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Patiently Grieving

“It is easier to find men who volunteer to die than to find those who are willing to endure pain with patience” – Julius Caesar

 

Patience is not a character trait that I was naturally blessed with.  It was also not a character trait that I felt called to develop in the first half of my life. In fact, if I am being honest, I saw my lack of patience, impulsivity, risk taking and command & control attributes as my greatest strengths. I used these attributes to build fortunes and climb mountains. However, on this climb to nowhere, this lack of patience, and drive to move ahead caused me to bypass, or bury, things that could not be bypassed or buried forever. It seems likely that I was unconsciously always pushing forward as a way to avoid dealing with emotional pain or discomfort. Based on Caesar's words, I suspect I am not that unique in this.

 

I was slowly building emotional karma and one thing about karma is the bill eventually comes due and mine came due about five years ago. Very slowly at first and then lightning fast in the end. Seemingly out of nowhere, I felt anxiety building in my body which started to morph into depression. Depression bled into apathy, addiction and ultimately anger. My character's “strengths” all became catastrophic weaknesses and everything I tried to do to “fix myself” made it worse until the music stopped as they say.

 

The Universe has a remarkable way of giving us exactly what we need when we need it. I lacked patience and I was divinely presented with a situation where I had no choice but to be patient. The ability to act was removed entirely. I learned that patience is a virtue that enables us to navigate life’s challenges with grace. If cultivated, it allows us to embrace the slow process of growth and understand that some of life’s most valuable experiences and lessons arise from non-action and just being with and fully embodying what is unfolding for us. 

 

This forced, and needed patience, gave me one of the greatest lessons of my life. I learned that I was grieving and grieving hard. I learned that I needed to grieve. I learned that I did not know how to grieve as I had never given myself permission to grieve. I had not grieved certain aspects of my childhood, the early death of my mother, the end of my marriage, the falling apart of the most meaningful connections of my life at the time and the list goes on. 

 

“Anger is often a cover-up for grief, anxiety is often a cover-up for grief, depression is often a cover-up for grief. Often, we may think we are angry, anxious, and depressed, but underneath it all, there is profound sadness. If you allow yourself to feel the grief underneath, you may find that you can finally smile, laugh, and feel joy again” – Laura Matsue

 

Grieving requires not only patience but also the ability to endure pain. Deep emotional pain. I think that is why, in the West at least, we culturally shy away from grieving and why culturally we are riddled with anxiety and spilling over with anger. I think grieving has a stigma of weakness associated with it but that is entirely off the mark. Grieving requires incredible courage and faith. A courage greater than volunteering for one’s own death according to Caesar. What I can share from my own experience of fully allowing myself to grieve, patiently, over a very long period is that grieving is the gateway to unconditional forgiveness and unconditional love. Unconditional love for everyone and everything but most importantly myself. Please give yourself permission to grieve. I will be patiently waiting for you on the road of happy destiny.


The Way



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