Week 2, Day 1 – Loss

The focus this week is on the heart that embraces acceptance of self and of our feelings. The assignments we were given this first day of this new week are:

  1. Use streaming to explore what your well of loss might hold. How deep is it? How wide? What would happen to exploring past feelings of loss if you lowered a ladder into your well so that you could get down into the well and climb out whenever you wanted? What experiences of loss do you need to explore?
  2. Use gazing into the water and then the technique of dialoguing with a teacher about the loss in your life. Acceptance is saying yes to what the day brings. Write down what loss needs more work so you can live this way.
  3. Although you would never choose pain, write about the gifts of those hard times. Write what you know about going into your feelings and then becoming more then the feelings. Find out where the hurt settled in your body by just sitting quietly for a while and noticing where the hurt and anger seem to be residing. Does it need understanding, soothing, a promise from you? Speak to and for that part. Look for any lessons that may be hidden in the pain. Use these random phrases to do streaming on the losses in you life. Then write down random phrases from a book you have and more streaming on losses. Examples of these phrases are rebirth of tall trees, anything can be moved, horses move through me, mirrors and dreams and moving things.
  4. Write about the dark. Write about the light. Write about the changing of the night to dawn and what you see.

Ok, so do you really want to know what I am really thinking at this very moment? I do not want to go here today. I have three days to read and grade 21 papers and the last thing I want to do is climb into the well of loss, even though I know there is a ladder that I can climb back up and out of. Yet, I know that I cannot stop the journey I started just because it is not convenient timing for me. I love myself too much, to stop now. 

Loss is one of those emotions that I have had to learn to live with most of my life. I lost my birth parents. I lost the ability to know them, to meet them, to love them, to be loved by them, to know any of the stories about them or their life. I lost all the memories that I could have had with them. I lost my foster parents. What little I know about them is what I read on a form they filled out when I was a baby but I did not get until I was in my fifties. I lost the memories of what life was like in their home. All I know is that they use to sing to me. And then I lost my parents. The hole that was left with their passing feels never ending.  I have written them both letters and stood by their graveside and read them to them, all the time tears and snot rolling down my face and anointing their graves. 

It is not just the losses of people, my parents, friends who have died from complications associated with AIDS, my goddaughter, Zoë’s mom; it is the loss of abilities, the loss of feeling in my right leg, the temporary loss of my vision in my right eye, and the loss of independence. There are days I just want to hop in a car and drive to the grocery store and pick something up or spontaneously go and visit a friend for a cup of coffee.

How deep and wide is this well of loss. I have no idea. Sometimes it feels like an abyss and sometimes it feels like a shallow puddle. Then there is the me that I lost and have worked so hard to reclaim and regain. There was the loss of safety that came when I was molested by my dentist. There was the loss of identity and safety that came with being gang raped. There have been so many traumatic incidents in my life that I allowed to take parts of the joyful and loving spirit I was created with. there were also the normal losses too – the loss of wanting to get dirty because good girls did not play in the dirt and the contradictory message from my mom who wanted me to come play in the dirt with her and plant flowers. Be creative, but don’t ask questions. Be smart, but don’t question the rules. Get an education, but don’t be intelligent. Be this, but don’t be this. 

I could talk about the loss of my brother, who even though he is still alive, cut off his relationship with me and our brother because of his shame about something he did. It didn’t matter that I forgave him. Do you get what I mean by the abyss?

I could sit here in a boat called the U.S. pity party, but that is not going to bring anybody back. I can’t do anything about what happened. I cannot bring those who have passed away back into my life. I cannot restore relationships that do not want to be restored. I cannot do anything for those I know who have committed suicide. I can remember them and I can change the world and strive to make it a better place. I can work on making myself a better person. I can strive to be the best me that I can be.

I can remember the teaching of this Tibetan monk who after hearing about the death of someone near and dear to me said, well there is nothing you can do for her right now, so come eat some supper with us. I can hear the words of don Miguel Ruiz reminding me to live in the present, to not let the pain from the past control me in the present. I can hear him telling me to do my best, even in the midst of grief. I can hear the words in the bible that say – this too shall pass. I can hear the teachings of Jesus who looked at the waves rocking the boat and without getting out of bed said – peace be still.

I remember to give myself permission to just be. To cry when I am feeling the loss come up in me. I remember that all the food in the world is not going to be the balm that heals the pain of loss. I remember that there are always going to be losses in life, but it is how I process them and how I give myself permission to go through the loss in a healthy manner. 

I remember that just because I climb in this well of loss, does not mean I have to stay there. I can go down into it, mine one experience at a time, helping it to heal, helping myself to heal and then climbing back out and integrating the healing lessons into my daily life and I remember that it is what I have been through, which has helped to make me who I am today. Each of these losses has also brought me gifts to be cherished, valued, and explored for the gift it is in my life.