The Nourishment of Grief

The deeper the sorrow the greater the joy.
— William Blake

At first glance, the idea that grief can nourish oneself seems contradictory. In our culture we are taught to embrace our positive experiences and suppress the negative ones. Most of my childhood and adult life, I put enormous energy into creating a profile of 'everything is ok' to others while the pain and grief buried itself deep into my psyche in the shadows, unbeknownst to my ego. We are born into this world divided, protesting the first moment we take our first breath as we leave the comfort and oneness of our mother's womb. Our journey through life is to heal this split, to become whole again, an authentic expression of who we are.

By denying the full expression of grief, we have become a flatline culture, unable to experience the full range of our emotions.  We abandon the primary satisfactions of connection through intimacy, community, and the natural world. An evening walk through my neighborhood reveals the silent vigil of families eerily transfixed in their living rooms from the blue flickering light emanating from the wall, or individuals isolated in their darkened rooms, their faces casting a digital reflective light.

Enter Francis Weller, who invites us to unveil our grief into community. He eloquently shares his wisdom about the five gates of grief in this interview at the 2013 Minnesota Men's Conference.