Tue, July 16

Lessons on loss: A time of resistance or acceptance

Sudden loss is like a punch in the stomach. Your whole life changes in a flash. Gradual loss is like a slow leak in a tire. You may not notice it until the tire has almost become flat.

Loss, whether gradual or sudden, is an inevitable part of life. The older you get, the more loss you experience. How you handle it determines the quality of your life as an elder.

You may lose a spouse, a child, or another loved one. Your social position, reputation, health, agility of movement, and clarity of thinking may diminish slowly or be snatched away. Your dreams may go unrealized.

You can respond to these kinds of losses in one of two ways:

1) Resist the loss. Inwardly, you rail against it and slam the door on any possibility of good issuing from the experience. You make yourself a victim of your circumstance or fate.

You utter complaints, curses, and a litany of all the things that have gone wrong with your life. You experience the resulting bitterness, resentment and self-pity.

Or you may keep your feelings inside, brooding and suffering in silence and becoming depressed in the process.

2) Surrender to the experience of the loss. You accept what is so, opening to whatever it brings you. You stop resisting it mentally and emotionally. You may even embrace it. You experience peace. This response paves the way for greater good to enter your life.

You increase in wisdom and compassion. Even though your feelings may be deep and painful, you rest in an inner, even deeper, stillness and serenity.

As I've listened to the stories of the hurricane Katrina victims, I've noticed something. Those who speak about their loss in positive ways seem to have an easier time acquiring what they need to move on with their lives. Those who speak in complaining and negative tones often have little forward movement toward meeting their needs.

Begin to observe how you either resist or accept less significant losses in your life. Practice patience when you lose time because of the slow driver in front of you. Practice gracious acceptance when your spouse forgets to pick up groceries for dinner.

Practice peace and gratitude now, and you will prepare for an easier time under the stress of greater loss.

So there you have your two choices: resist and suffer, or surrender and rest.

Which will you choose?

Marta practices as a Life Coach in the Verde Valley. To contact her, call (928) 451-9482 or write her at