Happy things

I used to think that ” laughter is the best medicine” was a useless piece of claptrap my parents used to spout to stop us from feeling sad as kids. As I’ve grown up and dealt with depression, illness, life in general, I’ve realised that actually, thinking of things that make us happy and things that make us laugh is invaluable. Particularly with the current pandemic situation. So here’s a list of things that made me happy today.

  1. I had toast with avocado and egg today for lunch and the avocado was perfectly ripe – just at that perfectly ripe point of creaminess and loveliness. (OK I’m feeling proud as well as happy here, it’s so rare I get it that right!!)
  2. My darling husband and I found occasion to degenerate into a complete fit of helpless giggles earlier. I can’t share the details, but sometimes, even after 7yrs of marriage, that man surprises me with his reactions and it just made us both collapse today.
  3. I did some sun salutations today – not many and probably not the best form ever, but it’s been a long time since I did some yoga and sun salutations are my starting point for getting back into a practice.
  4. I’m wearing clean jammies – had my Sunday shower early today and I’m now in fresh jammies. Seriously, fresh jammies is an unbelievably good source of happy for me.
  5. We decided on takeaway tonight and darling husband agreed to go get it – and he’s just arrived home with perfect timing. All the takeaways in our town have put in place procedures to try and help people get food but also minimise contact which is great.

It may seem silly, but when the world is such a scary place and there’s no control over any of it – look to the small things to see what makes you happy. I didn’t even get a chance to get into the birds outside, the sun shine, the crisp feel of a frosty morning, the joy of revisiting old books…… Look for your happy, it’s there and it is a form of medicine!!!

COVID-19

Well, it’s a scary time in this world right now, isn’t it? We’re so used to the notion that modern medicine can cure all ills, or most of them, that something new comes along, is highly contagious and we all struggle.

So far, my life is similar to what it was before. I work in the food industry, so I still need to come to work every day. But measures are being taken – rather than sharing an office, I’m on my own. Anyone who can work from home, is working from home. Production lines have been rejigged and manipulated to allow the recommended 2m of distance between people. We have an obligation to continue supplying food, but at the same time to keep ourselves safe.

And so… what can we do for ourselves? Physical health is one thing, but mental and emotional health is another. If you are in isolation, consider putting together routines and strategies so that you can manage your life. Technology is our friend here – maybe you can’t go meet friends face to face, but can you arrange a dinner via Skype or Zoom or some other platform? I’ve arranged with some friends that we’re going to do a games night this Saturday over Skype. It’s hard having our freedoms limited – and if it was long term, I’d be out on the streets protesting alright! But this is for our protection, and more importantly to protect the vulnerable in our society.

In this time, Brigid is a good person to have on your side. If you have the brat Bhríde at home – use it!! It will give comfort, support and a snuggle if nothing else. If you have the time and the resources, saying a prayer and asking for help/ guidance rarely causes harm. If you can, offer to help those around you – are there people in your community who are afraid to leave their homes because of suppressed immune systems or other worried? Maybe communicate through doors and windows, pick up some things from the shops when you go out yourself and leave them on the step.

If you can leave the house, remember the 2m rule and remember that hoarding will help nobody in the long term. I’ll admit to picking up an extra bag of lentils at the weekend, but I wasn’t stocking up for a six month siege. Pick up the extra to make youself feel happier and leave plenty of the rest of the community. We’re only going to get through this together.

And, if you can, limit your exposure to the media -social or otherwise. Just at the minute there’s a whole rake of bad news and scaremongering being thrown at us. Expose yourself to sources you trust – here in Ireland I’m limiting myself to about a half hour on Facebook while looking at the 9pm news on RTE (our national broadcaster). It helps me keep on top of what’s happening while not overwhelming myself. Of course, this doesn’t save me from the constant meetings and discussions at work, but it is helping me manage my own mental health.

I know my husband, who is now working from home, is struggling with being in the house all day alone, so he’s going for walks, keeping in touch with friends and family and engaging his brain in different ways (you wouldn’t believe the amount of little projects he’s getting through!!)

If you need help and support, reach out. Talking helps, especially if it’s someone you trust. Listen to the advice given by your national/regional authorities and the WHO.

And remember – if you’re reading this blog, you at least have an interest in Brigid – use her. Pray, light candles, maybe do a little ritual if you like. Ask for help – we’re not alone.

Brigid and fertility

Last week, I wrote about my ideas on Brigid and war. Another aspect of Brigid, to me, is her link to fertility, of both land and people.

This again is a personal link, since my husband and I have been trying to have a family for some years now and some of my work with Brigid is linked to this. Unfortunately, currently, any fertility going through my body appears to be in the teaching and producing areas rather than the family one.

But there are some more solid links to fertility than there are with war. The most prominent for me is the story in the Latin Life of Brigit (Cogitosus is the author here, Google is your friend for more details!) where she caused the foetus of a fellow nun to disappear. Now it makes sense to me that to know how to make a foetus disappear, you have to have some knowledge of the process of procreation and childbearing, as well as the activities, plants, herbs etc that either promote or suppress it. Indeed, in the lists of penances in medieval Ireland, the penance for abortion was a relatively mild one, being one third the length of the one for actual childbirth (one wonders what activities the clerical leaders were trying to promote here)

As well, there are multiple accounts of Brigid healing the sick, which is standard fare for the early saints, to be fair, but also of causing the recently healed to be re-infected if they didn’t react appropriately! To either heal or re-infect suggests a knowledge of how health and the body works. To know how the body works, especially seeing as how she was a woman herself, makes it seem unlikely she didn’t have an understanding of the reproductive systems – from the female side anyway!

To me, the links to human fertility are strong. I personally extend this to other forms of fertility as well – whether the land, the arts, the crafts, the sciences… all need some element of fertility to produce anew, whether in cycles or in one-off endeavours. Brigid has strong links to the arts and humanities through her being a file (poet in direct translation), and equally strong links to healing through the sheer number of healing wells devoted to her in Ireland. But modern medicine is very different to the traditional ways people tried to keep healthy don’t forget. Very often, the wise woman knowing which herbs in the forest helped keep teeth in your head would save more lives than a doctor giving out medicine – especially if you look at some of the “medicines” that were touted in recent centuries.

A wise woman in many cultures give rise to fear – while priests rarely if ever showed interest in the process of childbirth, they were sometimes resentful of the power of the women who did. (please note: not all priests!) A woman who had some control over the mysteries of life and death, birth and death, would have power in the community, especially when that woman might also be, saints preserve us, independent of men!!

In Ireland though, because for many centuries, women were left alone for a variety of reasons and the bean feasa or wise woman was a regular and valued member of the community, being the only source of medicine for the poor. When you have a rebellion every generation or so, a famine every generation or so, are severely oppressed and downtrodden… well you don’t antagonise the woman who can help with life’s troubles.

Where does this bring us with Brigid and fertility? Well, I still have hopes. Technically, it’s still possible for me to bear a child, although there is that imaginary clock ticking. Brigid will support me in becoming who I need to be become – hopefully without a trip back to her forge for re-tempering! – and I believe in her.

What does this look like in my daily life? I take my folic acid. I work with my darlin husband to ensure sex is enjoyable, varied, and try and make an effort around ovulation time. We prepare mentally, physically and emotionally for children entering our lives.

And I pray. I meditate. I read. I research. I work on past traumas. I work on new traumas. I do all I can do. And I wait. She’ll make it happen when it’s right. And if it isn’t right… well, we’ll have to live with that. But there will be wailing and gnashing of teeth on the day we agree all hope is lost!!

When it comes to the land – things are a bit different. Ireland is still a breadbasket and modern advances in agriculture help us get more out of our land without exhausting it. But for centuries, the farmers, the fishermen, all had their rituals to ensure the fertility of the land on Imbolc or St. Brigid’s Day. Whether it was the sheaf of oats outside the door for her to bless on her path over the land or the shellfish scattered in the four corners of the house, there were many households busy to ensure the fertility of the coming year around the 1st February. There were customs too about no wheels to be turned before noon, and how to manage the butter and the dairy on this day as well. I’d strongly suggest Seán Ó Dúinn’s book on Brigid for a very detailed account of this folklore.

It may be personal because of the difficulties in my own life, but for me, Brigid is intrinsically linked with fertility. Whether creating or destroying, as in my last post, she is there, she has power and she will use it.

Brigid and war

I’m currently teaching a class with the Irish Pagan School on Brigid in Ireland, going back into the lore and seeing what we can and can’t extrapolate from the stories our ancestors told. Last night we were dealing with Brigid as Goddess of Smithcraft and the aspect of Brigid and war came up.

It seems only fair to mention at this point that I have, at best, ambivalent feelings about the idea of war, killing, destruction. However, a fight engaged in righteousness is a holy thing, in my opinion… but this has been used as the excuse for every war, ever, pretty much. So what I’m going to talk about now is war as a destructive force. I’ll leave my rant on the modern military industrial complex for another time and focus on what war might, can and does achieve.

First off, of course, is destruction. Destruction of lives, families, livelihoods, land, buildings, monuments, knowledge, society… War destroys. It’s what it does. And – this is rarely an unadulterated Good Thing. Even World War 2, which many would agree is a good thing to have destroyed the power of the Nazis and their reign of terror, led to millions of deaths, a massive refugee crisis, destruction of economies… There are still scars from that war visible over most of the world and it’s almost 75 years since the ceasefire was declared.

If that war can have such massive effects more than 7 decades later, can we really say it was a good thing? I say no. Yes, finishing the power of the Nazis was a good thing, but a better thing would have been to prevent their policies being implemented at all. And we must remember, they were voted into power by a democratic process. (How they retained that power is another story…)

I cannot look at any war and say, yes that was a worthwhile and good war. It was worth the destruction and loss of life. Even the War of Independence here in Ireland (1921-1922) – yes, it brought us freedom from our oppressors, but I can’t help looking at the attempts to gain such a thing through peaceful means and despair.

So, ultimately, I have to agree there is a time for violence. I may regret it and pray I never need take part in it, but there is a time for violence. Peaceful protest gets us so far… but I’ve not seen peaceful process finish any of the great liberation movements of the last century: civil rights activities in the US, Europe, etc all involved violence, the current (admittedly unstable,with the advent of Brexit) situation in the North of Ireland was only brought about because of a violent campaign and I’m sure you can think of examples in your own community.

So where does this leave us with Brigid? Well, she was there in the army camp in Caith Maighe Tuiread 2 (as is sometimes referred to as The Rebellion 🙂 ) so I think we can say she sees the need for war in some cases. But I don’t think I see her on the front lines unless things get very bad and everyone’s called out to raise weapons. I see her more in the supportive roles: making sure the injured get care and attention, everyone gets fed at regular intervals, damaged or lost weapons are replaced and repaired. I see her standing in from of her home, ready to defend it from invaders, but not taking the fight to the invaders home. I see her in between an attacker and their victim, protecting those who need protecting rather than attacking herself. I see her protecting the land from whoever wishes to destroy it.

She is not a pacifist, no more than I am myself, but she sees fighting as a last resort, as the last defense, as something not to be glorified, but just another job that needs to get done on occasion and a less than pleasant one at that.

Of course, this is UPG. This isn’t verified in any way shape or form. These are my thoughts and how I interpret her stories and actions as I see them. You may differ. I can’t see her as a war goddess. If you think – the smith creates weapons of creation and destruction. No farm could survive without the smith’s arts, yet no war would be fought without them either.

And here we come to the crux of it: the powers of creation and destruction. Sometimes, things must be destroyed so that other things can be created and grow. Sometimes we must take up our weapons and defend our homes against invaders, whether of abhorrent ideology or physical force, no matter how much we despair of the waste.

Sometimes in the forge, when things go wrong, you have to toss the lump back into the fire, remelt it and start again. She’s got experience in the forge. She knows this. It just doesn’t mean she revels in or enjoys it.

Apologies and an explanation

So it’s not usual to start a blog and then disappear for a while and consider it a serious ongoing concern. My sincere apologies for that.

The major issue is – well, work is going ballistic at the minute and I’m not getting much time for things not work-related. You know, sleeping, eating, showering…. I’m pared back to essentials only right now and it’s a struggle.

However, this blog is important to me and here and now I’m committing to a post a week at least for the next six weeks. It was originally going to be linked to Lent, but I’m a week late starting so…. (Not that writing a post is a penance, more just to give me a framework to work with)

So, from tomorrow, ye should be seeing a post a week for six weeks to set in the habit with me. Exciting isn’t it? If there are any Brigid related topics you’d like to hear from me on, please shout up!

Book review: Brigid of Kildare by Heather Terrell

I came across this book on Amazon, thanks to a Christmas voucher from my baby brother (he knows me so well!!) Usually, I wouldn’t bother buying fiction about Brigid, because I’ve come across such rotten examples over the years, but I’m glad I picked this one up.

It is definitely a work of fiction, switching between modern Ireland and 5th century Ireland. The main focus of the work is the story of Brigid, a royal princess in Ireland and the story of how she was baptised, ordained as a bishop and how she set up her famous abbey in Kildare. The story also investigates a very demure and innocent “romance” between Brigid and a Roman monk, Decius, as well as a story in the modern day of a major historical find in Kildare.

Predominantly, the book reads historically accurate, if cleansed for modern eyes. A few mistakes crop up: Brigid was not ordained by Patrick, but by Mael, who afterwards claimed the mistake must have been organised by God. Also, Brigid’s mother is presented here as Broicsech, Dubthach’s wife, whereas usually in the hagiographies, Brigid’s mother is a slave. These details didn’t aggravate me too much though, since I enjoyed the story.

It’s a gentle, rolling story, rather than an action-fest. The characterisation is good, the pacing is consistent, the story is interesting. There is a lot that can’t be verified of course, and I would warn against taking this as historical record (I can be certain if there was a Brigidine relic found in Kildare in the last few decades such as is described in the book, we would have heard about it 🙂 ) Equally, the only even remotely romantic exploits ever even hinted at in any of Brigid’s stories is one with her anamchara, Darlughdach. It has been suggested elsewhere that this relationship was romantic in nature, but I think this may in part be to a misunderstanding of the term anamchara (literally: soul friend, but I will do another post on this soon). Hence the relationship with Decius didn’t ring true for me. I would encourage reading it though, for a pleasant afternoon’s reading.

It is written by an American, but she has managed to get the locations right anyway, something not always guaranteed in either fiction or non-fiction. The attention to details like Kildare not being in Dublin is important!

Overall – I’d say read this novel for the enjoyment of it. I wouldn’t depend on it for history, but for entertainment, it’s a lovely book. I was initially unsure if it was intended to be YA (young adult) but that could be just the lack of sex (which maybe says more about my usual reading materials than anything else!!)

Imbolc ritual

It’s buried in the “About Me” section somewhere, but I run a Facebook group called Brigid’s Forge. (Link: https://www.facebook.com/groups/318562765289760/) For Imbolc, I’m holding a short (roughly about an hour) ritual for the group members. It’s free, but it’s only for group members for now.

Joining the group is easy, if you’re already on Facebook. Click on the link above and click on the join link. I generally get to approve requests with a day or so at most. I will in the future look into the tech for doing this using WordPress or some other, non-Facebook technology 🙂

Hope I see ye there!!

Health and healing

Well, 2020 arrived with a bang for me. I set a goal to post here once a week and it’s gone beyond that. My apologies. The main reason has been health. I was struck down with an ear infection followed by a headache that lasted about a week. It was less than pleasant.

But on the other hand, it led me to examine my healing practices, particularly in relation to herself. Now, I practice energy work, reiki reflexology, but I will be the first to admit that before Christmas, I had let my own energy levels stagnate, drop, and leak from me. I was doing, doing, doing with little or no work to replenish that energy and allow myself to recover and renew myself. That was not the most sensible thing I’ve ever done.

So, over Christmas, I took a decision to plan something for myself that would allow me to replenish and renew. I should note that I subscribe to the school of thought that an ounce of prevention is better than a pound of cure, where it’s at all possible. So I keep myself hydrated and make sure I get plenty of fresh air to prevent headaches. It works… most of the time… but not this time. To be fair, my time in the fresh air has been limited of late. It’s winter in Ireland, which means damp, dreary, grey days – not conducive to venturing outside. But I need that outside time… This is where adulting is hard, making these decisions for ourselves and deciding what we need to do versus what we want to do.

I also agreed with myself and Brigid that I would go for a fancy Balneotherapy bath once a month in the local hotel spa. This fulfills a twofold purpose – it forces me to take a half hour where I can only lie back and relax. I can’t read, watch TV, look at Youtube, etc, I can only lie back, meditate possibly and enjoy the experience. The second purpose is that by doing this, taking a ritual bath, I can go back to reading the odd male author. This time last year (well, more like December 2018), I got this odd notion to only read female authors. It seemed like it was my own idea for a while, but after a few weeks, it became clear, this was an instruction and to be obeyed. It’s rare something like this comes up for me, so I stuck with it – besides, there are plenty of female authors out there to be reading, I didn’t really notice the loss. Until that is, I started looking for research on Brigid, life in Iron Age Ireland, and things like this. It seems in this area, the field is almost as dominated by men as the engineering field is. This posed a problem, because she wants this book written, but I needed to read male authors to do the research. While I’m grand with personal gnosis for personal practice, I don’t want to be passing off the results of my meditations and rituals as grounded fact. So, we compromised and agreed that this would serve the two-fold purpose of renewing my energy and “cleansing” me to allow me to recommence reading male authors.

My first bath was just after Christmas on the 27th December. Just know, I was empty at this point. I mean, if I was the fuel gauge on a car, I would no longer be flashing red, but I was still in the red… I wasn’t sure if this bath would allow me to read male authors again, or not, but I needed the renewal. And renewal I got. That bath felt like 8 hrs sleep in 25mins. The combination of water, lights, soothing music… it was a healing and powerful experience, probably because I was so empty, I soaked it all up like a sponge.

A few weeks later, I had signed up for a cacao (pronounced c’cow for those who, like me, had no idea how to pronounce it!), dance and sound gong experience. I knew no one going, had no idea what to expect, but I had experienced dance and sound gongs before and cacao is close to chocolate so how bad could it be??? It was amazing. The cacao tasted lovely and definitely gave an energetical boost to me. The dancing… oh the dancing…. I love to dance. I really love to dance, but I habitually convince myself it’s too much hassle to go along to events where I can dance as I wish (freeform, spiritual, trance, however you like to describe it – the kind where you move without steps or heed to orders!) I danced for at least 2 hours and I loved it. It was like an awakening of my body, a reaffirmation that this body of mine is here for enjoyment and love, not for just being a workhorse. As we lay down for the sound gong experience, I kept moving. My hips rolled, my backside lifting and lowering, my knees splaying and coming together again… I must have looked like someone on drugs, and I suppose it kind of felt like that, but it was more energy coming back to me. More of my tank being filled. And to be fair, I came home and jumped my husband (with his consent of course) so refilled my sexual energy as well.

What has this to do with Brigid? Well, here’s where the personal gnosis comes in. The energy work I do is closely related to Brigid the healer for me. And when I don’t have the energy, when I allow that energy to run down and be diminished as I have been, I don’t have the energy to facilitate healing for either myself or others. I believe that Brigid’s rituals must have included rituals to replenish this energy for her healers and workers. Healers also need healing. And dance is such a free and easy way to replenish this energy. I know that there are parts of the world where dancing is frowned upon or outlawed completely, but here in Ireland, thankfully it’s not. And so, this needs to become part of my spiritual practice. Dance as healing – it’s something Gabrielle Roth links to in her 5 Rhythms dancing (which was my first exposure to dancing other than prescribed steps. The instruction to just move my body as I felt like was a shock to this Irish dancer!) But this can’t be new. Dance has been part of the human experience for millenia (personal feeling there, I don’t have a reference for that) although throughout history, certainly in the Common Era, there have been plenty of times and places where it has been restricted, outlawed, frowned upon and otherwise controlled.

I don’t have a brat Bhríde right now, but this January 31st, I will be leaving out a red ribbon or two to serve in that capacity in the future. (it doesn’t need to be a red ribbon, it just needs to be a piece of cloth, it’s only that I happen to have two pieces of red ribbon that I can use for this purpose this year) I will be using this ribbon in my new practices of energy renewal and replenishment throughout the year. I don’t know the firm outlines of these practices as yet, but I’m working on them. I’m also looking at ways to improve the foundations of my life: sleep, food, water, movement.

I will share some of these practices with you as I come across them, but for now, the monthly spa bath and regular dancing are forming a major part of it!! As for herself – she’s happy I’m paying attention again and is in agreement with what I’ve decided on so far. Of course there’s a payback as well, but we’ll get into that another time!

Do the work

In a small group of my friends, there is a potentially unusual compliment or encouragement we pay each other. “Well done for doing the thing”. Doesn’t sound like much does it? But it acknowledges that “the thing” can be big or small, complicated or simple, big work or little work. None of that matters. What matters is that there was a thing that needed to be done and you did it. Because no matter how small the action, sometimes it leads to a big reward.

There’s a corollary to this of course: just do the thing. Whatever “the thing! is, JFDI* is an approach to take, in fact the smaller the thing, the more appropriate JFDI probably is. And it needs saying that what one person might think is a very small thing, another might think is huge (this is why my husband does most of our take-away ordering, I hate ringing people up and asking for food, while I do more of our banking, since he hates dealing with banks).

What I didn’t expect this morning was my deity to throw “do the thing” in my face though. I have committed to myself that I will write a post in this blog at least once a week. Not too often compared to other blogs, I know, but with a full time job, plus the bits on the side I do, once a week is achievable while being a stretch. I had aimed to write this weekend, but I needed to rest. During meditation this morning, she was definitely yelling “do the thing” at me. Interesting experience given the nature of this morning’s meditation (more on that another time).

During meditation, sometimes I wonder if it’s herself at all that’s communicating with me or if it’s just my own sub conscious mind throwing things up at me. There are times I wonder if what I’m coming back with is useful or just the wanderings of my own mind and heart. I’ve come to the conclusion that discernment is important here. If I come back with a message to kill someone, I’m probably going to ignore that. But coming back with a message to “do the thing” – that’s a bit of a slap upside the head to get moving on something. If it’s something that’s important to her AND to me, well what’s the point in not doing it?

I use Michael Hyatt’s goal planning system to help me in work and home to get things done. He’s also a big proponent of “do the thing”, although he words it differently. And one of this things is to set three things every day to bring you closer to your goals. These can be very little things or very big things. Sometimes my list contains making phone calls, sending an email, buying a book… sometimes they involve moving massive (to me anyway!) amounts of money or spending hours researching or reading something. But they all get a tick when I do them. For example, I’m trying to build a habit of going to a personal trainer right now, once a week, so that makes it onto my daily 3 once a week. I’m also building a habit of writing for 30mins a day. That one, as yet, doesn’t make it onto the list because currently there are priorities above it. After this morning’s meditation, however, that may change.

Sometimes we set ourselves goals and targets that seem insurmountable, obelisks of achievement that need advanced experience in mountain climbing to attain. But every day, we can take one more step towards that goal, and every one of those steps is one step closer to achievement.

This is my thing for today. I’ve done the thing. What’s yours?

*JFDI – Just Fucking Do It 🙂

Devotional

Lora O’Brien of the Irish Pagan School (www.irishpaganschool.com) discussed the notion of devotionals with me some time ago and I started writing them. The structure is simple – take a piece of scripture (in our case, a piece of our lore), discuss/ meditate on what it means, end with a prayer. It’s a way of dissecting and interrogating our lore and our stories for the meanings within, both from the times they come from and our own modern world. Grief might seem like a strange one at this time of year, but there are a lot of people, myself included, dealing with grief. And Brigid gave us a way to cope with it. I hope you don’t need to read about grief today, but if you do – you’re not along.

Cath Maige Tuired: The Second Battle of Mag Tuired (Author:[unknown])
section 125

But after the spear had been given to him, Rúadán turned and wounded Goibniu. He pulled out the spear and hurled it at Rúadán so that it went through him; and he died in his father’s presence in the Fomorian assembly. Bríg came and keened for her son. At first she shrieked, in the end she wept. Then for the first time weeping and shrieking were heard in Ireland. (Now she is the Bríg who invented a whistle for signalling at night.)

In either battle of Moytura (Caith Maighe Tuired), Brig only appears as someone’s mother – Rúadán’s in this case. She has no role in the fighting, nor is she one of the movers-and-shakers. She does grant us something we may not value enough – she grants us a means to deal with grief. 

We all suffer with grief at some point in our lives and, particularly in modern society, the pressure can be there to bury the grief deeply and above all don’t let society at large see how deeply the grief goes. It doesn’t matter if the loss is of a parent, child, pet, friend… Grief is not something to be measured or allowed. Grief simply is. No matter what our beliefs, the nature of our relationship with the loved one is changed irrevocably. 

Brig offers us a way to externalise these feelings that feel so big and powerful. She literally grants our grief a voice. She understands. There is no magic club, no magic cauldron, no magic herbs to bring her son back – he is gone and in a most violent fashion. 

She knows. 

My husband & I have been trying to have a baby for four years. One year into our journey, we had a miscarriage. I had a week off work to ‘recover’. It wasn’t enough time. It wasn’t nearly enough time. I felt like I was moving in a different world to that around me. Our baby might have been the size of a pea when we lost them, but to us, to me, they were as real as if I had fed them at my breast. The world kept turning, even as I felt frozen, unable to keep up. 

A year later, I went through an initiation. Not a Brig related initiation, but nevertheless a profound and powerful experience. And during that time, the floodgates opened. On my way home from the weekend, I had a night alone in a hotel and a four hour ferry journey. During this time alone, I cried. I wailed. I sobbed. Even in my sleep, I had tears rolling down my cheeks. I keened. I keened hard

It was like releasing pus from a boil. Painful, unpleasant, petrifying with the force of it, but cleansing, clearing and calming in its own way. I released the pent up force of my grief. I unleashed those feelings on the world. I gave voice, oh ye gods, did I give voice. And while my grief, my loss is still there and nothing will ever replace the hopes and dreams we had for that little pea, it’s a clean, healing grief now, not something to hold me back, but something that is just part of me.

In my time of grief, Brig, grant me the strength to use your precious gift and give voice to my pain that I mourn fully and completely those I have lost. May I never forget them, but may I also continue with my life, my grief a part of me, but not controlling me.