HEARTS WIDE OPEN
Venturing into the shadowy terrain of grief, death and dying
“There must be those among
whom we can sit down and weep
and still be counted as warriors”
In October 2019 I woke up inside of an embodied dream with ovarian cancer, and then less than 2 years later, my chest was broken open and my heart exposed in order to replace my aortic valve. Two weeks later my mother died. These events were eclipsed by the pandemic which nested me inside a worldwide collective of humans who were asked to look into the face of death. Many did, some did not.
It is clear to me now that this was a soul initiation for me.
Now I stand with a wildfire raging inside for the work of walking with others into an eyes wide open and heart wrenched open approach to these times and the deaths that are now and will always be accompanying us in our lives. The suffering that was mine to endure in these past years has led me now to a calling that is undeniable and paradoxically, very enlivening.
“For among these winters there is one so endlessly winter that only
by wintering through it will your heart survive”
~ Ranier Maria Rilke
In his exquisite book, Earth Grief, Stephen Harrod Buhner says,
“This wild thing that true, deep grief is cannot be tamed by touch or walled off by words.
In its arms we become experiencers of grief, expeditionaries of ending, explorers of loss,
engaged witnesses who must
- if we are to travel through the territory and find the other side -
let grief have its way with us.
And grief…it is pervasive and insistent and relentless.
When it finds us, it enters every part of the self, every aspect of our lives.”
Grief has rarely been welcomed in our culture and most avoid it like the plague. Yet, grief is a friend that when invited in, will wash us clean and lessen the weight on our shoulders, and may even leave many awash in an unexpected joy.
Our lips are getting more familiar with the words “death and grief”, though many still treat them as taboo..something to turn away from. And yet here we are, in the midst of the greatest climate catastrophe, time of extinction, and cultural collapse the human race has ever seen and more and more we are realizing that this being human is one of impermanence. The work of finding a willingness to turn and face the dying in the world, to face the deaths that have already happened and our own that will most definitely come, to open to knowing grief’s torrent, is absolutely essential for us as we go forward into this frighteningly uncertain future.
The journey of being human in this twenty first century, is a fierce one…one that demands that we learn that we are living in a time of endings. Whether you admit it or not, we are no longer living inside of the fallacy called “business as usual.” That has ended and we must sit at death’s feet and allow it to teach us. Buhner reminds us,
“Many things we love will die in our time - ways of life,
kindred species, Earth climate and landscapes.
We should not travel into that future unprepared….
for death is and always has been one of the great powers of the world.
It has been around a very long time, far longer than our species.
It is one of the greatest teachers any of us will ever have.”
It is very likely that our task now is to acknowledge the descent we are collectively in and in that, do what is necessary for living in a very long period of uncertainty and possible initiation. Not only are we called to walk into this future with our eyes wide open in order to see the truth of this time, but I suggest that the only way to do this with kindness and courage, is also to walk through it with our hearts wide open in gratitude and care for the beauty of what has been.
This is what I am up to, together with a very wise cohort.
If you are drawn here, recognize that you are called with good reason. Humble yourself to this poignant moment of response. You are brave and needed.
Under this heading you will find numerous offerings…programs, interviews, conversations, councils and other resources. Return here often as this site and this portion of my offerings is ever changing and new things will be added from time to time.
Welcome to this growing community of courageous humans with their hearts wide open.
“Forces beyond your control can take away everything you possess except one thing, the freedom to choose how you will respond to the situation.”
~ Victor Frankl
"Jade's years of experience listening to so many people's stories comes across in her guiding in the form of calmness and an air of confident competence. I felt so well held, my story deeply heard and respected. Her loving presence, wisdom, and sense of humor is really wonderful to receive. Jade really helped me to hear my own story and reinforced my own inner guidance." ~ Depth Psychologist