Losing someone you love is one of life’s truths. But can we prepare ourselves for that moment?
In this podcast, Alexandra and guest Barbara Western will take us on a journey that’s universal but different for everyone: grieving. These two ladies, who met in the practice of yoga and Ayurveda, bravely confronts a conversation about death and its inevitability and the uniquely complicated process that follows it.
Barbara grew up in a large family with very philosophical parents. She and her brother are the two youngest among ten siblings. Death in the family was not new to her; they had lost a sister and the father some years back. But her brother’s death in 2019 was different. It was sudden. And it was because of something often misunderstood by many.
There’s nothing like death, particularly the sudden death of a loved one. It immediately throws one into a place where you are constantly trying to make sense of things; trying to identify and engage what’s most meaningful in your life and all the uncomfortable feelings of grief.
While growing from a childhood that encourages questioning, Barbara has always been conscious of the not-so-distant reality that unpleasant things happen. But to her, the paths we take in our lives in the face of these things can prepare us, or not, for more loss.
Grieving comes in different forms, but sure there are somatic elements to it. It’s mostly feelings but sure it’s also about thoughts that you permit to linger. It’s like when you’re meditating. You allow the thoughts to come, sit there as long as it needs to be, and then go. Most of all, grief is something that we manage and get over within due time.
And as it is like meditation, grief is about being in the moment and being out. Many would advise being out; anyway the whole world is about selling us distractions. But we cannot let go if we don’t own the emotion. Pushing it away puts the emotions somewhere just temporarily but it lingers. Even longer. And you cannot ignore it forever.
It’s okay not to be okay!
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- When you’re faced with the death of someone you love, it becomes the ultimate reality. Wrapping you’re head around it is almost like being in an altered state of consciousness. – Barbara Western
- Grief and love are inextricably linked. – Barbara Western
- There are people who are uncomfortable with the idea of death that they can’t talk about it. I have compassion for them because I know it will be harder for them when they are faced with it. Until you start working through these feelings, you start becoming familiar with the uncomfortable, then it’s going to be difficult to face this enormous loss when it comes to you. – Barbara Western
- Every moment really is a moment that we get to choose how we’re going to move in the world; how we’re going to think and feel. Sometimes those feelings are overwhelming and so we’re not choosing that. But we can choose up to a certain extent. Do so because having a choice is a privilege. – Barbara Western
- We’ll forget the events but we’ll remember the feelings. It then becomes our story, our narrative. And that’s why the narrative is so powerful. – Barbara Western
Barbara Western, originally from Canada and now living in the United States, is a mother of two and a wonderful wife, and a loving sister.