“We give our love to someone or something or someplace. We are attached to that love. And suddenly (or slowly) that object is gone from our sight. Where do we put the love then? We have this love with no place to put it. Grief becomes our experience of not having our love received, of not having anywhere to put our love. Healing our grief means continuing to love in the face of loss.” ~ Deborah Morris Coryell
The quote above comes from the small, yet profound book called Good Grief: Healing Through the Shadow of Loss. This is probably one of the best grief books I have read.
What I find so profound is the idea that part of the grief experience is the pain of not having our love received. We pour out love for a person, an animal, a house, a city, a job, a state of good health — and when any one of these things is gone, our giving has no recipient. What then?
Coryell writes, “We create a way to incorporate, literally, into our bodies, that which has become formless. Like the caterpillar, we go into a cocoon to a safe place so that the old self can dissolve and a new self can be created….We get bigger in order to carry with us what we choose to continue loving.”
After the losses in my life, I have felt smaller somehow — at least in the beginning. I’ve shriveled a bit, recoiled from the world — and from sending out love to the formless.
Imagine continuing to send love to what we’ve lost. Imagine feeling bigger because we can contain love for both the formed and formless. What if your grief was a way to “contain multitudes“?
Find a quiet place to lie down on your back with your neck and low back supported. Notice your natural breathing, paying non-judgmental attention to where your breath wants to go and where it feels restricted. Now, place one hand over your heart center and one over your belly. Take some good deep breaths, filling your chest and belly and focus on how your breath can expand you. Allow your rib cage to expand in all directions and your belly to get big and full. You want to be big, feel big. Now add the mantras: “I encompass all that I love, formed and formless. I contain multitudes” and “I am enlivened by the love I give and I release all that doesn’t serve me.” Give yourself time to allow our body to shift as a result of your breaths and thoughts. See if you can feel expanded by all of your experiences — including your losses — and feel that your love is indeed received. What you give out isn’t lost, floating in nothingness. Your love is right there with you, in your very breath, and it can reach out beyond the physical world and even touch the memory of someone you loved.