How do you work through your feelings of experiencing a loss?
I’m raising this question with you because very recently I experienced a loss – a deep loss. This past week I departed with something very dear to me, my double bass.
I bought my bass from the late Peter Chandler in 1996 while working on my Bachelor of Fine Arts degree at York University in Toronto. Every week for three years my bass and I would drive to school together for private lessons, rehearsals, and performances. Every day I would practice 3-4 hours with my bass; together we helped each other discover our voice.
My bass and I found ourselves together in studios recording songs and albums. We played together with other gifted musicians in churches, universities, concert halls, coffee shops, pubs, and golf and county clubs around Ontario. And because of her influence on my life, I had the opportunity to interview one of my bass playing idols, Edgar Meyer.
And sharing this with you, now brings me to you.
If we’re honest with ourselves – which would be good – each of us could acknowledge that we have experienced loss on so many different levels, and in so many different ways.
For some of us, loss comes though…
- the death of a loved one
- being fired or let go at your work
- a marriage that grows cold
- a divorce
- the betrayal of a friend
- an unfulfilled dream
- loss of identity
Whatever loss you may have experienced, or, are presently experiencing, the question I have for you is: Are you listening? I’m addressing this question to you because I’m afraid that in today’s society we have not been conditioned to effectively work through our darker feelings of sadness, depression, anger and isolation. The truth is, most of us either try to ignore the pain we’re feeling (suppress it), or we escape from it through distraction, or maybe a combination of both. And this again is why it’s crucial for us to master the Art of Listening; our well-being, both personally and globally depends on it.
Generally speaking, we often deal with things in ways that are either attainable or sustainable. And like many things in life, the dividing line is not always clear.
What I mean by attainable is something that we can do right now that will give us an instant emotional result. Let’s just call it: Instant Emotional Gratification (IEG).
Here are a few ways that we might achieve IEG results:
- Drinking (alcoholic beverages)
- Starting a fight (physical or emotional)
- Committing a crime (robbing a bank or convenience store; murder)
- Surfing porn
- Using legal or illegal drugs
- Getting pregnant (the desire to be needed/wanted)
- Making music
- Playing a sport
- Taking huge risks
Please note: the above list could probably go on for much longer, I am simply brainstorming with the intention of cultivating our awareness. And awareness is massive here. It’s about getting to the heart of why we do what we do.
What is the underlying motivation for doing the things that you do? Are you trying to escape and avoid, or are you seeking to discover, explore, heal and evolve?
Before we brainstorm ways of cultivating sustainable ways of working through a loss, let’s look at what sustainability is. Sustainable actions are behaviors that are good for us and for future generations (our kids, grandkids and great grandkids…). In other words, sustainable ways of working through a loss will be maintainable and beneficial for you and your family and our society and world for the long haul.
Here are a few ways we might experience sustainable results:
- Connecting with family, friends, nature, God, yourself…
- Making music
- Making love
- Cycling, running, yoga, hiking, canoeing, trekking, camping…
- Doing something you love
- Enjoying good food and drink in community
Again, as stated before, the lines that divide what may be attainable and what may be sustainable are not always clear. Understanding what may be sustainable for you, may not be sustainable for me. This is the beauty of life – we are all unique; we are all different.
This is why it’s essential for you and me to learn how to listen to what is going on within us. If today you’re feeling a sadness deep within, or your gut feels like it’s in knots, or you’re experiencing heaviness of heart and mind, the key to your well-being, the key to our well-being, is to diligently listen to what your body and soul are telling you.
It’s okay to grieve. It’s okay to be honest and say to yourself, “I’m feeling down, frustrated, angry, sad, lonely.” It’s important to remember that these feelings are not who you are, but that they’re simply guides helping you to explore limiting beliefs, unresolved hurts and deep losses.
In bringing my bass away to be sold, I was physically letting go of everything it represented for me. I felt broken in so many different ways. I felt like I didn’t measure up; like I failed.
It’s important for me to acknowledge this. It’s important for me to find sustainable ways of working through the dark feelings that come with traveling this path. And it’s important for you too. Truly, it’s essential for us all.
Until next time…
Be You. Be Unitas.
Photo via shutterstock