Removing Our Armor to Welcome Grief

Nov 13, 2018
Removing Our Armor to Welcome Grief


Removing our armor can take a lifetime, but it doesn’t have to if we learn how to become vulnerable to our grief.

Our default mode is to put our pain and vulnerability under lock and key. We wear armor of self-pity, shame, restlessness, and self-loathing that will forever keep us from feeling the necessary grief of our lives, both individually and collectively. Somehow it seems insurmountable to allow this kind of pain. It is too scary.

Going to this dark place within us takes the ultimate faith, strength and trust.

Collectively, we easily ignore external events of our planet, and it is a direct display of how we deal with ourselves. We stand by as severe racism results in people of color being killed in our streets daily. We do not demand gun control as we witness mass shootings happening on a regular basis.  We see the results of climate change as we watch our lands burn to the ground or see the plight of the polar bear as glaciers melt.

We witness the extinction of species and the migration of people due to famine, climate change, and war.

These things are daily news and we have learned to compartmentalize in order to cope. Our grief has no place to go. Feelings of worthlessness and longing grow in the depths of these shadows, the more we bypass this grief.

We become accustomed to the way we denigrate ourselves, and the way we push ourselves to achieve more and more.

All of these various monsters festering in the dark are related to our inability to grieve our lives. When we grieve, we accept deeply what is. It is the most difficult aspect of transformation.

Our fragmentation is our armor. There are ways to see these disjunct parts of us in order to facilitate our grief.

I believe this is an element of embracing the divine feminine within us. We have become obsessed with the business of fortifying the armor in order not to feel or grieve what is actually happening within us and around us. It is the masculine force turned on its head

To find trust is essential.

I have found rebirth in my times of surrender to grief. However, in order to do that, I had to feel safe. I had to gradually see the conflict within myself. I had to be held in ways I was never held. I had the support of my teacher or of my women’s group. Mostly though, I had to learn to hold and trust myself in the arms of divine source.

I believe we have work to do in small groups relating to removing our armor. We can learn to build trust with one another in a small community whether it is a spiritual workgroup or a women’s circle. We bolster those qualities of trust, faith and surrender. We build to those moments of release.

In my eyes, it is not simply a fortification of the receptive force. Because we have carried our armor for so long, passing it on for generations, it is extremely difficult to remove. We have to build a new strength that allows for the vulnerability to come forth. We can no longer buck up and bear it.

Bringing our many I’s into one cohesive place, we accept those parts of us that we have not been able to face. This is how we learn to trust again.  

Patriarchal values have shaped our way of survival, and our way of avoidance; ultimately bypassing our pain. Coping has been our way of dismissing grief. It is how we can stand by and continue to allow ourselves to destroy the planet and one another.

We need both the sacred masculine and the divine feminine in full force to experience pure reconciliation.

I want to leave you with one culminating experience of these forces, which struck me deeply on my path regarding surrender, strength, vulnerability and my ability to feel pain.

There is a Gurdjieff movement called the Trembling Dervish which reveals the nature of this entire subject. It has traditionally been a men’s dervish dance with women mourners, a fool, and a sheik or sheika that holds a central force. At this point in time, I no longer designate a particular gender to the roles.

I have danced every role and I have accompanied the dance with my piano playing, bringing its hauntingly beautiful melody and ferocious hair-raising rhythms to life for the dancers.

Every element for surrendering to grief is choreographed into ritual form in this movement. The active force and subsequent “container” is achieved through a repetitive pattern of sword swipes and quarter turns in a staccato flair from the dervishes. They embody this sacred active force. Their knees bounce to maintain the powerful energy being generated. They are warriors emitting strength.

There are mourners who take the role of full surrender. They are the receptive force facilitating surrender for us all. Certainly, we can deeply appreciate what happens when someone becomes quite vulnerable and grief-stricken in a circle or group.  We all benefit from that person’s shedding of the armor.

Amongst these dancing warriors holding the strength, and the surrender of the mourners, is the fool who flails about, bombastically out of control. This person is the representation of our unhinged nature; the one that “let’s go” for us; the one who dances with wild abandon.  

Finally, there is the sheik or sheika who holds the direct channel to God, turning like the whirling dervish with their jacket open to their heart.

We need all of these parts to remove our armor and experience our grief. To do this dervish dance in a ritual fashion is to bring us to this realization, no matter which part we dance. One comes away knowing that we need strength, release, an open channel to God, and our own wildness to make it happen.


Let me know your experiences with grief. Have you gotten to a point of surrender? What has been your strength to become vulnerable?

If you are interested in joining next year’s women's circle, please contact me. We will be the earth keepers holding a container of strength and mourning for ourselves, each other, the collective and the planet.




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