'The Still Sad Music of Humanity'
In 1798, Wordsworth wrote in his poem Lines Composed a Few Miles Above Tintern Abbey that he could hear ‘the still sad music of humanity’ emanating from the world around him. In these times we can still hear this music. This music is rising all around us from all around the world, in Northern Ireland, Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Sudan, Borneo, Syria, New Zealand, Brunei, speaking of loss, of anger, of bemusement, of fear, of more grief than can be managed. These voices are also closer to home, in Finsbury Park, London Bridge, Manchester, in thousands of households experiencing grief, loss and sadness of all kinds, for many different reasons, across the UK, across Europe, across the world. Loss is a universal response to life, for everything passes away, changes, ceases to be, is mourned.
What can we do?
It can seem impossible to make any difference at all in the face of this tide of sadness that grows, spreads and rises daily.
But there are small and simple things that can make a difference
We can listen to these voices as they rise, listen and acknowledge the pain and grief. For someone we know will be experiencing loss at this time, and it may not be the kind of loss we expect.
Divorce is a loss, as is redundancy, the illness or disability of someone close to us, lost pets, friendships that change or pass away, things that didn’t work out as we expected, bringing grief and regret in their wake.
We can find these people and open our ears and our hearts to them, hearing what it is like for them without judging or comparing, allowing them the freedom and the space to say exactly how it is, and acknowledging what is happening for them. We can be scared to talk to someone who is grieving, fearing we won’t know what to say, but it is OK to say nothing at all beyond an invitation to them to share it as it is. Whatever their loss and grief, whatever their feelings, we can open up our hearts and be present.
We can also listen to and care for ourselves. For many of us, life didn’t turn out the way we expected and we are still reeling from the shock and surprise and disbelief and trying to put our new lives in order. Journaling and art, talking to friends, support groups and finding a counsellor who gets it can help us open our ears and hearts to our own desires, needs, griefs and losses, which will help us be more present for others as well as ourselves.
The still sad music will still be audible across the world, but we will be hearing it and honouring it, for ourselves and for all those who mourn.
If I can help you listen to and heal yourself in the counselling room or via video link, then please do contact me