Our relationship with grief is one of the most intimate journeys that we will ever have the honour of experiencing. It begins when we leave the safety of our mother's womb and are forced into the cold, bright room called life, humans all around us celebrate while we, scared, hungry and crying, are desperately searching for the sound, smell and warmth of our mothers.
It has always been there mostly lurking around corners and not coming out unless we experience another significant loss. And as we spiral down inside the emotional swirl, we often shame it for being so bold and evasive. Hoping that it will just go back into its corner and not remind us of the things we lost.
The unfortunate reality of this is that grief rarely does as it's told and when we least expect it, grief swoops back in and knocks the breath right out of us. And it happens to us over and over again. So I wonder, what do we have so wrong about this grieving process and what could we possibly do to attune our meaning-making to its message?
Much like that wee baby perhaps the goal is to search for the smell of it, the sounds of it. Perhaps grief is asking us to engage in a sensual journey with our vulnerability.
Perhaps grief is asking us "What does your anger sound like, how does it move, what does it look like?"
Perhaps grief is asking us "What does your heart sound like, how does it want to be held, what song is it trying to sing?"
Perhaps the point is that grief is a sensual experience.
Grief is a lifelong journey that demands visceral experiences of gratification. It is why we breathe into their shirts or sleep with unwashed pillowcases. Why hearing their stories told to our children warms our hearts. Why grandma's recipes always remind us that we once belonged to someone.
These sensual experiences are balm to a grieving heart.
This is why grief, like pleasure, is a beautiful gateway to remembering ourselves back home. It reminds us of what it means to be whole, it is in this kinship with grief that we can begin to know what it means to be alive and whole again.
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