Death, divorce, loss, and endings….can shatter the world we have known, presenting a profound challenge to our normal experiences of meaning. Each loss is a life transition for us.
Transitions are part of life; they are different from changes. Change is a situational shift. Transition is a journey that sometimes means we have to leave parts of our former story behind as we move forward and shift now we see ourselves and the world as a whole. Things are not the way they used to be—we have to move into the story that has now become.
We must remember also that the very things we now wish that we could hold onto and keep safe from change were themselves originally produced by changes. Transition is hard, we resist it because it takes much longer than change. It takes us to a place of limbo, psychologist/physician, Carl Jung called it the transcendent function, Victor Turner, the liminal space. It is that place we go after a change, before we move into the new reality of our lives. A new self is gradually being formed here and with it a new life story. And there is a resonance that connects the painful experiences of the past to the current experience. A vibrational pattern emerges and sets other older losses and the current experience on the same “wavelength.” So we must acknowledge and honor the earlier losses, reexamine them, try to see where we have been so that we have a place to start from; to learn where we are going.
What if all life is about finding meaning, each loss or wounding a way the divine or sacred finds an entry to expose a part of our unseen self. What if all our losses are a way to transition into something more—to be more of an authentic self. Our identity, how we see ourselves comes from the forming of our ego. When we experience a loss it is part of an investment we have made in determining and knowing who we really are in the world. With the loss, we lose a small or large part of ourselves and how we participate in the world. We must find a way to rebuild how we see ourselves and relate to others. This is how the liminal space provides a container for us to mourn our loss and create a new story.
In this holiday season losses can seem overwhelming. We need to center ourselves. Decide if we should create a new way of celebrating a holiday, along with honoring who or what has been lost to us. Light a candle for someone or something you have lost. It’s a way to acknowledge and honor where we have come from.