Originally Blogging the Artist's Way. Thoughts, musings, experience of the 12-week course, January to March 2006. And after that?.... Life, creativity, writing. Where does it all meet? Here, perhaps.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

"Grief is a journey that knows its way"

When I wrote last week about what gives me solace, a couple of people who commented suggested that I might read some of John O'Donohue's writings. I recall the poem, "Beannacht", which Cate included in her blog tribute to him just after his passing. Lila suggested I read his poem about death walking with us, and, though I have encountered it in the past, I cannot find it right now. The only one of his books I could lay my hand on in my house was "Eternal Echoes". (One thing that has happened me in these few weeks is that my memory has been affected. My instinctive knowledge of my bookshelves has been erased or diminished greatly. I can't find my away around my own library. Strange and scary!)
In "Eternal Echoes" I read:

"Despite its severity, the consolation at a time of grief is that it is a journey. Grief has a structure; it knows the direction and it will take you through... Experience always knows its way. And we can affort to trust our souls much more than we realize. The soul is always wiser than the mind, even though we are dependent on the mind to read the soul for us. Though travel is slow on the grief journey, you will move through its grey valley and come out again onto the meadow where light, colour and promise await to embrace you..."

Read again:

"The soul is always wiser than the mind, even though we are dependent on the mind to read the soul for us."

I know this. My soul knows this. My heart knows this. My bones know this. We all really know this. The soul seeks out what it needs. My sister sought me out this week. She came up to stay a few days on Monday, and we followed her need for the sea, to put her feet in the sea.

Do you know the consolation of poetry? Imagine at a time like this having the sudden opportunity to hear Billy Collins and Seamus Heaney read together! We went on Tuesday evening, and that was soul-healing.

Yesterday, we worked in my garden, clearing, tidying, and filling pots with colour. My sister helped me make a space in which it is a pleasure to sit once more, and in the evening, we lit candles and torches and sat to welcome two friends for a visit.

We turned to our SoulCollage® cards. I seleced four cards to suggest what would support me in this grief journey. The first card I pulled was my "Caring Gardener", and I was so surprised! When I speak from that card, I'm reminded that, as I care for the earth, the earth cares for me and keeps me in contact with the cycles of life. (I share the full SoulCollage reading on my SoulFragments blog HERE) This is a really important part of the grief journey, I'm sure.

I know that if I were to return to visit this garden I visited in March, when the above photo was taken, those spaces will be filled with lush and colourful plants and vegetables. Prior to our mother's death, both my sister and I had spoken of our intention to make a vegetable-garden next year. It seems all the more important to us now that we should carry this out - on however small a scale, we both feel the need to grow something that will nurture.

I am trusting my soul to know the next steps on the journey.



At 31/7/08 12:56 pm, Blogger Deirdre said...

John O'Donahue's poetry, and all his writing, hold such wisdom. I met him once, at a book signing, and he was a kind, gentle man.

Connection with the earth is soothing; poetry and flowers and companionship are healing balm.

At 31/7/08 3:38 pm, Blogger Inland Empire Girl said...

I love the last line of this post... wise words. Connecting with poetry, gardens, and creativity are good for the soul.

At 31/7/08 6:36 pm, Anonymous Laurie said...

Growing things - so healing. Wishing you what you need.

At 31/7/08 11:57 pm, Blogger Elaine Williams said...

Wonderful post. All we can do is trust ourselves for the next step and the next. I wish you well. elaine

At 1/8/08 1:46 am, Blogger Alexander M Zoltai said...

Just shared this post on Google REader, FriendFeed, Diigo, and Twitter...

Thank you!

At 1/8/08 11:58 am, Blogger Naturegirl said...

Grieving is a wilderness experience.It looks and feels like chaos.I am honored that you found respite viewing my nature blog.

deirdre is so right in saying "connection with the earth is soothing"

I offer my sincere condolences for your recent loss. I hold you in my prayers.
hugging you NG

At 2/8/08 1:10 am, Anonymous tinker said...

Following the seasons in nature, growing and nurturing plants - that has given me much comfort and moments of surprising joy even during otherwise tearful times over the years. Wishing that may happen for you too, my friend. Though it sounds as though your wise soul is already seeking out - and finding -- the balm that will soothe it best - Seamus Heaney and Billy Collins, all in one night? It sounds as though angels may be helping to arrange some of those moments. I'm so happy for you, that such a wonderful night of poetry should be there for you, when you needed it~xOx

At 5/8/08 2:42 pm, Blogger Karen said...

We walk forward, through it, and sometimes we have to stop and experience it, feel it, taste it, cry it, talk it...and then we start moving again until the next stop. I don't think we ever get to the end of grief, but we certainly get to a place of ease...the loss never goes away, but it begins to soothe rather than distress.

At 5/8/08 4:43 pm, Blogger Alexander M Zoltai said...

Karen !

Your loving comment means a great deal to me !!

~ Alex

At 7/8/08 2:41 am, Blogger Julie said...

What a marvelous phrase. I will copy it for myself. Thank you.


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