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An old saying in spiritual growth goes something like this:

When change comes, you are either pushed or carried.

I lost a relationship earlier this month, and its ending was messy, mean-hearted, and unexpected. It has become too draining to repair; like putting water in a bucket full of holes or even worse, gasoline on smoldering embers.

Details aren’t as important as the toll it has taken in the quiet hours of my mornings.

I imagine inner conversations- justifying, apologizing, shaming… along with words of empathy, tears, and the urgency of rising anger. I have had nightmares and sullenness. I have reached out for support which I am grateful is in place.

I was pushed by life and then carried… but with a middle ground; I was kicking very hard along the way. This middle ground seems unavoidable.

It strikes me how healing from loss recovers within an invisible immune system. If you fall and skin your hands, in a relatively predictable time, scabs form along with new skin. Recovery from loss, on the other hand, is not stamped by time in predictable ways.

Loss in the heart like this strikes familiar chords in personal history. Older wounds wrapped around beliefs of self-worth come to the surface. Rising regrets around how I didn’t see it coming, why I didn’t speak up along the way. Mostly what stands out is how my need for maintaining connection trumped integrity. And that is very familiar.

With this blow, I couldn’t bear to write any poetry and certainly no newsletter. I didn’t have anything to offer, so the thinking went.

In prayer before writing this, I did sense how this loss has entered the quiet stage. How the initial push and kicking and screaming is receding into a place of more emptiness. This is different than the emptiness of depression but can look the same- staring into space, needing to rest a lot, finding life tedious- but deeper within, dare I say, feeling hopeful.

I had not made this connection as poignantly before, how the value of emptiness proclaimed in spiritual traditions is intimately related to this human process of loss.

It hurts to let go.

But maybe having this process of letting go is what allows us to be carried after all?

I pray losses heal quickly for everyone and a newly found emptiness emerges with ease. Amin.

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