Heartbreak & Honoring Your Body's Wisdom
PHOTO BY AUSTIN DRAWHORN FROM LOAM: REAWAKENING RESILIENCE
ESSAY BY KATE WEINER
What does heartbreak feel like in your belly? How does it shape your breath? Since Kavanaugh’s confirmation, I have found myself striving to ground into my grief, returning again and again to this exchange between activists amirio freeman and brontë velez from Loam: Reawakening Resilience.
amirio: I love this idea that before we can take a first step toward healing, there has to be this […] moment of humility and humbleness and, almost like, a period of fallowness. Where we’re kind of stepping down for a minute. We’re brewing, we’re steeping, and we’re leaning deeply into our current moment and thinking about where are we: what’s wrong with me, who’s with me, who’s not with me, what resources do I have right now, what resources do other people have, what are my current capacities, what are the capacities of other people. There really does have to be that deep reckoning with what is the current state right now. What is the current condition. And then once I have that assessment, I can be a lot more intentional and a lot more strategic about taking that first step. And so for you, what does that period of fallowness and brewing and steeping and just—period of rest and really taking into account what the current moment look like? What does that look like for you? And how do we resist the urge to always move forward and always take that immediate first step toward recovery and toward healing?
brontë: If you’ve seen a video where an animal has just experienced a moment of trauma, a traumatic experience, of a gazelle escaping a lion and they make it out, their body is shaking and vibrating after, and their nervous system is allowing them to release it. They’re going through it. And then there’s this moment after, right after the shaking has finished, where they pause and they’re looking around. And they’re receiving everything that’s around them. And they’re noticing. And it’s like they’re reacclimating themselves, and then they’re off. And then they’re back in their gazelle body, and they’re prancing beautifully through the savanna. I feel like there’s something about that moment of noticing and pausing and allowing the grieving to happen, which we don’t allow. Just because we’ve been told it’s not righteous or worthy or healthy. But I let myself go, and when I need to feel something, I be like, alright, I need to make time and space—I make time and space to be on Instagram, I make time and space to do all this other random stuff—I’m gonna go make this time and space to feel this and grieve. And then it’s that shaking moment. I let it happen. That’s going back wild. Where we let it go. Cuz, really, the body is asking for attention, to be nurtured. The body is like, yo, I was just impacted, please support me. And what I’ll do, and what I’ve learned to do, because of all the conditioning, all this stuff, is to blockblockblockblockblock. And then there’s the day where you have the eruption, with an attack. And that attack, even, is a signal that your body’s like, please, let me feel this, and then after, the moment after, I promise there will be more clarity.
Over the course of the last few days, amirio and brontë’s powerful conversation has been a source of deep healing for me. I am reminded, paging through their exchange, that our grief needs tenderness and time to unfurl. Although my body has been pulling me toward stillness, my mind has been resistant to rest. I’m hungry to create, to question, to take action.
I’ve come to recognize through the sagacity of my community and the wisdom of my body, however, that before I can do any of that, I need to be with my grief. I need to take a walk through the community garden and track a bright yellow bird rustling through the rows of cabbage and kale. Need to stretch on my couch with tea and weep. Need to cry for every iteration of myself that has suffered sexual harassment and didn’t really acknowledge how it hurt me because it could’ve been worse. Need to mourn for the me that spoke up and was told that boys will be boys. Need to radiate love for every being, vibrant and vital, who has been shamed and silenced for sharing their story.
Heartbreak feels like hearing myself and honoring myself.
Heartbreak feels like listening to others and loving on them.
Heartbreak feels like giving myself the space to say this sucks and I am shook up.
Heartbreak feels like acknowledging my manifold privileges and asking those who do not have the race, class, and time privilege I have access to how I can be of better service in our pursuit of collective liberation. And it means that acknowledging that even with my manifold privileges, it’s okay for me to grieve for the harm that I’ve experienced, too.
Heartbreak feels like creating space for my body to be a body. To archive ache. To cry. To need deep sleep and water and good food.
During these dark days of trauma and toxic masculinity, sitting with our heartbreak is hard. Choosing to honor whatever is arising in us, however, will help us better give our precious bodies what we need to heal and in time, take action. I’m grateful for amirio and brontë for reminding us that rest is radical and that to open up the channels for grief to course through us is the only way to work toward regeneration. And I’m hopeful that you all, loamy loves, will give yourself permission to be in compassionate conversation with your grief. This week has been rough. Take sweet care of yourselves.
How can we nurture ecological, social, and spiritual resilience in the heart of the climate crisis? Rich in resources for regeneration and resistance, Loam: Reawakening Resilience is an immersive exploration into honoring grief, cultivating community, and sparking change. Designed to last a lifetime, our hope is that this vibrant issue of Loam will be a beloved resource as you navigate what it means to foster resilience in your heart, in your community, and in our world during this transformative era of unraveling and rebuilding.