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EP.08 Opening Up the Heart to Metabolize Grief

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In EP.08 I dive into a subject that is often overlooked: grief. On a collective level and individually we are moving through a wave of grief right now. How do we allow this wave to move and pass through us? I share my recent insights after losing four family members in eight weeks.

 


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Hey there, welcome back episode number eight. In this episode I’ll be discussing the process of metabolizing grief. Grief is a very complex subject that I feel in no way, shape or form an expert on. Yet there is a lot of grief I’ve been diving headfirst into since March 23rd of this year and our world, from my understanding is going through collective grief and many of us are feeling also individual grief uniquely in our own lives without being awake to the process of grief. It makes it more difficult to let go and start taking steps forward. I know that the world right now is in a giant pause, but your progression can still happen and so being in that limbo phase, you may feel more stuck than usual. If you’re unwilling to experience the discomfort of growth, this includes grieving, then it will feel like you’re just stuck in the mud on a collective level. 

There is a loss of how things once operated and our world is going through intense growing pains. Corona virus, in my opinion, did not break our world. Corona virus is exposing a broken system and there is a huge loss of innocence we can no longer go back to living as we once did.

 


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We are cornered right now into change individually. I’m witnessing loss of many people losing their businesses, employment forms of income, a roof over their head, partnerships, marriages, identity to self planned weddings and physically losing people. There are many people who are dying right now and I

‘ve experienced this form of physical death in a way I’ve never experienced in my life in a matter of eight weeks since quarantine started, I have lost four very close family members and there has been no way around me developing a relationship with grief. So again, I’m not an expert, but this intense experience has given me more insight to something that I can’t just philosophize on. 

Grief to me is this mysterious cloud that is here to teach us something doesn’t just come in with meaningless chatter and images and memories, but it is something that must pass through us and move through us. And when we hold on for dear life, that pain of not letting it move through and pass through creates so much more trauma. Some people have said to me in passing, that must be easier for me to deal with this amount of loss because I have a spiritual understanding of death that I believe that there’s something more that these beings aren’t just getting erased from the world. That I have a sense of meaning in my life and meaning of what’s beyond this life. And while I agree that having some kind of connection to people on a spiritual level, on an energetic plane brings about a different experience to the process of grief,
it doesn’t eliminate the heaviness that I needed to feel that I am still feeling.

In many ways because grief is not something that just comes in and you just deal with it and you face it and you let it go. There’s different layers of the grieving process. It depends on the support, the closure, and how long it takes to have that kind of closure because you can’t rush that. Healing takes what it takes.

In our society, we are teaching most people how to numb, how to escape from that grieving process because it’s so taboo. Death has become this thing that it’s like, oh my gosh, we can’t look at it. We can’t face it, and even in myself, I felt detached when I lost my first two family members when I was in isolation, I felt detached from the process. I didn’t feel safe to fully immerse myself. 
I was still in shock and while I was meditating and dancing and doing all these things to honor their life and grieve in the way that I could. Watching a funeral on FaceTime is much different than the ceremony of being gathered by the people that you love, who also cared for this person and being in community.

So that did feel robbed from me. There was nothing I could do about that, but I was angry and I was frustrated that I couldn’t say goodbye the way I wish I could have. However grateful that I had an energetic connection to my Nana who lived with me throughout my entire childhood until the moment she passed. She was living in my two family home in Massachusetts. So there is a beauty for sure, and having a connection beyond the physical, but it’s not something that can be bypassed because I’m still this being that has humanness and needs to move through that emotional process of letting go. 

If I moved too fast through it and pretend that I have gotten over it, but not honoring that, it could come up again or I might need to face something later on. It’s like I’m abandoning myself and a self-abandonment is so painful because there’s an aspect of ourselves that we tend to shame or we feel guilty for having certain emotions that come up at the wrong time.

The beauty of this time in Covid is that within having a little bit more time not working as much as I once was because a lot of what I do is in person. I’m able to take that time to go into deep layers of grief layers that I wasn’t able to access, that have been brought up through physical loss in my life.

A big breakthrough that came out of quarantine and dealing with grief was my relationship to self and others. Understanding the power of interdependence, not just from a mental perspective, but a deep, deep understanding of the importance to be strong and soft. What had happened in my life for most of my upbringing was victim mentality, always needing to be saved, feeling this disconnection from my power, not having self confidence and not knowing how to soothe myself in terms of the hermetic principles, there is the law of rhythm which states that energy acts like a pendulum.

Because I was so far to the left in victimhood when I swung the other way into the sense of power and feeling capable and confident, it got out of balance because at that point I was like, I don’t need anybody. I can do this all myself and I’m strong and I ended up putting up a bit of a wall. So after losing two family members being isolated in that process, truly seeing the importance of community and gathering together. The importance of family and the importance of friends, not needing to do everything on my own and leaning on others. I decided that it didn’t make sense and it wouldn’t be healthy for me to isolate any longer, especially when I knew two of my family members were declining rapidly. 

So it was a week and a half ago. On a Tuesday I decided, you know what, I’m going to just book a flight. I have a feeling that my grandmother is going to pass any day. I wanted to be there for my mother. I miss my dog and I felt a calling to be there for my grandmother. Just as much as I wanted. Closure was that interdependence. I knew that I needed to be there for the transition of her death and that would be important. She got life activated a year ago and I was able to have her initiated by a friend before she passed just in case I couldn’t get out there. So I’m very grateful that she was supported energetically, but there was still a lot of regret and emotions I knew that she was holding on to that was making it difficult for her to let go. 

When I tuned in, when I flew from SFO to Logan airport, I wasn’t surprised to have pretty much my own private jet. There was no one on the plane. I felt really safe and as I walked off the plane to retrieve my luggage, I noticed the sea of unoccupied seats and just a parade of screens blaring about COBIT 19 it felt kind of like a weird movie I was in, but finally I felt a sense of relief when I got to my grandmother’s home and I held her hand and she clenched my hand back and there was the sadness for the loss that was undoubtedly permeating the room joy and sorrow for the fact that I could say goodbye to her, but that I was saying goodbye to her. 

She was such a kind and generous woman. She resembled a little fairy elf who loved the garden, loved to cook. She had an obsession for cleaning. She was the queen of disinfectant before Covid hit. And I feel like I’ll always associate her with the smell of Pine Sol. She had the cutest giggle and when I was there, you know, she, she wasn’t the same. She was definitely between worlds, but coherent enough to know that it was me.

Her body was still warm and her hospice bed was in the middle of the living room. I decided to just lay it down with her and ended up falling asleep in the hospice bed, just holding her and I could feel that she was uncomfortable and that she was dealing with this transition.

I should also mention in terms of my experience, as soon as she gripped my hand, I felt this electric current that seemed to induce this waterfall of untouched grief I had been holding inside my body for who knows how long and they were just so many memories we shared and memories of life, memories of those I didn’t get to say goodbye to. Tears rolling down my cheeks as it made peace with hover along our short, this process of watching her death would be, or rebirth if you want to see it that way because that’s truly how I see it, but doesn’t make saying goodbye any less painful. 

A year ago when I was visiting, she was not doing the best, but I could have more conversations with her. This time around, there was nothing that she could really say, but I sensed that there was a lot of regret. But she was holding onto and I had heard from my mother and my aunts and uncles that she had been talking about the way she never stood up for herself and things she wished she had done differently. So there was that tone in the room that, you know, there was something that she didn’t get to deal with and she came from a different era. Something to acknowledge is that she raised six children, had many grandchildren, and had never really done that kind of inner work.

That’s more popular now to take that time to look at your own belly button, consider your thoughts, meditate. This is much more popular now. But back in her time, it was a bit more dense and focused on the physical. And yes, there were some people that were pioneers and practicing Buddhism and Zen and different spiritual practices that existed that you could dive into. For many it was about survival and and focusing on the home and the children. So this is something that I was able to sit with about my lineage, about all the women that came before me probably haven’t been doing the kind of personal work that I’m choosing to do that I feel called to do, and the power of grieving.

Not just a person, but the pain that’s held within family lineage that is finally releasing as that person is passing is so powerful. It’s so potent. It’s really difficult to put words to. So there was a sense of graduation, that she was graduating from the pain that she held in her body in that form of regret. 

My grandmother held on for five days. On the fifth day, it was a Sunday night. My cousin came into the kitchen and said, can you come here for a second? My aunts, my uncle, myself and my cousin and my mother, we all stood around the hospice bed and it was then she took her last breath and we were able to be there together and it was very magical. I felt a lot of energetic and angelic support come into the room. I have never witnessed a physical death before and to be there it felt very special and it felt like an honor to watch that process unfold.

And to be able to say goodbye was very interesting because my dog was with me on the last two days we reunited and she wouldn’t go near the bed until she passed. She even went to pay her respects and she went towards her body, before they came to take my grandmother to the funeral home. 

So whole journey was very different and to have that kind of closure felt amazing but heavy too. Cause it wasn’t like, Oh the grieving process is over. There is still so much more to unpack and to feel. Grief is an enormous process and I was reminded of that once again within 36 hours, losing my uncle, this was my father’s twin.

We grew up within eight minutes from each other. So as was close with my cousins growing up, we spent a lot of time together and I hadn’t seen him in a while again, since moving out to California. I was hoping to see him before he passed. He had stage four cancer. I was happy to hear that he passed peacefully surrounded by his family and while I missed him just in time, I was planning to see him that day. I’m grateful I got to connect with him through FaceTime a couple of weeks prior and to be with my family and to know that I could be home for both funerals. 

So this, this heaviness, you know, it’s something I’m still moving through and decided to take time off of and so grateful that this is going on in a time where I can prioritize grief. I can make space for grief because normally maybe I wouldn’t. And that’s been a huge learning lesson is that this mantra that’s moving through saying you always have time for grief. You always have time for grief. So I want you to think about that. Is there something going on in your life?

It could be a person that passed years ago that you never gave space to fully grieve. Could you give space to it now? Or could be grieving the loss of your business or grieving the loss of needing to lay off people in your company. If you’re an entrepreneur, grieving the loss of unemployment, grieving a loss of income, grieving the loss of relationships that are changed, the loss of intimacy and physical connection.

There’s a lot that we’re grieving right now. Like I said, individually and collectively, but we always have time for grief because if we don’t make space for grief, it gets suppressed, gets lodged in there somewhere and it becomes trauma that lives in the body. Our being feels less full of vitality. There’s less tingling and sensation because in order to operate, we have to shut something off. 

So I’m reminding you that you always have permission to open up these spaces. When you feel safe to move through to examine and that grief, you have to metabolize it as it comes. It is the heart’s job and the heart can only do much, only do so much at in, in within the time, within the space, within the knowledge and the wisdom and the tools that you have.

So it’s an ever evolving process, but to invite it in as it comes up to let it move through you and out.

This episode is dedicated to those I love that are no longer physically here with us. My Nana, Mary Leahy, my uncle Tony Lee, my grandmother, Rita GRE Poso and my uncle Kevin Leahy. I know that they’re here in some other form watching over us, supporting us in this ever evolving human progression we’re going through on a mass level. I feel their love and I’m sending love out to you as you go through your grieving process. 

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