This week I learnt a valuable lesson about loss- that loss is about ego. If one loses something or someone, one is really thinking about oneself and how that loss is hurting them. The loss is not really about what has been lost but about the feelings connected with that object or person. If one can disconnect from one’s ego then one can see beyond loss and be more able to forgive and remember the thing that was lost, rather than what we are feeling and how hurt we are.
First I lost a lovely silver earring that had been given to me by my colleagues when I was leaving my first job. Yes, I felt sorry and sad for awhile- one of those colleagues was no more and it was a way of remembering her. But then all in life is about loss- whatever we gain, we will lose one day. So as soon as I realised that, I stopped thinking about the earring and was able to deal with the day.
That same day, I had a lovely lunch with a former colleague. He had attended a pottery workshop I had organised almost a year back and had made a cup which I had got fired and painted for him. He had been asking for this cup and so I was pleased to finally meet him and give him this cup which I had stored for such a long time. Upon getting to the tube station, I realised that we had left this cup behind at the restaurant. I offered to go back and get it back but he said he was not upset about losing the cup. But patently I was hurt and perhaps that showed on my face as I saw him sneaking off. Anyway, I thought I must leave him to find that cup and I walked to the trains a little sadly. Along the way, I thought about why I was feeling sad and hurt. Again, it was about my ego. I felt bad that I had organised the pottery, got that cup fired and painted and then stored it for a long time and brought it to this colleague. By saying that it was not important to retrieve this cup, he was in effect saying that my contribution was not important or even that I was not important. On that journey back, I fought hard to disentangle my ego from the cup and my colleague. I thought about how kind he had been to me, always and the good times we had. A cup was simply getting in the way of remembering and honouring that. In any case, it was his cup and if he had
A week later, what a lovely surprise it was to get an email and this picture of dandelions in that cup! So he had actually gone back and found that cup (contrary to what I had been thinking). Having disassociated from the loss via my ego, this photo now gives me double pleasure. This is now my simple formula for living a joyful life-
No ego+loss= happiness