Present Tense


Goodbye_2012Loss.  Such a common part of life and yet we’re always caught off guard.  So many of my friends are dealing with loss right now; losing parents, loved ones, pets or jobs. Big losses.  The kind that knock you flat on your ass.  We all know that they are inevitable and painful and expected and yet, they are so damned random.

I’ve read a couple of things lately that have been very helpful for me as I process my own grief and the pain that I feel for my dear friends.  The spiritual teacher Ram Dass wrote a piece where he points out that as we age, our losses accelerate.  Our friends and loved ones are dying.  We also begin to lose our youth and some of our abilities; we can’t do what we used to be able to do physically or mentally and we mourn that loss.

Let’s bottom line it:  dealing with loss is about letting go.  That’s it.  The reason for learning to let go is training for aging. As we get older, our losses mount and the practice of letting go is more and more important.  I was listening to a podcast that said that renunciation does not consist of giving up the things of this world, but in accepting that they go away.  Life forces us to become natural renunciates.  The things we always knew or relied on or took for granted all go away.

A spiritual practice trains us for this moment.  We give up our anger or pettiness or alcohol or gluten (that one is REALLY hard).  Small victories that prepare us for the major stuff like death and ill health and divorce.  That is the reason we need to train ourselves to let go and not cling.  Everything goes away.  Everything.  That is truth.

Losses hurt.  They are incredibly painful and are typically a mixture of guilt, second-guessing, blame, bargaining, what-ifs, anger, resentment.  We are overwhelmed as we process how the latest loss will affect our lives and yet, we survive them; over and over.  They change us of course, but that is a lesson too; a part of our spiritual practice.

Since my dad’s death, I’ve been much more loving toward others, particularly others who have experienced loss.  I am supremely in tune with their feelings and feel a great deal of empathy for them.  That is a positive result.  I also am aware of my own mortality and that my time is finite.  I’m more conscious of how I spend that time and who I spend it with and who I spend it on.  I’m not messin’ around anymore.

I feel closer to and more loving toward my family, particularly my mom.  I am no longer taking them for granted and our collective grief for my dad has allowed me to see them on a deeper level. Not as siblings, but as 3 dimensional humans.  Another positive lesson.

When you suffer a loss, it is always life-changing in some way.  It may not be a major event, but all losses are worthy of grief and acknowledgement.  Say goodbye and begin the process of letting go.  You’ll need those skills more and more.


July 26, 2014 Posted by | Musings | , , , , , , | 7 Comments


%d bloggers like this: