I’ve been thinking about change a lot this month. The springtime is a time when the earth is bustling with the blossoming energy of growth and expansion. The flowers bloom and the plants put out a tremendous amount of energy as they grow into the fertile time in their lives. Butterflies emerge from their cocoons and baby animals grow into existence with the nourishment of their mothers.
This last month has been a year of much change for me. I have completed a Masters of Divinity degree and graduated from the Pacific School of Religion. I was feeling pretty excited and lighthearted about finishing school until I clicked send and turned in my final paper. Then it hit me. The last three years of intensive study of spiritual care, healing, and theology had ended. I was leaving this community of learning that has held me on this leg of my spiritual journey. I was surprised as I felt a wave of grief wash over me.
When we are in times of celebration and exciting change, it’s easy to lose sight of the loss that is also happening in the same moment. Often when a new door opens another one closes. It is easy to be so focused on celebrating the open door we lose sight of the one that is closing. This repression of sadness can create spaces for energy to get stuck and can support imbalances in our body, mind, and spirit.
Holding the duality of celebration and grief is something that often comes up at times when I am working with couples who are to be married. While marriage and life commitment is a time of great celebration, it can also be a time of sadness and loss as our lives as a single person comes to a close. Celebrations like weddings and graduations can also open the door for old grief of a loved one who has passed because our hearts long for them to be with us during this important transition in our lives.
I guess it shouldn’t have come as a surprise to me that I would feel grief at this time of celebration. Dominant culture gives us messages about appropriate times and timelines for grief. This messaging can be so damaging for anyone experiencing grief and great change. I have conversation after conversation with folks who are experiencing grief and change, about feelings of judgement about the way that they are grieving.
There is no right or wrong way to grieve. And there is no right or wrong time to feel grief.
Change is not easy. Even when it’s celebratory change, grief and sadness are often present. But, did you know that when a butterfly emerges from its cocoon, it needs to struggle to get out in order for the fluid in its wings to spread so that it can fly? This beautiful creature reminds us that the struggle that comes during times of change is powerful medicine. When we learn to integrate that struggle and move that medicine through our bodies, it can be exactly what we need to be able to fly.
Blessings of the Emergence,