Every human being that is born will die. Being mindful of this truth may lead to strong feelings about the nature of life itself. Perhaps this quality of life – that all living things must ultimately die – is one of the few truths that unites us all. But if dying and death is so common and universal, why is it so much of a mysterious and troubling thing among us (Jenkinson, 2009)?
As we approach National Grief Awareness Day on August 30th, it is important to practice turning towards our grief, that raw and intricate tapestry of human emotion that becomes woven into the very fabric of our existence. For many of us, we deeply miss our parents, siblings, spouses/life partners, children, friends, and animals. Grief and love are two sides of the same coin, and grief reminds us of the interconnectedness of our worlds. When the people, animals, and things we love disappear from our view, yet still live inside our hearts, the soul cries out to be heard and seen.
Grief, though often shrouded in the shadows of discomfort, is an invitation to unearth our authenticity, to honor what was, and to cultivate resilience from the fertile soil of our pain. It is through our ability to grieve that we unveil the mosaic of our stories, complete with the shattered pieces that, when tenderly reassembled, form a mosaic of strength, empathy, and connection—a testament to the remarkable beauty of the human experience.
For as long as humans walk the Earth, we will grieve together. We engage in rituals and ceremonies, lean on each other for social support, acknowledge periods of mourning, tell stories and reminisce, express ourselves through art and movement, create memorials, practice burial traditions, join in lamentation and bereavement songs, establish ongoing support networks, and offer each other practical help. Grief is not a problem to be solved, but rather a process and truth to be lived.
Let us all practice together.
· Join our weekly Mindfulness & Deep Suffering Practice/Affinity Group (H.O.P.E.) over ZOOM on Saturday, September 2nd, 2023 from 10:00-11:30am (PT) for mindfulness meditation and a teaching on the benefits of grief retreats.
· Register for the upcoming monthly InsightLA Mindfulness & Grief: Moving Through Grief Together half-day retreats at Benedict Canyon Retreat Center on September 24th, October 29th, November 26th, and December 31st, 2023.
· All are welcome for our daylong grief retreat on November 19th, 2023 from 10:00am-4:30pm.
Brian Stefan’s inspiration and professional influences are many, but first and foremost is the well-known television educator Fred Rogers – “Mr. Rogers” – who reminded children of all ages: “If it’s mentionable, it’s more manageable.”
In our day-to-day lives, we experience a range of emotions. Emotions serve an important survival function by giving us information about what we need (such as boundaries, belongingness, etc.). However, some emotions may be highly-charged because they remind us of early experiences when we did not feel safe to share openly and honestly. The emotional and psychological safety to tell our story is a necessary ingredient for mental health and healthy relationships. Being able to trust another person with our truth can give us the resilience we need to cope during difficult times…. READ MORE