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Empowering Yourself After a Loss

  • Empowering Yourself After a Loss

    As I write this, many people in in the world are dealing with loss. Just look at the news, your friend’s Facebook posts, and listen to your family. Loss is a part of life. You may be experiencing the effects of a recent loss yourself.


    In times when our lives are profoundly shifted and we have to say goodbye to what we have known, valued, or simply loved, we get to the core of what matters to us. And how we relate to what matters actually really… matters. One way to look at it is to say that we can relate in ways that are either attached or connected. Let me expand on that.


    The word attached means “fastening one thing to another with ties”. We become attached to things, to outcomes, to people, to ideas, conditions, and beliefs. We attach ourselves to these things and put importance on them rather than how we feel when we are in or around them. At times we hang onto a picture or outcome as though our life depends on it and when that picture is changed it feels like life is over. We have essentially given our power away.


    heartsmallOn the other hand, connected is about joining. When we are connected to another person, to something we have built, or to what or whom we love, we have connected to our values and what has a deeper meaning for us. We stand in a powerful place. We understand that it is about the experience of these external things, relationships, beliefs, and conditions that matters, and about our capacity to feel, to love and to create those experiences in many ways.


    When we experience the loss of something or someone that we’re connected to, yes, of course we feel the incredible grief and the pain of that loss … and we get to understand that we still have the essence of that person, relationship, object, house, idea, or job within us. We know that there is something eternal in what we experience about ourselves through another, through a home, or a way of living and that gives us an awareness of choice. Connection has its roots in love and trust in something ongoing and expansive. We connect with our values, our purpose, with our passions and with our deepest self even in the face of profound change. We connect with something greater than us and we connect with those we love.


    So, in order to look further at the resources we have here, let’s take a look at their counters:


    Being un- attached or detached comes when we are in a kind of observer mode. When we detach we watch the goings on around us, and yet are still very much present. Detachment is the state we enter when we trust ourselves to more often simply notice rather than act on the need to fix or control the external world. We observe the event, and we observe our own human response to that event as the observer. We can be detached and deeply connected at the same time. That is a powerful combination.


    Dis-connection, on the other hand, is when we have lost a sense of one-ness. There is separation. We are no longer joined through the awareness of love. Whenever we are disconnected we are likely to be attached to an outcome.


    Are you still with me?…


    So, here’s where I’m going with this; the combination that I mentioned above is one that I strive to return to more in my own life. I would like to share with you why I believe it is so valuable. In times when we have lost something or life just simply changes somehow, perhaps we have a chance for renewal. Perhaps moving through the grief we can practice being connected on a deep and meaningful level with those we love (whether they are present or not), with those we encounter, and with all that we do in the world. Whatever that looks like. At the same time maybe we can bring on a kind of detachment so that we can observe, not only ourselves, but also others from a place of compassion and a faith in the bigger picture. If we can do this, we are more likely to respond to a situation than to react and can take things less personally. This leaves a lot of room for intelligence, clarity, and healing. It means that we give ourselves the gift—when we’re ready—to start anew in a way that honors the core of our being. We let go of the way we thought things should look, and keep the experiences, the feelings, and the vision that is borne from the deepest parts of us and that nothing can ever destroy.

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