Surfing the Waves of Grief and Gratitude

Do you ever listen to the lyrics flowing through your thoughts? Not the annoying commercial jingles that get stuck in your head, or most of the children’s songs you sing carting your young ones around. But seriously, have you ever really thought about Row Row Row Your Boat? That is one complete system of living in and of itself.

I’m talking about songs that get in your head for a reason. A snippet of the Pink Floyd song, Fearless, was running through my mind, “Fearlessly the idiot faced the crowd, smiling (entire lyrics and You Tube link below).”

I must admit at first I figured it had to do with a current person in the White House. But since Jung says all the characters in our dreams are merely aspects of our own selves, I went deeper into the rabbit hole.

One recurring lyric is enough to send me into sleuth mode. Some people stalk exes or old classmates online. I research totems. What does it all mean? Is it just a random swarm in my backyard or did three dozen amber colored dragonflies convene and discuss their mission at the nearest body of water miles away before they descended upon me? What are they here to tell me? It is with this curiosity that I approach song lyrics that haunt me. Lyrics have always given me clues to how I’m feeling or what I’m thinking, especially when I am not aware of it.

So why am I the idiot fearlessly facing the crowd? I’ve been through a lot lately. I recently moved from Northern to Southern California. All my belongings which fit in a 2 bedroom house are now in a 10’ x 15’ storage room as I search for my next permanent home while staying in temporary places. That is plenty of uncertainty for most people. And that’s not all. Within a month’s time, one of my favorite aunts died, a dear friend died, and then, Captain, my beloved practically human dog died two weeks after getting here. They don’t call me the Goddess of Transformation for nothing! Thank goodness for resilience skills.

So you can imagine the sorrow I’ve been experiencing along with the other emotions that go with the stages of grief. Been dealing the best I can. It feels surreal sometimes. Two months ago I was in a house with a big yard with my dog in San Carlos. Now all of that is gone and I’m wandering in the desert again. Or in this case, by the ocean in Encinitas, which is great by the way. Life is interesting to say the least.

Upon further investigation the theme or other verses in the song usually have more to reveal.

You say the hill’s too steep to climb, climb it
You say you’d like to see me try, climb it
You pick the place and I’ll choose the time

And I’ll climb that hill in my own way
Just wait a while for the right day

Ahhhh, there it is. I’m still climbing the hill, but it’s in my own way in my own timing. This makes sense. I thought I would get here, find a great place to live, set up shop and have my solid foundation by now. But life happened. Things outside of my control happened. That timeline shifted as self care took priority. And that is the one thing I have dominion over.

The idiot in the Tarot is known as the Fool card, which sounds like a dig, but is actually a good thing. The Fool is about innocence and taking chances, which requires a high level of trust. I am trusting that all is well even though the transition has been rocky. I am trusting that the perfect home reveals itself to me in perfect time. I am trusting that I will climb the hill in my own way in my own time.

Grief sucks. No way around it but to go through it. An excerpt from my soon to be released nightstand journal, “Ease Your Way Into Happiness: 90 Day Joyful Journey Journal”


You may be wondering what a section on grief is doing in a joy journal. Grief is a normal part of a joyful life. We love. We lose. We grieve. We grow and change. Each transformation brings an opportunity to grieve what has been before. Grief is not only natural, it is an important part of the human experience.

A huge loss can be overwhelming. The good news is grief comes in waves. One minute it can feel like your limbs are being violently torn off of you or like your heart is breaking in two. The next minute you’re remembering good times with a smile on your face, or even laughing. If you’ve ever been to a memorial, you know the process can be bittersweet.

What has grief taught me? I can ride the wave of those good memories and the grief takes me into gratitude. I’m grateful for having loved these beautiful beings and the wonderful times we had.

This time around grief hasn’t been as overwhelming as it has been in the past. Maybe the ocean with its negative ions has helped, or maybe the beaches full of squealing babies and happy people have helped. Could also be that I have been reaching out to family and friends for support. What do all of these things have in common? They put me in a place of gratitude. Simply gazing at the ocean opens up my heart and suddenly I'm breathing more deeply. Hearing laughter and watching joyful babies and people reminds me of the goodness of life and what is to come. Well wishes from friends and family lets me know I am cared for and that makes me feel comforted and thankful that I have community and am not alone.  

Gratitude is the bridge back to peace. And gratitude has become easier to access because I work with it constantly. It is a major part of my resilience system. Gratitude is a high vibrational state that awakens and replenishes your reserves. It can be a restart for your heart when you’ve been feeling drained.

The key to resilience, which is the ability to prepare for, deal with and more easily recover from stressful events, is to have enough feel good emotions you can draw on. And where do these good feelings reside? In your heart. That is why you will hear me talk about having a heart bank account. Those feel good emotions are love, peace, joy, gratitude…

“Fearlessly the idiot faced the crowd, smiling.” I can face the crowd smiling because my heart bank account is full. Fear is no match for that, even in these trying times. So I shall surrender to sorrow and ride its waves to gratitude.

By the way, this happened organically. I didn’t seek out gratitude when I was feeling down. It came as a natural part of reflecting on the good times with those I had lost. I am seeing all of this in retrospect. There were no words for it until I started writing. It was only then I could see this process and understand it in hindsight.

So don’t be afraid of the sorrow and keep filling up your heart bank account. You will surely be asked to make withdrawals.

With Heart,

Elisheva Herrera

Fearless by Pink Floyd
Captain's last walk by the ocean

You say the hill’s too steep to climb, climb it
You say you’d like to see me try, climb it
You pick the place and I’ll choose the time

And I’ll climb that hill in my own way
Just wait a while for the right day
And as I rise above the tree lines and the clouds

I look down, hearing the sound of the things you’ve said today

Fearlessly the idiot faced the crowd, smiling
Merciless the magistrate turns ’round, frowning
And who’s the fool who wears the crown?

And go down in your own way
And every day is the right day
And as you rise above the fear-lines in his brow
You look down, hearing the sound of the faces in the crowd

Walk on, walk on, with hope in your heart
And you'll never walk alone

You'll never walk alone


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