Abode of Grief and Love

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“Sometimes you hear a voice through the door calling you… This turning toward what you deeply love saves you”. ~Rumi  

Grief is a threshold, a doorway into an initiation as a rite of passage.  We are ushered into the sacred abode of our soul.  We are invited into the intimate chambers of the heart where the mystics reveal the trinity of union, separation, and reunion.  We suffer from the illusion of separation from our body, from one another, from our community and from the natural world.  This illusion of separateness is a gateway into the remembrance and reconnection with the intimacy of our soul.  It reminds us to live in death, to love in death here in our body.  When we are shattered by our losses we arrive in our loneliness, our solitude, at the door of grief, grace, and love.

When we enter our grief, the veils between the worlds are lifted. Grieving has a wild, untamed nature that takes outrageous vulnerability and courage to enter, to abide in, to sit in the fire and hear that soul language.  We turn from it, we run from it, we numb ourselves so we do not have to face it.  But it is us, we are turning away from the most powerful and profound essence of our primal nature. We intuitively have a felt sense in our animal body where this pain has struck. Pain, sorrow, sadness are alchemical elements of love, joy, and beauty.  They comingle in the alchemical soup of life.  Surrendering to grief rattles and shakes our bones all the way back before time, when we sat around the community fire and drank the grief medicine from our river of tears. 

Our grief serves us our greatest wisdom. When we ignite our bravery with the flames of our love we partake of the mystery it holds.  Our courage gives us entry into the sacred abode of grief, we bow, we kneel on that hollow ground stripped of all we thought we knew. We are submerged into an untamed, uncontrolled ocean of tears.  The first year after my beloved, Bill died I lived in a sea of tears.  I was ravaged by pain. I felt dismembered, in between worlds, not with the living. But only he died I couldn’t go with him, but I wanted to. I felt like I didn’t exist anymore, my inner compass, my ways of making sense of the world were gone.  I felt isolated and alone. I was struggling to swim in a river of tears as he was traveling to the river of stars. My grief was a mirror of what I’d lost.  My loss of him was more than I could bear. The rawness, the wreckage I inhabited couldn’t hold the immensity of the pain, but our love became a cave for me to gestate, to dig deep so I could harness my irrepressible, fierce nature that would give me the strength to meet each wave of grief and love with gratitude.  Slowly my mantra become Grief, Grace, and Gratitude and it was my gratitude for our love that carried me toward the next shore, and I am still on that journey. It is love that helps me be brave, to embrace what is emerging within me moment by moment. My wound was where the light entered me as Rumi so brutally and beautifully speaks.

Grief and love are the holy of holies ushering us into the inner sanctum of our being, cutting through all the veils, cutting through all the self-imposed judgments and limitations of who we think we are, of what we believe is possible. Even of what we think death is. When grief comes it shatters us, it shatters are illusions, it breaks us open to the mysteries that lie dormant within us, waiting to be seen, to be heard, to be felt and to be lived. Grieving is an intimate relationship with what has been lost, unfinished and sometimes traumatically ripped away from us. It requires our full presence, our participation, and our compassion.

“Come, come, whoever you are. Wanderer, worshiper, lover of leaving. It doesn't matter. Ours is not a caravan of despair. Come, even if you have broken your vows a thousand times. Come, yet again, come, come.”  ~ Jalaluddin Rumi - written on his tombstone in Konya, Turkey

 Rumi invites us to turn toward grief and love while calling us to surrender to who we are, and what we are meeting again, and again, and again. Lovingly encouraging us when we stumble, or fall, are broken, or shattered to turn toward - to cross the threshold into the abode of grief and love. There is a tenderness that grief ignites in us.  We sit in the fire of grief feeling the flames of sorrow burning our raw heart, slowly the flames become transformational waves carving new contours into our heart and life. It’s visceral, it’s palpable we are growing new skin and the raw bones are being re-fleshed. We are forever changed, transformed and renewed over, over, and over again. Our loss is still a part of us, and us a part of them different, but intimately present.  We carry them in our hearts and the legacy of their love lives on in us continuing to grow us, and them on the other side.

 "Grief can be the garden of compassion. If you keep your heart open through everything, your pain can become your greatest ally in your life's search for love and wisdom." ~Rumi

Our humanity, our humanness engages us in the pain, our pain and the global pain for our Mother Earth and our global family.  We are faced with the challenges and difficulties of being a human. Our relationship with the messiness of life can be a source of compassion, of loving generosity toward others because we are bravely being with what is.  We aren’t trying to run away from grief. We’re her to speak the truth about our pain. We're here to embrace, to embody all that we push away with love and tenderness. When we show up, even though we feel broken, feel as though we’ve lost our mind, our sense of who we are, but we just keep coming again and again to the moment we are touched by that love. It’s a sacred touch, a merciful touch and somehow it feels like the touch of our beloved reaching through the veils comforting us and guiding us home. 


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Grief Rituals - Soulful Offerings

There are many ways to explore the landscapes of grief, grace, and love. It is helpful to anchor what we are experiencing within, here on earth in form.  Something tangible that speaks from our heart and symbolizes the medicine we are receiving. Here are some possibilities to create an abode for grief and love.

Create a safe, sacred space that can receive your tears, your prayers, and any offerings. This sacred space can be inside your home, as an altar or just a nourishing space to sit or lie down.  You can also make a space outside if that speaks to you or both. I love waking up in the morning and offering a drink if water to our mother earth, and sprinkling tobacco or cornmeal on the rocks I’ve gathered as I offer my prayers, and talk to my beloved and the Holy Ones.

•    Lay down on the earth – Walk with the elementals.
•    Dream – Call on your loved ones, ancestors and guides during dream time for support and visions.
•    Journal – Write or draw in a journal your story, feelings, and experiences.
•    Rest – Practice yoga nidra to reset rhythm and balance.
•    Scent – Burn incense or anoint and spray with essential oils.
•    Altars – Create altars for your ancestors and your loved ones.
•   Touchstones – Choose a stone that grounds you. You can hold it and even put under your pillow.
•    Stone Cairns - Choose a group of stones where you can make offerings. 
•    Rituals – Offer rituals that feed your prayers for what you are letting go or calling in. 
•    Create rituals to honor your beloved ones.
•    Ceremony – Come to a ceremony to come home to the circle and the ancient ways.
•    Community – Find others in your community that you can connect with for support.
•    Music & Poetry – Listen to music that soothes you and read poetry that speaks to your soul.
•   Listen - to your needs and create ways that nurture you through the waves of grief transitions personal and global.

"Perhaps everything terrible is in its deepest being something helpless that wants help from us.  So you must not be frightened if a sadness rises up before you larger than any you have ever seen, of a restiveness, like light and cloud shadows, passes over your hands and over all you do.  You must think that something is happening with you, that life has not forgotten you, that it holds you in its hand.  It will not let you fall." ~Rilke



I have come to drag you out of yourself, and take you in my heart. I have come to bring out the beauty you never knew you had and lift you like a prayer to the sky.

There are many ways to connect and walk together when you're experiencing turbulent transitions and losses.  I can meet with you remotely over the phone, or during an individual session in person, or you can call in a ceremony:

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Deborah Sullivan