How do you make sense of a senseless loss?
You might assume that a seasoned psychotherapist would have pretty well learned how to flex with change. She would also have met and banished her own demons enough to be adept at navigating the landscape of loss. After twenty-five years of providing counsel and doing my own personal work, I too made the same assumption. But, following retirement, I met a completely unexpected waterloo and lost my way, falling more deeply into the mysterious unknown than ever before.
For any of us, dark nights of the soul can strip our egos and challenge whatever beliefs we have constructed; they require a deepened spiritual intimacy with change and the willingness to allow the emergence of a new template. For me, an unsettling and unwelcomed loss was drifting me into a deep void. The need to deal with the disturbance it created in my psyche rendered the situation nonnegotiable, where plummeting through and then finally letting go might be the only way to survive and invite a deeper nourishment to breathe.
The loss precipitating my own dark night was not from loss of a beloved person or valued career (although I’d experienced those, too) but rather of a long-cherished place. The startling loss of vibrant relationship with a deeply meaningful place might be similar to waking up one morning with a jolt after years of familiar human companionship and wondering, “Who is that person sleeping next to me, and why are we together?” In the absence of human partnership, a few favorite sacred places had become confidantes, companions, and lovers. So, upon returning to the once-enticing Sonoran Desert after having loved, keenly needed, and relied upon it for so long, imagine my surprise when I felt nothing, nothing, wondering why the spirit that used to water the desert landscape, delighting and hydrating my soul, was now absent, gone without a trace or even whispering, “Farewell.”
Who knew it could even be possible to experience such destabilizing loss of relationship with a place? Who knew this loss would catapult my former capable self into a shock so deep as to render me parched and immobile, thirsting for the sustenance upon which I once depended?
And who knew this would ultimately forge a channel for evolutionary change?
Gone! Gone! Gone! Hail the enlightened voyager!
I’d been deeply in love with the Sonoran Desert forever, it seemed, reveling in companionship and inspiring insights. But overnight, its magical spirit vanished without a trace. No rainy season, no chance to say goodbye or store water in my ribs, as did the Saguaro Cactus, for the thirst to come. It was like waking up one morning next to a longtime lover and wondering, “Who are you and why are we together?”
How do you find sustenance through the shock and perplexity of sudden loss?
This is the story of that unwelcomed surprise. It could tempt you into soulful encounters and strange teachings. It could beckon you to examine who you really are. It could entice you into following the unpredictable current of shock, loss, and a surprising recovery that just might help prepare you for your own.
About the Author
Author Robyn Bridges, M.Ed., has spent her adult life tracking the path of soulful living and offering her discoveries to other seekers who intuit the importance of gleaning wisdom from the natural world. A “re-fired” body-mind-therapist, she now writes and speaks to enliven vibrant connections with the innate power of nature to illuminate and heal. Explore her many books through www.robynbridges.com, and order through your local bookstore or Amazon.