Grief… happens upon you, it’s bigger than you. There is a humility that you have to step into, where you surrender to being moved through the landscape of grief by grief itself. And it has its own timeframe, it has its own itinerary with you, it has its own power over you, and it will come when it comes. And when it comes, it’s a bow-down. It’s a carve-out. And it comes when it wants to, and it carves you out — it comes in the middle of the night, comes in the middle of the day, comes in the middle of a meeting, comes in the middle of a meal. It arrives — it’s this tremendously forceful arrival and it cannot be resisted without you suffering more… The posture that you take is you hit your knees in absolute humility and you let it rock you until it is done with you. And it will be done with you, eventually. And when it is done, it will leave. But to stiffen, to resist, and to fight it is to hurt yourself.
There’s this tremendous psychological and spiritual challenge to relax
in the awesome power of it until it has gone through you. Grief is a
full-body experience. It takes over your entire body — it’s not a
disease of the mind. It’s something that impacts you at the physical
level… I feel that it has a tremendous relationship to love: First of
all, as they say, it’s the price you pay for love. But, secondly, in the
moments of my life when I have fallen in love, I have just as little
power over it as I do in grief. There are certain things that happen to
you as a human being that you cannot control or command, that will come
to you at really inconvenient times, and where you have to bow in the
human humility to the fact that there’s something running through you
that’s bigger than you.
Elizabeth Gilbert on Love, Loss, and How to Move Through Grief as Grief Moves Through You
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