Updated: Jan 17, 2022
I got the chance to be coached by David Deida recently. I asked how to work with my anxiety about Erik’s death. Erik is 21 years older and I don’t want to spend our precious time together worrying about losing him. The answer was so tender, it shifted something big for me. I know so many people who have lost loved ones recently -- or are facing the possibility of loss -- so I thought this practice and perspective might be useful to others. Here’s the gist:
“I guess you could call it a waste to worry about Erik’s death but it’s not a waste to acknowledge it or feel it. People die at strange times. You may die before him. In some way, he’s cultivating the same degree of vulnerability in the face of how temporary our forms are, how inevitable our separation. And yet, with that bittersweet quality in our hearts, we love, we want to love, we are love.
If you love someone fully, there is also a really deep feeling that it’s temporary. One of you or the other of you is going to die. When you love someone, the loss, the potential loss of that person is profound. So there is nothing wrong with that. What you might be interested in working with is where your mind goes -- the neurotic thoughts -- because that might not be necessary.
Here's a practice: Feel him in your heart. And now feel him gone, dead. Feel your heart, there is a kind of anguish and grief but there is also a kind of hole that’s formed. Like where it was full before there is an emptiness. You’ll never smell him again, you’ll never touch him again, you’ll never share anything. There is a kind of openness or hole in the heart.
In that hole, if you don’t try and fill it, is the key to devotion even while he’s alive. To feel his potential death and allow it to reveal that emptiness or hole. And so you interact with him from that place, you touch him from that place. You allow that openness in your heart, the wound, the pain, the grief -- all of that commingles -- without closing your heart.
And giving him that is as deep as you could give him. Using his potential death in that way would immediately deepen everything with you both now.”
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Photo by Omer Salom on Unsplash