Unfortunately, there’s no rule book for grieving. Without a concise text defining, “What to Expect While Grieving,” I am learning that almost anything is fair game.
As many of you know, my mentor, Mariah Gladis, passed away on July 7th. Mariah lived with the terminal diagnosis of ALS – Lou Gehrig’s Disease – for 38 years! She carried this diagnosis with grace, and dignity.
Mariah’s passing is a loss grander than any which I’ve personally faced. Mariah was many things to me – first client, then employer, then mentor, and ultimately, above all else, teacher. In truth, Mariah became like a second mother to me. She referred to me as her adopted daughter, and I to her as my Soul Momma. I am pictured here speaking at Mariah’s memorial – a magnificent affair which honored her well. In my sharing, I spoke of the greatest teaching which I took from Mariah.
When given the diagnosis of ALS, Mariah said that she knew almost instantaneously that she was going to need to show up for herself every single day in a kind, loving, and compassionate manner. She knew that this was non-negotiable if she was to stand any chance at living with ALS. Mariah did just that. And, it worked. In fact, it worked miraculously well!
I’ve been facing a myriad of emotions in grieving Mariah. In much of a wave-like manner – ups and downs, and all the in-between. There seems to be an underlying trend. A sort of lack of inspiration. The feeling that I am simply existing. Missing the ordinary sense of fire about myself which I know and love to embrace, and to share.
Extreme permission. That is the concept to which I’ve been surrendering. Permission to feel ALL the feels. And, as a bonafide over-doer, granting myself the permission to stop all the doing has been important. Emotional fatigue, I am learning, is also a very real thing! Trusting that, “This too shall pass …”
It is so fascinating to notice, and to feel, the voices that arise within my mind when I slow down. #1 Critic … that’s ME! I label myself as lazy. I question and I judge, “What’s wrong with you?!” Or, “Pull it together already!”
And then, I hear Mariah’s voice. She would remind me “your body does not deserve to take that hit.” She would encourage me to meet myself precisely as I am today – through love, and acceptance.
I have been granting myself the gift of much more ME time. Simply BE-ing, rather than reflexively dropping into my pattern of constantly DO-ing. This has required me to say NO more – to the people, places, and things that do not truly feed me.
This concept showed up the other day during my yoga practice. One of the ways in which I have been striving to maintain my well-being is through attending yoga regularly. The other evening, I took myself to my favorite outdoor class. I had a bit of an outburst which quite clearly captured my “doing less” mind-set.
As the teacher called some obscure shape, it quickly became clear to me that I was not interested in exploring the pose. In an almost reverting back to childhood-like manner, I blurted out loud … “I’m NOT gonna do it!” My teacher laughed, and she repeated me … “Ok, then! She’s NOT gonna do it!”
I felt liberated. Liberated for saying NO. Liberated for honoring what felt right and true. It was a mini triumph, of sorts.
As is true in the strengthening of any de-conditioned muscle, I know that it remains important for me to be diligent and consistent in exercising my “doing less” muscle. Granting myself the permission to be and to feel exactly as I am, with each passing moment, is just one of the ways in which I intend to continue to honor Mariah! I firmly believe that the only way to get on the other side of this grief is to BE with it. And so, I am committed to taking things one day at a time.
I would love it if my learning could similarly inspire you to consider the relationship which you have to DO-ing vs. BE-ing. Perhaps you too could stand to benefit from showing up for yourself in a gentler way. Join me in this endeavor, won’t you??