I attended a community gratitude ritual last weekend. I've been going to this ritual on and off for years. It's so sweet to reconnect with loving people who have been there for me over the years.
I was struck on Saturday morning how the sharing turned to the losses in our lives and how many people spoke of the loss of a mother or father and the grief they were experiencing in the midst of a weekend dedicated to gratitude. This sharing dropped the room down into a soulful, sacred space and people supported each other with compassionate eyes or a gentle hand on a shoulder.
Grief and gratitude walk hand in hand. Our lives are complex and our souls hold many dichotomies simultaneously. Life is rarely all one or the other and actually, our work is to hold the seeming polarities and see the whole; love and power, light and dark, joy and sorrow, grief and gratitude.
Which brings me to a particular piece which has been working in me. The loss of my father. Not just his death many years ago, but the absence in my life as he struggled with his own alcohol fueled demons. Fatherloss - the absence of that father energy and archetype in our lives as we grow up. The absence of a strong, loving, guiding, mentoring, wise man in a child's life. Some of us had this presence and some did not.
I think there is a particular grounding afforded to a person when this energy has been imprinted on our psyche. A sense of a north star, a trust in myself, a rudder to sail on life's turbulent oceans is gifted to us.
In the absence of the father, a wound is formed around belonging around a right sense of who I am. I know for my own situation, I have searched for my own north star, my own rudder, too many times deferring to others to define who I am. A recent awareness has been the shame I felt for wanting things to turn out right as the child longed for his father to stop drinking. The drinking didn't stop, so what the child wanted did not turn out and a shame crept in and stuck to the longing for connection. The adult in me knows that was then and now, a different path can open up.
I have been blessed by wise mentors, Francis Weller being at the top of the list. As well as my clan brothers who alternate between brother and father. Through their love and wisdom I have started to put the pieces together.
Since my Father's death, I've had conversations with him, offered apologies for the anger I held towards him and have tried to reclaim what was lost. This is rich territory.
I've used poetry to work this terrain. I offer the two poems below as part of my own healing and perhaps a piece for you.
Father and Son
Abrazan (Reaching Out)
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Jose Enciso is an engineer by profession, a poet by necessity and a seeker of spirit and soul. He brings a gentle presence and deep respect for the interior journey as expressed through creative and expressive arts. Jose is a skilled group facilitator who is committed to the spiritual and psychological growth of those around him. He trained under Francis Weller to lead men’s initiation groups doing deep soul work and is equally comfortable in managing complex technical projects. Jose is devoted to the emergence of the divine feminine, supporting women and men claiming their voice and power, and rediscovering the soul of masculinity. He is currently working on multiple projects including a book which seeks to encourage everyone to write their own poetry as a discovery of their own soul's truth.