Friday, April 20, 2012

The Cycle of Life: Loss and Rebirth

I “bill” myself as a grief and relationship coach, and I thought I would take the time to explain why I chose those two areas of concentration. In truth, I believe everything in life really comes down to these two topics.

Let’s consider grief first.

Grief, in some form, is with us from the moment we are born as we take the first steps toward our ultimate destination.

Life is actually a constant and natural progression of loss and subsequent rebirth. This is clearly reflected in nature by the endless change of seasons.

Loss takes many forms; it can be big and small.

For example, as the school year is ending, graduation may be on many a person’s mind. We don’t usually think of this milestone as a loss and rebirth, but I believe it is.

Each year, school age children move from one grade to another. They leave well-loved teachers behind; friends might move away; and a transition to a new school may be encountered from elementary to middle school to high school and onto college. In these instances, each “goodbye” is a loss. However, on the other side, there is a hello to a gain or a move into a new time and place in one’s life.

One factor in determining how successful we are in life, is how well we can handle the multitude of transitions experienced over the span of a lifetime. Responding vs. reacting to these changes tends to help them pass more smoothly.

My next area of concentration is relationships.

When I muse about the meaning of life, for me, it always comes down to my relationships, of which I have both personal and professional ones.

In the end, will it really matter what size house I had, what kind of car I drove, or if I got to travel around the world?

I think not. 

Stephen Levine said it perfectly: “If you were going to die soon and had only one phone call you could make, who would you call and what would you say? And why are you waiting?”

The old cliché, “home is where the heart is,” rings true for me, for I am at the center of my life. This is not a negative egocentric thought, for it is a healthy ego that propels us to accomplish our goals. So, the relationship I have with myself is of utmost importance. It determines my perspective – how I see my world, as well as the world-at-large and those who inhabit it.

All my other relationships radiate out in concentric circles around this main orb. Each of us spends a lifetime working on them. I’ve captioned just a few in the picture below.

As we move through life, people move in and out of it. We experience loss but also joy in new relationships or the success of already established ones.

So, we’ve come full circle back to grief. And to resolve your grief, it is important to understand the cycle of life – the relationship that all things and every person has with his/her life and that each has a designated season to live.

Relationships and grief … to me, that’s what it is all about!

If you want help working through your grief or with your relationships, I offer lots of books on both subjects as well as coaching. Visit my website for a full listing. 

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