Monday, June 2, 2008

Is Mourning a need or a process?

Lately in my own practice of NVC, I have been emphasizing mourning as a means of healing and transformation. The more deeply I delve into mourning, the more richness I am finding.
And truthfully, I have found that empathy alone is often not adequate for me to move through a difficult or painful situation, no matter how clearly I identify my needs, or connect with the energy of them.
It's important for me to fully give myself up to the painful feelings that arise in relation to unmet needs... especially needs that have been chronically unmet, or long-standing unmet needs. So here is my new working definition of "mourning" in NVC language:
Mourning: Being with the feelings associated with unmet needs. Entering fully the experience of these feelings. Surrendering to the process and trusting in your heart's ability to feel pain, and yet you remaining whole in the process. In the mourning, there is healing, freedom and liberation.

1 comment:

Chaos Monkey said...

I feel very moved by your definition of mourning -- it meets my needs for depth and clarity.

Sometimes, it seems as if the avoidance of opening the heart to such strong feelings actually causes more pain than the feeling itself, yet in those moments the grief can seem overwhelming, vulnerable, even terrifying. I really resonate with the idea of "trusting in your heart's ability to feel pain, and yet you remaining whole in the process." For that is the fear perhaps, i.e. that one will be "ripped apart" by the pain, will not recover, will not be able to move on or face life if the pain is fully surrendered to.

I have found a similar process to occur regarding remorse and the grief around remorse. In those cases, it seems like the heart (or at least MY heart) wants to coil shut and turn into guilt, but that is not fully honoring the pain -- it is avoiding it and lacing it with toxicity. To honor that pain and be with it seems terrifying at first, but as you say, "in the mourning, there is healing, freedom and liberation."

Thank you so much for this -- these were words very beneficial for me to hear right now and I appreciate your expression. My needs for celebration and mourning are equally and joyfully met.