A Fruit is not Afraid

by Julie on February 13, 2010 · 7 comments

A fruit is not afraid of its own weight. It grows into its skin fully. It is whole, each part of its body equally alive. ~Gayle Brandeis from Fruitflesh

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Since my last post on despair, my body has been heavy with feeling. Heavy not in a bad way, but simply full, like ripe fruit. Full of the life blood that comes with feeling deeply, down into the body. Not thinking about feeling, but feeling. Not running from the emotions, but rather allowing them to mingle with one another as they move from coming to going.

Sometimes these emotions are ripe for the picking, ready to share their succulent wisdom if one is open to eating the fruit. For me, grief is like the bushel basket that holds the ripe emotions that are being offered up for tasting.

I realized, when I allowed despair to dance, that grief had brought it to my doorstep. Grief is such an intelligent, wise process. It knows what we need to become more alive, more real, more human, more awake. Grief opens the door to feeling fully alive, the raw place where nothing escapes our awareness.

Over the past few days, I came to see that I’m grieving the loss of the way things used to be. It seems so clear to me that life as I knew it has changed. The times of believing life can be one full long sumptuous banquet of eating whatever you want, as much as you want, whenever you want has come to an end. Our culture’s mentality of no-end-in-sight growth, a kind of westward expansion towards a never-ending horizon, had taught me so many things that were lodged in my psyche. When I opened the door to despair, they came tumbling out.

It’s not that I hadn’t seen this before. Heaven knows others have been telling us this all along. This was different though. What came in on the other side of grief is the realization that this banquet I had been taught to enjoy, in many ways had provided little sustenance.

All through the illusion of having my way, getting what I want, a laziness to change my habits, the real riches of life have been offering themselves up to me. Only I was too focused on consuming, acquiring, devouring things in order to feel safe, in control, full. I was too focused on thinking, trying to figure it all out, so I could feel in charge, powerful, again, in control.

I’ve tasted grief many, many times, as have we all. After times of great loss, always, always grief has created room in my heart – if I am willing to invite grief in, to allow it to soak me in its wisdom, to allow it to be my mid-wife, as I birth myself anew. It leaves me able to know more of life’s riches, those riches that can’t be seen, but can certainly be touched and tasted by the heart.

This fullness that is here is not the same as the false fullness of having stuff. It is a weighted down feeling, like a mother heavy with child, like a pear so juicy, the juice almost seeps through the skin, while its mother branch bends deeply to hold it until it no longer can.

Something opens in me – I should say a deeper opening – into the realm of the fullness of life itself. I feel the fullness in the air, in my breath, in my belly. It’s as if I can touch this fullness with my eyes, as I gaze out at the life I swim in. I can hear the fullness. As I listen, it speaks to me, in silence, of its love. It wraps me in its blanket of existence. It pulsates. It throbs. It vibrates and quivers. It’s the fullest, ripest emptiness I could ever imagine.

This fullness is right here, right now. Always here, always now. I’ve come to see it as that which holds me as I dance in the unknown spaces that seem dark and pulse with life. This is what I can trust in when I don’t know, which is only every moment of existence.

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Image courtesy of Andrew Michaels on Flickr; Creative Commons 2.0 license

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{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

sheila February 13, 2010 at 6:21 pm

Beautiful! I guess none of us really ever know but we are so distracted by the consumption etc. that we aren’t aware of it. When loss enters the picture it forces us to see the ‘emptiness’. To feel fullness and fully accept the emptiness is a peaceful place to be. I think our culture makes this a challenge for us. Take care :)

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Ronna Detrick February 13, 2010 at 7:18 pm

I’ve read this through at least three times now – searching for words to say. And finally I’ve recognized that all I need say is that your words completely enclose and embrace my own. Beautiful, Julie. I’m speechless (a rare thing!).

Your previous post elicited the same response in me. I soaked in it, read it again, shook my head, wiped a tear away, took a deep breath, and felt waves of gratitude. But still, no words.

Your words are enough.

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Sezin February 14, 2010 at 3:30 am

This is a gorgeous piece, Julie. Beautifully written and conceived (pun intended), you’ve touched upon how so many women feel when our grief surfaces. Thank you. So much.

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Julie February 14, 2010 at 7:41 am

Sheila – You’ve used such a telling word -distraction. I love how you’ve described this. It can be a challenge, and life is always beckoning us to see past our habits. I love that you came by to visit. Thank you.

Ronna – Thank you, dear, for such a compliment. I can just ‘see’ you, speechless. I guess we’ve connected some place else, somewhere where words don’t live. Thank you.

Sezin – Ahhhh. Now, that is such a luscious word – conceived. Thank you for the kind compliment. For me, there is great peace in feeling those places where I know I am in harmony with women. We have deep connection there…and here. Thank you.

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whollyjeanne February 17, 2010 at 7:08 pm

such an honest, eloquent expression/description of grief. too often, i deal with people who fight grief, fear grief, despise grief. grief is not for sissies, that’s for sure, but as you point out, there is a wisdom about grief, a rich, full, opening. grief can (and does) take us to places we would never go without it as our tour guide. it takes great courage, wisdom, and determination to open the door to grief, to bow to it without struggling. i love you, julie daley.

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Alana February 17, 2010 at 10:52 pm

I can taste this post on my tongue and feel it in my own fullness. Once again, you move and inspire me.

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Garrett February 4, 2011 at 9:55 am

Thank you Julie for reposting this to Twitter, whereupon reading it gave me pause. I love your words “Not thinking about feeling but feeling,” and what you say about letting grief in and about letting the body being heavy, being in the body, like the fruit. Wonderful.

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