Unravel Foundations is now open! Enroll today

Filed under: LIFE

"Grief" by Calvin deRuyter

Grief: Why It's Crucial
For Your Growth

Notes on Grief | Journal entry from 2021

The Journal

The Power of Grief


How do you feel when you hear this word? Is there a wince or a contraction arising in your body? 

In our culture, grief is shunned. It is seen as a sign of weakness, something you should hide from others and quickly get over with. 
Yet this avoidance comes at a tremendous price, both personally and collectively. 
When you do not grieve, you cannot move through. You cannot heal. What usually arises is a protection mechanism built around that wound of loss, which blocks its resolution and the ripening of your life. 
Grief is how we break through our inner dams and restore the river of our lives. 
Grief is not just an emotion. It’s a door. 

Grief feels like a heavy tinge of blue. There’s a sharpness, as if sadness spread over my heart like lightning streaks across the sky. My belly feels like a cavern collapsing on itself, as the reality of loss sinks in. The impossibility of it all claws at my being. The finality of it all seethes like a snake. Water pours forth from nowhere, pounding. Will I be able to take this? 

Grief: The Missing Doorway to Our Maturation

Grieving is how we un-dam ourselves

We typically associate grief with the loss of a loved one. I believe it is also the accompaniment to major personal change, even ones that are positive.  

I was recently speaking to a friend who gave birth to her first child. With tired eyes, she mentioned how she felt both joy and sadness in this new role, yet felt guilty about the sadness. When I asked her “why do you feel sad?,” she replied: “because I will never be the person I once was.”

With major personal change, there’s always a death, a loss of who you once were and what your life has looked like. This death is especially prevalent when we’re crossing life phases, like from adolescence to adulthood. 
As we approach these thresholds, there’s usually a build up of sadness, a recognition that life will never be as it once was. When we do not acknowledge this sadness or let it move through, we tend to hold on to some vestiges of the previous phase, which prevents us from passing on fully and maturing to the next.
In fact, many indigenous cultures embed the act of grieving into their rituals and rites of passage. They clearly delineate the new roles for each phase and guide their young to let go of the old and move to the other side. 
In our Western culture, however, we do not have these structures of support for grieving and maturation. The transition from child to adult is one giant confusing blur. Because we do not grieve our wounds, losses, and our unfulfilled dreams, we carry our baggage from our youth into our adulthood, which disempowers our ability to live as free, authentically connected beings. 
If you look at the news, you'll see many adults who are psychologically still adolescents, creating the same drama you find in high school. It's like their maturation was blocked at some point. 
I have a feeling that this block, along with the common transitional plights, like the midlife crisis, have something to do with our collective inability to hold space for grief. 

How Do I Grieve?

Grieving looks different for everyone. For me, grieving looks like inviting the feeling of loss into your body fully, and letting it take its natural course. Allowing its full wave(s) to pass through. 

Just like how our skin knows how to repair cuts, our body knows how to grieve. It’s a natural healing process. You just need to allow it to happen, which is the difficult part. 

It is difficult, because it brings up intense uncomfortable sensations that you can’t schedule or control. You may feel like you’re breaking, as the energies you have previously dammed begin gushing through. You may feel shame, as these feelings shred your armor of invincibility. 
Grieving is not pretty, clean, or linear. However, it’s necessary. When we don't grieve, we stunt our growth. Grieving is a life-giving process. 

If you're grieving, know you are held. Know you are engaging in one of the bravest acts. Know your heart is strong enough to bear the waves. Know you don't have to do it alone.
Sending a hug,

PS: A song that helps you move through your tender waters.

The Journal

Discover More

What Makes Exceptional Creative Work?

Heaven's Gate

What is Meditation Really?




Ready to live your truth? 


A 12 week journey of self discovery for those who long to live life as their unique work of art. 

Join us for this playful, creative, and embodied pilgrimage through uncharted territories of your inner landscape. Unlearn the biggest barriers to your dreams and reclaim parts of yourself that have been lost along the way.

Discover your next steps alongside a safe and nurturing community of people finding their way home just like you.

Wake up feeling in awe of your life


© Dandan Liu 2022. All rights reserved.

back to top