A Conversation about Grief

What is grief? Who and what has informed your grief? How do you mourn your grief? What’s the difference between grief and mourning?

I sat down with Natalie Rousseau of Living Yoga to discuss these very questions. I shared a bit about my experiences of renouncing my monastic vows and how that was a deeply unsettling and confusing time for me, as well as a time I still have not made sense of nor completely reconciled. I renounced my vows in 2012 and I’m still digesting the loss.

We all experience grief and mourning rituals are important for understanding those losses. Grief is our feelings – emotional, physical, mental, and spiritual – and mourning is what we do with those feelings to honour and integrate them. We need to mourn privately and in community with others. Both are necessary.

As a society, we have lost many of our mourning rituals and we tend to shy away from grief whether in ourselves or in others. We have become unpracticed with grief and mourning. How many times have you heard you just need to deal with your grief and get over it? I call bullshit. Trying to confine grief to a timeline or a defined set of behaviours will only prolong suffering.

Your grief is valid. It does not matter the cause or the duration of your grief because your feelings are real and a natural response to losing something or someone you treasure.

You can listen in on our conversation here: