We are by nature here to experience loss. Change is inevitable and loss is definite.
The spring loses itself to the summer, the summer to the fall, the fall to the winter, the winter to the spring and the cycle continues. The trees lose their leaves, regenerate their leaves, bloom their leaves, shed their leaves, lay bare without their leaves. As beautiful as this sounds and as much as we are one with the universe, we are not trees.
So, the ease that which nature experiences loss is not necessarily true for us human folk.
People, animals, memories, careers, expectations, etc. that we love fill a space for us. When nature hits and the inevitability of change occurs, we feel that void. We all know this void, the void that brings all the loneliness, sadness, grief and anger. The void we try to run from. That, for me, and the people I’ve spoken with, can be the hardest part of loss. Something that we loved is now physically gone and leaves a space. Really, loss has us looking square in the eye at our vast emptiness that we are born with into this world.
All of this in mind, it’s really no wonder it can get messy. Well, it can get messy, or become incredibly life altering.
We have a chance in those moments to either run like hell or we can sit with that emptiness.
When we flee from it, we run toward something, anything that will fill that space. We’ve all been there: drugs, alcohol, blame or aggression, toxic relationships, excessive sex, excessive work, excessive spirituality. It can be anything really. We are always running. I don’t blame us.
What’s the alternative? To sit in our empty and symbolically painful place in ourselves? To witness the expansiveness of our minds and the path of our souls?
But as appealing as it sounds to run away from that subjectively painful place, we need to withstand that heat to run and choose the latter. The screaming voice that says: “what is wrong with me” when we sit in that space, will eventually quiet. Nothing is wrong with us. We are fine. We are more than fine. We are all beautiful beyond any words I can write here. We are growing, healing, and getting comfortable.
Do you see how a cat gets comfortable? Circle, circle, sit, get up, circle, sit, lick, lick, stretch, circle, sit, lay head and then comfort.
It may take some adjusting—not just physical, mental, emotional—but spiritual too. We may need to re-evaluate our path or see what the next best thing is. We do fall apart, but we aren’t destroyed. We don’t need to control this process by running, numbing or any of the others. That only makes it longer.
If we let go of this control and surrender by accepting that this is in fact a challenge—we have this opportunity to meet ourselves gently.
We are only small beings in this universe. Even if our minds tell us different some times. We are part of nature, and as with nature: intention, gentleness, love and time will lead us to see that we are right where we need to be. Even if it is raining a bit—this will only feed our growth.
So, feel. Just feel. Feel angry. Feel sad. Feel happy. Feel peaceful. Feel scared—but above all, be aware. Just watch how it all comes and how one day too this will be another memory. And even if our hearts are shedding some skin, if we just relax into this experience, they will glow brighter and with the ability to love in a way we hadn’t believed we could.
It’s our responsibility to resist the urge to run. Instead, we all just need to stay soft. Just soften a bit. And when we forget to soften—just come back and soften. And when our minds get too loud. Soften. And when our chests get tight—soften. And when we don’t know how this is all going to settle—soften.
And when we realize the power in all of this—soften.
Love elephant and want to go steady?
Editorial Assistant: Holly Horne/Editor: Catherine Monkman