Loss can mire us if we let it. A myriad of emotions can erupt when someone dies, catapulting us into sometimes overwhelming levels and kinds of grief. I was guilty of this during the seven years following my father’s death at age 21. But now I understand both loss and love differently and can now embrace this inevitable part of life.
When we lose someone or something, a void appears, forcing us to recalibrate our lives regardless of what is no longer there. Allowing yourself to become conscious of what I call the “grand matrix”—the web of consciousness in which we all play a part—can help you understand how loss can propel us forward, despite a feeling that we just can’t go on.
Everyone experiences loss. And with every ending, there really is a beginning. Whether you lose a loved-one to death, experience a shift or break-up of a relationship, undergo an unexpected end of a job, or endure some other form of loss, it always provides an opportunity to grow and evolve. At first, we may experience great sadness, depression, anxiety or dread. However, as part of entering the new era of love consciousness, we are charged to remember that these emotions are all based in fear, not love. They are all normal reactions to life events, but each one offers the opportunity to examine our lives, redefine our direction or purpose, and/or re-evaluate our actions and motives. In shifting to a more loving approach to the experience of loss, not only will we move through this passage of life more easily, we will also be enriched by the experience along the way.
My mother’s health has been deteriorating for the last several years, but has worsened significantly in the last few months. It has been an ongoing challenge to see her struggle and know that she will not be with us for long. In looking back at how I reacted during my father’s last few weeks and the subsequent seven years, I know now how mired in fear I was at the time—concern for both my own future and my mom’s, regret for how the relationship was left, sadness for what could have been and what would never be, anger—well, at the world, I suppose….. and so on. I now recognize that all negatively-charged emotions are fear-based and actively work to live a more love-conscious life.
On a recent trip to Colorado for my mother’s 86th birthday, I arrived to find her exponentially worse than she was a month prior. I decided at the beginning of the year that whatever happened with my mother’s health, I would commit to remaining in love-based compassion rather than fear-based frustration or sadness. The result has transformed me. When she became tired, short, or cranky, I worked to affirm her discomfort rather than take it personally. When she turned the conversations back to herself—like many people who are sick, in pain, or pre-occupied do—I worked to release my frustration and understand that she is experiencing her own crisis of the human condition. When she asked me to help her get out of bed every 45 minutes throughout the middle of the night, I did my best to remain patient and recognize how losing her independence must be affecting her.
The result of all of this? She has told me that she loves me more often in the last year than ever before. She has connected with me soul-to-soul in ways I never would have imagined. She has listed the ways she appreciates me—ways in which she wouldn’t have previously noticed or mentioned. On one particular night during my last trip, she had been particularly restless—both from pain and worry about her future. After the 4th or 5th time of calling me to her room in the middle of the night, she once again made the request. Having had minimal sleep for the previous three nights, I admittedly stumbled out of bed mumbling to myself, “What, now???”. When I walked into her bedroom, she held out her arm and said “I just want to tell you something.” When I leaned over and took her hand, she said, “I just want you to know how much I love you.” My heart melted, I returned the words, hugged and kissed her, and then decided to spend the rest of the night in the recliner that was in her room, which comforted her enough to be able to rest more easily throughout the rest of the night. Her loving message was a cosmic reminder that love conquers all.
When I committed to living through love-consciousness, it opened my mother to it as well. When I decided to live in love and not fear, our interactions became more authentic and deeper. When I responded through love regardless of the situation rather than reacting through fear, it eased the pain for both of us. In other words, by choosing to remain in love regardless of the impending loss, we both experienced multi-fold levels of this sacred emotion.
Living in love consciousness through the “grand matrix” touches every life around us, and most of all enriches our own. But often we become stuck, resentful, and mired in our fear-based grief, instead of looking at the loss—or potential of one—as a new beginning, an opening, or fresh start. Whatever the type of loss, living in love will always raise the bar on our overall soul health and will allow your soul to grow swiftly beyond your fear-based grief.
Take some time to explore how you live in fear in times of loss. How can you shift away from fear-based living and commit to a more love-based life?