There has been some space since the last writing. Weeks have gone by with life reflecting an unsettled, at times, refusing-to-be-named, inner experience. It wasn’t until walking meditation this morning that the name surfaced and clarity ensued. It’s the Weight of Loss.
How is it that changes in life that result in the loss of a person or place or familiar role, or an event that changes forever the idea we have of our world, can leave us carrying such a burden? How is it that loss can be so heavy? Isn’t there an oxymoron in there somewhere? And even as the weight of loss shifts and becomes lighter over time, how is it that it can get so heavy again at the time of the anniversary of that life-changing event?
Perhaps, in part, because we unconsciously feed this loss and nurture it, thinking that we can go back to what was. All the practices that support our awareness and acceptance of change, our experience in meditation, doing or being yoga, becoming mindful of the present moment again and again, don’t often shift the core of loss that we carry. We walk around it, observe it, sometimes challenge it, rage at it, but almost never do we greet it with compassion and gratitude.
What would that even feel like? Does it seem possible to be grateful for an experience of loss that we didn’t ask for or welcome? Perhaps one needn’t appreciate what happened, but in order to take the next step, to move forward in life, there must be some letting go. Otherwise, what happens is that weight accumulates, and with each loss, the burden becomes heavier. Then, at some point, there is no going forward, and letting go is more and more difficult.
Consider that compassion and gratitude may be as light as loss is heavy. Maybe instead of putting on the heavy overcoat of loss today, one could try (or even simply imagine) wearing a coat woven of compassion and gratitude. It doesn’t have to be gratitude for the whole event or experience of loss. It can be compassion around one small aspect of it. A kinder, softer way of relating to that one piece. It would be akin to having an intention of being kinder and softer towards oneself – toward the one who carries this burden.
That might be a beginning – a next step down the path of lessening the weight of loss…
This post is dedicated to all those who carry the weight of loss – especially from the events of 9-11-2001.