Grief is defined as sorrow, or to burden in old French.
Burden is defined as a load… to bear, which is to support or carry.
I am reminded of the story of two monks that go for a walk and come across a woman at the water who asked for some help crossing. The older monk picks her up right away to help her cross. The two monks go on for hours in silence, until suddenly the younger monk blurts out “why did you carry that woman across the water, we as monks aren’t supposed to touch women!” The first monk says “I set her down on the other side of the river, why are you still carrying her?”
What do we bear and why?
I do believe that endurance is an important quality to possess. However, when does endurance become burden, and then when does burden become sorrow? When you notice that your grieving something, you know its time to check into what you’re carrying.
Since I have been home from North Dakota, a lot of things have opened up in me. I am processing and learning more about the sacrifices made by people I am related to… who have given up things that allow me to live this life.
When I got home from North Dakota I started feeling a tightness in my chest that is just recently starting to go away. I have been thinking and questioning and trying to figure out where it was coming from! Was it the change in atmosphere, was it the lack of physical exercise over the week away, was it anxiety, or just the body processing from my experience.
Now I know, it is grief causing the tightness. I am grieving many things that I had not allowed myself to express in the past, and with my new awareness of sacrifice, I am also grieving many things from before my time here.
I closed my eyes this evening and was taken back to a time and place long ago…
When my warrior had went off on his horse to stand for our traditions and against colonization. My heart wept as he left and broke when I found out he would never return.
I am taken to the kitchen where I am cleaning up before dinner, watching the wind blow over the plains. Hearing the laughter of my children, only to find them gone when I go out to call them in for dinner. My heart full of worry and sadness as my only children do not return home to me that evening. My heart wept when they did come back and were no longer the same.
Waking up in the middle of the night, crying for my mother. In an inconsolable night terror, screaming for my mommy over and over again. My heart longs for her arms to be wrapped tightly around me, keeping me safe. My heart breaks when I do get to go home and she is no longer alive, and I can no longer be held by her.
I believe we are all connected, and the grief of my ancestors runs through me…I am connected to their sorrow because I bear their blood. However it is my ability and responsibility to process this grief and transmute it, not only for myself but for the whole collective consciousness.
The pain in my heart is intense, the sorrow from this burden is aged and has deep roots. But I will to grow and be the best version of myself I can be. This means I must process and grow from these sorrows. I see this shadow within, and it is now time to release it into the light.
I am realizing that I grieve for many other things in my life… ideas, expectations, friendships, relationships, love. The pain and sorrow I have felt and not dealt with in my life have become burdens that I carry. That I unnecessarily drag along with me, wherever I go.
What good is this doing, for me or those I love?
A friend told me yesterday, there is enough love in this world that I do not have to carry these burdens alone and that I do not have to hold on to them any longer. That I deserve to receive the Love I give out…and by holding on to these burdens I am not allowing myself to receive this love.
It was such a profound thing, to feel that it wasn’t my responsibility to carry these anymore, and that essentially it was never my responsibility. That by bearing these things I was keeping myself from so many beautiful things that I deserve. By holding on to the old things, I have not had room for new things to come into my life.
Since we are all connected, in me not processing through my sorrow… I am in turn creating a ripple effect that has the ability to affect others. I believe it IS my responsibility to confront my shadows and transmute them into light.
So I say to all of you, with the deepest love I can fathom… you are not alone, and you do not have to carry these burdens any longer. It is time for us all to look into our shadows and bring them to light… by doing this together we are helping each and every person to grow in love and light.
How much less suffering would the young monk had gone through had he not waited hours to share with the older monk how he felt. We need to remember we are all connected… and are meant to be here for each other.
Migwetch and Gizaagii’n
Raining in the Dawn Woman