I was recently stunned by a quote from Dr. Bernice King — a thought leader, minister, and the daughter of Dr. Martin Luther King and Coretta Scott King:
“As a nation, I surmise that we do not grieve enough. In many respects, I would say that many of our issues we are challenged with in society are a direct result of lack of grieving.”
These words grabbed me with an unexpected force of clarity — largely because I agree. I have long believed that our culture, which is so focused on productivity and progress, discourages processing grief. I also know firsthand how unresolved grief lies at the root of so many personal problems which, when unresolved, extend to the people around us (our society).
Dr. King’s words lodged in my brain. As often happens with meaningful messages, it started to be reinforced in unexpected places — in this case, at a strawberry farm.
I’ve been buying the most beautiful and delicious strawberries from a vendor at my local farmers’ market for more than three years. Somehow, I only learned the name of her farm last week. How I’ve been oblivious to the farm’s gorgeous name — “Deeply Rooted” — is beyond me, since it conjures up so much.
When I first saw it, “Deeply Rooted” made me smile. I instantly envisioned a strong connection to the ground. Merely reading the farmer’s sign activated in me a sense of stability; consequently, my posture elongated into a “power position" (which research suggests can actually boost your confidence).
It was a beautiful a-ha moment. I felt what it means to have great energy flowing through my first chakra. Words carry such power.
Invigorated by this first wave of light-filled energy, I continued pondering the farm name in light of Dr. King’s contention. The more I viewed it through my grief specialist lens, the more I developed an alternate interpretation — a bit darker, and yet, illuminating.
I associated “Deeply Rooted” with the reality that most of us move through the world harboring deeply rooted emotional wounds. Because of how the external world discourages grief work, and because of how much work it would take to truly dig out our grief, many of us persist with low-lying grief in our systems.
But when we can find the faith to plunge into grief work, knowing that it will be difficult, deep, and uncomfortable, we take an important step toward reaching the roots of our pain.
Hoping for an interpretation of this phrase that would capture both the light and the dark of “Deeply Rooted,” I developed an acronym for R-O-O-T:
Grief comes from people or events that have wounded us in the past. Sometimes through malice, but often through pure happenstance. When we bury these hurts, we create entangled roots, knotted into our foundations.
Instead of burying them, we must upROOT them.
That’s a big ask — but perhaps no less significant than expecting a strawberry farmer to produce such great crops during one of the wettest seasons on record. I invite you to follow her lead and…dig deep! In doing so, we might just find that we feel more rooted than ever.
The Grief Recovery Method (GRM) helps us experience more of my light interpretation of “Deeply Rooted” by exposing the tangles in our roots. If you think you, or someone you know, could benefit from this work, please set up some time to chat with me.