Experiencing Loss As Gain
(With a Side Dish of Grief, Because Life Is What It Is)
When I was a young child and began to lose my baby teeth, my new teeth always grew in before the baby ones had fallen out. In thinking about letting go this month, I have not been able to shake this image. It reminds me that I have always experienced loss with some kind of gain. And when my teeth had finally let go and fallen out--or as was often the case, when I was sent to the dentist and had them pulled--I would take the precious tooth, place it under my pillow and wait for the Tooth Fairy to take it away. The Tooth Fairy would always leave a gift in its place, and the cycle of newness sprouting (my new teeth coming through), the old falling away (the baby teeth finally coming out), and a transformation taking place (the tooth turning into a gift), was born.
In the early nineteen eighties, I drafted a book entitled Losing Weight, Gaining Health. The cover art showed the words "Losing Weight" in block lettering crossed out, and "Gaining Health" written over them in a cursive style. Here again, the idea of bringing something in of a higher vibration helps to allow what is old and unwanted to fall away. The transformation that follows, as I discuss it in the book, is the wellness of released energy, the freedom of an agile body, and the surprises that follow when we take responsibility for our own well-being.
When I shop, I have a rule that what I bring home must also inspire completion with other items I possess. Whether I pay them forward, throw them away, or sell them at a flea market--for every new item I bring into the house, at least one thing has to go. With clothing I'm likely to empty a whole drawer in response to something new and wonderful. Once I brought home a coat--a properly fitted, well-made, warm wool peacoat--and tossed four other wannabes in response. I let go of an old jacket lining, a coat whose sleeves were too short, an oversized man's sweater, and a suede fringe number with tapestry shoulders left over from the eighties that I thought I would never part with.
Sometimes when we have to let go, it's about turning our imagination forward and reaching for the dream we dream instead of the past we hold onto. With diet, household items, personal items, if needing to let go is a struggle, setting your eye on exactly what you want and bringing it into your life will create a sharp enough contrast for you to experience clearly what is the "old" you and what is the "new." And with these exchanges of thought and spirit, of things and stuff, the transformation awaiting us always follows. For me, with new clothing, the better my clothing fits, the more practically and beautifully I dress myself, the more supported I feel at my core.
With internal transitions the structure can be similar, though the process more challenging. Picture a woman being rescued from a burning pit. Watch her as she grabs hold of the hero's hand and is lifted out of the consuming flames. What is it you imagine she is focusing on while being pulled from the raging inferno? Is it the flames engulfing her feet and legs? Or the strong hand pulling her to safety?
Maybe you can only feel the flames of letting go right now. If so, what shifts in focus might help you to begin to sense the strong hand that is pulling you forward into your prosperous life? What newness can you turn toward? What needs that are close to your heart can you begin to address? What can you do to raise your awareness so that what you want and what you love can surround and comfort you?
Losses live wildly within us. What I mean by wildly is that life, naturally, organically, true to its nature and wild in its unpredictability, does express as life itself regardless of what we do or how we interact with it. And so, as life, its mystery is a part of every transition and every meeting with this powerful force. Entering into our own mystery means embracing the wildness in the truth of our specific lives. How grief comes and when grief comes cannot be predicted. All we know for certain is that in letting go, grief is necessary and so it will come--our salvation lies in meeting it with presence, grace, and gratitude.
Grief is both a chemical and alchemical process--meaning it is biologically as well as psychologically and spiritually transforming. Grief, crying, emotions of all kind, express chemical needs that serve the body, inspiring repair and restoration. Until we allow grief into our heart and soul, we are not fully released into the present moment. With a full and complete experience of the past, we are naturally prepared to move into the present and the wondrous unknown of our lives. Until and unless we have been fully present with the loss transformations impose upon us, we are not fully delivered into all of who we are.
For every loss there is a grieving; and in every grieving there waits a new beginning. These new beginnings may be felt, intuited, but at other times and even the majority of times, they may be completely hidden and utterly elusive. In the grief, there is no going forward. There is only falling away. And in this place, the sense of something waiting may be as far from perception as the other side of the moon is to our eyes. In these times, faith and trust in your relationship with yourself (MESHE) and with life itself (MISON) may be all you can find. In the depths of grief--the worst of the worst of it--you may experience a complete and utter breakdown of all you know. Yet resting there, even in the fear of nothingness, will eventually--and naturally--deliver you to something-ness.
Falling into falling can be its own transformational experience--where what you gain is so deep, so expressive of your essence that you may never know anything as clearly again.
So, when dealing with grief, expect the emptiness. Understand that the gain you might expect from loss is hiding in the pain, and trust life (MISON) to be present with you even if you cannot experience its presence at the time. When the clouds part, and the birds begin to chirp again, the night that preceded the beautiful morning takes on new meaning. The transformation lets us know that something was lost and something was gained. The light in your eyes, the cleansing of your soul, the gratitude in your heart, lets you know that it was worth it.
In sensing grief's offering, we may feel into the gain. But where the wild takes us under and consumes our every breath, no gain is felt-we are subsumed into the pain and the experience of letting go.
© Copyright 2005 KD Farris, Ph.D.. All Rights Reserved.
Read KD's Past Columns:
Aug-Sept 2004 "Sometimes to Move Forward, We Have to Go Back"
June-July 2004 "Soulful Practice: Spiritual Practice--Soulful Nature"
Jan-Feb 2004 - "Making Our Dreams Come True Is Living A Truthful Life"
December 2003 - "Graceful Living - Confessions of a Professional Speaker"
October 2003 - "Serenity: As Calm, As Clear
May 2003 - "What are Your Needs?"
April 2003 - "Techniques for Clearing the Space for Communication" - Part II of II
February 2003 - "HESHE & Clearing the Space for Communication" - Part I of II
January 2003 - "Body & Soulful Living"
November 2002 - "Getting Into MESHE with Your Home Through Minor Adjustments"
October 2002 - "Being in MESHE with Clearing Clutter"
September 2002 - "Discover Going on Retreat"
July 2002 - "Build Your MESHE - Seek the Space: A Process for Reclaiming the Shadow"
June 2002 - Revisiting: "The MESHE Concept - A Path to Soulful Living"
May 2002 - "Bodywork 101"
March 2002 - "Being Present Within Your Prosperous Life"
February 2002 - "HESHE and The Third Bird"
December 2001 - "Manifesting Your Perfect Partner with Personal Truthz"
November 2001 - "Remembering What We Already Know"
September 2001 - "Be Led By What You Are Trying to Avoid"
August 2001 - "Draw Your Way to Clarity, Health & Balance"
June 2001 - "Tending to the Negative Mind"
May 2001 - "Gentle Conscious Living"
April 2001 - "MISON and The Moment"
March 2001 - "The MESHE Concept - A Path to Soulful Living"
KD Farris, Ph.D. is a successful counselor, healer, and bodyworker. For more than twenty years she has taught
extensive workshops based on MESHE, HESHE, MISON & ORBIT as well as many other self-discovery topics.
KD began developing her integrated bodywork and counseling techniques in 1983 under the tutelage of many prominent doctors and healers throughout the United States.
Her education into the spiritual and physical aspects of the human experience served as the foundation for her private practice and the development of a new philosophy. She combined her techniques into four guiding principles, which she shares in her book, MESHE, HESHE,
MISON & ORBIT: What My Grandmother Taught Me About the Universe. She teaches a companion workshop series, where she creates an interactive environment demonstrating the material from her book with tangible, life altering effects. In these workshops, individuals discover a
deepening of their relationship to self, others, and life itself.
Through individual counseling and group workshops, she has taught her results-oriented programs to many different types of people including those confined to mental institutions, substance and food abusers, and generally, people in life transitions, struggling with intimate
relationships, or who lack direction in their lives. Visit www.kdfarris.com.
KD is currently touring a new body of work, Talking About People in Transition, Also Known As
Liminal Space. She will be writing about liminality and its relevance to day-to-day living in upcoming issues of Soulful Living. For more information on this new and exciting topic, or to learn about more her private practice, workshops and lectures, visit
Contact KD at: info@MESHE.com