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the landscape of my being

by Judy
April 17, 2016

I seem to be, whether I am aware of it or not, in a continual contemplation of loss and grief; grappling to understand it in a way that I didn’t in the past when I lost someone I loved. I am older now and in a way have more time to reflect. Also having this forum, where I write every two weeks, helps me enormously to keep in touch with this process.

What I notice as time goes by is the sense of this gap or hole in my life, like a huge reference that is no longer there or a tear in one’s heart or a presence that was so strong and now is no longer - this gap begins to fade or be less intense. But here is the big but…still at times, I can feel overcome by the loss of my mom; still I can cry like a five-year-old. So that also is true.

So what I am coming to accept and understand is that grief and loss are forever; they are a part of the landscape of who we are, and that is just a fact of life. It isn’t something to be upset about; it isn’t something to rebel against; it’s just the way it is and actually expands the landscape of our being. And just as we are a part of history; a part of this earth; a part of our culture, so too our loss and grief is also a part of us. It doesn’t mean it is less painful; no, the pain of loss is still there, but pain is also part of our landscape.

When I was younger, I didn’t have this understanding. When you are young, so much is changing and at the same time you don’t think your basic family structure could be so different. You know mom and dad, brothers and sisters are getting older and going to die, as you are, but still it doesn’t quite penetrate one’s whole being.

I was thinking of this in relationship to the climate changing. If we listen to the scientists and to our own inner knowing based on everything we observe and experience; we know that us humans and most animals on earth are heading toward a rough future and yet this is so big; bigger than anything we can grasp in our minds, that we don’t fully take it in. In some ways, it is a bit comparable to facing the fact that one day we will die, but on a very grand scale.

What strikes me about all these instances; climate change, our death and the loss of our loved ones, is the call not to avoid…not to avoid what is happening on our planet, not to avoid our death and not to avoid the grief we feel at the loss of loved ones, because ultimately it does and will inform how we live now. It changes the landscape of our being, changes what I value and consequently what I do.

And in a sense I feel I have to let all this penetrate me even more; let it change the cells, atoms or particles in my organism so that my actions and reactions really are being informed daily by loss; loss of loved ones; loss of my life one day and loss of an earth that is rapidly changing. Even writing all this now has an effect upon me. It’s almost like I am beckoning my being to let all this sink in more; to land in a ground that holds both lightness and depth; joy and sobriety.

Both are there and in the end, perhaps it’s letting oneself be touched as much as one can by the full height, width and breath of what it means to be alive right now as a singular and collective human being moving through the life process; being touched and responding and ever expanding the landscape of my being.

 

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