Grief arrives to us in many forms. Loved ones pass on. Relationships move on. Seasons of life become a memory we revisit longingly. Our children grow older and we grieve the little people they were. We grieve past homes, friendships, pets and ways of life. And sometimes we grieve ourselves. We become lost. As if we are quite literally lost in a dark, wild forest not knowing where to begin to find our way out. Feeling the damp ground beneath our feet with every step.
Last month for Book Club we read Wild: From Lost To Found On The Pacific Coast Trail by Cheryl Strayed. It is a true story of how Ms. Strayed lost herself when her mother died of cancer. One day she sees a book about the PCT which plants the seed from which pivots her life out of the fog. Cheryl walks this trail alone from southern California to The Bridge of the Gods at the Oregon, Washington border. Finding herself beneath the murky, dense layers of everything that did not belong to her. Or better said, freeing herself.
"I was amazed that what I needed to survive could be carried on my back. And, most surprisingly of all, that I could carry it." ~ Cheryl Strayed
I think that grief never leaves us. But it has the ability to transform us, to move and align us with our soul’s path. We go through the process of feelings. And like the forest our colors change and fall. We become cold, overcast, snowy and black. Then grow rich, lucid and vibrant again. And sometimes we happen upon beautiful clearings with nothing but openness.
Do we need to walk over two thousand miles to move through loss? Yes and no. We need times of rest and to sit with ourselves. Then we need to stand up. Pick up that pack that has everything we need to survive. And to move forward. Listening to our soul’s whispers, guiding each step. Taking our cloud of sadness with us, until that time comes when we are ready to release it. Knowing that even as we let go, a small bit of sorrow will nestle itself in our hearts. As we become who we are.
"Where was my mother? I wondered. I'd carried her so long, staggering beneath her weight. On the other side of the river, I let myself think. And something inside of me released." CS
From the peak of the mountain we can look back and see how every step of the trail made perfect sense. There can be no highs without lows, no light without darkness, no happiness without grief. And we just might have to be lost in order to be found.
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