Reorganising after loss

I have recently been contemplating the nature of loss. This may be as a result of noticing myself more and more orientating towards an acceptance of the loss of my home.

Many years ago I read a book on grief, unfortunately I cannot recall the name of the book, yet two words stayed with me -disorganised and reorganised. It spoke of the disorganising effects of loss and in time the need to re-organise around the loss.

These words have been ringing in my head lately as I begin to find enough ground under me to recognise and name my loss, to stop belittling and diminishing it and to recognise it as loss-loss of my home as I knew it for 27 years.

The disorganising effects of loss mirror for me the shadow side of chaos from my work with the 5 Rhythms. The confusion; the not knowing; the lack of solid ground; the empty centre; the rehashing of what I should have done; the inability to settle, to find quiet; the fear of stopping; the absence of enjoyment; the heaviness inside; the fear of making another wrong move; the exhaustion of trying this, that and the other etc., etc.

Finally for no reason clear to me yet something is changing. I am recognising the profound sense of disorganisation I have been swimming round in for the past two and a half years.

I think it was triggered by my reflection lately when I had to cancel a workshop. I had planned it for awhile beforehand, prepared for it and then at the last minute had to cancel it. I felt disappointed and sort of all over the place as to what I would now do with this unexpected “free” weekend. It was a small loss and I reorganised the weekend with ease.

Yet somewhere within the disappointment and sense of sadness around the workshop not happening, the words disorganised/ reorganised popped up and I recalled the book on grief.

Such a relief as I felt to have words to put on my experience over these last two and a half years. (“Name it and tame it” as Daniel Siegel says.) I reflected on the other losses I had experienced through my life -deaths of people and pets, ending of friendships and jobs,- and how each had upended me to various degrees. I noted how life became very different when I was reorganised again.

This time the upending came as quite a shock, like a sudden death I was totally unprepared for.  I have been resisting facing the reality of life now- wanting to turn the clock back , to do things differently, to rewrite the past.

Intellectually I know the past cannot be changed. I can only be where I am now and build a different future.

Emotionally I have been living miles away from my intellect-like my heart and my mind were on different planets.

Recently they have begun to communicate and are slowing coming into alignment. My home as I knew it for 27 years no longer exits. It has been transformed into having a house I love in a beautiful area.

I have begun to visit the house again. I spend a little more time there with each visit. I cut the grass and weed the flower beds. I walk around and see the empty spaces where I have removed paintings, ornaments, bits and bobs I treasured, whilst I rented it for the summer.

For the first time in my life there I had complete strangers staying for a few weeks. Weeks when the house no longer felt as if it belonged to me. I now knocked on the door to check all was ok!

I felt the distance grow even though I was grateful for the guests whose payment helped maintain the house in good order.

Absence and emptiness became bedfellows in my heart and I hated these feelings. I kept very busy so as not to feel their depth. I was afraid of drowning under them. Afraid I would never feel presence and fullness again.

Since disorganisation and reorganisation entered my consciousness they have brought a strange sense of calm within.

The ability to name the disorganisation has been such a gift. Yes it has begun to tame the “runaway train of thoughts ” abounding in my mind.

I have been able to Pause. To see my life as it is now -reorganising almost unbeknownst around me. I am noticing the new people who have entered my life. I am appreciating the difference between living by the sea rather than in the mountains.  I have begun to get involved with the Dark Skies movement in Ireland and across the world. I can recognise how often misplaced loyalty has throw me under the bus and consequently am more wary when in the company  of people I do not know very well. I have a little more tolerance and curiosity of the unknown future opening ahead of me.

As I become less judgemental of myself,  I can see how often I orientate towards kindness and accommodating others. I can reclaim a lot of the goodness I have habitually projected onto others, for myself. I am beginning to breath deeply again. I am proud of the courage I managed to muster to write Against the Wind and I am opening with wonder to the response I have been receiving for speaking openly of loneliness and belonging and still riding a bike in my 60s!

My blood is beginning to feel warm again as it circulates around my heart.

I am curiously wondering who I will be in the future if I am not apologising for my existence and feeling grateful to the wrong people. Who will I be when the reorganising phase has completed its work for now? I say for now, because I am old enough to know another time of disorganising will await me sometime in the future.

Yet right now I want to be present for this reorganising time. I truly want to feel Presence and Fullness alive in my being again. I want to invite enjoyment rather than endurance to guide my decisions into the future. I would like to cycle with the wind at my back as I open to life, freshness, wonder and a new felt sense of “home/belonging” in this world. I want a new map to guide me into the future.

image by Sadhbh O’Neill