Aha! I've just got it!
Well, I kind of did for some time now. But I decided to write about it, because I realise we tend to forget all the steps that take to learn something. Maybe it's because I've turned 40 this year! :-) Jokes a part, I often find it difficult to recall how I got an insight, specially the life changing ones. Because when I finally integrate it in my everyday, then I no longer need the track... But maybe somebody else might need it, so her is a little about my last AHA!-experience!
I've been told I've been grieving - apparently you can do that, without the loss of a loved one. I lost a lot this year, and my reaction has been long and painful. How do you deal with feelings? I did get help - all the help one could have - from friends, spouse, familie, and professionals. I am grateful to have a bright mind that loves learning and that helps me see things clearly. But in this period, this blessing was almost a curse, since I could understand so much in the cognitive way - that is, with my logic thinking. I knew all I needed. And yet, nothing could help the way I felt.
"Be in your sorrow" - in Danish "Vær i sorgen"- I was told many times, by many different people. And I stared and tried to understand what they meant. WHAT DID THEY MEAN? I had nothing but suffered long and much and I had no intention of staying in that hole, where everything was black and black.
What did IT mean? What does "be in your sorrow" mean? The question remained. And that's what I sat myself out to discover...
In All Saint day I went to church - a new one - my usual one was one of my losses this year. The pastor, a young intelligent woman, said something that became my first few clues to my answer. "The worst we can do is to tell someone who's lost a dear one: it will all be all right, it takes time, life moves on and so on. Even if it eventually does. It's much more healing to show your own sorrow, so that there's place for the other person to express her/his feelings. We're not always in control. When we allow ourselves, and when we accept our powerlessness, we give God a chance to help us in our sorrow. We give space for the other person to feel he or she is not alone. We're together, in our powerlessness."
"Saint Maria Rita"
The key words were: expression, acceptance, powerlessness, let go of control. I thought I accepted my pain, my loss. But somewhere I just hoped it would soon stop aching, and that life would be normal again. I tried all the positive thinking techniche I know, but it only made it worse. The problem was, I was trying too hard. I didn't have to do anything - I am powerless. So I decided to let go of my eager engagement into getting better. I needed sometime for myself, away of all the well intentioned help, which only stressed me more.
So when I decided to close the doors, almost everyone of them, I found a need to express my feelings. But I couldn't. Not really - not in their actual depth. Anger and sorrow can be very destructive, and for this artist's soul, it's very self destructive. So I didn't want to go there. Instead, it came in my dreams, in the most awful nightmares. My days were ruined. I reached bottom and couldn't do anything at all, other than sleep and eat, and sleep...
Then the next piece of the puzzle arrived. I was shopping for groceries, when I found these colouring books with the most beautiful mandalas. I was so glad just to see the motives that I bought it. I thought it was rather childlike to colour books again, but I decided to follow this little - and now - seldom glimt of interest. In the beginning it was hard to do it - I felt I was always choosing the wrong colours, the wrong pattern, and doing it all wrong! I continued and my harsh self critism diminished. I enjoyed working with the colours. The magic word her was: enjoy. It was about what I enjoyed doing. So simple.
Mandala: Truth's flames
Efter a while, I wanted to see if I dared to draw with my new markers and the fancy shinny paper I bought - and it became my last post... I tried to make a hopeful and helpful image - filled with positive vibes. Even when I tried, the gloominess of my state showed. I told a friend how disturbing this was. I really don't like making pictures that are gloomy and sad - I have this idea that my mission is to bring hope and joy with my art, to help other people. My friend gave me the next brick of the puzzle: "Why?", she said, "Why should you draw what you're not feeling? Have you thought that maybe you give other people the possibility of identification with your feelings? It might be just as healing for them to see it as it is for you to make it." The word was: rapporting. And you can't do that, unless you're in contact with your self and your feelings. Honesty towards our feelings is another bonus word.
Then last week arrived with a huge wave of sorrow - almost out of the blue. Might it be the blues? :-) It was tough. And I ressorted again to drawing, and "Rejection" came to life. It took me hours to fill the A4 paper, but it felt so relieving. And then the last tips of the riddle came along: when I'm drawing and giving my feeling an expression, I'm in my sorrow. Or rather I feel it going through me. When I'm finished drawing, I'm left alone again - my sorrow waves away for a while. So drawing is my way of being in my sorrow. And I discovered that it gives me peace. And I don't need to explain more.
In short my definition is:
To be in sorrow: to be honest about ones feelings, to express felings when they appear and rapport to other people's similar feelings, to let go of control, to seek and practice activities that one enjoys, to feel the sorrow go through one self as one practices one's choice of expression, whether it might be singing, dancing, drawing, writing, maoning the lawn or washing up!
I found a nice short description of the five phases of grieving, and if anybody should need it, her it is: http://psychcentral.com/lib/2006/the-5-stages-of-loss-and-grief/
The author says it very well: nobody experience grief in the same way - it's personal and individual. There's no right or wrong about it. Each person finds their own way of coping with it.