would swim over the deepest ocean,
The deepest ocean to be by your side.
But the sea is wide, and I can't get over.
Neither have I wings to fly.
Oh, if I could find a handsome boatsman
To ferry me over to my love and die.”
~ Carrighfergus, traditional Celtic ballad
The idea that grief can become transformed and then evolve into a positive experience may be unfathomable. Until such a transformation begins to happen, it can seem impossible to imagine anything good coming out of such pain. People who think they mean well may tell us that “it’s time to get over it” because they find our grief too painful to witness or be around. But their words, from religious sentiments to outright demands, fall to the ground, neutralized by the forcefield of our pain.
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Many people are aware that they cannot return to the known past, but are afraid to let themselves move forward into the unknown. Trapped by this fear, where can we go? We need go no further, for we are already in the reality of the present, which is all there is anyway. Grief evolves by our staying with it in the present moment as consciously as possible. Paradoxically, this seemingly non-movement is actually subtle but real inner movement through the grief. We have the choice of avoiding the grief, which keeps it activated but static, or to move with it and through it, which transforms it.
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It was true that I had a small circle of caring, concerned friends who knew that I was suffering in my bereavement, and they all made themselves unconditionally available to me. But my pain wanted none of their company. It wanted only release, and it seemed to make sense at the time for me to take my life into my own hands and effect my own transition. It was inevitable anyway, so why not get an early start? I knew from my intimate experiences with the Risen that there wouldn’t be any judgment whatsoever against me if I killed my body. And yet something within me struggled against such an act, and I could not determine why it simultaneously felt like both a positive and a negative undertaking. Confused, I finally came to a place where I could do no more than simply rest, unable to rationalize any further. While I rested, someone Greatly Risen began sharing insight about the issue of self-exiting.