Often times, if I am simply open to listening to others, I will get little nuggets that slap me upside the head. I took this one in a different direction than he said it or meant it, but it was impactful nonetheless. One of the concepts that I have been working through is on grief. One of my friends posed that a large contributor to the crisis facing our families has been the inability to grieve well. Particularly men. That is no different for me. And I don’t mean grieving death in the family type of grieving, I mean loss of possibilities, breakups, lack of nurturing, job loss, certainly death as well. Part of my story was a nasty break-up in highschool. I dated basically one gal the entirety of my high school career. The end of our relationship was brutal and gut wrenching. I was able to start processing that through EMDR now, but how much different could my life have been had I learned, or been taught how to grieve that situation? I would say, dramatically different. That singular relationship had more impact on me than almost anything else in my life. I never had to grieve much death until my 20’s, and even then not a lot. I’ve been very blessed that way.
Deep in my own chaos, there lies a total lack of acceptance of reality. I couldn’t accept so much of what my life looked like, and so I learned how to cope by creating my own reality, aka, fantasy. I fell into my dominant type’s (7) fixation which is planning. I crafted scenarios and then executed them as a way of escaping. It was toxic and unhealthy. Didn’t have to be, and using your imagination and creating plans and doing them is not inherently unhealthy, but it was for me. The better path, would be the long slow break-up with whatever is causing the issue. In the case of my actual break-up, walking through the long slow grieving process would have allowed me to process in a healthy way and not stayed as a trauma point for over two decades hampering my ability to grow beyond a certain point, and setting up a perfect storm for my addiction. From a spiritual perspective, could also call this death. Grieving is like dress rehearsal for accepting our moment to shuffle off into eternity. There could be dozens of small deaths, and in fact we are called to die to ourselves daily. Chris Heuertz in “The Sacred Enneagram” says something similar about learning to be still in silence and solitude. Contemplative practice. This is another way to get in touch with ourselves, die to our own desires, (silence, solitude, and stillness doesn’t come naturally or easily) and to practice for our own final chapter. It has been incredible to watch some of the men in my life learning to walk through hard situations and grieve them. Usually better than I do. Actually, always better than I do. But, I am learning. There is still much in my life to grieve, and I hope that I continue to learn how to do it well and find a level of acceptance and peace as life changes and I become a much healthier version of myself. So, Its ok to have these long slow break-ups with the unrealized hopes and dreams, with the toxic people in your life, with anything that has to be separated from your life for whatever reason. Learn how to grieve and how to grieve well.