My brother gifted me a selection of songs including one called “Fetch the Bolt Cutters”. I thought it was an odd choice, but then listening to it, I found myself singing it aloud in a rather heart wrenching way that felt like a much needed release. It had touched yet one more layer of unaddressed grief. The song has a direct connection to the “fight or flight” stress response.
Now in my seventh month of grief, I find myself exhausted by the emotional roller coaster of loss and feel a strong urge to run away. This urge has manifested itself in a need to move from the familiarity of my home. It might feel better to distance myself from the endless subtle reminders surrounding me; the position of a chair at the breakfast table, his tea mug, the empty towel rack in the bathroom. There is confusion between wanting to be suspended in time with these surroundings or wanting to run away from it all and start again. The reality is that you can run away from the physical form of objects but there is no running away from the heart.
So where do you find relief?
Maybe repositioning some things at home in an appealing way instead of discarding them could be helpful. It might be too early to pack up and move to a new home, and the process itself would require sorting through possessions (ugh)! In creating Grief workshops with Dr. Mulloy, she reminds me that it is advisable to wait one year before making big changes because this journey holds a high level of transformation and you may want to wait and see who you are after one year of grieving. This new version of yourself may have a different view of where to go next. OMG! She’s suggesting that I sit with this experience instead of running away!
But what about the "bolt cutter" idea?
Possibly the fight or flight plan was based on running away from my emotions more than running away from my home. And we all know from the studies of yoga, meditation and just plain life, that our real home is in our heart, and the path to soothing the heart is to be present with it in patience, love, and compassion. So perhaps for now I'll just start to rearrange the physical placement of things in my home, lovingly treating each change with respect to my loved one. And oh, yes...I could slow down, be mindful of my delicate heart, and walk, don’t run.
What do you think? Sound like a good subject for journaling? Or maybe it's just time to re-decorate!
Val Spies, Lotus Pond Yoga Studio owner and Yoga Teacher training director.