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“If you’re really listening, if you’re awake to the poignant beauty of the world, your heart breaks regularly. In fact, your heart is made to break; its purpose is to burst open again and again so that it can hold evermore wonders”.
— Andrew Harvey

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“Grief is subversive, undermining the quiet agreement to behave and be in control of our emotions. It is an act of protest that declares our refusal to live numb and small. There is something feral about grief, something essentially outside the ordained and sanctioned behaviors of our culture. Because of that, grief is necessary to the vitality of the soul. Contrary to our fears, grief is suffused with life-force. It is riddled with energy, an acknowledgment of the erotic coupling with another soul, whether human, animal, plant or ecosystem. It is not a state of deadness or emotional flatness. Grief is alive, wild, untamed and cannot be domesticated. It resists the demands to remain passive and still. We move in jangled, unsettled and riotous ways when grief takes hold of us. It is truly an emotion that rises from soul.”

— by Francis Weller, “Entering the Healing Ground”

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“There is no agony like bearing an untold story in you.” — Maya Angelou

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“Whatever is rejected from the self, appears in the world as an event.” — Carl Gustav Jung

All those things we persuade ourselves to get over and forget because if we didn’t we fear being shamed or incapable of functioning “normally” pile up in our depths to constitute an unconscious burden. We present a face to the world that hides the pain that living brings to all of us. Without those harrowing experiences, we live on the surface of ourselves never suspecting who we are capable of being. Living a life free from grief is not a boon and refusing to feel its suffering builds a wall between us and the meaning of being a full human.

I think we unconsciously grieve when we are living a superficial life. If Jung is right, that deferred grief will find its way into living events and not just on the individual level. Humans create cataclysmic events on the world stage spreading grief and suffering exponentially.

Because of our refusal to feel and to see, we create and perpetuate more suffering not only in other humans but throughout the natural world. Our blindness looks a lot like stupidity and ignorance but it also looks intentional. We don’t want to see how grief is spread throughout the world by us, the human race. The shell we construct not to know our pain renders us unable to register the pain we engender in the world. It’s a very vicious circle.

If we’re going to help the world survive and thrive, we have to get and stay in touch with ourselves. We have to feel our own suffering and care for ourselves and others. We will need to reconnect to ourselves if we’re going to connect to nature. It’s not a duty, a principle, it’s a process of listening.

If we can listen to the movements of thoughts and feelings inside us, if we can allow them, then we can bear listening to others. We can calm the waters with compassion and unsentimental caring.

The punitive systems we Americans have created reflect the lack of depth in those who pass laws and conduct business in our country. These are very superficial people. Other people’s pain means nothing to them. As they dominate our culture, the culture grows more callous. Millions of people imitate what they see in the leaders. Strife and indifference surge in the cultural ether. It’s infectious.

The US is buffeted by these winds right now, coming from all directions. Even nature is in turmoil because of the actions of humans. We humans need to get our house in order so that we stop creating chaos. We can’t do that from new and better rules and laws.

We need a change of heart. We need the courage to face ourselves.

Written by

I occasionally write fiction and also about creativity, loving, language learning and travel. I’m a longtime painter and reader.

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