you & me

A Letter To Grief.

family{Photo credit: Shawnee Thornton}


Dear Grief,

It’s been a while since I’ve seen you. You silently crept in a few days ago unannounced, so as you can imagine I was surprised by your visit.

You seem to visit most when I am forced into stillness, when I have nowhere to go, nothing to to do.

When I am hurried, in a frenzy, busy… doing, I don’t feel your presence.

Or is it that you are always there, but in my hurried state, I manage to ignore you, push you away, pretend that you are not there?

I know you weave through our lives and are most visible when we lose something; parents, grandparents, babies, lovers, marriages, innocence, self-esteem, childhood, faith.

I know that you are here to remind us to feel. To go deep inside and let the rawness of these feelings breathe life into our hearts and souls.

It seems that this world has drawn us farther away from you. Always seeking, wanting, doing, so we can avoid you. Stuff you down. Smother you.

If we cover you up with our superficial layers, our outward smiles, our perfectly captured lives, will you finally go away?

Perhaps I should have listened to you when I lost my father. When childhood was stolen from me. When my innocence was taken without my permission. When my marriage fell apart. These were my secrets I wanted to keep.

I know that I have pushed you down so much that you have stored yourself in the cells of my body.

That you have been speaking to me through illness, pain and suffering. That you have taken refuge in my spine, my stomach, my nerves, and through my body you have been trying to reach me.

I am ready to listen now.

I am ready to crack my heart wide open. To go deep where I have hidden you away in shame for so long. I am ready to acknowledge you, feel you and let you go.

I have carried you with me for so long. I will no longer shut the door in your face and ignore your offerings of release and closure.

I want you to know that I appreciate you. Without you, I would not feel the depths of emotions that I do. Deep pain and sadness which brings me back to humanness and introspection, but also intense, overwhelming and heart-expanding love and compassion.

When you come to visit, I will invite you in as a guest.

I will offer you tea. We will sit together and talk about memories from the past. I know that by remembering I will finally be able to let go of past pains and free my body and heart from suffering.

I am ready now.

I hope to see you soon.

Much love, Shawnee


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Shawnee Thornton
Shawnee Thornton grew up in the mountains of Montana. Her family lived off the grid for most of her childhood with no electricity, indoor plumbing or running water. Growing up in this manner, Shawnee developed a lifelong love and appreciation for nature. She found her way to Boston, where she experienced life in an urban setting until she eventually settled in San Diego. Shawnee has a passion for writing, teaching and learning. She works with private clients to facilitate physical and emotional health, growth and well-being through the practice of Yoga . She is the founder of Asanas for Autism and Special Needs, and has published a book in December 2014, Asanas for Autism and Special Needs: Yoga to Help Children with their Emotions, Self-Regulation and Body Awareness. Her purpose in life is to inspire others and to seek out others who inspire her. Connect with Shawnee via this website, this website, or her Facebook page, and follow her blog.
Shawnee Thornton
Shawnee Thornton

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