Loss has been on the front-burner bombarding many of my clients lately. These losses include not only relationship endings and departures of loved ones but also losses of romantic dreams, impossible expectations, illusions of safety and the loss of a younger self that thought it would always be invulnerable and immortal.
Some of the words assigned to loss are deprivation, forfeiture, destruction, failure to win, damage, defeat, injury, casualty and disadvantage. These words are mere window dressings that cover up the emotional experiences that are triggered by both major and minor losses that occur for all of us engaged in the business of living.
When loss comes visiting, it can arrive with so much force we are knocked to our knees and our life as we have known it becomes missing-in-action.
Our familiar reality can no longer be found. It has wandered off, abandoning us to feelings of bewilderment, confusion, puzzlement and a certain kind of mental distraction. We become preoccupied, absent-minded and suspended in a dreamy, cotton-filled surreal existence that exists out of place and out of time.
I believe this is a good thing. It is our built-in surge protector that monitors the amount of experiential voltage our system can integrate.
Sometimes we go on tilt with seemingly small life changes and sometimes we are able to stand in front of the big cannons and come through miraculously unscathed. Our mental and emotional stamina has less to do with outside events than the state of the union and communion between our physical, mental, emotional and spiritual bodies.
Grief is an emotion that defies control. Sorrow, sadness, anguish and heartache sing their song with their own unique timing that is often inconvenient for our hectic, no-nonsense, over-scheduled lives.
High-minded concepts motivate our mental bodies. Good nutrition, exercise and pampering feed and support our physical bodies. Faith, hope and belief in a power bigger than ourselves brings a sense of peace and inner calmness to our spiritual bodies.
What is the self-healing mechanism for our emotional bodies? Tears. Laughter. Sleep. Openness and receptivity to the sensual world that comes to us through the kiss of warm sunlight on our skin or the soft caress of a gentle ocean breeze.
Breathing deeply in and out can help to quiet down some of the static in our overtaxed nervous systems. Letting down. Letting go. Stopping the endless mind chatter that wants answers to unanswerable questions. Soothing music. Massage. Acknowledgement and acceptance of anything in our surroundings that is touching, heart stirring, heart opening, tender, beautiful and therefore renewing.
Emotions are messy. They are misunderstood because they don’t travel in a straight line. Like water, our feelings trickle down through the cracks and crevices, seeking out the little pockets of pain and sorrow that need attention and have been neglected and kept under lock and key, hidden from public view.
Grieving is a legitimate response to loss. When we make a commitment to own and honor our orphaned emotions, we begin to assimilate our pain and through attention our suffering transforms into our unique wisdom base gained and earned by personal experience.
We lose the capacity to grieve as a child grieves or to rage as a child rages; hotly, despairingly, with tears of passion. We grow up and become intent on being civilized, polite, appropriate and consistent. The price of these behaviors is overly managed emotions.
It takes courage to let down, let go and give voice to sadness and anger. We have all mastered the ability to force ourselves to smile even though we are filled with unexpressed and unacknowledged sorrow.
Though we fear that if we open the floodgates, we might be consumed by tumultuous torrents of runaway feelings, it simply isn’t so. Endurance of loss comes first. Letting grief come to visit as often as it finds necessary, creates the opportunity for the alchemy of transformation from resistance to acceptances. We ultimately discover the reality that we have the strength within to not only survive our losses and but through ownership of all our experiences, we expand our capacity to thrive.
Susan is the author of BEYOND INTELLECT: Journey Into the Wisdom of Your Intuitive Mind. Reach her at: susanvelasquez.com