Everything changes. I know this to be a fact of life. However there is often a strong resistance to change. Both within myself, and most definitely outside of myself.
Growth does not happen without change. Change does not happen without loss. I have to be willing to experience the loss of what was, to make space for what might be. Loss is a part of my experience of life, and not often talked about.
Loss is the seed of growth.
There is a story that has been sold and believed. Call it the American dream that you can have it all, or the Disney fairytale that everything can be perfect. The story is that life is built like layers of a cake overtime. Every time there is an accomplishment or an acquisition, it is added to the equation of life. More additions equals a better life.
I do not believe this story to be reality.
Loss is very much part of the equation of life, as without it, there can be no growth. The idea that I can hold onto everything that I have known and acquired, and continue to add to it without loss, does not resonate with me anymore.
My sister recently had a baby. It has been a beautiful experience and a wonderful addition to our family. However, with the baby’s arrival has also been the experience of loss. The baby’s parents have experienced the loss of sleep, freedom and the lifestyle they once knew. There has been a loss in the depth of connection I feel with my sister, someone I am very close to. For example, she no longer has the time, or rather attention span, to read my weekly reflections, which we used to discuss at length.
Leaving New York one year ago to return home to Canada during this time, and living with my parents, has given me so much. I have gained valuable and precious time with my parents, as an adult, that I did not expect to have. I have learned more about each of them, and about myself through them, than I would have ever imagined knowing. However, with this experience has come the loss of privacy, personal space, autonomy and freedom that I have been so used to over the years.
During lockdowns and work from home over the past year, I have experienced the loss of so much that I have known and loved. Frequent physical human interactions, the mobility and flexibility to be anywhere, and more. With this loss though, I have experienced a gain in my appreciation for physical interactions, a curiosity for nature unlike ever before and more space to pursue interests like writing and social impact.
In business, I experience the loss of clients and team members from time-to-time. It is for some reason rarely discussed within business circles, however it is a reality of business, as it is a reality of life. The business media, market analysts and more focus mostly on the additions, rarely on the loss. This conditions me to believe that only I experience loss, no one else. With the loss though comes the space to add new clients and new team members, which leads to renewed energy and focus. This is where growth begins.
Despite there being an association that loss is undesirable, accidental and unwanted, my intention now is not to avoid the experience of loss. Where there is loss, there is also gain. I sometimes have to just look for it.
When the experience of loss feels painful, it is a sign that I am clinging and attached to what was. The more that I can learn to let go of holding so tightly onto what was, and learn to do it with a smile and not a frown, the more open I become to welcome in what might be.
Instead of avoiding loss, which would be like trying to avoid the rain forever, I can choose to be comfortable with the experience of loss.
Loss can be intentional. Loss can be grounded in a deeper understanding that it is part of the human experience. Loss can be embraced.
Loss will show up at my doorstep. That is a certainty. It always has, and it always will. My intention is to learn how to welcome it into my life, as it will be always followed by growth.
Loss is the seed of growth. It is where the journey begins to discover something new in our lives.