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Love and Grief: Two Sides of the Same Coin

Lately I feel more open to write about personal thoughts without indulging in the details – broad and open. It is more cathartic that way. This blog has become a resource to really process these thoughts and I appreciate those that take the time to read. We are creating community.

During my yoga class yesterday morning the teacher expressed the importance of acknowledging emotion, rather than running from it. “The Divine gave us emotions and we should not ignore them,” Amy Ippolitti says. She asked us to expand outward with our arms and legs in certain poses to let the emotions move through our bodies. While I am getting better at standing back to observe what happens in my emotional body, it is tough.

This week is tough. Someone very close to me is starting treatment for a serious health crisis and we are in a maelstrom. It is also the week that I decided, months ago, that I will end the thirteen-month breastfeeding journey with my son. My body physically feels the effects of loss. While it is not the grief one experiences with the death of a loved one, it is the grief that comes with loss of a previous life.

I want to pause to write a few words about breastfeeding and grief. In the last year I encountered numerous stories from friends and family who experienced some level of grief in their nursing journey. It made me realize that we cannot avoid these feelings no matter how hard we try. There were women who could not nurse past a few weeks, women who needed to discontinue because of health problems, and women who nursed for nearly two years and said “goodbye” to this sweetness – we all experienced some level of grief. Now I have my own. This morning I nursed Arlo for the very last time, and as my sweet little boy patted his small hand against my face, I felt a sense of closure. It is time.

Words can be so insignificant because they are only symbols of actual feelings. They are stand-ins for the real thing. Because of this, the word “grief” will have a different meaning for each person who uses it, no matter the definition in the dictionary. Words come with personal histories, memories, and feelings. When I use the word “grief,” I do not tend to combine it with “despair.” That is another sentiment all together. Grief is a valuable emotion that can illuminate the places most important in our lives. It is a deep form of love.

In less than two hours I leave for my first yoga retreat. I will drive through the glorious Shenandoah National Park to find my way to Yogaville – Satchidananda Ashram for Faith Hunter’s Spiritually Fly: Master Your Soul retreat. I planned this trip months ago, but now it seems incredibly timely. An ashram is a place of religious/spiritual retreat, originating out of the Hindu tradition, but Sri Swami Satchidananda (Sri Gurudev) founded this ashram to welcome people of all faiths. The central building is called LOTUS: Light of Truth Universal Shrine, and includes a meditation space for each of the major world religions. He wanted Yogaville to be a place of retreat for all of us.

I feel my spirit called to retreat. While a few weeks ago I looked to this as an opportunity to learn more about Faith Hunter’s work, I see that this weekend is necessary to prepare for the next steps in my life, which include supporting a few people very close to me as they embark on a difficult journey.


Here is my prayer for all of us today:
Let us be light. Let us find love in grief and extend it outward. Let us find peace and strength to actively use this love that connects us together.

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