Year of Writing

A Year of Writing to Uncover the Authentic Self (2022)
Lesson 5: People We’ve Lost

Looking at the title for this week’s writing exercise, it is clear that this topic isn’t meant to be lighthearted. Loss is never an easy thing to reconcile with.

Especially in the case that you’re a “glass half full with sunshine” kind of person like myself. Where I would much rather focus on all the small events and pleasures in life that bring a smile to my lips and warmth to my heart when I think about them.

Alas, life has many faces. For every blessing it bestows upon us, it also provides moments of loss, pain, hurt and sorrow to compensate. I suppose you could say it provides a perfectly imperfect balance to all of us. Giving us just the right mix of heavenly and hellish moments to keep us learning, growing, questioning and living.

Lessons Format

Unlike in other weeks, the guiding questions for this lesson were few. One of the things I really appreciated about this week was the compassion with which the introductory was written.

It is clear that the author herself had been through trying times, and she very much encouraged us as participants to take our time completing this week.

Initially, I didn’t really think that this lesson was going to affect me too much. However, considering the tears shed by the end of this lesson, it would seem I was wrong…


My Experience

I will admit that I didn’t spend too much time on this lesson. I’m really not one who likes to dwell on painful, hurtful and unpleasant experiences beyond their expiry date.

It’s not that I want to avoid uncomfortable memories or emotions per se. It’s much rather, that when things happen that aren’t joyous I already have a tendency to process them pretty intensely as they are happening. This lets me feel very intense emotions at that time, learn from them and then successfully “close the chapter” after that.

This being the case, re-visiting “closed chapters” more often than not makes me feel quite tired, sad and at times quite hopeless too. Especially when it comes to loss. The past is not something I can change. As such, it really seems senseless to re-hash it.

Nevertheless, I completed the exercise and I must say that it did bring me some quite powerful insights into my being.

What I learnt:

  1. That I feel like the most important person I have lost in the past, and have the potential to lose over and over within my lifetime is myself. (This was really surprising to me. I don’t think I had previously really consciously noticed how much I value myself, looking after myself and ensuring a consistent level of well-being in my life)
  2. Loss comes in so many forms – and you can lose people when they are still very much alive. As I was recalling the losses in my life, I realised that most of my significant experiences with loss have been with people who are still very much alive. (However, at the same time I felt immensely grateful for this blessing, as it means we all still have the opportunity to learn, grow and develop from the experiences we created with each other)
  3. Just because someone is gone, does not mean they are really gone – one of the exercises was to recall a favourite moment with someone we had lost. I thought about my grandpa – and when I did it brought both tears and a smile to my face. It was a beautiful experience
  4. Every loss brings new perspectives – it doesn’t matter how simple, hurtful, emotional, messy, liberating and/or un/expected a loss is, loss always carries lessons with it. When used well, loss can really let you change your life in a very exciting way. However, you need to be open to it. And you need to be able to accept something that can be really hard to accept – change.


Some thoughts..

Although I won’t say that I really enjoyed this week’s lesson, I do think it was an integral lesson to review. When discovering oneself, we need to learn about many different facets and aspects of ourselves.

Is there really a better way to do that than to see how we face pain, hurt and the void that loss inevitably brings with it?

What do you think?

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