I have recently found myself in a whole new path in my life.
I’m sure there is many of you that have had your life turned upside down through one event or another. This is nothing new, we hear about these events all the time through stories, movies, songs, friends, colleagues and family. We think nothing much of it. Maybe ‘oh, that’s so sad’ or ‘that must be hard’, and then move onto another conversation. Until that is, when something finally it happens to you.
Until one of these life turned upside down events you really don’t have any idea how hard it is to step through it. You may have seen friends and family go through something. Maybe a colleague at work. Perhaps you’re thought this person was a little weak, or they should pull themselves together more, get over it faster or move on quicker.
Oh ……. Things take time….
You may think all these things, but when something happens to you its then you realise, oh…. things take time. These things vary from sad events like losing a loved one, being in a major accident or having lost everything in a house fire for example. Or the very common breakup of a long term relationship, a difficult court battle or serious family dramas.
I have had a number of difficult events to get through in life, starting reasonably young with the death of my father at the age 13 (my age clearly, not his!). Followed a couple of years later with the death of a dear brother (though I did have plenty of other brothers to choose from as there were 7 in number, but this one was the sweetest).
When I look back on these events and other I know I got through them pretty well. Many people commented on how strong I was, how brave, how well I seemed to manage. Though at the time you know, it didn’t necessity feel like that.
Conscious grieving can cause Bliss
I just kept walking forward. Sometimes it felt with my heart buried deep beneath the earth. Or with my head swimming in a sea of darkness. With my head and heart both struggling to find a way of understanding the situation and the outpour of emotions.
When I look back at these times I now wonder how conscious I was when going through these processes. I was young, I didn’t have a lot of support even though we were a big family. We all seemed to grief together and rather separately at the same time. But I guess, that’s how grief is. My mother was strong and a great believer of just getting up and getting on. We didn’t miss a beat with school, we just got on with it as best we could.
I don’t have a big problem with this way. I didn’t concentrate at school well for a while but as a child I didn’t have the responsibility of having to ‘mourn’ either. There was no expectation of me to be any other way, than the way I was being. When it comes to grieving I think that’s important. When you are younger you have the ability to bounce back more naturally. When you’re older and more established in the way your life is, then it can seem, no more dramatic, but somehow harder to find your feet.
A couple of years ago I went through a breakup of my long term partner. This was just after the death of my mother and my aunt and uncle whom I was very close with. At this point in my life, I was deep into Yoga, Meditation and Awake living. I was consciously stepping through these events, with amazing results. Not only did I feel well and strong through most of the process, I realised that learning to lose in this way can turn tragedy to a sort of bliss. Instead of being bitter the experience became Bittersweet. The beauty and appreciation for life sparkles throughout the cells of your body, even while your heart aches. There is also no rejection of the event, your circumstances or any of the emotions that come with them. I learnt to walk on with them.
Learning to walk is key.
Learning to walk on after loss or change is also key to this process being healthy and not getting stuck in denial or refusal to accept the changes. Sometimes after a dramatic event its hard to know what direction to face. Perhaps you don’t even want to face a direction. And that’s fair enough, we all need time to process and absorb the situation. But eventually you will need to move. Sometimes just moving in any direction is better and staying where you are.
Learning to put one foot in front of the other is all you need to start. Everyday other foot is planted on the earth in front of the other and we go forward. The head could be swimming. The heart could be sinking. But just begin to put one foot in front of the other and it will eventually lead you out of darkness and into light.
Freeze, Fight or Flight.
Fear of being alone, fear of experiencing the full force of our situation or the pain caused by it, can stop us in our tracks. Its the natural response of the nervous system; Freeze, Fight or Flight. Freezing is never good done for too long, its purpose is short lived. Fighting is sometimes necessary but is also exhausting and can’t be maintained for long. Fleeing, again is sometimes necessary but at some point we need to stop, assess the situation and move forward more calmly and save our vital energy for the journey ahead.
As I continued my journey through life I have felt I have had a very lucky life. I still had my fair share of pains and difficulties as I walked through. Love, loss, depression, hardship, breakups, breakdowns, uncertainly, insecurities to name a few……. But putting one foot in front of the other, has always lead me out of hardship.
This ability I believe, has been my greatest strength. Sometimes I did this blindly and needed a friend to guide me. Sometimes I did this with no idea where it was leading and with deep fear, but I continued to step forward.
I encourage you too, to have this as a practice of seeing you through even your most difficult times. Eventually we get enough distance between ourselves and the situation and that allows us to see clearly again. To begin again to make more conscious decisions and step back into the role of co-creation, rather than simply letting life happen to us.
This practice is powerful.
Of course I have already mentioned the Power of Yoga and Meditation to help through these moments. They give you the courage that is required to keep walking even when you have no idea of which direction and whether you have the strength to sustain it. And this eventually leads to being able to do it more consciously and permissively.
The harder the situation the more gentle the practice. Patience, kindness and understanding for yourself are required. When we get this right we then are able to move on with strength, courage and the vulnerability required for deep and timely healing.
All the best with walking the path of loss consciously.