Tombstone in the woods

Have you ever volunteered to host your own funeral?  Cuz, I just did.

Here’s the thing…

I needed to finish grieving a few things. Ok, so a LOT of things.  I thought I had already given these events the attention they deserved, so I proceeded to “suck it up and move on,” as the world has us do.

One of the reasons people stay stuck in whatever situation they are in is that they have not allowed themselves to fully grieve, or be sad, about a loss or losses in their lives.  Loss can be many different things: a pet, a job, family members, friendships, romantic relationships, a prized possession, a house, a marriage, even a child.  All of these things equate to a loss. And since a loss can truly mean the DEATH of something, it warrants some true grieving time, regardless of the degree of pain.

With the help of my incredibly insightful and intuitive coach (yes, even coaches have coaches), I was able to come up with a creative way to let go of the things that are gone from my life. On regular lined paper, nothing fancy, I wrote down some words to describe all the losses I have incurred in my life within the past, let’s say, 5 years.  That includes my marriage, a few relationships after that, my house, my career choice, my independence, a few friendships… even the loss of child-like innocence.

When I started writing, I didn’t realize how much I had lost!!! The visual that came to my mind was a house of cards that came toppling down.  I never really sat down and looked at it in a raw, truthful, authentic way until I did this.  Over time, I think I just brushed the various events aside, and THOUGHT that I had dealt with them.  Just this simple act of taking inventory was enough to make me realize that I needed to honour my losses properly, and that my losses were still very much a part of my present life.

I was trying to find an object to bury that represented each loss, but I had real trouble with it, so I decided to wing it in a creative sense. Yes, I am a “winger”, and I like that about myself.  Well, the winging paid off.  Because what happened next was most definitely divinely inspired.

I packed up my little daypack and headed for the woods. The contents of my daypack were as follows: a lighter, wood matches (backup plan), my energy drink, my letters/papers, a Swiss Army knife, a Fibre 1 bar, and a banana. Oh, and my cell phone (yep, I videoed most of it) and keys.

See? I do plan ahead a LITTLE.

Last but certainly not least, my dog.  But he was too big for the daypack.

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As I walked in my sacred woods, I asked the Holy Spirit to guide me to the place where the funeral would occur. Sure enough, the first place I came to was an old abandoned barn… all that was left standing was the FOUNDATION (uhhh… holy coincidence, since the foundation in MY house was crumbling — how symbolic). It was perfect. Not only that, the whole “building” was surrounded by these dead looking trees. Another plus. I pulled out my papers and lighter, and started.  First I just spoke out loud, explaining how hard saying goodbye to my house was.   Then I proceeded to read what was on the paper.

The release was quite something I did not expect. Tears flowed freely, but they were not really tears of utter despair, just tears of release.  I don’t know if that makes sense, but that’s what they were. It wasn’t some sort of crazy wailing fest or anything. It wasn’t even a bit hokey, not in the least.

It was real. So REAL.

I then burned the paper (almost set the whole damn place on fire… very dry grass in there… should have thought that one through a little, but it was well-timed comic relief). Done. Past is the past, moving on.

I continued through 4 more “stations” like this, reciting and burning, praying and experiencing the loss. Next, broken relationships.  After that, career.  Then, time lost. With each station, the burden lifted.  The pain was there, but it’s as if it was moving further and further away.

By the last station, which was the culmination of everything, including the loss of childhood innocence, I felt light as a feather, fearless, at peace, and so supported it wasn’t even funny. I walked through that woods as though I had shed an old, heavy skin, revealing a brand new, shiny one in its place.

A new beginning.  I am a new person, because all those old beliefs were buried.

Burnt up. Finished. DONE.

They say grieving is a process, and it’s true.  We can’t rush it, we can’t bury it, and we can’t push it aside.  We have to face it.  We must honour our grief, and give it the time it needs so that our healing is truly complete.