A Word about turning Grief into Laughter, Life and Love

Question; What’s in your bowl?

Recently, I went on a bike ride in Central Park. While attempting to navigate the road, keep six feet apart from others, and see through the scarf covering my face under my bike helmet, my mind was churning up past pains and cringe worthy life moments. You could say I was emoting feelings similar to our golden girl below:

Girl Crouching (Grief) Paul-Albert Bartholome 1848-1928 Presently at Allen Memorial Art Museum, Oberlin, Ohio

Yet on this particular day something completely interrupted my metaphorical mind spinning: ME! Or, rather, my higher self. Some of the conscious work (rewiring and unlearning negative belief patterns and transmuting them to positive kind thoughts) had seeped in and I knew enough to let go of ‘the story’ or overlapping stories. I literally laughed out loud at myself big time! Matt Kahn says when you can’t do anything about those stories you can laugh and “love that.” I adore him for encouraging that gut response. The best part of the moment was that after the hearty chuckle, three simple words flashed through my mind and I spoke them out loud; LAUGHTER-LIFE-LOVE, and in that order to boot. I immediately embraced the simplicity of this new imprinting, how one concept invokes the feeling of the other. Some may call it a conscious choice, shift, a Maria Kondo moment, a pivot or divine intervention. I liken it to a healthy litmus test to keep me focused on the present (i.e. NOW). Let me be clear that this moment would not have been possible without self awareness and actively releasing pains of the past, also known as, ‘the work’ in some circles. So, if during a state of grief, flux, pandemic, or personal shifting you may want to think, what do I want to pour into my bowl?

The Butterfly Pea Boutique Hotel Siem Reap Cambodia

Opening myself deeper to the power and spontaneity of laughter, life affirming experiences and coming from a place of love in any given situation serves me well to help myself and others as we move through unknown territory. Einstein famously wrote to his son in a letter, “Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance you must keep moving.” [For you historians the exact translation is, “It is the same with people as it is with riding a bike. Only when moving can one comfortably maintain one’s balance.”] If you are grieving the past or what you thought was supposed to unfold for you before Covid-19, kind reminder even as you grieve, notice the ‘girl crouching’ is pretty shiny-there is light to be found in the darkness as we all rise and come into our new chapter of power. Just as water gently flows and ripples from one moment to the next, have faith that maintaining your balance (i.e. being grounded) helps with any of life’s redirects, shifts and adjustments. Ideally this groundedness can be complemented with discernment, encouraging feelings of peace with your life lessons in the here and now.

Another noteworthy observation is that the bowl is whole, as you are as well. It is just a matter of tuning into your inner guidance system for stability and direction. Even if the direction seems unclear due to ‘unprecedented times’ these insightful words of Margaret Mead may help; “If the future is to remain open and free, we need people who can tolerate the unknown, who will not need the support of completely worked out systems or traditional blueprints from the past.” The key term is tolerate. As Helen Keller believed, “The highest result of education is tolerance.” For final spiritual reference and guidance, the first word Helen Keller learned to communicate with her teacher Anne Sullivan was water.

Now I know why I was so drawn to and captivated by this sweet simple water garden in the entrance of a tiny eco-friendly hotel last summer with my daughter in Cambodia.

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