“For whatever we lose (like a you or a me),
It’s always our self we find in the sea.”
― E.E. Cummings
I can’t remember where or when I read about the concept of Necessary Losses. I think it was a book written by Judith Viorst when she was describing mid-life as a stage of life defined by a number of life losses.
In my retirement workshops, some talk about the loss of meaning and purpose, leaving good friends and work colleagues, kids leaving home, elderly parents passing on and moving out of the family home. There’s a lot of loss and grieving to process. We feel like we’re ending one chapter of the book of life and we’re unsure of the next.
Of course, the most mysterious loss we’ll face is the loss of our awareness of this life. Who knows what happens when we let go into that great unknown. We become more aware of our own mortality and we realize that we will leave grieving people behind. With that realization, priorities change. We experience the present with a bittersweet acceptance that seems to define the age. Yet each new day is joyfully accepted as a gift..
There are those who have no capacity for containing the physical and psychic feelings of loss and grief. They will go rushing onto the next thing. In order to live more fully in the present, others will take time to fully experience and explore all aspects of Letting Go of the Past.
I find it most helpful to be by the water when I experience a sensation of free falling – when I’m in transition, neither here nor there. I slow down and observe my feelings. It’s one step at a time. Walking along the shoreline, I am grateful just to be there, in the moment, feeing the healing warmth of the sun on my face and my feet in the cool sand.