I just watched Marie Forleo interview Elizabeth Gilbert. I love both of their work so it is not surprising that I found their discussion interesting and inspiring. Although the interview was mainly focused on Liz Gilbert’s new book City Of Girls, which I am looking forward to reading, I found their discussion about grief incredibly useful. Liz Gilbert talked about the fact that after losing the love of her life Rayya to cancer, she realized that although she will no longer be with her, because of that loss she now has the opportunity for other paths in her life that she couldn’t have had if Rayya hadn’t died. Of course she would have preferred her to live longer. But the realization that she now has new paths to take sheds a different light on processing her grief. Profound and such a different perspective on grief and loss then is commonly discussed.
In a very broad sense this view of loss captures the fact that when we take a path in life, whether we have chosen it or it has been thrust upon us, other paths are eliminated. This is such clarity of understanding that there are unlimited ways in which our life might unfold. Rather than trying to control the path, we can embrace and celebrate that as things unexpectedly change in our life, we get the opportunity to do something else. That something else might be fantastic or awful or just plain ordinary but we are fortunate to do something different. So if we continue along this line of thought then whether or not something is presented to us unexpectedly why not try something new just for the sake of it and see how it goes?
Perhaps the new adventure will be wonderful, perhaps not, but given that it is kind of miraculous that we are here to begin with and we only get one chance at this life, isn’t it worth trying different things along the way? Holding back is no way to live. When we are open to reaching for all that we can get from life, in spite of and actually because of our losses, we are so lucky to get new opportunities to experience. There is no straight-line path in life even if we think we can make it a smooth ride. Because inevitably along comes something devastating that creates big changes for us. We lose our loved ones, our health, our work situation, or our homes. And yes there is grief big time, no doubt. And there is such great potential for whatever is next. I am going to look for what’s next, will you?