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The Hidden Power of Grief

Grief & Loss | 0 comments

We have been fed a very big lifelong lie… that grief is bad and either we need to “get over it” (stuff it and pretend we’re fine way too early) or have people doting on us trying to “fix” us.

It’s a vicious circle that stems from another big lie: that we are supposed to always be happy. I know Abraham-Hicks say that we are meant to be happy and yes, that is still true, but check this out.

The thing about true happiness is that it comes from being present. That means we feel… and not just the fun feelings but whatever shows up. When we do that, it can be uncomfortable, devastating even, but it frees us up to be real and not have to hide. It creates space within us and our hearts.

Unfortunately, most of us are too caught up in the details of working, caring for our families and doing what it takes to survive and thrive, and we unconsciously ascribe to that big lie that grief should be ignored, avoided and shoved down at all costs.

You know what happens when you let that big lie lead you?

Your loved ones won’t let you in when they are hurting.

Instead, they will hide their feelings and pretend everything is okay and then you have to wonder what’s wrong.

Or that might be YOU pretending everything is fine. I literally just had a loved one tell me “If you’re fine, I’m fine, everything’s fine and let’s just leave it at that.” I know that was a knee-jerk reaction coming from pain or fear.

Truthfully, I was in shock and it took me some time to process it… and I have a lot of resilience and I’m a healer. Imagine if I didn’t have support, tools and techniques that I use all the time. Most people don’t, so things like that hurt, like a LOT.

I know it’s not your intention to hurt people. We just have been stuck in a system that values productivity over people and trained us to pretend grief doesn’t exist. Most people have no idea how to help someone (or themselves) to be present with and live with grief.

Let me UNtrain you…

As a mentor and healer helping women who carry grief and trauma, after losing my parents and then my son, I have witnessed some truly meaningful moments in my own grief as well as that of others.

Those moments emerge when we allow ourselves to get support and be present with grief, and when we learn to hold space for ourselves. That learning comes from getting support and letting the tears flow.

When you are present with your grief and allow yourself the tears, anger and whatever else comes with it, you…

… unleash and feel the LOVE that you carry for who or what you have lost.

… learn how to hold space for yourself, which is Step Zero in embodying resilience and being able to hold space for others. When you can hold space for others, people will get healing from just being in your presence because they feel safe to feel.

… have compassion for others who are also experiencing grief.

… create ways to honour your lost loved ones while getting grief relief.

… synchronicities start happening that help you feel better and lead you to beautiful experiences.

Here’s what happened to me:

Synchronicity. Compassion. Love. Holding space. All of it.

Another grieving Indigenous mom who also lost her son messaged me on social media because she was looking for a medium, and I had commented because I know people who could help her.

We had a deep conversation about our grief. She then offered to send me this beautiful prairie sage that she had harvested herself, not far from where my biological mother was born… and this new friend lives where I was born.

This sage means so much to me I can’t even describe it. Words are not enough.

She harvested the sage under a powerful healing Full Moon, following her inner guidance, and said two of those sticks are from her most beloved stock.

You know the bigger reason she gave me that sage?

It’s one of her ways of honouring her son and moving through her grief. She told me she likes to harvest sage and then gift it out to those who understand its medicine. Acts of kindness, compassion and holding space like this are what happen when a person is being present with their grief, which takes resilience and the ability to hold space.

Sage is one of the four First Nations sacred medicines to help us with holding space and clearing out negative energies.

One of the things I have done on this journey to help me through my own grief is to make an album for grief during the murder trial, to help me and to share with people who are grieving.

Of course as a thank you, I gifted my new friend my downloadable album to help her on her journey.

I knew the hidden power of grief – that if I made that music while I was in heavy grief, those songs would carry the medicine of love and grief.

Take that in.

When you are IN grief, you carry the medicine of love and grief and you can pass it on by doing something meaningful in memory and honour of your lost loved ones.

Even if your grief is coming from a job loss or a relationship ending, or missing the way things were, you can use that medicine within you to help yourself and eventually, to help others.

My heart is so full every time I light that sage to clear myself and my space and to help me with my own grief. And now I pass this medicine on to you. That is the hidden power of grief, the ripple effect you create when you are present with it and with yourself.

We can be good medicine for each other in these trying times.

If you want some support along the way, we’ve got some resources for you below.

Love & Blessings,

Brenda MacIntyre, Medicine Song Woman



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About Brenda MacIntyre

About Brenda MacIntyre

Known by her indigenous name Medicine Song Woman, Brenda MacIntyre has shared her evocative melodic voice and fusion of reggae, rap and indigenous hand drum healing music with appreciative audiences of 30 to 3,000 across North America. The Toronto-based Juno Award-winning singer has been featured nationally on MuchMusic, CTV, CP24, APTN and most recently, Global and the front page of the Toronto Star.

Powered by her grief from losing her son to murder in 2016, Brenda MacIntyre pours her soulful voice over a confluence of indigenous hand drum healing, soft rap and conscious roots reggae in her album “Picking Up the Pieces,” released in September 2019.

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