Grief, Loss, Praise, and Pandemic: Healing Through Community
You’re carrying the ghosts of your ancestors. No wonder everything feels so heavy.
I’ve realized there is much in my life I haven’t grieved. Grief is what we feel when we experience a loss of some kind. It can be a person, a job, a relationship, the inner dream of what we thought we would experience.
In Shamanistic cultures, it is believed that if one’s ancestors were unable to properly grieve, then that grief becomes a “ghost” attached to the next generation, and the next, and eventually the burden of grieving that loss falls to us. As a shaman, I understand the truth of this yet haven’t attended to my ancestral grief or even much of my own.
Where does un-grieved grief go?
Unattended grief of generations manifests physically as illness or dis-ease. I believe that my cancer was a result of generations of ancestral grief added to my own lifetime of grief and shame.
We carry the ghosts of our ancestors.
Grief and praise go hand in hand.
My family were stoic Scots and Germans. My father occasionally played certain emotional classical music pieces in order to be able to weep but otherwise claimed he was very happy in his life (he died alone after falling on his floor). My mother drowned her grief with alcohol (she died of cancer and organ failure after living several years in a state of dementia, probably Alzheimer’s). I am certain that neither of them received healthy modeling from their parents, my grandparents, on grieving.
According to shaman Martin Prechtel, the flip side of grief is praise. Or, they go hand in hand. (See his YouTube videos Grief and Praise 1-3 — very powerful) If you grieve the loss of something, then you are praising it at the same time. By your grief you show how important that thing (or person, relationship, pet, life dream, etc) was to you, to the universe.
Praise is essential. It is the acknowledgement that something is important to us — and to the Universe.
Praise is essential. It is the acknowledgement of how important something is to us. It is the acknowledgement of that thing’s essential beauty. It is the acknowledgement that that thing is important to the universe.
We cannot safely and properly grieve alone.
We have become acculturated to being alone in our grief.
We used to grieve in community.
We used to dwell in villages, tribes, communities that could help hold an individual while they broke down and grieved.
Irish wakes, professional wailers at Chinese funerals, African villages where the entire village stops and beats drums, sings songs, feasts until dawn — all are examples of how grief works in community.
Now we grieve alone — if at all.
Instead, we all walk around with ghosts attached to us, because our ancestors did not grieve and we do not grieve. These ghosts become a heavy burden. We carry the burden alone because we have lost our villages, our communities.
The ghost attachments also keep us from properly praising. How can we acknowledge the beauty and sacredness of life when all we feel is the heaviness of loss?
The added burden of collective grief.
We also carry a collective grief, the loss from collected humanity of what we came here to be together. As humans, we are not showing up in the way we intended.
No wonder there is so much depression (lack of expression of grief and praise) among so many people. No wonder so many people seek, as my mother did, to blunt the sharpness of their burdens with alcohol or pain killers or other mood-altering substances. No wonder so many people are sick in spirit and body.
So how do we heal this? How can we grieve our losses and praise our lives?
A gift from the pandemic.
The pandemic has given us a gift. We are in a collective pause. Yes, we are now separated from one another. That separation makes us feel the loss even more keenly of our connection to one another.
What is the first thing you want to do when the quarantines are lifted? You want to be among your people — friends, family. Your community, your village.
In the meantime, we each have the gift of acknowledging the loss of community that we feel. Together, we can mourn that loss because it is a collective loss. We all feel it. We all now feel how we are designed to live — in a community that is mutually supportive.
One of the powerful gifts that can come from this pandemic is the re-formation of such mutually supportive communities. Now that you know what you have lost you can seek to create it. Now that you know what you have lost you can praise it for its importance to you. Now that you know what you have lost you can grieve it, together with all of us, and lift that burden from your children and children’s children.
You will get through this. You are stronger than you realize
I can assist you with your grieving process, provide a witness to your grief, and help you unburden yourself from ancestral “ghosts”.
Get perspective and personalized practices to assist in your grieving process with a Channeling Session.
Get professional assistance unburdening your ancestral grief with a Shamanic Energy Healing Session.