In the book The Wild Edge of Sorrow by Francis Weller, the author discusses the many forms of grief and unpacks how deficient our culture is at healing and the soul work of grief.
Weller writes, "Facing our emptiness is the key to our freedom. Emptiness saturates our culture. Addictions, consumption, materialism are symptoms of this condition. They are attempts to cope with the unbearable feelings of barrenness. To feel empty is to live in the wasteland near the gates of death. This is intolerable to the soul. We were not meant to live such shallow lives."
He goes on to say, "Many of us suffer from what I call premature death, in that we have turned away from whole portions of our life. We have adapted to a pattern of ambivalence, neither in nor out of life, but living in a state of suspended animation...I think most people walk around possessed by the dullest parts of themselves; this, the worst state of possession is called normal."
We long to feel that we are needed to in order for the world to keep happening. Weller believes that the absence of this remains as a persistent grief in our psyches, that we have become spiritually unemployed. He suggests that instead of asking, "What do you do for a living?", ask:
- What is the gift that you carry in your soul?
- What have you brought with you into the heart of the village?
Spiritual employment is feeling valued for the gifts with which we are born, it affirms our worth and dignity. By simply being who you are, your place in the village is confirmed. This feeling of grounding and acceptance is essential to finding and maintaining a feeling of emotional intimacy with life, with one another, and with our own soul.
I invite you to consider reading Weller's book. It's a beautifully written work on grief and healing.