I’ve spent years working on my emotions and healing from my childhood. My go-to emotion for most of my life was anger. I swam in it, suppressing it calling it frustration but it was anger. A go-to emotion is the one that most people experience when things get rough or tough. It’s the main emotion we carry usually we are unaware that we have this underlying emotion. The most common ones are worry, guilt, anger, and fear although many are now learning how to find peace, joy, and happiness.
My transformational journey began when I realized therapy wasn’t enough to help me heal the underlying causes and emotions that ran my life. In 2009 I had my first moment of peace, it was such an unusual feeling that for years I said in that moment I was “numb”. It was lackluster and fleeting. It wasn’t until sometime in 2017 that I fully released anger as my go-to and became truly happy.
My ocean of emotion had shifted from anger to peace then to happiness and finally joyful bliss.
Your ocean can be filled with one go-to emotion and yet you can be hit with waves of other emotions. When my ocean was anger I would get hit and swallowed by moments of peace, love, joy, sadness, and happiness but they were fleeting they never stayed for extended periods of time. I came to realize that my anger was a front for deep sadness and loss.
Recently I have been hit with waves of grief. The deep sadness and loss I had experienced previously in my life came back to me. Deep sorrow washed over me. I learned to surf in Indonesia several years ago. After several lessons I decided to try it on my own. I nearly drowned that day. One wave after another swept over me pushing me under, I grasped for breath and when I finally washed up on the shore I was bleeding and bruised. I didn’t know how to navigate these waves. I didn’t have the tools to thrive in 6 foot swells. I had learned to surf in 2 foot gentle waves crashing slowly to shore. I was overwhelmed and panicked and lost all control.
Grief is like that 6 foot wave or maybe even 10 foot. I had felt this before and although I had the tools this time and my ocean was happiness and thought I was prepared, I quickly realized I was drowning again.
I peeled myself out of fetal position on the floor. The sobs came like a storm, uncontrollable and chaotic. The news felt like my soul was being ripped from me. Loss has a way of bearing all your traumas and stripping you of your identity. This was grief. The deep sorrow that I felt as I realized I had lost two people I loved, I was losing my home of 5 years and everything was burning down around me. The ultimate loss was my sense of identity and the belief that I knew who I was and what I was on this planet for. This compounding after the death of my mother-in-law and father earlier in the year which had affected me in different ways but had not brought this depth of emotion.
Why am I here? I don’t want to do this anymore. I don’t want to be here. I am tired of being the light, learning the lessons. My joy and gratitude were buried deep in me and I could not source them. I picked up the phone and called for help. It had been 20 years since the last time I had felt this sense of deep loss and lie crumpled on the floor unable to move, but it was not a new experience, I was very intimate with grief, I had lived a life of loss and had spent years healing from it.
When I was 8 years old I lost my mother. It was Thanksgiving and my grandma was visiting us from Ohio. I had grown up in a home with a tyrannical, abusive father. He was a 6′ 3″ powerlifter, solid muscle and dark curly hair. I longed for his love and cowered in my bedroom when the fights broke out. He would drag my mother across the room by her hair till it fell out. The bruises were hidden beneath clothes and smiles always on our face.
As she started packing the child seat in the car I knew she was finally taking us to safety. My sisters were still in diapers and I was already wise beyond my years. He stood blocking the doorway and said “If you leave and take them, I will kill you all.” I looked at his wild eyes and knew he spoke the truth. He had tried before so the threat was real. She left to save herself and I stood sobbing believing I had done something wrong to deserve to be left behind.
In that moment I lost the only source of love I felt and the grief surrounded me. By my early 20s I had become very good at finding ways to circumvent my grief and trauma. I had become a high achiever, top of my class, the brightest and smartest. I won awards, wrote miraculous stories, got scholarships. I was praised by teachers and sourced my love from there. I sought ways to find love. I clung so hard to relationships that I destroyed them for fear of being abandoned and did self destructive actions when I lost it.
That moment recently when I lied crumpled on the floor transported me back to my early 20s during the days of 911 when my boyfriend and I broke up and he left for Iraq. I spent 6 weeks in that fetal position. I didn’t have the tools to get over my grief. The self-destruction that ensued led me to even massive drug use and into the depths of drug trafficking that would affect my life for years to come.
Grief is associated with death or loss. That death can be the death of a loved one, the death of a relationship, the death of your identity or a belief or thought process. The body and mind react the same it doesn’t segregate between what we know in our conscious mind to be true. I am walking through the stages of grief leaning in and working on healing with processes such as emotion coding and meditation and somatic integration. I teach these processes but was unable to source for myself and love that I have a team of healers and coaches that can help me along the way. Ask for help when you need it, you are not meant to do this alone.
Emotion coding is the process of integrating challenging emotions into the body for fuel for healing.
Instead of “letting go” or surrendering Quantum Alchemy teaches us that we are already whole and to use our emotions and transmute them for healing. Alchemy is the process of turning lead into gold to create a universal elixir. Spiritual Alchemy is the process of transforming pain and challenges into wisdom and healing, a seemingly magical process of transformation and creation via the soul. The waves of grief are subsiding, they come less often, my ocean of happiness, more core truth is still there and I connect with it daily. I am looking for the lesson and practicing gratitude daily.
If you are experience loss, grief , sadness, depression or stuck-ness or if you life is changing so rapidly you feel like you can’t find grounding reach out. Seek support. Try something new. A new process or technique might be the exact thing you need to finally alchemize your new life. Without this work I would have fallen back into the depths of depression and anxiety and drugs that have littered my past. This time I dove deeper into my soul, focused on healing practices, moved my body, surrounded myself with community and it has made all the difference. I will never not get hit with waves of emotions, but I can recover much quicker and hopefully stop the bleeding and bruising much faster!
The goal is not to never have challenges again, to live in some utopian blissful experience but to grow and learn from challenges and not stay stuck in them for months or years. Message me if you would like to have a conversation.
2 thoughts on “Waves of Grief in an Ocean of Happiness”
you write well Melissa, so much so your words prompted my re-reading of, In the Direction of the Beginning by Dylan Thomas…
… I intellectualised my stuff, abstraction and numbness offering an aloof arrogance to shield from ever letting the deep hurt, shame and, yep, anger surface….
… I find solace in your words and wish to thank you for your kind and thoughtful contributions to being out there in the world; your endeavour to endure makes me smile, alot actually….
… I like the way Dylan Thomas writes, I like the way you write too, I hope you’d like him too as a thank you gift for being, and being brave…
… much love…
isn’t it your birthday today, 23rd July? Happy, Happy Birthday, in all events for today, your actual birthday and all days forever, Melissa…. 😊