Living with Loss

This article appeared in the Summer 2003 issue of Spirited Solutions’ Newsletter.

For many of us right now, it’s a time of uncertainty, frustration, and downright grief about war and what some would deem its necessity in human “civilization.” We’re all reeling—consciously or unconsciously—from the messages the media and our political leaders have been propagating, and whether we’d like to admit it or not, this war is taking a toll on our emotional and physical resources.
Obviously, our suffering is nothing in comparison to what many Iraqis are living with at the moment. Yet it is still suffering. And if we can somehow get a handle on our grief, our sadness, our anger, and all those mixed emotions we feel (or repress), then we can help create some peace in our lives.

Life is full of so many losses, major losses brought about fighting, by divorce or separation, by getting laid off, by illness, by death. Then there are the minor losses such as loss of a budding friendship, loss of a material object, even loss of hair. (Some may think this is a major loss, I suppose, in the age of Rogaine…)

As we reflect on what we have lost—individually and collectively—I would like to suggest that we see LOSS as not a bad thing or something to be avoided, but rather as a CATALYST FOR GROWTH. After all, how many of us are willing to learn any kind of life lesson when things are absolutely peachy???

I recently lost an important relationship in my life. It’s not an easy loss, and coupled with the loss of life from the war, it’s enough to make me depressed. Yet I know that this personal loss was necessary to move my life along. Loss doesn’t strip us of everything. In contrast, it takes away what is keeping us and our lives still. Loss is Letting Ourselves Surrender Stagnancy!

Of course we can’t control when someone dies, now can we control any of the losses our physical bodies endure though we can help prevent them through sound nutrition, exercise, and stress reduction. When our bodies reach a point of stagnation in which the physical form can no longer function, the soul/spirit/essence must move on to another form. We are energy, and according to a fundamental law of physics, energy is neither lost nor gained; it simply changes form. Hence loss is simply a change of form in which our bodies, our lives, our beings release stagnation and embrace flow, the inevitable movement of the natural cycle of life, death, and rebirth.

Loss is natural, but why is it so hard? And what can we do to make it just a bit easier? Here are some suggestions:

  • Accept your feelings, particularly of grief, and know that they will pass eventually.
  • Light a candle before you go to bed and spend fifteen minutes just feeling your feelings. Cry, shout, sob, or whatever you need to do. You can also incorporate some journal writing into this time. Regular time to grieve will help you move forward and keep you functioning the rest of the time.
  • Reach out for support. Join a prayer or meditation group, find a counselor, get a massage or Reiki treatment for relaxation. Realize that your grief will manifest itself physically and emotionally, so tend to both your body and spirit.
  • Undertake exercise that you enjoy—The release of endorphins in your body will balance out the sadness and emptiness you feel and give you stamina through a difficult time.
  • Never underestimate the ability of your angels, spiritual guides and teachers, and Higher Power to support you! Sit down, get quiet, and ask for help from your spiritual support of the light. Place your hands palm up so you can feel their presence with you.
  • Remember that loss is Letting Ourselves Surrender Stagnancy. Know that movement is happening in your life and new people, jobs, opportunities, and blessings are on their way to you NOW! Let yourself be reborn like the phoenix rising from the dust of its own fiery ashes.