Welcome back to Restorative Grief with Mandy Capehart. You are listening to episode 48, titled “Engaging in Flow.” This week, I wanted to keep it simple. I’m going to share a short excerpt from my book, Restorative Grief: Embracing our losses without losing ourselves. Although we often consider the grieving process to be a step-by-step exercise toward acceptance, rarely does the experience of acceptance feel healing or attainable. In the book, we’ve used the five stages of grief simply as a framework that seems a little familiar, since experiences of grief are anything but; but I also introduce the practice of pursuing restoration, and that’s the theme for this short excerpt I’m going to read for you today.
Recently I spoke with another podcast and they read sections of my work back to me as context for their questions. It drove me to return again to the book, rereading that section and others as a way to pursue greater levels of integration for myself through my grief story. While I may not be in a season of acute grief right now, where everything is intense and loud and ongoing, I am always experiencing subtle grief – the stuff that lives muted in the background, occasionally turning up to eleven. So hearing parts of the book from the heart of another person reminded me the value of revisiting what brings meaning and connection throughout any experience of grief. So if you’ve not read my book, don’t worry – you won’t miss anything when I jump in here at chapter six.
Grief trashes our present to the point where we are grasping for our future and excavating our past; as if we can uncover something we missed that will restore the gift of today! Such a belief leaves our present hopeless. This is neither the promise nor the reality, yet this wrong belief can turn our faith into a battlefield instead of a source of restoration. In order to find peace, we need to embrace the promise of hope in our daily lives as a reality, not only as something to come. But how can we embrace our present when we still experience triggers on a daily basis?
There are so many methodologies and theories written to help the bereaved manage their losses. While tips and tools for the moment are crucial, the way forward through ongoing trauma is to have a target in mind. The targets we set are not designed to be goals we reach, but a point in each day for our attention to land when the mind begins firing arrows in all directions. To find restoration through our grief, we must identify our target, acknowledge that it is always moving, and bring grace upon grace into our present moments.
I’m going to jump ahead here because I want to share Day 28. If you don’t know, this book is written as a memoir and guidebook that’s really easy to jump around in based on what you’re experiencing and what you’d like to try. On Day 28, I introduce the idea of engaging in flow.
“The only way to make sense out of change is to plunge into it, move with it, and join the dance.”Alan Wilson Watts
I crave the experience of déjà vu. When your mind suddenly transports you with this inner knowing and deep familiarity, it can be both unsettling and comforting. Personally, I consider the sense of remembrance as a confirmation that I am in the flow of my life, precisely where I am called to exist. That moment is a promise made manifest; even when it hurts.
I also love when I am meditating on a certain scripture or concept and find it continues to arise in conversation, readings, or podcasts. When the noises around me create symphonic harmonies with my own thoughts, the delight of being in unity overtakes the fear of an echo chamber. As I purposefully surround my life with creative people who embody a different perspective than my own, I am challenged and astounded when we find not only common understanding, but unified thoughts.
This is how God engages our mind with their promises in the world. They are uniquely manifesting their presence everywhere around us, and yet in our distraction, confusion, and biases, we miss a lot (to say the least). However, as all of us grievers know, the Great Slow Down of time in grief invites us into that Matrix-like film style of observation at a slower pace. We notice things we missed. As our conscious minds start to understand the connectedness of creation, we realize we are in the flow of the spirit.
The Spirit is unhindered by our emotions, barriers, or biases. Becoming sensitive to the way she shifts our comprehension is crucial to healing. In grief, I believe we are uniquely invited to engage the Spirit in a way we cannot prior to experiencing loss. As the comforter, she remains closer than ever with gentle wisdom. Grieving hearts are searching for meaning, and in the movement of her embrace, she reveals deeper aspects of God’s character.
It is crucial to engage the flow of our lives. As we are reorganizing the details, God wants to move with us, unveiling their face again and again to demonstrate the wild generosity and unrestrained grace. Holding the details of our stories lightly means living openhanded, with clear eyes and a trusting heart. Our empty handedness in loss transforms into a sign of hope that we will receive something good; that we will find meaning in our lives, despite having suffered such great loss.
Engaging flow allows for gentle movement through our loss. We notice the waves approaching, welcoming them as an old friend with familiarity. We are equipped to wade through lament, stronger than before because we have embraced the plunge into the unknown and know we will breathe again.
I want to invite you to listen to music by the artist Kinnship. This artist created an electronic, meditative style of music that allows one’s thoughts to simply float. You can find his work on Apple Music, Spotify, YouTube, etc. and I highly recommend the songs, “Dipped My Toes,” or my personal favorite, “Homingbird.”
Allowing our barricades to fall means we do not continue to avoid or press against but lean into the presence of God as we heal.
I want us to experience what it feels like to flow through movement with no true directives. Feel free to experience other music as well but try to select instrumental or pieces with only a few words. Invite the Spirit to bring sight of where you have prevented flow from moving freely. In this moment of release, I believe you will experience a new level of connectivity in body, mind, and spirit to the justice, mercy, and humility of heaven.
Embrace the drift. Expand your lungs. Move your body. Wiggle your toes. Close your eyes. Find your smile.
Thank you for listening to this episode of Restorative Grief. Every time I read my own work, I realize I’ve also moved forward from the published book and into a new level of understanding with grief work. It’s that way with most authors, I think. We work so intentionally to create the thing that by the time others can experience it, we’ve moved into the next part of the spiral.
I hope you found something encouraging in today’s reading and truly, take time to engage the invitation of listening to Kinnship or another piece of music that can take your whole self into a different experience of peace today.
If this is your first time listening, thank you for being here! Don’t forget to subscribe so you won’t miss a weekly episode, and leave a review on Apple podcasts. I love hearing what y’all have to say or knowing what moved you. One more quick reminder that our Patreon for Restorative Grief is live, or you can join as a Premium listener directly for the podcast, receiving access to all the episodes as they drop right away. Choose what works best and know that either way, I am honored and humbled to show up for you in your grief in this small way.
And before I go, one last thing: Please remember, the only solution for grief is to do the work of grieving. Thanks for listening – I’ll see you next week.