It’s OK That You Are OKBy Emma Pearson
February 28, 2024
16th December 2023
I am an avid and active fan of Megan Devine’s work – whether her 30 Day Writing Your Grief programme, which I have participated in and facilitated many times; her Grief Care Programme for Professionals; her Journal “How To Carry What Can’t Be Fixed”; and of course her seminal book, “It’s OK That You’re Not OK”.
I feel extremely grateful that I came across her work – and the community that came with it – in the weeks after Mike died. I’ve read and listened to her book many times, and still listen to her podcast (also called “It’s OK That You’re Not OK”) on the day a new episode comes out. I soak in her work and carry her work in me. I live and breathe her work. I think I live and breathe as well as I do precisely because of her work. From time to time, a friend or Griefling – most recently Alison – tells me that they have learned a lot about Grief and Loss from me. It’s a nice compliment, and I choose to own some of it. But a good chunk is credit to Ms. Devine.
When I first came across her book though, I did not like the title one bit. “It’s OK That You’re Not OK” – Seriously? But I want to be OK! Tell me how to be OK! Don’t be telling me it’s OK not being OK because I don’t want to not be OK. I want out of the not OK-ness. It’s sucky. It’s horrible. It’s lonely.
But the wisdom of her words, experiences and stories, alongside her tough love compassion, soaked into me over my time hanging out with her, and I came to sense her perspective not only as valid truth, but also my truth. I was not OK. And that was OK. If only to me.
It’s OK that I am not OK – for as long as I want. Or rather, need.
But not forever. Or at least not as a permanent place to live.
One of perhaps two possible homes, or countries, of residence.
One home called “It’s OK That You’re Not OK” – mine for as long as I need to hang out there, a place I get to visit and stay in as long as I need, as often as I need, for as long as I need.
But increasingly I am living in a home called, somewhat surprisingly, “It’s OK That You Are OK”.
In a blinding flash of the obvious, and aided by some truth serum called MDMA (of which more another time), on Thursday this past week I had the deep revelation that I was actually OK. More than OK. Rockingly OK. And that it was OK that I was OK.
Like last time, back in September, a summary sentence came to me as I closed out with the group. In September it was, “I feel utterly at peace with what’s happened, who I am, how I grieve, how I love, how I live, how I work”. This time, my summary sentence is, “Full permission to live life fully”.
What MDMA does (for me) is shift me from “knowing” that it’s okay that I am okay, and “knowing” that I have full permission to live life fully, to “really feeling” that I am allowed, no – encouraged and freed – to live life fully. MDMA helps me reach, sense and see what is behind my conscious awareness.
It’s an important shift. It’s an important distinction. And a joyous lesson.
I am so grateful to know and feel that it’s OK not to be OK.
And so grateful that I know and feel that it’s OK to be OK.
More Both-And living.
Which is OK.
My September experience blogpost: http://www.widowingemptynests.com/2023/09/16/a-non-ordinary-friday/