“The most beautiful
people we have known are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known
struggle, known loss, and have found their way out of the depths. These persons
have an appreciation, a sensitivity and an understanding of life that fills
them with compassions, gentleness, and a deep loving concern. Beautiful people
do not just happen.”
– Elizabeth Kubler-Ross
Letting go courageously sometimes involves releasing what you love, have loved, will always love. You bravely say goodbye to your lovable dying pet, your dear friend as cancer wins, your sweet child, whose wonderous life and tragic death reminds you how painfully precious each day really is. You may have lost a beloved spouse who savored life up to the last breath. Sometimes life crashes over you with the loss of several people you love in rapid succession.
Some of you have said goodbye to an occupation you loved for years or a life style that is no longer sustainable. Others navigate the empty nest as your children step into the world of adulting.
This can take you to your knees or your bed with unrelenting grief. On the other hand, the ocean wave of losses can also spark you to live every day with fierce, unstoppable passion, gratitude, tenacity, and resilience. You realize death and loss painfully teach us how to live like it freaking matters.
If you live long enough, you’re likely to face the loss of someone you love or something you love.
Many of you realize you must part ways with belongings you still love because of downsizing to a much smaller living space, making a conscious choice to simplify or finally beginning to make peace with a dream that won’t ever be fulfilled. These items could include the exercise equipment that will not make it down the stairs of your now much smaller house, the couch that holds many memories of your children as wee ones, heirlooms, your favorite collection of figurines, books you read ten times or more, paintings you created, the gorgeous vase your best friend gifted you, and valuable hope chest treasures associated with dreams that cannot ever come true.
Sometimes there’s no preparation for the brave relinquishing of a beloved one or a belonging. If you’ve ever had something stolen, a fire, flood, or experienced the unexpected death of a loved one, you know what I’m describing.
With heartbreak and complete surrender to uncertainty, to the unknown next moment, you say goodbye to who and what embodied love and support. This may create an existential challenge in your entire being. This brave letting go of beloved ones and treasured belongings reminds you of how much you’ve cultivated a capacity to love. Your heart must break wide open, if you want to live like your life matters. These types of letting go involve a grief that only those who have experienced these losses can describe. Sometimes there are no words for the loss you’ve experienced. There are only gasps, tears, sobs, wails, a silent communion, or fierce internal fuming. Eventually there may be a time for radical acceptance or maybe not ever. In the meantime, grieving remains a process that will have its way with your very essence.
Relinquishing the ways you once loved living involves a time period of disorientation. Sometimes there’s unraveling, uncoiling, or a peeling away until you find yourself at the very center of what you deeply value about being alive, what now matters most to you. The journey inside yourself becomes urgent and necessary for your ability to rise with resilience, to transcend, to live free. Facing fully the impermanence of all that is outside of you, you can begin to flourish as an awakened being, an untethered soul.
You learn to live in the flow of each day with heart open, always open. You learn to stand up with a strong, flexible back and take steps forward. You humbly, graciously, and with gratitude receive with soft hands all that comes your way while generously sharing who you are and what you now have to give without ever compromising your values, wisdom gained, or your lived experiences. There is no more holding back. You savor life through this internal faceted crystal.
No one was ever yours to have forever. No belonging was ever yours to hold forever. Love never left you forsaken because love lives strong inside of you and always will as life flows through you.