Grief Is the Alchemy Inside Every Death and Rebirth.
We mostly tend to think of grief in terms of fresh grief, the kind that happens when someone dies, a relationship ends, in sudden illness, shocking news, big transitions, after an accident and so forth.
It’s a natural reaction to all forms of loss and change.
Fresh grief is something we tend to make slightly more space for in our culture, which does not necessarily view sorrow, or the bereaved, as worthy of love. So, even fresh grief can be seen as a problem, rather than a process, that we need to do something about.
The lack of a cultural mythos of grief as process causes even some portions of our fresh grief to slip into the cracks of our psyche where our hearts harden and our bodies freeze in tension, to protect ourselves, and often others, from our deep sorrow of what has been lost.
There is another kind of grief too — the unmetabolized and unacknowledged grief of all that we’ve lost and survived in our lives.
This is the grief that was never honored, given space for, named, felt, heard or met with any kind of compassionate understanding from others or the world around us.
This often gets triggered in the face of fresh grief, which can feel super confusing and overwhelming at times.
Old grief includes our losses in early life, and also trauma, which in its core carries the grief from the ruptures it caused.
Old grief can include all the failures, disappointments, needs that were never met, the mirroring or validation we didn’t get as children, the lack of true safety as well as all the other things that we will never be able to experience in our life.
It also includes grief of lost parts of ourselves or the letting go of things we couldn’t even name because we’ve also lost connection to our roots that carry the symbolic language of grief as love, healing and a vital energy connecting us to God, love, vitality and aliveness.
This more chronic kind of grief builds up over time and constellates as many of the symptoms we know well and pathologize from internet armchairs or project onto each other as shadow.
The more old grief there is, the more disconnected we tend to feel from our hearts and bodies, our desires and needs or life and love in general.
We’ve developed strategies and tools to deal with the tension created in our systems between us and this chronic grief. We seek out pleasure to escape the pain.
We’ve developed ways to access our sensuality and our sexuality as a form of escape, in reaction to pain, not as a loving foundation for holding our wholeness.
We’ve substituted the image of the Eros for the real thing. Much of our love and desire isn’t able to root into the depths of our hearts that holds so much aliveness and intimacy within its cracks and losses.
Chronic grief, when it isn’t named, can keep us trapped in a loop of searching for a way to fix ourselves, numb ourselves or to transcend ourselves to get away from this very deep ache in our hearts.
It is this ache that tends to unconsciously inform our quality of consciousness, no matter how much our ego may identify with being conscious that has us repeating core things. It’s not something we can get out with tools or something we can even fix, and we can sense that ache nonetheless.
When no one can name this ache, we experience it as shame.
These old, unmet griefs are trying to make themselves known so that love can rush back into our hearts and heal us. So that we can once again make contact with the utter aliveness of being broken open by loss, by all that we have survived, by all that will never happen, by all the versions of us that shed so we can discover who we really are.
These griefs are the alchemy inside every death and rebirth we go through in this life.
So we can reclaim feeling that intimate connection with life, love and light pulsing through our veins.
This is true in fresh grief and the chronic grief.
Mostly, this deep, deep ache within, that carries all the old grief, is longing for reclamation and recognition in order to merge with what else is possible in the center of our broken hearts.
And, the prayers of life that want to be lived through us.
Breath by breath.
Tear by tear.
Step by step.
Day by day.
Dr. Mia Hetenyi is a psychospiritual healer, soul mentor and writer. She has carved out her own path based on 20+ years of clinical experience and an equal amount of time studying and practicing Buddhism, yoga, meditation, shamanic healing, ritual and energy healing. After recovering herself from addiction and experiencing an awakening to her soul, she fused her knowledge of psychology and trauma with both her studied and lived experience of shamanic and Buddhist healing modalities, creating an innovative approach to healing the soul wound at the root of so much addiction, shame and ongoing trauma. You can follow Dr. Hetenyi on Instagram and find out more about her work on her website.