We Must Begin Feeling Our Grief

PrechtelAn excerpt from an old classic: The Sun Magazine‘s interview with Martin Prechtel.

To be at home in a place, to live in a place well, we first have to understand where we are; we’ve got to look at our surroundings. Second, we’ve got to know our own histories. Third, we’ve got to feed our ancestors’ ghosts, so that the ghosts aren’t eating us or the people around us. Lastly, we’ve got to begin to grieve. Now, grief doesn’t mean sitting around weeping every day. Rather, grief means using the gifts you’ve been given by the spirits to make beauty. Grief that’s not expressed this way becomes a kind of toxic waste inside a person’s body, and inside the culture as a whole, until it has to be put in containers and shipped someplace, the way they ship radioactive waste to New Mexico. This locked-up grief has to be metabolized. As a culture and as individuals, we must begin feeling our grief — that delicious, fantastic, eloquent medicine. Then we can start giving spiritual gifts to the land we live on, which might someday grant our grandchildren permission to live there.

A Culture of Passionately Gradual People

prechtelFrom Martin Prechtel in The Smell of Rain on Dust: Grief and Praise (2015):

That feeling of frustrated justice and hatred for the unpunished “perpetrator” is the hardest thing for people who cannot truly grieve. On the other hand, it is also not any good to become people who glide along on bliss and don’t care about anything, either. It’s needful for the peace of a people, peace of the human heart, peace of the earth, for grief to be there, not transcending on a bliss journey to avoid grief. Being zoned out, numb, unconnected, “above it all,” and not caring is just the lazier flip side of the coin of vengeance. They need one another. Continue reading