Sunday, April 20, 2008


Grief's a strange beast. Sure, there are stages we've all been told about, but what we seldom hear is how these stages are fluid, and cycle, and seem to come back around on themselves with a random quality to them. And I think, too often, we limit our thinking of grief to only mean death.

Death is a relative term.

Lots of things die besides people.

Dreams die.

Plans die.

Friendships die.

We give birth to children that defy the "life" we thought we wanted, and we are forced to let "die" that aspect of our futures.

Marriages die.

The status quo dies.

Careers die.

Fame, prestige, social status dies.

But, as Eckhart Tolle says, life is not the opposite of death, birth is the opposite of death.

Things, besides people, are born.

New friendships are born.

New marriages, sometimes even from the rubble of an existing one, are born.

A sense of wholeness and purpose that defies status, fame and prestige is born.

True peace is born.

Acceptance is born.

Detachment is born.

Compassion is born.

Grief continues to cycle and sometimes grabs us by the throat when we least expect it, but we do not need to keep a chair for it. We can "touch it with gentle awareness" (another Eckhart Tolle-ism) and not resist, nor judge it, but simply say, "Well, hey there, grief! I see you've come to visit again!"

That's what we can do. I'm not saying that's what I do, but those are the chairs I plan to keep. A chair for birth. A chair for newness. A chair for hope. A chair for love.


holly said...

Beautiful, Carrie.

I'll be pulling a few of those chairs up to my table. Big fluffy reading style chairs to get good and cozy in!

Eileen said...

I LOVE this Carrie. I have been staying away from Eckard Tolle (don't know why) and I read his interview with Oprah in her magazine. I was drawn in. So much of what he spoke to me. My new mantra,constantly, has been "be in the now." I'm checking out his book and her website/group.
Loving your chairs! Especially love the way you keep the other chairs from the table.

Kapuananiokalaniakea said...

This is so very Thich Nhat Hahn.
I can only imagine what my mother will have to say about all those chairs that will be pulled up to our table!
Especially since I plan on having ALL of those chairs occupied!
THANK YOU!!! Yet again.

Nancy said...


You are indeed and angel sent with your perspective and your words when I needed them most. Thanks for checking in and thanks for being spot on in what I needed to hear at this very moment!


Thora said...

Yes He is the in person to read and I can see why so I must read him soon.So much of what we do can be like chasing the wind
Be still,feel the pain and the pleasure of life.Do not be afraid to feel and truly live.

Terry Whitaker said...

I am practicing, too.

Jenny said...

Nice post, Carrie.

Anonymous said...

We try a lot of chairs in life some are too small, smoe are too big, and every once in awhile one is just right. I think this poet is like the last chair.

Michelle O'Neil said...

I just looked at a photo gallery of death, and then another one on birth. Just before I clicked on Fully Caff. I planned on posting about it tomorrow.

No accidents.

I love what you said about the possibilty of new marriages being born from the rubble of old ones.

And Eckhart. Love him too.

And you.

La La said...

I've been spending my share of time with grief lately, and it is at best, all. over. the. place. Random is a good word to describe how I'm experiencing the stages or cycle or whatever you want to call it.

Drama Mama said...

Ah, yes. I've been keeping little,cheap, IKEA kid-sized chairs, when actually, I've been a very rude hostess.

I get it.

Just lovely, Carrie.