Grief and Praise

I have been listening to a talk by Martin Prechtel, a shaman from South America.  He talks about how grief for something comes because it meant a lot to you, so grief is a form of praise or of gratitude.  I am finding this very difficult.  After my initial joy of feeling like I wasn’t alone in grief and anger for how humans are destroying our life support system on Planet Earth, I fell down into a place I know well as depression, but then I realized that is really grief for what is happening to our home.  Suddenly it wasn’t just grief for what happened to me, but grief for the whole planet.  I have let myself grieve, with many tears and cries of pain and rocking back and forth, in two therapy sessions this week and found to my surprise that I recovered my ability to see the beauty of the world, which I have not been able to see for I don’t know how long.

People talk about the “gift of life” and it always makes me feel angry and sad.  To me it feels like the “gift” was smashed before I got it.  It’s true that when I was younger I had wonderful ecstatic moments out in the woods, by the ocean, in Yosemite Valley, and in many other places in Nature.  But by the time I returned to New England after being defeated too many times in my efforts to find a good relationship, I found myself in a severe depression, and never came out of it until I was on medication that worked.  At which time I realized that I had been severely depressed all my life.

Getting on Medication

From my journal for May 21:

Yesterday I was driving and had the Oratorium in Memory of the Armenian Genocide of 1915 playing.  I was looking at the beauty of the spring world, blossoming trees, bright greens and rusts of new young leaves.  It felt very right to be looking at the beauty of the world and holding the reality of genocide with it.  It felt like truth, the reality of our planet at this moment.

It was only later that I realized that I had been holding grief and praise together.

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