“Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can.”-Arthur Ashe
A pitfall of life is getting caught up in the race to be more, be ahead of the game, be pushing for the next whatever, be comparing ourselves to the past…essentially occupying any moment other than the present.
Grief doesn’t mesh with a perspective like this. Grief demands presence in the current moment.
Without the mindfulness of the moment, we risk ignoring our grief needs, acting like we are okay when we aren’t, or convincing ourselves that our loss wasn’t as big of a deal as it is. Grief requires us to be where we are and to heal we must know where we are starting this journey not just where we want to end up.
We have to take stock of the tools and support networks available to us, not those we wish we had. And we have to use them to the best of our ability. If we don’t have a supportive group around us, there is no use in pretending that we do. If we don’t handle life changes well or suffer from anxiety, there is no use in pretending we don’t.
To really be one with grief, we have to meet it where it stands. We have to meet ourselves in our actual emotional condition. We have to face our situation with a realistic view. We have to be honest about the resources we have and those we don’t, and we have to use them the best way we know how at the moment.
Grief doesn’t call on us to become superheroes who can surmount difficult emotions with ease and do everything without help. We don’t win prizes for barreling through grief and “moving on” faster than other people. We don’t get awards for being rocks that never break despite emotional turmoil.
When it comes to grief, we can only do what we can do. We have to start at the beginning, the beginning of this post-loss life, the beginning of this new relationship with grief. We have to rely on the tools and people around us, which change with time. And throughout the journey, the very treacherous and unpredictable journey, we can only do what we can do to heal.
Start small. Start simply. Do what you can, one step at a time.