Discipline is required to keep moving forward in grief. This DOES NOT mean we are never still! It simply means we have focus, and we are constantly keeping our eye on the prize. (This can look differently for everyone, and even be non-existent for others…)
While studying for my instructor exams, I recently heard a world-class coach say, “There is no such thing as balance on a snowboard, only dynamic balance.” As I pondered the truthfulness of this profound, but simple, statement that I had already considered and tested in my own way, it has enabled me to unlock pathways that were previously blocked—even hidden. Now, as I approach each new moment, I endeavor to remember the fundamentals of keeping the flow—even if it is slow or uncomfortable or painful or inexplicable, or just plain sucks!!!! Sometimes, it is wonderful, but then I remind myself, this too, is only temporary…
Static pauses are dead. In the valleys of life (even trenches), those times in between the bliss of reaching various summits, we can disengage with our environment and focus on all the obstacles that prevent us from reaching those majestic peaks, or we can keep our eyes constantly fixated on those peaks—even as we pick our way, step by step, through the tangled mess below. Eventually, if we keep going, we WILL reach that peak again.
If we lose focus, not only do we risk never reaching that peak, but we also become increasingly vulnerable to taking wrong turns and getting lost completely… That is not to say that we can never find our way back, but the process will be ever more painstaking. There is nothing quite so heavy as “dead” weight. (Seriously though, no pun intended—avoid inertia as best you can!!!!)
Sometimes life appears to come to a standstill… but this is an illusion. Even in our darkest hours, the heart continues to beat, and the lungs continue to draw breath. These actions, though often imperceptible, however, can become excruciatingly loud to the individual that is struggling to stay alive!!!!
Similarly, balance in snowboarding is never truly static. Just like the beating heart, and life-giving lungs, minor musculoskeletal adjustments made to correct imbalance are often not perceived with the eyes. Faced with the traumatic loss of a loved one—or two, in my case—is paralyzing, to say the least. Much like snowboarding, it becomes necessary to embrace dynamic movement, and allow ourselves to breath again, if we are ever to maintain our “ride.” (Or simply survive!)
In grief, we too, must continue to make those key decisions that will eventually allow us to keep living. Consciously choose to keep breathing, that your heart may continue to beat. Though you find yourself in the deepest, darkest tunnel, keep searching for life and light. It has not ceased to exist—you just cannot see it at the moment, but it is still there.
It would be so easy to quit breathing… but somewhere beyond this moment, life continues to thrive. To better connect with our loved ones on the other side, we must meet them halfway! They come to us as we set our hearts and minds to keep going—no matter how slowly!!!!
The hardest part is gaining momentum, but once we commit ourselves to the task, momentum grows more momentum. From the other side, our loved ones will help to steady us as we make the effort to stand again, and eventually walk, but we must first choose to move.
In my deepest, darkest hours, I have felt the warmth radiating through from the other side—from both my loved ones and also my Mighty God. Even though, at times, we are faced with difficult, scary journeys in our attempts at reaching the summit, we can always find refuge in their enveloping warmth when needed. They are never far!
As it goes in snowboarding, too much of any given movement is equally detrimental as is no movement at all when it comes to maintaining balance… So it is in grief. Sometimes more is needed, and sometimes we only have less. What matters, is that we do our best to keep moving forward toward that peak. It is there where they will be waiting…