The Challenge of Life and Loss
20 June 2013
I write this from the heart and as a stream of consciousness.....
I have views across the Atlantic onto Africa at the moment, and the setting sun is a ball of fire diving into the ocean....on the one hand isn’t Life beautiful, filled with love and laughter and joy and such promise...and yet on the other hand challenges and pain and heartache that somehow we must learn to overcome in order to move forward and embrace life with grace, compassion, a loving nature and with a positive outlook!
I do believe that out of most challenges can arise good....I lost my father whom I loved dearly and who was my inspiration in so many ways at 26. The loss was traumatic. I made a conscious decision at the time that perhaps if I allowed myself to fully grieve I would be better able to accept his loss in the future. I still remember an article written by a father who had lost a child suggesting that 'it is not with time the pain lessens, but rather that with time you learn to live with the pain'. Eventually I found comfort in the knowledge that the fond memories remain forever engraved in the heart; people come into our lives and touch us in different ways and I was in fact so fortunate to have had a father whom I admired for his charisma, integrity, positive outlook, humour and kindness and whom I regarded as a mentor. However, at the time I was living in New York; life was fast paced and with the empty void of grief sitting heavily in my heart, I was never fully present....until I literally woke up one morning to my first moment of spontaneous joy in a long while that it was a ‘bright sunshiney day’. With this new awareness and self-awareness, my whole perspective on life changed and if I saw a full moon, or a new moon, or any of the wonderful details, these would stop me in my tracks....and so I have enjoyed how I perceive life since that pivotal time!
I focus on the particular challenge of grief as an underlying theme as we all inevitably face loss in Life...I have learned personally that the only way to better live with loss is a delicate balance that involves confronting the pain, feeling the pain and allowing the process of pain whilst not dwelling in it or letting it overwhelm, and then letting go and moving into acceptance from a position of strength rather than of despondency... There are many facets to grief and it is an incredibly painful process but we have infinite amounts of inner strength to draw upon and the self-discipline to get though to 'the other side'... By grief I am not only referring to the loss of a loved one, but also to the loss of hope or an expectation that we may have as to how our lives will evolve and the kind of loss that knocks us to our knees. I use the term self-discipline because to bring yourself out of the black hole that is grief requires inner work and a shift of perspective into a positive mind space.
There are important lessons that always emerge from suffering loss, one being a new perspective on all that is truly important in life with a shift in priorities. I share my insights learned... Life is precious and if we have our health then we are extremely fortunate as that is the ultimate blessing. It is important to look with gratitude at all that we do have, rather than focus on what we don't have. I also believe that if when we stumble through adversity we can still see the beauty around us, then we will surely get through the 'shadows' to once again 'walk in light'! I know myself well after my own personal journey through grief and hand-in-hand with the challenge has been a spiritual evolution within for which I am grateful... We all have a choice as to how we live our lives... and as long as I know that I wish to ensure I walk in light and Tinker Bell sparkles then I shall aim for that despite all!