The Power of Loss

loss

You’ve known loss. I’ve known loss. We have all lost someone, something, and at times even ourselves. We lose. That’s what entails living. We gain and we lose. I have lost loved ones to death, to misunderstandings, to circumstances, and to the world. I have lost myself more times during the process of growth and expansion than I care to remember. This happens. It must in order to grow. I wish we didn’t have to go through disappointments, despair, loneliness, shame, catastrophe, wreckage, and anything under the umbrella of misfortunes.

When I was in my twenties I lost a man whose absence changed the perspective of what I thought I deserved in love. He would become the love gauge of what and how I should be loved. It would take years to feel the assurance of what I should have in the love department. He asked me to marry him, I said yes, and three days later, at the age of 25, he died in a car accident. Just like that…gone!  One minute making plans to marry me and adopt my two boys…and in a second the emptiness and destitution of nothing. It’s been over 20 years since that moment and the heartache that it produced has finally stopped aching. The loss, however, never has. 

The thing about loss is that the grief it carries is inexplicable. Its shame is unpredictable. He’s still around in my dreams, in words someone says, in a smile a stranger might give me, in a look another might have. He’s in books and movies and many relationships. He’s still in me because no matter what happens every person who enters our existence leaves a imprint. It is never erased. Some leave them deeper than others. And, every other relationship that has existed in my life has also visited those scars and places of loneliness. In the beginning the shame that arrived for me still living and him being gone was incomprehensible. However, I held on to love. I held on to the beauty of forgiveness and knowing that he passed my life to better it…not to create a trauma so large that I would stop loving forever. The choice to continue loving is one of pure courage. Who the hell wants to feel that pain again? Why would anyone want to take the chance to feel that loss once more?

Here is the thing…to shut yourself off from the world is insanity. It is a great injustice. We are not made to live without love. We are not made to put up walls. We are to continue growing through those losses. I’ve lost no more and no less than anyone else. I have lost physically and mentally while in those losses I have doubted my humanity, my self-worth, and my ability to keep going. I have loved time and time again and have been hurt. I have left the warmth and comfort in not wanting relationships to then dive in and get hurt. I have been ruptured and stitched up again. I have seen the beauty in mindful love and the downside of giving all I am. It’s been worth the ride. 

I remember telling someone that a break like that truly feels like a giant crack inside. I believe it is then that the fracture allows for the heart to expand and grow to love deeper. Perhaps I am delusional. I just know that the times that I have ended relationships, or death has taken someone, the pain is so immense that my soul needs time alone to recuperate. I literally feel the ache coming from my chest. It is in those moments that the tears wash everything out and I realize that faith is the only means of transportation. I have no regrets because the child in me only wants love and to be loved. If that entails loss…well that’s a mighty hefty price that needs to be paid. 

Love is part of conscious living. You must give it in order to breathe.

We are not exempt from disappointments, deaths, breakups, tragedies, and anything under the scope of loss. Loss is the vulture that cleans our insides. While it’s in there anger, resentment, guilt, shame, and a kaleidoscope of emotions rise. Loss eats every aspect of hope and then allows for new cells to rebuild. If we live long enough we will see the immense power of hatred as well as the magnitude of love. 

This is your life. This is my life. This is life. Do not confine yourself to a prison of safety by not opening your heart to the world. You will miss out in other ways that Spirit can gift you through the magic of love. You are not alone. May you find the courage to love again and again for the rest of your life!

Losing and Missing

Not everything
that’s missing
Is lost.

Things fall and break,
Shift and take,
bounce and stay

Like memories,
Love,
And life.

Not everything that’s lost
Gets missed

Like bad memories,
Resentments,
Remorse,
Nostalgia
And heartache.

But losing and missing
The ability to let go,
To profoundly love,
To experience no regrets —
That’s avoiding
To live fully in the NOW.

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Inexplicable Loss

loss

In a few days it will be the one year anniversary of the passing of a friend. Her exit from this world brought shock waves to so many since, in theory, she was a spiritual student and teacher. I had spoken to her several days before her death. She had agreed to come visit the mountains and have a retreat alone in our place. When news arrived of her suicide it hit me like a thousand bricks falling from a skyscraper. I had felt her destitution and exhaustion several times in conversations. And, here a year later the event is fresh in my mind. Loss is a reminder of our humanness that we enter alone and must exit alone as well.

Two months prior to her death she sent me a meditation book by Mark Nepo. I read it every day last year. Each time I picked it up I couldn’t help but think of her. I couldn’t help but understand the silence in her for months. I couldn’t help but accept that she was ready to go regardless of anyone fighting for her to stay here. That’s the thing about desolation: you can’t see light at the end of the dark tunnel. She was ready to go. She was determined to release the pain she was feeling here.

My mother passed eleven days before my fortieth birthday. When the day arrived I waited for her call as she was always the first one to greet me on holidays. I waited all morning. Suddenly there was this sense of grief as I looked out onto the lake behind the house. I would never get to hear her voice again. The realization had escaped me for days but there, numb and paralyzed to the core of my being, I accepted it standing in a puddle of tears. My mom was gone. Loss is like that: it shows up whenever it requires healing. It is one of those vital emotions that doesn’t go away completely but lingers until you cradle it, sit with it, and accept it. Then it makes its way out until the next time that the soul requires a lesson.

The loss of someone is not necessarily due to death. It can be the ending of a relationship, the end of a career, the loss of materialism, and even the death of a dear pet. Loss is loss and there is no degree to establish the pain of the emotions. We all handle it in so many ways. Some hide it through work, drugs, alcohol, sex or food. Some dwell on the loss and can’t continue living their lives. They hang on so tightly that instead of celebrating the memories of joy they dwell on the missing part. Missing sucks! I have no other word for it that won’t upset a few folks reading this. Missing churns inside, deliberately taking the heart and squeezing it tightly. But to have loved this deeply is to have experienced vulnerability and a selfless act of spiritual growth.

You don’t “get over” the hurt. There will always be a gap in between spaces of heart and memories. Sure, people will continue to enter your life. Of course you will have other relationships, but something happens to those gaps after a while: they become immortal in our minds. I remember when mail would continue to arrive for my mother. I would shake my head and for a second feel angry that someone out there didn’t know I lost my mother. After all she was MY mother and bills should stop arriving. The world should have stopped to mourn this loss. I felt the same with my uncles, aunts, father, grandparents and lover. A few years later as I was unpacking a box in my new home I found my mother’s license, insurance cards, and small notes on her next radiation appointment. Suddenly I was back by her side trying to get her to fight for her life. Loss is there. Just like with my sweet friend…loss will always return when I open up that meditation book. We are spiritual beings living, learning and loving through this journey. Loss is part of our lessons.

The reality of our illusions is that we have no control of anything…including loss. It opens us up, dissecting the core of our memories, and taking in new stories that dramatize those souls. Rumi channeled wisdom and shared with us his splendor: Sorrow prepares you for joy. It violently sweeps everything out of your house, so that new joy can find space to enter. It shakes the yellow leaves from the bough of your heart, so that fresh, green leaves can grow in their place. It pulls up the rotten roots, so that new roots hidden beneath have room to grow. Whatever sorrow shakes from your heart, far better things will take their place.”

Give yourself the permission to miss another. Allow tears to flow. Sit with the grief when it arrives. Don’t stop entertaining the memories. But, celebrate the joy of living, the privilege of having witnessed that love in your life, and the acceptance that we are eternal. The soul never dies…it just transfers into another form. Believe me, loved ones are never far from your side. They are waiting for those small memories and they smile from Heaven for your sweet love. Mucho love!

Breathing Space

My Dear Amazing Readers,

For several weeks now I’ve had this inkling of retrieving from the information highway.   Each time I’ve gone on a hike or taken my long walks into the wilderness, I’ve had a gentle voice nudging me to go inward.  And, I don’t mean for an hour in my morning meditations.  People go to monasteries, pilgrimages, and retreats to center and ground themselves.  I live in the most amazing place in the mountains of Western North Carolina.  I have all the makings of such a place.  People from all over the globe come here to find that peace.  I marvel at their awareness from the moment they enter the property until they leave.  So, after a busy summer season, and what is now a busy fall one, I know I need to listen to the voice gently expressing the need for rest.

I am taking a sabbatical from writing.  I am making my own breathing space of quietude.  I don’t know for how long…going to try for 30 days.  I deactivated my Facebook account yesterday.  That felt good!  I just want to have no distractions of interacting with cyber space.  I want to move gently through the next few weeks and be detached.  Obviously, I have a business to run, a 9 month old to care for, so I mean detached from my own blah-blah-blah-ness of external chaos. My spirit is nudging me to take this break.  I am truly exhausted from reading/writing my own thoughts and transpiring into the Internet.   Sometimes a lot is way too much!  It’s time to simplify and return to the good ole handwritten journal that smudges with tears, food stains, and outdoor living.

I thank you all for your constant words of encouragement, support and thoughts.  I am humbled by the amount of love out there for the words that I write. I still can’t believe anyone follows me on this site!  It is an honor to share and interact with y’all. But, at this present moment this feels right.  I think we all need a break every so often.  I urge you to do the same whenever you can so that your soul can recharge.  This is my vacation.  I find the voice gently getting excited at the thought of no technology.

My only plan for the next 30 days is to hike before it gets too cold, visit waterfalls, watch autumn evolve into its breathtaking beauty in the mountains, and just sit with myself as often as I can.  I want to get to know this woman who has endured so much in 9 months: from a near death experience, to raising another child, to helping others through divine guidance.  I have always been a horrible phone person so I won’t make excuses for not answering!  Silence is sometimes the loudest voice out there.  It’s whimsically exciting to hear it for a few weeks.   I can put on a costume of social grace with the business…I just can’t seem to put one on for me at all times in my personal life.  My inner child is yearning this moment to get to the root of some clearing from the past (amazing the things that come up when you stop the distractions).  There are still some little monsters lurking in the closet.  And, I feel this time will be about finding the courage to finally release them.

So until then…keep writing your beautiful blogs.  Keep inspiring each other and yourselves.  I will be back in just a few.  Have a great month!

Much love and light to all….Millie

Loving the Impossible

grandparent

 

 

 

 

 

My grandfather was a grumpy old man.  Most people were intimidated and afraid of his demeanor.  He was hard on the outside.  We were taught early on to fear and respect him.  On one of our summer trips to Puerto Rico my mother warned us about staying out of his way.  He had this big office and would spend most of the day in there.  I would go inside and sit by him.  At eleven years of age I loved adults.  I enjoyed elderly people.  We could relate to one another.  We would sit in silence for a while.  Then he would ask if I had something to play with outside of his office.  I would say, “No, I’m fine.  Whatcha doing?”  He would grunt.  He would say I asked a lot of questions.  He would then continue working.  On his desk he had pictures of children from South America.  I asked him if they were part of our family.  He grunted with a no.  I would press on day after day until one day I saw him making out a check to a foundation.  He had children he would sponsor.  I later found out he helped a lot of people who never asked anything of him.  This is the type of man he was.  He was impossible on the outside but a teddy bear on the inside.  It was that moment that changed my perception of him forever.

As I grew older and my grandparents moved closer to us in South Florida I would go visit him.  Every time I would leave I would hug him and asked him to tell me he loved me.  He would grunt and tried to kick me out.  I would just go back and sit on the sofa until he would tell me.  One day he said in Spanish, “You love the impossible, don’t you?”  This caught me off guard.  He would mumble the words, “I love you” in English as if pulling teeth.  I would then proceed to ask for a smile.  This was a dance we did for many years.  He wasn’t impossible.  He was all things possible.  He was a strong man with structure and tenacity.  My mother used to beg me not to bother him when I would visit.  To no avail, I needed his impossibilities.  He was one of the greatest loves because of them.

I love.  I do love the impossible because I’m possible and like magnets we attract.  Most folks who are difficult and hard have the softest interiors.  They are the silent ones who help without needing acknowledgement.  They are the ones who donate money and worry about the welfare of the underdogs.  We are not all on the same spectrum.  But love is love regardless of the impossible or the possible.  It is timeless, space-less, self-less, placeless, and priceless.   At times I hear my grandfather’s questions in my head when I meet the “impossible” ones.  I hear my answer to him each time, “Because all things are possible.  The word impossible says I’m possible of everything.”  He would grunt and tried hard not to smile.  We are all possible and deserve to be loved for the differences of interiors and exteriors.

How do we love?  How do we pick who to love?  Is there such a guide to loving? I might not agree with someone’s views, opinions or way of life, but I do stand with an open heart.  I have had exes who stole my heart and will continue to be loved by me.  Our time came to an end and we learned and evolved.  But, the love will always remain somewhere in a box close to heart.  I’ve had friends who meant the world to me, inseparable, and time came and went and they are no longer in my life.  But, when I think of them my heart smiles because they existed to fill a void, to love all parts of us, and to teach me forgiveness in me and them.  And, with my own children, some have arrived deeply wounded and I have loved and had to let go.  They are always loved.  We don’t have to love with a heavy heart those who ruffle our feathers.  We have to love with an opened one.  That’s how we love.  That’s how we connect to the divine.  People and situations get placed in our path to evolve and better our higher selves.  We deserve to acknowledge those parts of others and us.  I love.  You love.  We all love one way or another.  No two loves are the same.  No two souls can match exactly.  But, when you love from a place of truth, forgiveness, compassion, grace, and boundaries, there is no such thing as impossible.

“Listen to the mustn’ts, child. Listen to the don’ts. Listen to the shouldn’ts, the impossibles, the won’ts. Listen to the never haves, then listen close to me… Anything can happen, child. Anything can be.”~Shel Silverstein