So, if you bless the world and yourself with your sincerely offered tears…
…what if you’ve lost the ability to grieve?
What if the valves of your heart feel rusted shut?
I haven’t trained as a therapist, and I don’t completely understand these things myself. As a person who has struggled to reclaim the right to feel my emotions fully, and who has cast away pop-culture heroes who embody the inability to grieve, heroes who in fact ‘succeed’ and ‘win the day’ because, according to the stories of this culture, they shed no tears, they knuckle down, and stuff their sincerity deep inside and far away, like a heart locked in a box buried beneath a boulder far off in the trackless wilderness.
As this person, I know what it means to struggle back.
I’ve also had the honor of the friendship of people who can grieve, and share that ability without shame.
I’ve heard in Traditional Chinese Medicine that human beings store grief in the lungs. Often, when really crying, I’ve felt this swirling power in there, deep in my chest. I’ve also felt the lack of expressing grief as a tightness in the chest and throat.
My friend Julie offered me a little tool she used herself. Though often well able to cry at the drop of a hat, sometimes she couldn’t get there. So she’d make the sound.
The sound reminds me of a little kid all alone, having lost their mom and dad at a crowded place, and crying so long they’ve exhausted themselves but can’t stop crying in a low groan kind of way.
Even just taking the breath to make the sound makes my whole body ready to grieve.
If you have a private place where you can go, perhaps a quiet room, or a green place with a tree to lean up against, you might experiment with adding the sound to your practice of paying daily attention to yourself and the world.
As Martin Prechtel says, ‘the heart is a muscle’. You have to work it to make it strong, you have to practice to make your grieving something worth a world full of bittersweetness.