Grieving in the Midst of Birthing

I want life to get back to normal.

Against our will, we all just left the warm, soothing, familiar comforts of the uterus.  The uterus, representing our old lives before the pandemic, was a life of perceived safety, comfort and predictability.  I say ‘perceived’ because comfort, familiarity, and predictability often get conflated with safety.  As a trauma survivor and therapist, I get it.  I like to plan, predict and control my life.  Doing so helps me to feel safe.  But I am aware that the feeling is actually just an illusion of safety.  It doesn’t represent the belief of being safe.  That acknowledgment actually comes from within.  That place inside us that knows whatever happens, we will be ok.  It won’t be easy and there may be blood and tears, but after some time and process, we will be ok.  And right now, it is challenging for most of us to access that safe place from within because so much of the familiar, the predictable are gone and those were our safety markers.  The uterus is behind us now and as much as we’d like to, we can’t go back.  We are now in the proverbial birth canal. Waiting.

Waiting for what?

I’m not sure.  But I suspect it’s a new way of living.  Mother Earth is currently recovering and healing from decades & decades of pollution.  In China, carbon emissions are down by 100 million metric tons.  The canals in Venice are running clearer than they have in over 60 years.  In Los Angeles, the air is as clean as it was since at least 1995. Residents in Jahlandar, Punjab (India) are able to see the Dhauladhar mountain range in Himachal Pradesh. The peaks, which are over 120 miles away, had not been sighted on the Punjab horizon for almost 30 years.  From Earth’s perspective, this pandemic is exactly what she needed to breathe and feel alive again.  But unfortunately it comes at a high cost to humans.  Lives and livelihoods have been lost.  Our usual way of life is gone.  Some of it may return as we begin to re-emerge from quarantine, but you and I know it won’t be like it was before Covid-19.  Experts are murmuring about a possible second and third wave of this pandemic.  So ‘business as usual’ won’t be resuming anytime soon, if at all.

And perhaps that’s a good thing.

It’s time to evolve beyond the comforts and stagnation of the familiar uterus.  But evolving is messy, painful, and scary.  Much like birthing.  And most of us try to avoid anything messy, painful and scary.  However, this pandemic is giving us a chance to re-evaluate our internal and external lives.  Like Mother Earth, it’s time for us humans to get quiet, reflect, and do some deep cleansing from within.  I have noticed a lot of anxiety and fear in folks – more than usual – and I believe it’s because without all the distractions of the previous life (the places, events, people, the constant go-go-go), we are now forced to address what we’ve been putting off for too long.  Pandora’s box has been opened and we can no longer hide from or ignore it. Time is a gift we’ve been given and it’s imperative that we use this time wisely and with intention.  It’s time to address your fears, your resentments, your demons.  And transform beyond them.

Maybe that is how we’re supposed to use this time in the ‘quarantine’ canal.

But before we can birth into a new way of living, we must grieve.  Much like the newborn baby upon exiting the womb.  They shriek with shock and sadness.  We have to allow ourselves to mourn what we lost during this time…..the ceremonies, trips, jobs, education, and loved ones.  Relationships of all types are being questioned & challenged at this time.  And others are realizing that they cannot continue in soul-crushing careers any longer.  It’s time for a new life, a new path, a new way to live.  And as relieving or thrilling that may sound to some, it’s terrifying to most.  So this is the time to sit with the fears of change and the unknown and awaken your consciousness to their origins so you can begin your healing process.  This is the time to acknowledge your sorrow for losing the familiar, the predictable, the planned.  Grieving is a process, not an end goal to achieve.  But it’s a process which needs to take place in order to move closer to accepting the new and the unknown.

 

In grief, we need to take time to mourn the life we were supposed to have.

-David Kessler

I hope you use this precious gift of solitude and time to do what Life is calling you to do.  In the meantime, please embrace this rendition of the Foo Fighters’ song Times Like These