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  • Arlia

Grief is a Chaotic Neutral Goddess

In the quiet hot days of summer, time has slowed and life has been simple. Grief takes me back to basics. Water, food, fresh air, love. The simpler I make life the easier it is to navigate. My tolerance for anything is lowered...conversation, questions, rudeness, bullshit. And yet..too much quiet will take me deeper into despair. Always, always, I am learning to dance with what is the most loving choice right now.

My 21 year old has been home for a month as she prepares to study abroad. The gift of her presence has been deep and sacred. She and I move in similar rhythms of solitude and connection. It’s easy and comforting. I’ve discovered that a gentle presence as hers is a balm to my heart. No intrusive questions or judgement...just two women taking care of themselves and a shared life. We share chores, dog walking, cooking. We’ve built trust through really listening to each other. Her departure stirs so much in me. Even as I’m thrilled, my tender heart can hardly bear it.

Grief is a Chaotic Neutral Goddess. I am living moment to moment as she dances through my consciousness. Hours and maybe even days are light and easy, and in a split second my heart becomes heavy and I feel stuck in the mud. Like quicksand, fighting it takes me deeper. So I allow Her space. Welcome is too strong a word. I feel for the loves in my life as they learn to move with my process. I know that feeling of watching someone disappear into their grief and being left alone, waiting for them to return.

I’ve noticed that Shame likes to join Grief. I mean...I’m not doing any of the things Shame thinks I should be doing to prove or justify my worth. I’m just....being.

Just being. Shame hates that. So....I watch them both move through. My work is finding the precious little gap between Grief and Shame and Me...remembering they are not Me, but a process. I show up for the process...and that is what i understand as true commitment. I am Here...

I’ve shared this observation with several other friends in Grief’s sway, and they nod and say yes, same. I do this on purpose because the other thing Shame hates is being spoken and acknowledged.

I was swept away by this lethal combination of Shame and Grief when I was going through divorce years ago. I wondered if my heart would ever stop cracking open. In my denial that I was grieving over the loss of something I was ready to let go of, I created so much suffering for myself. I had no muscles yet to work with Shame and it was a crushing weight.

I used to say “resistance is not only futile, it is exhausting”....which I am now thinking is only partially true. It is exhausting, but maybe it is not futile. Resistance fascinates me. It amplifies pain, but it also is a catalyst for growth. “Resistance training”.

It is a frequent metaphor of Grief as a wave approaching. I sense it more as a bubble rising to the surface of the water...I can feel it coming. It is usually a matter of hours before it hits the surface and It gives me time to prepare. Other times it appears out of nowhere and I’m lost to it.

The bubbles have been smaller and less frequent the last few weeks, and I’m so grateful. It’s Virgo season, and I’m finding joy in creating for the future.

When Grief has had her say, and life gets lighter, I feel like someone left the gate open and I can run free to play and work. I can glimpse the new Me taking form. It gives me hope. I’m also fascinated by Hope...where does it come from? It seems we are born with it and if we’re lucky, or persistent, we keep it. I don’t believe it’s exclusive to religion or even spirituality. It just seems coded into us as humans. I believe it keeps us sane.

As these days give way to September, life is changing for both my daughter and me. Tomorrow she leaves for her semester in South Korea. I was up a good bit last night with intense worry. In the light of day I’m more balanced…her village has prepared her as much as we can, and now it is up to her to make this experience hers. Last night I entrusted her to the angels, guides, and even the spirits of my parents.

I pray she journeys well. May we all show up for Life as it comes, and be ever hopeful.

Photo by Jernej Graj on Unsplash


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