Another beautiful sign that spring is here.
Seeing this tree in bloom was a nice surprise on my walk today. I've come to think of some of these walks I take as "grief walks." Seems like occasionally, I'll be walking for 10 minutes or so and then feelings of profound sadness and loss will open up in the middle of my chest.
I thought about the feelings of grief that came up more consciously today as I was walking. An image of an intricately designed little box nestled inside my chest came to mind. The box looks beautiful, skillfully crafted and very valuable. It holds all the feelings I've had when I've experienced loss, when someone has hurt me in a way that could have been avoided, when I see others suffering, when I become aware of something happening in the larger world that breaks my heart.
For whatever reason, sometimes when I walk the box just opens up and my heart is full of sadness, regret, and helplessness. As I walk, I cry (not enough to embarrass myself). My heart is heavy, weighed down.
With grief, though, there's nothing to do but feel it and ride it out. I'm tired of grieving but I also value it and trust it. I think I'm feeling more of it now because it's been about a year since things started getting really difficult and because now we're putting our house on the market. It's hard to believe how much has happened in that year. Having to go through our home and sift through the memories of a decade is a daunting task. I imagine it will be healing at the same time.
That little box is pretty full so I guess there's just a need to make some room. Sometimes I feel better after a grief walk and sometimes the box just stays open longer as I struggle through the rest of the day. Sometimes I'm not sure who I am or what's going to happen.
I know I'll find solid ground eventually and the box won't be as full any more. I do treasure its contents because the grief I feel means that people and life matter to me and that I can let myself be vulnerable enough to take a risk that I'll be hurt somehow.
I'm reading a book called The Eden Project. The focus is on how we tend to be looking for the "magical other." The author argues that "the primary motive, the hidden agenda in any relationship, is the yearning to return;" the desire to find safety in bonding with another human being. But...is bonding with another person reliable and protective or unpredictable and even hurtful?
This horrible uncertainty and tension is part of what's so painful for me right now. It's very difficult to grieve the loss of a fantasy that I could have the protection of bonding without the risk of being hurt. There's no way to climb back into the womb and undo the reality of living in a world where there's always a trade off. With connection comes loss. No way around it. Realizing this has filled that little box to the brim.
After Making Love
No one should ask the other
"What were you thinking?"
No one, that is,
who doesn't want to hear about the past
and its inhabitants
or the strange loneliness of the present.
--- Stephen Dunn