When someone dies we need to stop and mourn. It’s important on so many levels. It is how we honor their life. It is how we begin to talk in terms of their legacy. It is how we process our emotion - the suffering, the dashed dreams and shattered hopes. The healing can only ever begin if it is built upon a foundation of honesty and that entails honestly processing our grief.
As a Life Coach, guiding people through the hell of all kind’s of turmoil, traumas and tragedies, this is the first thing I help people do. Grieve. Take time to grieve. Make time to grieve. You want to get through hell - any kind of hell - it begins with being honest, being real and formally mourning as we begin to process our grief.
Many Americans are going through a type of mourning process this week. In no way, shape or form do i liken this to the loss of a loved one (sorry, it’s not). Still, I haven’t seen this type of collective grief since 9/11/01. I hear all kinds of commentators debating whether or not its appropriate or proportional. These are worthless debates. If people are feeling distraught, despondent or grief stricken then it is real to them. Feelings are never wrong (they may not be factual, but they are always true to the person feeling them). I’ve said to many people this week - grieve if you are feeling grief. Others don’t like it? Who cares. People don’t understand? So what. If it’s what you are feeling then be honest about it and deal with it.
However, the opposite is also true. There comes a point when enough is enough. The grief will continue on. That’s to be expected. But the mourning has to stop. (Grief is the feeling of loss and those feelings aren’t beholden to any time frame. However, mourning is the action we take, the time we make, to frame the grief, sit with the grief, and consciously move through the grief. Mourning, unlike grief, can simply be stopped). In the Jewish tradition, when a loved one dies you sit for a week (shiva). You actively mourn and you massively grieve. However, at the end of that week you are expected, even obligated, to literally stand up from your mourning, leave your house, and take a walk around the block. This symbolizes that you will carry the grief with you, to varying degrees, for the rest of your life. However, life was not meant to live sitting, wallowing or dying under the weight of dark grief. There are children to take care of. There are jobs to be done. There is a life to be lived. So, whether you feel like it or not, stand up, get out there and get back to your life.
This isn’t to say you have to put on a happy face. This isn’t to suggest you have to pretend everything is fine. Be authentic about how you feel. Be real about your emotions. However, it’s your actions, not your feelings, that will jump start the process of living. Don’t sit around waiting to feel better before you take better action. Emotion is created by motion. Get in motion. Get moving. Get going and your life will begin flowing, you’ll see.
To all of you who are grieving the loss of this election, do not let anyone tell you your feelings are wrong. If you are feeling them then they are real to you. However, to all of you who are still mourning the loss of this election - it is time to stop. To all of you who are still sitting in the sorrow - it is time to stand up. To all of you who have mentally, emotionally, certainly physically, put your life on a grief-hold, its time to get up, get going and get on with your life.
We may be a divided country politically, even emotionally or spiritually, for the moment. It is what it is. It will take time for us to find our way back to a collective feeling of connectivity again. Republicans may feel one way right now, Democrats feeling something else entirely. You know what, so what. Agree to disagree. Get behind the democratic process. As Gandhi said, “be the change you want to see in the world.” Stop gloating and stop sulking. Take one another’s hand. And let’s all of us take a collective walk around the block.
Rabbi Dr. Baruch HaLevi (aka “B”)