Finding the Focus

I have been sitting with this heavy feeling of grief. As most of us may be.

Grief for humanity.

Grief for onself.

Grief for the past... and the future.

I have been sitting with it, and sitting within it.

All of my life I have been familiar with a persistent, heavy feeling. But nothing like this.

As Dean Koontz once wrote, “Grief can destroy you — or focus you.

Now is the time to focus. On yourself. On others. On taking care of both, and knowing when to contribute time to each. We have to be careful of self-sabotage of the soul and take a step back if we’re feeling weak. This is shadow work, and it can be exhausting, but it will be worth it.

As I write this, I have Aretha Franklin playing on vinyl through my husband’s larger than life speakers. These speakers once got his friend evicted from his living quarters. Twice. They fit nicely in our living room, and playing vinyl records through these bad boys is a unique and special experience. No evictions for us – our homes have thick walls.

The next song that comes on is “Bridge Over Troubled Water”. Appropriate timing. Originally written and performed by Simon & Garfunkel, this is a song signifying a part of the American past. A past we are re-living. The soulful sway of Aretha’s voice does the song just right, and hits my sore spots of grief where it really hurts. This is a song about change and grief. Simon & Garfunkel were writing about the 1960s and 1970s. Now, in 2020, it is more relatable than ever.

When Garfunkel brings up the subject of America’s imminent bicentennial, a camera-conscious Simon gazes into the distance and asks solemnly: “Think it’s gonna make it?” This mood of pensive pomposity comes to dominate the film, as Simon frets: “What’s the point of this album? The world is crumbling”, and Garfunkel less coherently ponders “the chaos of what the hell is the whole thing about”.’

I have been sitting with this feeling of grief for weeks now, but the last week the pain has become so much stronger. And while it is uncomfortable, it is necessary for a world that needs this change. And for me – it is necessary for me to change, in more ways than one. Not all of my personal grief comes just from the current world situation right now, so it’s another layer that adds to my own pain.

This might be different from what you are feeling, but we are all feeling something right now. Or, maybe even trying not to feel it. But it is important and it is meant to be felt – deeply. There are things happening down here on earth and things happening out in the universe that are signifying to us the need for change – even if it’s not the change we want or feel comfortable with.

I recently attended a BLM protest in Orange County and was able to lighten my own emotional load by sharing it with others. By being involved, showing my support and documenting history.

An individual has not started living until he can rise above the narrow confines of his individualistic concerns to the broader concerns of all humanity.”
~ Martin Luther King, Jr.

Being uncomfortable is what helps us change for the better, moves us forward, reminds us of what is important in life. It is what is helping me turn my focus towards humanity, as well as myself. There has been a lot of talk about “ally-ship” and not giving up and releasing your ego and “fuck your brunch photos” discussion, and while all of these conversations are important – we must always remember to not forget to take care of ourselves. Being isolated and angry can be dangerous, especially for some, and there is a strong need for balance in our communication and care.

This is the time for breaking things down to find the breakthrough. This is the shadow work that must be done, and it will not be easy. But we must continue to sit with it, and within it.

*All photos by me – @Rahala.Photography

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