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Sweating the Grief Out

Last week I did something I never thought I'd do.

It may not be what you are thinking.

(I'm pretty sure it's not.)

I participated in a traditional Temazcal sweat lodge in Mexico.

Have we met?

This is not the kind of thing I would sign on for.  

Historically, I've required a lot more control over my circumstances than a dark cave with burning lava rocks would ever allow.

At least that was what I thought.  

We turned the dusty corner of an unmarked street and entered the open courtyard of the Casa Madera in the town of Sayulita.

And there I was.

I took in the fire pit in front of me where the lava rocks where being heated, a cooling pool behind me and the painted cement structure that was the Temazcal to my left.

My partner and I were two of four non-Spanish speaking folks in a community of about twenty in attendance, mostly men, who were experienced with ceremony. 

We were oriented by a young man who was such a gifted teacher that whatever trepidation I may have entered with evaporated in the heat around us.

As he spoke to me, I felt a well of emotion begin to rise.

And it wasn't fear.

When I do something I've feared -  like leave the Country and my two teens home alone - grief finds the gap and enters.

I had been carrying grief with me all week.

The Temazcal was on father's day.

(Coincidence?  I think not!)

There was a lot of father-related grief inside the darkness.

I was not alone.  

And it was wonderful, and sweet and connecting to relinquish control for trust; especially in such unfamiliar circumstances.

I never felt unsafe in the heat of the lodge.

And I got to release the enormous pressure I felt all-week (and also most of the time) to protect my children from feeling sad, or from feeling my imagined or projected experience of their father's absence on them.  

In the Temazcal, I saw how I could let go of that responsibility.  

I'm not sure if this is a coaching message.

I guess what I want to say is that the things that once scared us might scare us less someday.

We grow in the dark times, you know.

Maybe something has changed since the last time you checked?

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