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Grief Work: Love’s Saviour

“If we can’t befriend our grief, we can’t as truly and deeply embody joy or gratitude and the capacity to love in integrated fashion. Love, then, is forged from embracing and skillfully working with all our emotions.”

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Take a moment and breathe. Place your hand over your chest area, near your heart. Breathe slowly into the area for about a minute, focusing on a sense of ease entering your mind and body. Click here to learn why we suggest this.

Grief work is the mourning of unresolved, past pain in our body-minds. Clearing these historical love wounds frees our hearts.

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Sharing our grief with others is healing and supportive. Ultimately, however, grief is our own to bear, especially because any single grief event can activate what I call our “treasure chest of woes”—any of our ungrieved losses. Each loss, therefore, is an opportunity to clear out our hearts.

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The degree to which we’ve tended to our heart’s pain in years past influences the quality, duration, and depth of our current loss, and therefore the extent of our grief work. For this reason, every experience of loss is an opportunity to cleanse both past and present pain from our body-mind, to which this short poem speaks:

FLINT

Small sadness
You arrive
A flint, igniting

A world of woes

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In my breast.

The result of passing through wholehearted grief is to be able to love more deeply and broadly. This is because heartache is cleared by grief and because our capacity for empathy and compassion grows from heartbreak when we stay present with it. When we can embrace and strangely rejoice in our own grief, we can show up courageously for others in pain and help them into more love.

We gain this capacity for kindness by compassionately showing up for ourselves and being supported by others in distress. In this, we don’t so much try to fix another’s pain; instead, our empathy is able to connect with their depths to hold space for their organic migration into clearer waters. This doesn’t mean we have to stay silent; it does mean that our words are connected to our heartfelt empathy, which in turn is attuned to the somatic experience of the bereaved.

This comprehensive presence or attunement from another can be palpably felt. I think we all can sense this quality in another. We know when we are in their presence. They are the kind of person who has stayed present through the storms of loss and struggle in their own life without turning away, forging them into a living work of art, depth, and wisdom that can’t be gained through study or knowledge alone.

These people are the depth healers through times of collective crisis, holding space for the pain to be expressed and released so it doesn’t fester and contribute to PTSD, apathy, and the enduring suffering that result from not dealing with grief.

Grief is also intrinsically related to anger. The two are Yin and Yang emotions, respectively, and intimately influence one another. What we have not grieved will often manifest as violence, acting out, and malevolent anger. Allowing ourselves to grieve is therefore a form of self-care and a radical path to joy. Conversely, what we have not allowed ourselves to be upset about also can show up as perpetuated sadness, depression, and a muting of our vitality, which is a kind of numbing not to be confused with the muted (Yin) aliveness of healthy grief. Many will turn this anger against themselves, resulting in self-harm and depression. This dynamic is captured in the expression “depression is anger turned inwards.”

If we can’t befriend our grief, we can’t as truly and deeply embody joy or gratitude and the capacity to love in integrated fashion. Khalil Gibran conveyed it this way:

The deeper that sorrow carves into your being, the more joy you can contain . . .  
And is not the lute that soothes your spirit, the very wood that was hollowed with knives?
When you are joyous, look deep into your heart and you shall find it is only that which has given you sorrow that is giving you joy. When you are sorrowful look again in your heart, and you shall see that in truth you are weeping for that which has been your delight. 

Love, then, is forged from embracing and skillfully working with all our emotions. In particular, growing in love derives from the heart-breaking-open power of grief, such that grief and joy are different sides of the same coin. The more we care about things and people, the more we grieve when we lose them, which is inevitable. As a result, the more we grieve the more our hearts open and broaden, eventually filling in with compassion and empathy, as long as we stay open and process our difficult emotions effectively.

To hold back from attaching and caring is to suffer another kind of pain—that of not living fully. Grief work, then, gives us the antidote, the radical security, to care for our world and to live more fully. Grief work is psychic medicine to recover from life’s inevitable losses and disappointments. Because we have no sustainable choice but to grieve in the face of loss, grief is the portal into wholeheartedness and the other side of suffering: passion, creativity, connection, depth, compassion, and belonging.

Grief Does Us

Loss is humbling. Grief instills humility in us, the humility of not being in control, not winning, and of being taken down to the the ground, to the level of humus, from which the word humility derives. Grief brings the humility of vulnerability and openness, so long as we stay true to heartbreak’s breaking us open. Grief’s action to take us down and deeper, to slow us down, and to break our hearts open is how it engenders deep, abiding love in us. Compassion and empathy come with this territory.

Grief work confers another boon: it teaches us simplicity because it schools us in “doing without,” which is the letting go process. Grief is a kind of desert, one that ripens us into being more robustly humane. In grief, we fall away from many usual interests and distractions; we learn to survive and then thrive from this void. This way grief helps us minimize and thrive, as we gain more by facing our heartache than numbing it away with entertainment and frivolous distractions. This helps us reduce our carbon footprint and pollution of all kinds.

When we pass through grief we realize something else: we don’t grieve as much as grief grieves us. We also don’t choose (for the most part) how long we grieve. It shows up and stays as long as it needs to. There does come a time when we might gently effort ourselves out of grief, once we’ve endured its depths. In its nadir, grief transforms us by dissolving our pain, lightening our heart-load, and leaving the inner path from our core self to our expression in the world more clear and potent. Who embodies this clear and robust path, rich with “spiritual” groundedness and wisdom (gained from staying true to moving through pain), is the kind of person that can support others through loss.

To stymie grief is to sabotage love. It is also to consolidate pain inside us, which then acts like a radioactive toxin that continues to emit pain inside us and to the world. This taints every aspect of our lives, especially our relationships. This “radioactive” pain, however, is different from the pain we befriend and accept in embodied grief. Because the former is unconscious, it is expressed as violence, abuse, fanaticism, and misplaced anger . . . all of which amount to projection and displacement of emotion for a failure to embody the root of these disseminations, which is the acute pain of our grief.

We see, then, the importance of befriending inevitable pain once it has arrived.

Love’s Shadow

Grief is crucial for full-bodied, comprehensive love. For grief helps to mitigate love’s shadow that isn’t accessed, and many times is enforced, by the love we already have in hand. It may be that love is all we need, as the root cure for unnecessary human misery and the destruction we cause to the planet. Yet, because so many focus primarily on the bright and easier side of loving, love’s shadow—as the result of our failure to embody grief—continues to act out and wreak havoc.

We see love’s shadow, for example, in the violence perpetrated by some gurus, priests, leaders, “spiritual” pundits, and other luminaries — those who show their bright side without dealing with their darkness. It’s for this reason that when I used to seek out gurus and self-help speakers, I would eventually ask them all one, same question: “How do you address pain?” Those who sidestepped the question, or avoided embracing it face-on, were inevitably the teachers I let go of. Speaking of which, I now add practicing good thinking to the list of crucial factors to dealing with pain and becoming a sustainable lover.

Grief is not virulently dark. It only becomes infertile and lethal when we don’t accept it. When we do, it makes our psyche, and indeed our body, fertile—sustainable to grow more genuine and holistic love and care in the world — because this kind of love is made of integrated light and dark, joy and pain, just as Gibran relates.

Like plants that need both sunlight for their foliage and darkness for their roots, without addressing both the light and dark sides of love, we can’t thrive and become what we deep down know we are capable of in our heart of hearts. If we don’t tend to our inner work, we can’t create what Charles Eisenstein calls “the more beautiful world our hearts know is possible.”

Grief As Guru

For these reasons, we should not just try to get through grief, but pause with it. We can summons the courage and curiosity to see what it has to teach us by letting it have its way with us for a time. This learning, however, is not only didactic, but almost unspeakably somatic in the way that it clears our pain. For this, we only need to allow ourselves to feel and follow grief’s pain deep into our hearts; it knows what it’s doing and secretly promises to leave us better for it.

The great poet Rilke invites us to consider: “Why would you try to reject any discomfort, any misery, or sadness? After all, you don’t know what these forces are working inside you.” And for grief’s intellectual and aphoristic wisdom it confers, we can be aware of and reflect on how grief and heartbreak operate in us, as I have attempted to summarize in this writing and to which I dedicate more comprehensive coverage to in this audio.

Running from grief because it seems too painful is short-sighted. Embodying, accepting, and finding the most appropriate ways to address the painful emotions that come our way ensures that we become the fullest human beings we can. Our lack of wisdom to welcome and embody grief shortchanges our humanity and, in my opinion, is a root cause for our inability to generate the real-deal compassion needed treat one another and the planet more kindly.

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Consciousness

Full Moon In Aquarius: Rationality & Seriousness

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Take a moment and breathe. Place your hand over your chest area, near your heart. Breathe slowly into the area for about a minute, focusing on a sense of ease entering your mind and body. Click here to learn why we suggest this.

We are having a Full Moon in Aquarius on July 23rd/24th. It will appear the brightest on the night of the 23rd throughout most of the world and on the night of the 24th in the time zones East of Japan. This is the peak of the Lunar cycle that began with a New Moon in Cancer on July 9th/10th.

The energies of a Full Moon are strongest in the days surrounding it yet its astrological configurations also play a part over the following two weeks. You may start to see its themes slowly build up after the New Moon prior.

This is a period in which we feel a push-pull between two opposing signs, in this case being the Moon in Aquarius and the Sun in Leo. It can play out as either a conflict, an integration, or some sort of dynamic between the energies of both signs. The Moon reflects the expression of feeling and emotion while the Sun reflects the expression of ego and conscious self.

We may feel this opposition happening individually within us and/or we can also experience it play out around us; with some people (or circumstances) expressing the Aquarius side and others expressing the Leo side. In some cases, Full Moons can also reflect/trigger some sort of change or release.

Full Moon In Aquarius Opposite Sun In Leo

Leo season began 36 hours before the Full Moon and will continue until August 22nd/23rd. This is the sign of self-expression, creativity, love, affection, children, courage, vitality, passion, leadership, generosity, and playfulness. Ruled by the Sun, it is also about shining in our power and being in alignment with what really lights us up and gets us excited.

The negative expressions of Leo can be egotistical, self-absorbed, authoritarian, dramatic, stubborn, jealous, and hot-tempered.  As it is associated with seeking praise and attention, it can be demanding of respect and be boisterous without considering or caring about how others respond to that.

The Full Moon highlights and brings the energies of the opposing sign of Aquarius into this Leo backdrop. This is the sign of friends, networks, social dynamics, social issues, groups, teams, humanity, and being in the best interest of the collective. This energy is unconventional, idealistic, innovative, progressive, scientific, original, inventive, technological, reforming, and even revolutionary.

Negatively, Aquarius can be overly detached, aloof, unemotional, and very invested in the mind at the expense of the heart. Traditionally ruled by Saturn, it can also be unyielding when it comes to the ideas and perspectives that it has already decided on.

Both Leo and Aquarius have some similarities. They are ‘Fixed’ signs and therefore can both be determined yet stubborn. They are also both associated with originality and authenticity. In Aquarius, this comes from its unconventional and innovative attributes while in Leo it comes from being inspired by its heart centred self-expression.

Full Moon Quincunx Venus, Conjunct Saturn, & Square Uranus

This Full Moon is in a quincunx with Venus which has recently entered Virgo. Our feelings, emotions, needs, or domestic lives may be at odds with friendships, values, finances, pleasure, or matters of love. It can be hard to integrate these areas but being flexible and making adjustments can be the solution.

The Full Moon is moving towards Saturn in the same sign. This can reflect a serious energy and we may be faced with limitations, restrictions, delays, or obstacles. We or others may be emotionally distant, pessimistic, or reserved. However, this can be good for some sort of effort that requires discipline, structure, and orderliness. After the Full Moon period, some of these energies will be strong again on August 1st/2nd.

Following the conjunction with Saturn, the Moon forms a square aspect with the disruptive Uranus in Taurus. This is activating the square between Saturn and Uranus that is happening throughout the year which I’ve covered in previous articles. Themes around ‘old versus new’, ‘restrictions versus freedom’, ‘the status quo versus revolution’, ‘commitments/responsibilities versus liberation’, ‘elder versus youth’, ‘progressiveness versus tradition’ and so forth.

Jupiter Going Back Into Aquarius

Jupiter entered its home sign of Pisces in mid-May for a short stint as it is returning back into Aquarius on July 28th/29th. The planet of expansion, freedom, beliefs, perspective, education, is unrestrained in Pisces and gets to express itself more ideally in this sign. We have seen examples of this as many jurisdictions loosened up covid related restrictions during this period.

With it going back into Aquarius, a traditionally Saturn ruled sign with Saturn currently present there, Jupiter will be more inhibited until late December when it re-enters Pisces again. It’s possible that during this 5 month period may experience more restrictive measures return or new ones implemented. We may also experience this in different ways in our personal lives such as not being able to expand the way we’d like to. However, this might not be noticeable immediately.

The combination of Saturn and Jupiter in Aquarius (which began last December) can be good for building towards something or planting seeds pertaining to some sort of technological integration, social networking, collective or social pursuits, activism, new scientific approaches to things, and innovation.

Venus Square Lunar Nodes, Mars Opposite Jupiter

Venus will be in a square with the Lunar Nodes which will be strong from July 28th-30th. We may be reflecting on the past and future, or perhaps at a crossroads, when it comes to friendships, love, values, or financial matters. We may need to complete something and address what is holding us back  to help us move on and take a step forward in an evolutionary way when it comes to these areas of life. Venus is in Virgo so therefore discernment, details, practicality, health, organization, or efficiency may be key.

At this time Mars will be switching from Leo to Virgo while in an opposition to Jupiter. We may begin to feel the need to apply ourselves in a way that is more productive, sustainable, healthy, and clean. However, we can overextend ourselves and take on more than we can handle. This can also play out as conflicts around beliefs, perspectives, opinions, or judgements.

Mercury’s Superior Conjunction

Mercury will be in its Superior Conjunction on August 1st/2nd which is in an important phase of Mercury’s cycle with the Sun. From this point onward we may have a better perception around certain things that were seeded or occurred in the previous two months which may also help our momentum forward. .

Circumstances and developments that happen at this time can help us gain more clarity or facilitate necessary realizations to help us make the right decisions and appropriate mental focus. During this conjunction, the Sun and Mercury will be opposing Saturn which can play out as hindrances or the need to be pragmatic as part of this process.

Things To Consider

How can you balance or integrate your personal passions with the needs of the collective? How can you resolve any conflicts between leadership and a team or group? Are you experiencing any challenges or conflict between your heart and intellect? What areas of your life do you need to be more orderly, structured, disciplined, or take more seriously? Is there anything that you need to separate from? How can you apply yourself in a more noble way?

These are just some examples of themes that could come up or ways to approach this period; however, there may be other variations of this energy playing out as well.  If you wish to do any sort of intentional release, it is best to do so after it begins to wane following the peak or during the two weeks afterwards when it is waning before the next New Moon. The exact peak of this Full Moon is at 2:37am Universal Time on July 24th, night of the 23rd. You can click here to see what that is in your time zone.

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Consciousness

How To Embrace New Ideas & Envision A Better World

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Take a moment and breathe. Place your hand over your chest area, near your heart. Breathe slowly into the area for about a minute, focusing on a sense of ease entering your mind and body. Click here to learn why we suggest this.

In this video I explore how to look in our minds and bodies for resistance towards new solutions and ideas. If we are to create a more thriving world, what has to happen within us? How do we use new and emerging solutions in a pure form, without applying the old dominance or capitalistic stories to them?

It can, very understandably, be hard to imagine something different than what we’re doing now. Especially when we consider we don’t know HOW things would change or what will happen to the current life we’ve built.

What if real global solutions involve shifting our long term plans? How do we gain a sense of comfort and stability in challenges we seek to solve at their core?

Every time I’ve been faced with some pretty big changes I had to make in my life, if I ever sensed resistance in myself, I had to find it in my body as well as navigate it in my mind.  I explain more in the video below.

Dive Deeper

Click below to watch a sneak peek of our brand new course!

Our new course is called 'Overcoming Bias & Improving Critical Thinking.' This 5 week course is instructed by Dr. Madhava Setty & Joe Martino

If you have been wanting to build your self awareness, improve your.critical thinking, become more heart centered and be more aware of bias, this is the perfect course!

Click here to check out a sneak peek and learn more.

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Consciousness

Raising Our Vibration Through Compassion & Unconditional Love

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CE Staff Writer 9 minute read

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Take a moment and breathe. Place your hand over your chest area, near your heart. Breathe slowly into the area for about a minute, focusing on a sense of ease entering your mind and body. Click here to learn why we suggest this.

An internationally recognized nonprofit research and education organization, the Institute of HeartMath dedicates itself to helping people reduce stress, self-regulate emotions, and build energy and resilience for healthy, happy lives. HeartMath tools, technology, and training teach people to rely on the intelligence of their hearts in concert with that of their minds at home, school, work, and play.

It’s becoming clearer to many of us that working together with kindness, compassion and acceptance are the missing pieces for resetting humanity’s fast and furious trajectory into separation and division. It’s also becoming obvious that we cannot create solutions from the same consciousness level that’s creating the problems. Raising our consciousness vibration for drawing peaceful solutions is an undertaking that calls for kindness, forgiveness and an inclusive love that respects our differences.

A large portion of their research has investigated heart and brain interaction. Researchers have examined how the heart and brain communicate with each other and how that affects our consciousness and the way in which we perceive our world. For example, when a person is feeling really positive emotions like gratitude, love, or appreciation, the heart beats out a certain message. Because the heart beats out the largest electromagnetic field produced in the body, it can yield significant data for researchers.

HeartMath has discovered that  emotional information is actually coded and modulated into these fields. By learning to shift our emotions, we are changing the information coded into the magnetic fields that are radiated by the heart, and that can impact those around us. We are fundamentally and deeply connected with each other and the planet itself.

This is very important work, as it shows how the heart plays an important role far beyond what is commonly known. For instance, did you know that your heart emits electromagnetic fields that change according to your emotions, or that the human heart has a magnetic field that can be measured up to several feet away from the human body? Did you know that positive emotions create physiological benefits in your body, and that you can boost your immune system by conjuring up positive emotions? Did you know that negative emotions can create nervous system chaos, and that positive emotions do the complete opposite? Did you know that the heart has a system of neurons that have both short term and long term memory, and that their signals sent to the brain can affect our emotional experiences? Did you know that in fetal development, the heart forms and starts beating before the brain is developed? Did you know that a mother’s brainwaves can synchronize to her baby’s heartbeats? Did you know that the heart sends more information to the brain than vice versa?

All of these facts, published research papers, and more can be accessed at heartmath.org.

I recently came across an article published by HeartMath titled “Raising Our Vibration Through Compassion & Unconditional Love” written by Sara Childre, Pres. of HeartMath Institute and Doc Childre, HeartMath Founder. I thought I would post it below for those who are interested.

Vibrations

HeartMath and many systems use the term vibration in reference to the quality of thoughts, feelings, emotions and attitudes that are generated and influenced by our beliefs, memories, choices, environmental stimuli and more. For example, you often hear people say, “I had to leave that office, the vibes were so low it was draining my energy, or, “I felt a lift from being in her positive vibration.”

The vibration of our moods, attitudes, thoughts and feelings can rise and fall throughout the day, based on our actions and reactions to others, ourselves, or to life’s issues. The vibes we emanate to others and to the environment vary, based on our resilience for balancing our mind, emotions and disposition – especially in today’s dynamic emotional climate.

Lower-level vibrations can occur at every turn in connection with frustration, anger, disappointment, sadness, judgment, comparisons and much more. These emotions are part of being human, but it is within our power to shift out of these debilitating feelings into higher vibrational attitudes and perceptions.

An easy way to maintain a higher vibration is to interweave the qualities of our heart in our connections and interactions. These heart qualities include love, care, compassion, kindness, appreciation, forgiveness, and more. Anyone who experiences these qualities knows their power to lift our feelings into a kinder and more stress-free outlook.

Raising Others’ Vibrations

For evidence that the heartfelt intentions of one individual can raise the heart vibration of others, HeartMath cites studies it has conducted. You may be familiar with the study in which a dog’s incoherent heart rhythms became coherently aligned with a boy’s heart rhythms as he radiated intentional love and care to his dog. Go to Josh and Mable to read more.

Science tells us that human beings and all creatures radiate an electromagnetic field produced by the heartbeat. Our feelings broadcast like radio waves through this field. When you are in the presence of a group of friends, family or others, everyone’s thoughts, feelings and attitudes are intermingling in your immediate area — which HeartMath calls the field environment.

Another study, with 40 participants, explored the effects of being in a coherent field environment. The participants were divided into 10 groups of four people who were seated around a table. They were all connected to equipment that simultaneously measured their level of heart rhythm coherence. Three of the participants had been previously trained in the Heart Lock-In technique and were instructed to get into a coherent state at random times unknown by the fourth untrained person. Overall, as the coherent vibration of the three HeartMath-trained participants increased, the untrained person’s coherence level also measurably increased from being in that more coherent field environment.

Poised in Higher Vibrations

When poised in our higher vibration, we experience many benefits. Decisions and solutions flow more easily due to increased access to our heart’s intuitive wisdom; our discernment becomes more inclusive and our choices become clearer and more effective; it gets much easier to deflect frustration, anxiety, impatience and other chronic stress producers that strain our critical thinking and reasoning.

Most all of us feel more self-secure when in our higher vibrational composure, yet it can be harder to maintain in the midst of challenges and ramped up stress. We can learn to lift our vibration to meet challenges by adding heart qualities of conscious care, kindness, gratitude or compassion in our interactions. As these qualities of love move through our system, it lifts our attitudes automatically for the highest way to deal with the situation at hand.

Unconditional love and compassion are among the highest vibrations of love and are not subject to preconditions, limitations, or requirements of others. They serve the greater interest and benefit of all sentient beings and the environment in which they exist. Many people are realizing that unconditional love and compassion are from our higher consciousness potentials with the capacity for healing and attracting solutions for social transformation.

Uncountable numbers of people have experienced the benefits of compassion and more individuals are resonating with this powerful expression of love in these times of robust change. Practicing compassion is something we can do that benefits all, yet it takes heartfelt commitment to anchor this responsibility to the whole of which we are a part.

Summary of Benefits From Raising Our Vibration Levels

  • Increased care and kindness flow more automatically in our connections.
  • We are more clear-minded and self-secure in our choices and actions.
  • Our mind and emotions interact more harmoniously to suit our needs.
  • We deflect common stress triggers – frustration, impatience, intolerance, etc.
  • We are much more resilient and resistant to fears and self-doubt.
  • Our heart’s deeper care is not overridden by our disruptive mind and emotions.
  • The lift in our attitude wards off anxiety, excessive worries and overwhelm.
  • We tend to lift others and the environment when our vibration is up.
  • We are less judgmental and intolerant with others and ourselves, which prevents mega stress accumulation.
  • Lifting our vibration amplifies our intuitive heart feelings for better choices and outcomes.

Simple Exercises to Raise Your Vibration

(Adapted from exercises in the Heart Intelligence: Connecting with the Intuitive Guidance of the Heart book.)

How to replace lower vibrational feelings, such as sadness, anger, insecurity, anxiety, self-judgment, rejection, etc.

1. Exercise: Find a quiet place where, for a few minutes, you can breathe easily, imagining with each breath that your mind, emotions and body are becoming still inside. In this stillness, desire the uplifting feeling you would like to have, and as you breathe, imagine breathing this new feeling into your being for a while. Imagine you are creating it with your breath.

2. Another Exercise: When feeling low, just sit quietly and imagine radiating love, compassion and stillness into your mental and emotional nature. Self-care is often allowing ourselves to have a low moment without compounding it with self-criticism. When our light is dim, it helps to give ourselves the feeling of compassionate heart warmth that we would give a child or a pet that is infirm. Even if it doesn’t stop the pain, we know it can help energetically. If we feel awkward while trying this, it helps to ask ourselves, “What’s the difference in nurturing ourselves with compassionate intention than taking the vitamins and health foods we consume for self-care?” Or, “Why do we teach kids to put their hand over a hurt area and radiate sunshine from their heart to help it feel better?” We do this because it’s a natural expression of self-compassion, with benefits to their mental, emotional and physical nature.

You can soon feel a difference when doing these exercises, unless extremely challenged. If it doesn’t work the first time, be patient and simply try again later. Being genuine makes a difference. This activates your heart energy. Practicing for a few days in a row strengthens your capacity to reset unwanted feelings and lower vibrations.

Simple exercises such as these can do more to lift your vibration than you may think. Make it fun to consciously reset your vibration throughout the day and watch your spirit lift and the stress accumulation diminish.

Dive Deeper

Click below to watch a sneak peek of our brand new course!

Our new course is called 'Overcoming Bias & Improving Critical Thinking.' This 5 week course is instructed by Dr. Madhava Setty & Joe Martino

If you have been wanting to build your self awareness, improve your.critical thinking, become more heart centered and be more aware of bias, this is the perfect course!

Click here to check out a sneak peek and learn more.

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