Nathan Peterson

Finding Freedom, and Ourselves, in Letting Go

On my journey through grief, I found myself.

This deeper part of me was always there, just covered.

Loss acted as a catalyst to restore me. It changed my life. Saved my life.

Sometimes we need a push. A catalyst of some kind. I would never hope the loss of a loved one, a job, or even a wallet, on anyone. But there's no denying how clear things can become when major loss inevitably happens.

Loss is inevitable. That's not a pessimistic statement. It's logical. Nothing lasts forever. We know this. But we spend a lot of energy--many of us spend all of it--to make it otherwise.

With or without our okay, loss inevitably comes.

And in an instant everything changes. All the things that used to feel important suddenly feel trivial. Suddenly, everything becomes crystal clear.

The morning after Olivia died, I didn't worry about my job, or money, or my belongings, or what people thought of me. Those things felt trivial. They felt imaginary. I let them drop. I felt free.

The morning after my daughter died, I felt more free than I'd ever felt in my life.

I woke up. I went for a run. I enjoyed the warmth of the sun and the cold morning air. I came home to my family. I no longer felt confused or torn or rushed.

When we drop everything--all the stuff we think we "should" be holding up--we can finally clearly see the most important things. We're free from old games. Free.

Loss can lead us here.

Sometimes that's what it takes--a huge, life-shattering loss. Only, life doesn't shatter; it is the thing we mistook for life that shatters.

It is not the loss of the thing we thought we lost which frees us; it's the loss of the mistaken belief we held: that we were ever in possession, or in control, of any of it in the first place.

This is how we become free. Not by arranging the world around us in such a way as to avoid losing the things we love, but by letting go of the all-consuming life-task of trying to hold onto things.

It's still a loss. A huge loss. And that's why it's such a relief.

Loss can lead us, suddenly, to freedom.

Sometimes that's what it takes, but it's not the only way.

At any moment, we can choose to be free--to let go of the illusion, the belief, that we have anything to lose.

Catalysts come in many forms. Loss is one. Sometimes it's just words on a page.

Let it go.
It's not yours to carry.
You have nothing to lose.
You're free.

#freedom #grief #letting go #loss #self-awareness #self-care