Everything you love, you will eventually lose, but in the end, love will return in a different form. — Franz Kafka
Going through a loss can be very tough. Whether it is something major, like losing a loved one, our health, a relationship or a job, or something minor, like the end of a holiday or a friend moving to another town, we often struggle going through the process of letting go. A part of our identity has to die to make space for something new to emerge. It is very much like the natural cycle of seasons. In autumn trees let their leaves go, so that they can bloom again in spring. Why do we struggle so much with the autumns of our lives?
Our tendency is to deny what Buddhists call impermanence, namely that life constantly flows and changes. In fact, even if we do not realize it, every moment we are going through some sort of loss. Something in or around us dies to allow something else to be born.
Everything changes but change. — Israel Zangwill
Since we tend to derive our sense of safety from external sources, when they change we are in trouble. So we trick ourselves into believing that it is possible for us to control the external world. We want it to be stable and certain. For a little while we might even succeed at managing everything around us. So we assume that this is how life should be. But then, all of a sudden, a major loss completely shakes our world. Our belief is not true anymore, even if we try to hold on to it as much as we can. This is the moment when, feeling completely lost and broken, we hit rock bottom.
There comes a time when we have to fully accept the truth that there is nothing certain and stable in the physical world and we do not have any control over it. In Buddhism this state is described as groundlessness, a constant fall into the unknown. Sounds scary, right?
When everything falls apart a very uncomfortable feeling visits us: Grief. It is a mix of anger, anxiety, sadness and depression. No wonder we try as much as possible to avoid it. So we become extremely attached to what we should be letting go. This phase of grief is called denial. The problem is that what we resist persists. The more energy we invest in going against the flow of life, the more we suffer.
We think that the point is to pass the test or overcome the problem, but the truth is that things don’t really get solved. They come together and they fall apart. Then they come together again and fall apart again. It’s just like that. The healing comes from letting there be room for all of this to happen: room for grief, for relief, for misery, for joy. ―
Is there a healthier way to cope with the losses of our lives? It is very scary to let go of control, but what if we would stop looking for a sense of safety where we cannot find it, namely outside ourselves?
Always say ‘yes’ to the present moment… Surrender to what is. Say ‘yes’ to life – and see how life starts suddenly to start working for you rather than against you. — Eckhart Tolle
To be able to let go we need to trust that Something bigger than us is going to hold us. It does not matter how you call It. Maybe God, Spirit, Consciousness, Beloved, Universe, Higher Self or Life. Just surrender to It. Be open to whatever comes your way, accept it and allow it to transform you.
Do not worry about how things are going to work out. Just do not resist the change happening in the moment and trust that at the end it is going to be fine, even if it might not be as you planned.
Until your knees finally hit the floor you’re just playing at life, and on some level you’re scared because you know you’re just playing. The moment of surrender is not when life is over. It’s when it begins. — Marianne Williamson
Sometimes what really has to die is just an idea of how we think things should be. We believe that we really need something to be happy and fulfilled, for example a relationship, a career or a house. So when we do not get it, we feel crashed. What we really need to let go of are our plans for the future, to grieve the loss of the life we wanted. The truth is that most of the times we really do not know what is best for us, because we do not see the bigger picture. Have you ever really wanted something, did not get it and some time afterwords realized that it is much better so? Just trust 😉
Be grateful that certain things didn’t work out. Sometimes you don’t even know what you’re being protected from or where you’re being guided to when you’re in the midst of it all. That’s why you just have to trust that greater things are will happen for you. Let go gracefully. — Idil Ahmed
If you do not know how to cope with grief and struggle with it, in How to Deal with Difficult Emotions? Say Yes to What Is you can find a practice that can help you going through the process.
The darker the night, the brighter the stars,
The deeper the grief, the closer is God! ― Fyodor Dostoevsky
When we finally surrender and let go, often we enter a transition period, that prepares us for the new to come. This happens also in nature: Between autumn and spring there is winter, where nothing seems to be happening. How can we handle these moments? This topic is discussed in Life Transitions: How to Make Space for Uncertainty and Allow Your Creativity to Emerge 🙂
Surrender to what is. Let go of what was. Have faith in what will be. — Sonia Ricotti
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