Sunday, November 15, 2015

Are we grieving enough?

I am an optimist. I see possibilities and miracles everywhere all the time. Where there is a garbage dump, I can actually see a community permaculture garden. I needed to proclaim this upfront in order to avoid any kind of misinterpretation of my post.

A few weeks ago, I read this article about all the 'extraordinary things happening in the world' that went viral. I see it all too – the economy crumbling, an explosion of people wanting to quit their jobs, return to small scale farming, pull their kids out of school, taking active responsibility for their own healing - body and mind, individual and collective – which is what I call spirituality. More than just seeing all this, I am very involved in this work myself and am actively witnessing this day in and day out. Calls from people who want to see, support and be involved in 'Change' keep pouring in everyday.

In spite of all this, I felt that something was sorely missing in the article. I strongly feel that we are underestimating the momentum with which the old story is still gripping our lives – our thinking, our daily living, our behaviours and our habits; limiting and colouring our dreams and imaginations too. I strongly feel that the new content is still being written over old templates. Organic exports, organic monocultures, expensive organic supermarkets, excessively packaged (in plastic) organic fastfoods is one example. Unschoolers still looking to somehow join the 'mainstream' is another. 'Natural' and 'Ayurvedic' cosmetics flooding our markets today having so much toxins in them is yet another. Wendell Berry's 'In Distrust of Movements' elaborates this idea quite well. The language of the New is being co-opted by the Old.

I am writing this feeling a sense of urgency because talking only about what is changing could give a false hope that there is going to be some kind of a smooth transition into the New World. Cancer, parkinson and autism rates are going to rise phenomenally because of the toxins we are still pumping into the world in billions of gallons, many of them being persistent. What are we going to do with the plastic gyres and the nuclear wastes? Human race has wiped out 50% of all life on the planet over the past 40 years alone. The Climate Change ball has been set rolling and can't be really stopped by any kind of logical and planned action.

I absolutely believe that the New World, or the More Beautiful World, is emerging. I can totally see it with my eyes every day. I love to and I do celebrate that everyday. But there is a huge precondition to this 'Celebration'. And that is 'Grieving'.

We cannot truly and fully celebrate if we don't truly and fully grieve. Alongside recognising the New as it is emerging, are we also mourning the death of so much life and beauty everyday? Alongside recognising all the structures and the institutions and the attitudes that are causing this destruction, are we also seeing the same drama going on within ourselves? Are we accessing and staying with our pain enough? Are we having enough sleepless nights about all the violence and loss? Are we shedding enough tears?

I am extremely grateful for my PMS (the time just before I bleed) every month. It is the time when my soul connects to the World Soul. It somehow feels like I connect to some other larger being that is being assaulted. It is increasingly becoming a sacred time when I allow myself to grieve and embrace the experience as much as I can. When I am actually going through it, it is not easy for me to retain so much perspective. I feel like 'Damn, what is this horrible thing? Why do I need to go through this stuff?' I'm getting better and better at holding my awareness and perspective as I go through it. Slowly. Very slowly. But I'm grateful for this experience for I feel that the intensity with which I grieve is directly corelated to the intensity with which I am able to celebrate. I must say that the lesson actually came from my daughter.

Those of you who have been with Isha must have seen her cry intensely and grieve about an unmet need of hers. And in the next moment, even before her tears have dried, she can roll in laughter. I have seen many people witnessing this call it drama. “She is pretending. How is it possible to cry and laugh like that in the very next moment?” Once, a couple of years ago during my PMS, I got surrounded by, what I call the black clouds or the dementors, sucking all the happiness out of me. The inside and the outside worlds looked overwhelmingly dark. (This happens to me at that time of almost every month.) Rajeev, Isha and I walked down to the beach we used to live close to. I excused myself from the two and said I wanted to sit by the waves for some time. It was a weekday and a little after sun down. The beach was empty. I was going to try this out. I held my gut and gave out a loud cry. I wept uninhibitedly, trying to hold my awareness of my weeping as much as I could; not indulging in the victim story in my head, as much as I could. After just 30 minutes of doing this, the dementors had left. I ran up to the two, played and laughed the rest of the time there. That powerful experience gave me a new understanding about how intricately 'grief' and 'celebration' were connected.

There can't be one without the other. If we don't celebrate life, we can't really connect to pain and sadness and don't have much to grieve about. If we don't grieve, we can't truly celebrate.

As part of our celebrations, how about we also come together to create communal grief rituals?

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