Grief is fundamental to Spiritual Awakenings

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Posted on November 02, 2021

**Excerpt from my book W.I.T.C.H. to be published in 2022***

Once we choose the spiritual path of awakening and we have gotten a glimpse of who we are underneath all the external layers, then there is no turning back and it is impossible to remain unconscious. The more conscious we become, the harder it is to stay in our comfort zones for too long because we will recognize when we are hiding, playing small, or simply resisting what is.

Whatever the circumstances are that cause you to awaken-- your Saturn return, heartbreak, loss, or an enlightening experience -- you can rest assured that your awakening will come with a ton of different emotions. You can be even more certain that there is always a layer of sadness and grief that will be present. In some ways, you can say that the spiritual path and the path of rediscovering yourself is a path of loss. You will lose everything that isn’t who you are at your core or that isn’t for the benefit of the greater good.

Often, this grief is caused by the painful realization that you are losing the version of yourself that you have always known or you are grieving connections that were based on that old version of yourself. It is a painful realization and it can feel like your life is a lie and you might feel like you don’t know where you belong. Some, also call such an awakening the death of our ego or simply ego death.

Grief is an integral part of any awakening and why it is important to learn to embody it. If we don’t learn to embody our emotions, including grief, then our ego will continue to tell stories and pull us back into our conditioning, our fearful and chaotic thoughts, our avoidant tendencies, because our conditioned responses that feel comfortable to our nervous system.

Often times, there is no point in asking questions such as “but why couldn’t he choose me?” or “it shouldn’t be this way!” or “why is this happening to me?”. By holding on to our ego stories, our grief, or trying to figure out what should or shouldn’t be, we constantly put ourselves in conflict with what is and who we are becoming. We won’t always know why something is happening or what the purpose is or even what the lesson or silver lining will be; and sometimes things just won’t make sense in the moment, which is where we end up having no other choice but to surrender.

What makes embodying and living with grief even harder is that there can also be attraction and comfort to stay in the emotion of grief as it continues to connect us to our old self, our former life, or the connection we feel like we are losing. This is the same thing that happens when people lose a loved one and aren’t ready to let go yet. Allowing grief to move through us and to transmute can feel scary and like a betrayal, which is why many would rather stay with what is familiar, even if it is painful.

But we cannot heal if we cannot let go of our ego story and if we don’t learn to embody our emotions. Embodying our feelings does not mean shun or get rid of them, but to get to know them and befriend them. Embodiment helps our nervous system to get to know these emotions and helps us be with them in a more conscious and present manner. 

As we start to surrender to the different phases of grief, it is also important to get an understanding of who we are in the present moment and what it is that we are feeling – are you sad, angry, depressed or in denial? In these moments, it is important to feel into ourselves and ask what it is that our heart needs. This is how we learn to embody our emotions. We might want to embody our anger by releasing guttural screams, by letting ourselves ugly cry and punch a pillow or maybe you just need to comfort yourself with a blanket and hot tea. 

By having a more authentic ego self and a greater understanding of our true self and our needs, we can allow space for what emerging for us and within us throughout all of what life has in store – the good, bad, and sad. For that reason, grief cannot just be very hard but also very beautiful. We as humans have the capacity to hold very many different emotions simultaneously and grief actually almost always comes with a tremendous amount of love. The depth of our grief is evidence of our capacity to feel love, because there is love in pain. You simply cannot feel one without the other.

So, when you are faced with grief as part of your spiritual awakening, learn to make friends with this part of yourself. Grief, just like any other emotion, will take up space regardless, so why not learn to let it flow through you and let it open your heart to more love? Let it open your heart to new possibilities and a new YOU. 

And remember, our spiritual awakenings, transformations, and evolutions are certainly not always going to be pretty or easy, but they will always be worth it.