In the face of loss or tragedy, you must of course let yourself feel: Cry without restraint, shake with fear, yell out in anger, accept and embrace your feelings. In addition to feeling, you must outwardly express and work through your feelings and thoughts. Talking and sharing with someone you trust, who can support you and hold space for your pain, is so important. A noble friend or counselor will remind you that it’s okay and necessary to feel, without judgment.
When people feel the pain of tragedy or loss, they generally take one of three paths... If you do not allow yourself to feel, you’ll go down the the numb road — you stagnate, deaden, ignore, and check out. Life will have fewer downs but also fewer ups, less sadness and less joy, more hazy, gray days and nights, and fewer if any intimate relationships or strong emotional investments. This is no way to experience the full wondrous potential of being human.
Then, there is path of the downward spiral. It is okay and necessary to feel, but those on the downward path will hold onto the pain, almost as if they’re clinging to hurt in order to fill the gap left by that which they’ve lost. They get into a defensive mode and stick there. They feed on the pain, use it as an excuse to dismantle their life, and withdraw from responsibility and connection. Perhaps worse than stagnation, the downward path breeds prolonged sorrow and intense fear — a second tragedy resulting from the first. It is a sad and desperate abyss and difficult to crawl back out of.
The third and most enlightened approach is the Inward Path — the feeling of emotions, the acceptance of them, and the coupling of the emotional mind with the intellect. This route inspires one to look inward to discover who you really are, without the energy or object that has been lost. Along this path, you take the experience — no matter how sad or infuriating — as a learning event, just as all other points on your journey will prove to be. While tragic or painful, you must recognize this is still an opportunity for all involved to grow — specifically you, since you only have control over your own reaction and behavior. Letting both sadness and joy, fear and courage, dark and light fill your world, and learning to find your steady, calm center in the midst of the opposing forces. This is the Inner Warrior's Path. Use the event as an opportunity to gain balance and discover wisdom — the wisdom of love and of letting go, of non-attachment and non-resistance, and use this enlightening experience to eventually help others in need of guidance.
Being able to relate to others who have also experienced tragedy and inspire in them hope — of recovery, of insight, and of moving forward — is perhaps the greatest gift you can receive from tragedy. Let the pain be infused with love, the loss with connection. After you’ve taken appropriate time to grieve, to feel your own sadness, make it your work, your mission, your purpose to connect to others who need help. Show them how you’ve experienced feelings, established balance, and gained wisdom that you would never have otherwise had the opportunity to learn.
FEEL, but do not FEED on tragedy. Rather, let it inspire you to transcend the person you were before. With demise comes renewal, so let this Loss be also your Rebirth. No matter how bleak it seems, no matter how difficult this becomes, YOU HAVE THE POWER to transform yourself into someone greater than you ever knew you could be. Do not hate this experience. Accept it and honor it! We all have the ability to impress and surprise ourselves on a daily basis. Let this be the greatest surprise of your life, so that eventually you look back on this tragic occurrence, and on the person you were before, and on the person you have become, and then look to the sky and thank the Universe for this hard lesson learned, for this wonderful and sad and amazingly divine life-changing gift. And you will thank yourself for taking the Inward Path.
AFFIRMATIONS OF THE WEEK
It’s okay to feel everything I am feeling.
I am here for myself no matter what.
I will learn from this experience and grow wiser, with an open heart.