to reach out to those trusted and precious people who care about us the most. Even with our best information and reasoning, we never know when someone else’s experience or perspective can give us additional information that we need. The universe speaks to us through many channels, and when we open ourselves up to receive its messages, we also receive nurturing care from a loving partner in life’s journey.

Grief is part of the human experience, and sharing our vulnerability is what creates truly close bonds in our relationships. Opening ourselves up in this way gets to the core of our being, past all of our defenses and prejudices. When life seems to crack the outer shell of our world, we are both raw and fresh at the same time. It is then that we discover who is truly willing to walk with us through life. We also see that some of those sent to us may not be the ones we expected to see. Regardless, we learn to trust in the universe, in others, in our own strength and resilience, and in the wisdom of life itself.

Sharing grief allows us to ease our burden by letting someone else help carry it. This helps us process our own inner thoughts and feelings through the filter of a trusted and beloved someone. We may feel guilty or selfish, as if we are unloading on someone who has their own challenges. Although, if we think about it, we know we would do the same for them, and their protests would seem pointless. Remember that not sharing feelings with others denies them the opportunity to feel. We may be the messenger sent by the universe for their benefit, and it is on this mission that we have been sent. By sharing our hopes and fears, joys and pains with another person, we accept the universe’s gifts of wisdom and loving care.

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