With the start of the new year, I find myself at a loss of words. In the past month I lost people close to me as well as many of my coaching clients and friends had lost loved ones. “Words… could they be words of consolation?” Rilke asks.
In these times I found that it is my body that yearns for the comforting more than the mind. Death mutes me. I don’t want to hear words that asks of me to not feel and move on. I understand the good intention behind it but find it disrespectful of life as well as death. Like with life, death too wants to be felt. I find healing in holding the space to allow my own grief and those of others to be expressed organically through the body. To be still enough to hear the remedial whispers of the body and sit with it. Be it tears, pain in the heart, a numbness, a sense of hollow emptiness inside, a heaviness that pulls you to your knees, a wondering soul that wants to take off, a pulsating anger, etc.
Death is not the opposite of life it is part of life and it walks alongside us every day. Death is the only certainty that there is in uncertain times. We will all die and leave our physical body one day. When? No one knows. What I do know is that there is no controlling death, there is only allowing.
I find myself in a bit of a predicament as like many of you I can’t always be with people in their time of grief. So, I’m left to use words to share what I feel but I struggle to find the words for it. Therefore, I would like to share the wise words of Rainer Maria Rilke that have walked the path of life and death. In his chapter on “Loss, Dying and Death” from the book “Letters on life” he writes the following:
“Ah, how little it forgets this heart – and how strong it would be if we did not deprive it of its tasks before they had been fully and genuinely achieved! Our instincts should not be to desire consolation over a loss but rather to develop a deep and painful curiosity to explore this loss completely, to experience the peculiarity, the singularity, and the effects of this loss in your life. Indeed, we should muster the kind of noble greed that would enrich our inner world with this loss and its significance and weight. The more profoundly we are affected by such a loss and the more painfully it concerns us, the more it becomes our task to claim as a new, different, and definitive possession that which has been so hopelessly emphasized by this loss…
Just like the moon, life surely has a side that is perpetually turned away from us and which is not its opposite but adds to its perfection and completeness, to the truly intact and full sphere of being.
We ought not to fear that our strength does not suffice for enduring an experience of death, not even the closest and most horrible one. Death is not beyond our strength; it is the highest mark etched at the vessel’s rim: we are full every time we reach it – and being-full means being-weighed-down…that is all. I do not mean to say that one should love death. But one should love life so unreservedly and without any calculation or deliberation that death (the half of life that is turned away from it) is at all times unwittingly included in and loved along with life – which is precisely what happens each time in love’s vast, unstoppable, and boundless movements…
Life says always at the same time: Yes and No. Death is the actual yes-sayer. He says only: Yes. Before eternity.”
May you allow yourself the space to fully embody and experience the losses in your life. So that through the inner-working and soul-sculpturing process the pain carves out a new way of fully being in life shaped by your loss.