Monday Meditation: Step On In

“You can’t cross the sea merely by standing and staring at the water.”

-Rabindranath Tagore

Grief is huge. It’s an ocean. If we stopped to contemplate what was living in every nook and cranny of the ocean and what could happen to us if we went to varying depths, we might become paralyzed.

Grief has many unknowns. It has many depths, hidden nooks, and crannies that hide things that can pop out at any moment. The truth is, we may not encounter many of the things we fear or expect. And we won’t know the extent of our experience until we are actually going through the experience itself.

Staring at the vastness of grief won’t help you begin to deal with it. If anything, the “what ifs…” will make things feel worse and more insurmountable.

A lot of trust is required when you’re grieving. And a lot of surrendering to the unknowns. But without stepping into the water, into the grief ocean, we can’t begin the experience, and we can’t start to heal.

Grief isn’t something you can walk around. The only way to deal with it is to plunge in and slog through.

Grief isn’t always pretty, it can be dark and cold, and it can thrash you around. At the same time, you discover a way to float over the waves and maybe find that some scary things aren’t as bad as you thought they would be. Some are worse, true. But some are beautiful.

And, perhaps most importantly, you’ll find that you’re not as alone as you feel. Many others are drifting, swimming, floating, water skiing, or sailing through this ocean of grief with you. Maybe a few will even swim with you. Some may even give you a helpful ride for a time. And some random passersby may throw you lifelines along the way. Use them. That’s why there are there.

It’s a long journey, but the anticipation of starting may be worse than the reality of wading in.  

You won’t know what grief is like until you step into it.

Photo by Lukas on

Published by ancarroll

Alexandra N. Carroll is an author, grief advocate, crafter, mother, and partner. She writes on grief and self-care from her home in Vermont. Her forthcoming book concerns how to untangle life-after-loss through the creation of a strong self-care plan.

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