Silent Sundays: Yet Again…

In the last six months or so, I feel that I have been thinking continually about grief and loss, and their impact on—and perhaps ironically, their furthering of—the human condition. Of course, to mourn and question is part and parcel of the lot of every human being who inhabits this earthly existence. Sometimes, though, especially when losses seem to occur in a “bundle,” the sheer emotional and spiritual wallop seems uncanny.

On this Silent Sunday, I once again mull this matter because of a conversation I had with my sister last night. I had received a short, unexpected email from her that her bouncy, curious dog had suddenly stopped wanting to walk or eat, and was loathe to be picked up. My sister has masses of experience with and love for dogs, and does not panic when coping with their illness or injury.

Something about “CC’s” situation, though, made her think the end was nigh.

So, I called her. We talked about the heartbreak should CC pass, but also acknowledged that a sudden, swift, and peaceful exit would be a great gift for CC and for my sister. And further, we contemplated the seemingly inexplicable numbers of beloved dogs in both of our lives that had passed within the past few months.

The sense is one of a clearing-away: But to what end, and why at the expense of the beloved creatures?

By now, however, I have learned that the “why” of loss and pain is not a “real” question: That is, I do not expect an answer. I ask it to trigger a reminder: The circumstance—the death, the injury, the disillusionment—is but a beacon for Faith.

Certainly, that devotion to and full abiding of divine wisdom and mercy has helped me through… everything. When such a gift is bestowed, must it not be shared? 

To that end, I reprise a post from earlier this year. I wrote it five days before my mother’s passing; as it turned out, her leaving this life was the first of many losses to come in the few months since. Most of these grief-striking situations have been born by others; in response, my heart heeds the call to offer solace by way of Faith.

The arm movement of the original meditation was a bit more elaborate; today’s version delves directly into the essence of the practice. Should you need a bit more background, settling, and tuning-in, you can find the full narrative and meditation at:

You may use the following meditation to ease another’s pain or to help them through transition. The key is to hold the person in your heart and mind: As you connect to your sense of divine presence, imbue your recipient with that same strength and peace.

As always, a few warm-up movements—e.g., spinal flexes, shoulder rolls—will help you to sit more comfortably for meditation. Then, when you are ready, settle into your preferred seated posture. 

Lightly extend the left arm out from the shoulder: Let the elbow be slightly bent, and form a cup of the hand, palm up. The sense is that of waiting to catch a drifting, falling leaf. On this hand, make Gyan Mudra: thumb and index finger tips together. 

Bend the right elbow to bring the right forearm next to the body; the right hand is at about the level of the shoulder, palm facing forward.

These respective arm positions establish your willingness to receive divine wisdom, and your vow to channel it to your dedicated recipient.

With eyes closed and gazing up to the Third Eye, breathe slowly and steadily through the nose. Continue for 2-3 minutes. Use this time to affirm your intention: to soothe and support another as they face whatever ails or limits. 

Then, begin a gathering-sending sequence. 

As you inhale through the nose, softly, but fully extend through the left elbow, reaching further out.

Exhale to gently draw the arm back to its original, relaxed position. As you do so, extend the right arm straight up and out to an angle of 60 degrees, pushing the open palm forward and up.

Inhale to retract the right arm, as the left arm again reaches forward to gather divine wisdom; exhale to retract the left arm and extend the right arm out and away to send forth that energy.

Let this back-and-forth movement carry you into the aim and vibration of the practice. Continue for at least 3 minutes, but do not limit yourself. As this is a devotion to the Heart and Soul of another, guided by divine and universal energy, the practice ends only when it signals its completion to you: That signal will be personal.

When the movement completes, release the arms and hands, letting them rest how and where they may. Remain in stillness for as long as you like.

Happy Sunday…

Silent Sundays: Grief–The Process

When contemplating a direction for this Silent Sunday, my creative compass seemed to flit from North to South, then East, then West, and all the angles in between. The topic to consider was a given: My mom has passed, and with that, what else would I write about but that most human, most anticipated, and perhaps most dreaded state of Grief?

In addition to the “where to begin, and how to end” question, I mulled the tone that I wanted to sound: mournful, uplifting, accepting, questioning? 

What occurred to me is that all of the above eminently reflect the totality of Grief. There is not one trajectory, not one tone, not one pattern or sequence of “stages.” Further, whatever I wrote would not—could not—reflect even one other person’s experience of grieving. For each of us come with all the usual diverse suspects: sociocultural and familial backgrounds, learned and absorbed thoughts and behaviors; innate Soul tendencies; and most significantly, unique dynamics and experiences with the person or situation we mourn.

Not even those closest to us and thus also grieving will feel what we feel, when or how we feel it. Thus, to write about Grief entails grappling with a given in any human’s lifetime, while also acknowledging that that “given” will manifest differently for each of us.

To wit, this is some of how grief manifested for me in the past week: nausea, numbness, frenzied need to move—wild, unfettered movement. Also, erratic sleep, nightmares, short bursts of tears, profound urge to shower, and so much more.

Then, within the past 48 hours, just before and after Mom’s passing, I wrangled with anger, guilt, and fear, but also joy, excitement, and renewed vitality.

All of which apparently are “normal” reflections of Grief. The trick, I think, is to find a way to hold strong in the midst of the rising waters and threatening waves. For they will come, and they will hit hard: For me, it seems a matter of “floating above,” of calmly calling out directions and encouragement to myself as I am tossed around in the surf.

And this is where my beliefs and faith come to the rescue. Divine Wisdom usurps ego and intellect when Grief runs rampant; the key is to receive that great gift without question. Step aside, and let that which runs through Eternity guide and protect in the way that only It can.

When Grief arrives, you may feel submerged in its torrent. Remember that you have inner resources and external outlets. Pray, if that feels right to you; be still and go quiet, perhaps outside; get down and dirty with ugly thoughts and feelings, and then make peace with yourself for doing so; and finally, watch yourself. Take a beat, step back, and observe yourself with the eyes and heart you would use with a dear friend. Handle yourself with the most tender, most loving care.

Happy Sunday…

Next time: Grief—The Practice