A Return to Words

“What a pity it is that there are so many words! Whenever one wants to say anything, three or four ways of saying it run into one’s head together; and one can’t tell which to choose. It is as troublesome and puzzling as choosing a ribbon … or a husband.”  -Julius Charles Hare

I have come across some interesting perspectives in the last couple of days – well, not only have I come across them, but was also given the experience to live them. On Saturday I had the opportunity and pleasure to attend a talk given by Kari Tauring. She carries the richness of Old Norse culture and traditions forward into this time, sharing the songs, healing and spirituality of the peoples. Not only that, she is an incredible presence and could make any topic riveting. She explained to us about the Old Norse words for past, present and future; how they do not literally translate to those words, but to these ideas: that which is, that which is becoming, that which will be determined by necessity. These expressions encompassed truly the bigger picture of what those words represent. They give pause to the fact that we cannot change anything about the past – it has happened and as such it will remain. That the present is so much more than a moment, but that it is part of this process of transforming the future into the past, and that what we do with our present is what we become, and in turn is what becomes of our time. That the future is wholly determined by what we need it to be – that we have a say in this, a choice in the matter – yes, indeed, we do have say-so!

She also spent a lot of time elaborating upon (at the behest of the group) her concept of inherited ancestral grief. Now, saying it is “her” concept may be a misappropriation, I would imagine, as it is a concept that has been woven into eternity itself. These are just the words she chose to label and describe it so that we, too, could start to understand it.

Inherited ancestral grief is about the wounds we are born into. It is about the suffering of our people as a geographical culture, as an ethnic culture, of our families, immediate and extended, those we have met in this lifetime and those who span the reach of which that time would not allow our physical companionship. You see, even though we are born into this world innocent and without judgement or contempt, we are already conditioned by the choices made before us, the conditioning and behaviors before our arrival. That this sets us up for unknown opportunity if we decide to act. We can become channels and conduits of healing for these enduring sufferings, as the energies of despair perpetuate themselves until someone will allow for healing, until someone interrupts the circuit, until someone does something differently. Isn’t it absolutely amazing that this is possible AND we do not have to take it on as our own?

How is that possible, do you wonder? With attention and intention, simply. With the attention to how emotion feels in your body. If you have not already, start paying attention to this. Do you ever notice that what you feel does not feel like yours? Do you ever sense there is a sadness, but you know you have nothing you personally feel sad about? Start witnessing these emotions inside of you and you will quickly come to recognizing which emotions are yours and which ones are coming to you because you can help with the processing and the healing. That is the attention.

With the intention you simply acknowledge that this is not yours – you may tell it to leave without processing it through, or you may state that you are allowing yourself to be a vessel for healing, but that you know this is not your emotion to hold, to ingest, to take upon yourself. This is a very important part – that you facilitate, that you do not lay claim to, this emotional processing.

If you have ever been to a location where blood has been shed, injustice served, suffering endured, you are probably already very familiar with the intensity of the energy held in spaces. It can be overwhelming, and you have all the liberty in the world to allow yourself to be overwhelmed. This is energy that still needs to be processed, and we are all being given opportunities to facilitate the healing. Do not let anyone tell you you should not be impacted by these spaces – by the places holding memories – simply because you are human they relate to you. You need no other justification for feeling whatever way you do.

I really fell in love with this message. It reverberated with me at a level that made me think it was already familiar within my cells. That I just needed this person to say it out loud to not only me, but a group of women around me to make sure the conversation could continue outside of my own being. Just a day later I had the opportunity to live this out, in what retrospectively I would have never guessed as part of the equation.

I had no desire to see the movie War Horse. My boyfriend had heard enough about it to decide that he really wanted to see it. I am the eternal sucker for a movie with a horse in it, even if I think it might be hard to sit through. I cry at all of them. It would have been easy enough to say go along without me, but I had spent a big day of generally detoxing my personal collection of piles that had not so ceremoniously found their way into cardboard boxes that were creating an eyesore in numerous rooms of our house. This project and process has been years in the making. I had made great progress, but needed a break six hours into it. I remember the words “feel good” somewhere in the mix of him telling me about the movie, because we were already in the know that the boy and the horse reunite at the end of the movie. The truth of my experience… I was already crying during the PREVIEWS. Right. The trailers to the upcoming movies. This is ridiculous, I thought to myself. What is that about? I wasn’t feeling particularly emotional that day. So, of course, as the movie started I found myself tearing up with regularity, although my eyes not quite brimming to the point of flowing tears. I can’t handle the violence of war. I just cannot, and more than the violence is what I feel in my heart – it is like it is being ripped out and the fibers are being knotted and prodded and stretched out and then expected to fit neatly back into the package from which it came. Anyone who has tried to fold sheets and put them back into that slick plastic envelope they are sold in knows what I am talking about. Except it is much more excruciating because it is my heart. I closed my eyes in all of the scenes where people were dying en mass. I returned to my breath, because the frenetic energy of the noise was still telling every one of my cells what was happening – the seeing without your eyes knowing. I seriously left the theatre with weak knees. I could not understand why my heart was so broken and wrenched because of this movie. It took me until late in the night not falling asleep because I was having trouble letting go of the characters, who represented real people, who I imagined endured so much. It all clicked. Stephen Spielberg had this ability to bring World War I to us – we did not have to visit the battlegrounds or the people to know the energies that still exist, that need to be healed – the senselessness that continues to yearn for compassion. That the heartache I was feeling was not my own. That I do not need to carry this emotion forward into my life to help it be processed. I can do my part by being witness, but recognizing the emotion, by letting it go through me and, most importantly, by returning myself to my present of becoming.