And inhale too. But the inhale is automatic; the exhale needs concentration. And without breath, there is no peace.
Some days there’s too much to be done. I keep remembering that biblical injunction: Sufficient unto the days are the troubles thereof. Well, sometimes the troubles are more than sufficient. Particularly as I struggle with grief.
You have to keep an eagle eye on grief. When is it grief? When does it tilt toward depression. How do you honor the grief and stay faithful to yourself? How do you deal with the grief and the what the world needs? Luckily I have a great team of PCP who are tracking me: watching my BP, holding me accountable to exercise… (must get in pool today. must. must.) So easy to postpone. Work, Inertia. Grief. Inertia. Hello, Exercise, Oxygen. Come back, WW. Count those points. All of which needs to be balanced with staring into space.
If there’s anything I’m sure of, grief is a physical activity as well as one of the heart, soul and mind. Careful with those fragile bodies. I’m not at all sure we don’t need to resurrect some of those Victorian grieving traditions, to look at cultures that mourn well and see what we need to take on. “Getting on with life” is not only overrated, it’s ridiculous. Absence is as real a thing as presence. It’s disorienting. All that energy, dispersing into the universe. They’ve just discovered that energy carries memory. Wild science fiction as truth (and metaphor) as a person’s life swirls past you on their way out the door. Is it ridiculous to consider being present to Absence?
On those days when those memories lay you low, you want to lay low. But sometimes life, insistent and constant, has other ideas. Just because your heart is breaking doesn’t mean someone else’s life isn’t falling apart. And sometimes, not always, you have to be there with your hands out to catch someone before they hit the ground. That’s hard. That’s life.
When that happens, you have to try and remember the beauty. You have to lean on your friends. You have to get a good night’s sleep. And, in my opinion, you have to help out. Because folks need you. You may not be graceful. You may botch up the catch. You may need to keep a list of references on hand so you can find other support for folk who look to you for help.
And as you offer a steadying hand. Look for the beauty that inspires and supports you. Life. A fragile boat. And the hands on the oars are uncertain. But on we paddle. And hold the sweetness close.