Wednesday, September 12, 2007

The Tool-Box

Following a life-altering experience, how does one reintegrate back into one's former life? When one has been living in an altered state, with "normal" daily life in suspended animation, how does one comfortably fit back into that daily routine? Superimpose the grieving process on that reintegration, and all bets are off.

Many of us are aware of the five classic "stages" of the grieving process: denial, anger, depression, bargaining, acceptance. But nothing is ever so cut and dry, and our emotional lives are varied and complex. For me, in this moment, there are various layers of exhaustion coloring my experience, my body slowly coming into some semblance of equilibrium. Powers of concentration and focus remain relatively unreliable, but hints of the balanced self peek through the haze. Patience is a virtue at this stage, both with others and one's self.

Grief comes in many guises, and it manifests in so many ways throughout the day. Circumspect self-care and self-awareness seem to be the best tools at my disposal. But the first step in using those tools is at least opening the tool-box. As Sogyal Rinpoche has said, "Our present condition, if we use it skillfully and with wisdom, can be an inspiration to free ourselves from the bondage of suffering."
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