Out to Sea

It’s been a month and change since my father’s passing and, while I understand grief is never the same for two people, there’s one thing that I’m learning at a deep, cellular level this time around…

Grief is weird.

Not bad, not good, not negative, not positive, just… weird.

One minute it’s like Al died minutes ago, the next it’s like he’s been gone forever.

As a family, we’ve lost the last anchor tethering us to the previous generation.  Yet it’s clear that my siblings and I have stepped into our own state of “anchordom,” a new stage of coming of age as elders.

Which, because we’re all in our 60’s, I suppose we have.

On the personal side, I’m noticing that regardless of what emotion shows up, I’m doing my best to take time to let it do its thing at its own pace.  No rush, no resistance, no clever, slippery bypassing.

And if this month is an indicator of what’s to come in this new year of firsts, it’ll continue to be exhausting, revealing – and yeah, weird.

It’s become much like being out to sea in a rolling swell.  At times all I see is walls of water, some crashing over me.  Then I’m atop a tall wave from which I can see for miles, taking a magical moment to check out playful dolphins and breaching whales.

Then there are the seasick moments that find me glued to a rail, white-knuckled and hurling with the best of them…

Maybe I’m nuts, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.

There’s a lot I’ve learned over the course of 21 years working with clients and students, it’s that the way through is always just that: the way through.

Not over or around – it’s through.

Resistance to loss doesn’t make it go away.  Avoiding the discomfort of feeling just makes things more intensely (and endlessly) uncomfortable.

I’m not entirely sure why, but the whole resistance thing never fails to amplify the very things one is resisting.  Better, at least in my world, to do as Rumi suggests and welcome them in.

And so it is, out here at sea.

Before we part company this week, I invite you to take a look at what you might be resisting, be it a loss, a difficult conversation, saying a clear “yes” or “no” …

Perhaps it’s even delight or joy.

Once you find it, the next invitation is to open the door and let it in.

And last, but certainly far from least, be gentle and compassionate with yourself.