Thanksgiving, gratitude, and carving that vessel a little deeper

Well, I was all ready for Thanksgiving this year, turkey bought (check) menu planned (check), husband home (check) -he’s been travelling a lot - and plenty of goodies in the house.  Even had plans for hanging out with friends (check).

Then, it happened.  The food was great, the company was fun, but by the end of Thanksgiving day I felt completely and totally empty – despite being full of food.  Sad…and empty.  It’s been a tough year, my mum passed away and then a best friend passed away suddenly two weeks after my mother’s funeral.  I thought I had spent enough time on the grieving process and that Thanksgiving would be a time for me to sit back and relax…but my body decided otherwise and landed me in a heap on the kitchen floor at the end of Thanksgiving day.

My trusty laptop (AKA Artemis, The Goddess of Wisdom) also decided to take a Thanksgiving break with a major windows error.  Aaargh.  I took that as a sign from the universe that perhaps I did need to take a rest.  She’s back up and running now, we just can’t find a way to get the wireless mouse and keyboard to work, so I’m having to learn to love that slidy mouse thing for a few days at least.  A minor inconvenience, but it’s hard to blog with it, I’m showing my age I guess and getting irritated with the newer technology (bah, humbug).

So the last few days I’ve gone back to checking my other list, that of ‘self-love’ in order to fill up that empty feeling left by grief.  This is an approach that I still need to be reminded of on a regular basis since I often think I can manage everything alone…this time I left it a little too long and my body decided to tell me (2 days sleeping a lot really helped).  I had a friend from school lend me a book about grieving and finding meaning from it, called Room of Marvels: A Novel
 by James Bryant Smith.  This is a really great read for those of us going through tough times with a bereavement, or multiple bereavements.  The author wrote a story based on his life where he has lost his way and faith in a higher power after losing his best friend, mother, and his young daughter all during the same year.  This book offers great perspectives and thoughts on the nature of loss, grieving, love and connectedness with those who have passed on.  The Room of Marvels in the novel is a metaphysical concept whereby a person having passed on can review all the great ways in which they changed another’s experience for the better, or changed another’s life by an act of kindess.

I really found this concept comforting.  In the Room of Marvels an entire wall is given over to pictures, which are in fact short video reviews of ways in which the person has changed other’s lives.  The entire mosaic of picture frames makes up the person’s face (in this case, the author’s).  So I spent some time working with this concept and thought through those occasions where my mother or my friend might have wanted to add a video excerpt to my Room Of Marvels – for when I get there! – and what they might have said.  A very comforting concept and a great way to honor their memories and our times together. 

I also went online and ordered a bottle of ‘Grief’, or #7 Lung, from Dr Theresa Dale’s NERs (Neuro-Emotional Remedies).  (Click on the link and then choose Products to take a look).  A friend recommended these remedies to me a long time ago, and I regularly use them.  They combine homeopathic remedies with the Chinese Meridian Theory, resulting in an approach which helps clear and cleanse heavy emotional issues from the body using the appropriate meridian location for the issue at hand, in this case, the lung meridian.  Interesting that the lungs are considered to be connected with grief using this methodology.  We use this part of the body a lot to express crying and sadness so at a body level it really makes sense to me.

I chose some quotations for my mum’s eulogy during her funeral, and one of my favorites is from another all-time comforting book, The Prophet by Khalil Gibran, a Lebanese poet who lived in the US.  If you haven’t ever read this book, it’s a compendium of questions asked to a prophet by townsfolk, whilst he is waiting for a ship so that he can leave and go elsewhere.  All manner of questions are asked, including those related to death and dying.  The quote used during my mother’s eulogy was

The deeper that sorrow carves into the vessel, the more joy you can contain.

I have always found this quote full of meaning.  Bereavement must surely be one of the deepest sorrows in life, yet I am always comforted by the thought that ultimately there will be more joy left behind.  Perhaps that’s all that I can hope for during this holiday season, at least for now.  Looking back I spent time over Thanksgiving carving that vessel a little deeper, and for now, perhaps that was the right thing to do.

Sarah Lawrence Hinson sarah@momonaspiritualjourney.com

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