Welcome to everyone! This post is intended to be for informational purposes only, and is a product of my opinion and experience as a massage therapist and life coach. Please consult with a medical provider and do your own research with any tips or suggestions I present here, and do not disregard any treatment or advice given to you already. And also please do seek help if you struggle with anything I write about in this blog.
I have a very distinct memory of loss from my early childhood years. This memory is a combination of two factors from my youth. The first of these involves a certain toy that I had. During that time of my life, there was a series of action figures that were based on the popular He-Man cartoon. It seemed as if every one of my friends had one or more of these figures. There was one day that I received a gift of a He-Man toy. I was so ecstatic with joy. Even though it was Skeletor, the villain of the show, I was still happy.
The second factor was the farm that I grew up on. It was a combination of dairy and agriculture, but on a smaller scale. One day I took that toy out onto the farm with my big brother. We were playing with it out in one of the fields by a ditch. This was a small channel of irrigation water that ran along the edges of the fields from a larger body of water nearby: a canal. The place in this ditch where we stopped to play was a cement formation that made a little waterfall. I was standing above it, holding the toy, when I accidentally let go of it. I watched as if in slow motion as he fell down and disappeared into the sun-lit sparkling waterfall. We frantically searched up and down the ditch, plunging our hands in the cold mud over and over again. He was never seen again.
I cried a lot on the way home that day. It was hard to believe that my special toy was gone, seemingly taken away from me by fate much too soon. And this experience would not be my last with loss. By the nature of growing up on a farm, (and loving animals), I soon found myself feeling loss many more times, especially concerning death. Another sad example came a few years later with the death of my dog, Duke. He was a chronic car-chaser and one day was hit by a small passenger truck. It’s really interesting to me that these times really stand out in my memory with clarity.
Loss can leave what seems like a huge hole in your soul, affecting your emotions as well. Especially if it involves the death of a loved one. How could anything fill the gap of something that was left behind when it was ripped away so suddenly? How can you express what you feel when they aren’t around to talk to anymore?
One interesting thing about life is that we are always having things and people leave our life on a regular basis. Why do we not feel so bad when it happens so regularly? It’s because when this separation happens we are prepared for most of it. When it comes suddenly, unexpectedly, is when it’s usually hard to accept. Think about anytime you sold something at a yard sale or online. You may have had a lot of great memories with that item, but it didn’t upset you when you sold it.
Or how about the loved one or the pet that was very old and sick. When the day came that they left this mortal life behind, how did that feel. Of course we felt sadness, but did it last? Knowing that they lived a long life and that the threshold was approaching soon? There are also times when we end a relationship with someone and feel no loss. It’s because we instigate the separation.
This is the key to healing from loss. Not only thinking of the difference between two experiences and contrasting it, (unexpected versus expected), but applying the feeling of letting go to the times that it was unexpected. One of my first obstacles upon developing this program involved letting go of my past and memories that I held on to a little too much.
So how do we do it? It can be a simple matter of thinking of the item, experience, or person in question and choosing not to be affected by the loss anymore. It could be a simple matter of logic, (if it makes it easier for you). The logic here being that you won’t see/interact with them/it the way you used to so there’s no point in hanging on. For me I like to visualize myself holding onto the memory of something as if it were an object I could grab. Then I see myself letting go of that object in a metaphorical sense, and feel it apply to my emotional state.
If you want to take it one step further, you can make a symbolic gesture. You can get an item that you own or have access to and physically let go of it. To do this, you can give it away, trash it, or burn it. This sort of thing can be extremely powerful, especially to burn it. This is reminiscent of burnt offerings from the scriptures, and can also hold a spiritual meaning just like it did back then.
Every year in January I hold a ceremony involving this. I call it the God box. What you would do is write down on slips of paper the things that you want to “give to God.” Things like worries, fears, emotions, bad habits, even wants or wishes. Then at the new year, you would take all the papers and burn them, letting go of all that you wrote.
Just be sure to keep everything environmentally friendly with your physical letting go. And smile, you’re doing the best you can in your situation.
- Let your mind flow through the timeline of your life. Are there any moments of trauma involving loss that still impact you today?
- If you don’t know for sure, you can start with any issues you have with money, material items, or relationships. Think of something that you know is unhealthy and with meditation, go back to any time that could have had a negative impact in your life. (This process may not involve loss, but can still be good to do.)
- Before you start a meditation, find a ball or similar small object you can hold in your hand. Visualize your loss as embodied within this object. When you feel ready, physically let go of the object and release the emotions.
- Write down your loss experience on a piece of paper or get a photograph that represents it. Mindfully burn this object, (staying safe while doing so), and let the smoke represent your letting go.