top of page

Becoming Real

Updated: Aug 26, 2022

The other day I was reading The Yamas & Niyamas, Exploring Yoga’s Ethical Practices written by Deborah Adele. I caught myself filtering the words and thoughts through my grief lens. My grief lens asks the question, “How does this pertain to grief?”.

Chapter 3 of this book is about Truthfulness (Satya). This truthfulness means more than not telling lies and falsehoods. Truthfulness is integrity to life and integrity to ourselves, being Real. Real is who we are in our soul and what we are in the moment. “Real asks us to live from a place where there is nothing to defend and nothing to manage…..Real, though not always pleasant, is trustworthy.” (pg. 45)

Let that sit. Think about it. Ponder it and mull it over.

Having nothing to defend and nothing to manage. Are we Real in our grief? Do we allow ourselves to be Real? How often do we defend grief and try to excuse it away with apologies? Do we grieve, really grieve or are we just sad? Do we give ourself permission to feel the disgust, the anger, the pain? Real asks us to feel the feelings that are characteristic of the grief emotion; instead of trying to manage them and manipulate them. Those grief feelings may not be pleasant, but we know they are real; we can trust them. Pretending they are something else is not truthfulness.

It takes courage to live grief with integrity. Oftentimes death introduces us to parts of ourselves that we didn’t know existed. Death rips from us people we’ve invested in. We’ve invested love, time, energy, money and life into them. In one heart beat and one breath that life is gone. After the death of my twins, I was angry. I felt robbed and cheated. My dream of them growing into fine young men, shattered. This anger raged inside me, no one knew. My young daughter caught a glimpse of it one day as I yelled at her for staring at me. Yep (eyes rolling), I was “managing” alright, stuffing my anger deep inside, only to have it rear its ugly head at my young daughter. Ugh, the memory of that is painful.

I use my experience as an illustration. Grief has many feelings. Sadness, depression and loneliness seem to be the “expected” ones. These are the ones that we are free to be real with. Society is comfortable with these and when it feels too uncomfortable, society will write us a prescription or poor us a drink or beg us to get over it. But even these common, expected feelings need to be acknowledged. We need to sit with them and be real. We need Truthfulness.

Twenty- seven years ago I wish I would have been living with Truthfulness. I would have acknowledged the anger, called it out and named it, then felt it in all of its ugly splendor. I would have lived it. Would it have been pleasant? No. But, it would have been trustworthy. Anger lived is honest, it’s truth. Anger that is stuffed away boils and festers and eventually explodes.

It is better to be truthful and real than to try to manage feelings and manipulate them into something else. We need to give ourselves permission to be Real. Real is asking us to live from a place where there is nothing to defend and nothing to manage. Being Real in grief is having the integrity to question God. It is asking Why? It is begging to understand, when there are no answers. Being Real is screaming in despair or staying in bed all day. Being Real is anger, rage and frustration. Being Real is feeling guilt, disgust and relief. It is being calm, content and cantankerous. Being Real is being apathetic and apologetic. Being Real in grief is living in such a way that we are not defending or managing anything. Being Real in grief is living with integrity and truthfulness.

Our Real is not always pleasant, but it is trustworthy. It is our truth. We are living our grief in our life.


bottom of page