Viktor Frankl, after surviving unimaginable horrors during the Holocaust, became one of the founders of the Positive Psychology movement. ⠀
He wrote: “Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms — to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.”⠀
How we choose to relate to life, and to the losses we encounter in life, is everything. ⠀
When we relate through our Egos and allow our Egos to direct our healing, we’re in trouble. Because the Ego is rational and linear in its thinking. It wants reasons and explanations and closure in the face of loss. It wants to make sense of what’s senseless.⠀
But when we relate to our greatest hardships from our Souls, when we surrender the need to make sense and drop, instead, into the willingness to feel and experience, a new way opens. ⠀
We realize that what matters most, even more than finding closure after a loss, is finding peace. ⠀
Not peace through closure. ⠀
Peace in place of closure. ⠀
I’m struck, in my work as a spiritual life coach, by the fragility of that all important right to choose and how almost automatically we skip over it and get lost in our feelings or reactions when we’re in crisis.
The right to choose how we want to respond to whatever life has served up to us in any given moment is a birthright. It’s the point of true power for every single one of us. It’s a right that exists in this present moment and nowhere else.
In the experience of a heavy loss we tend to overlook our right to choose how we want to navigate our pain. We feel helpless, swept up and utterly at the mercy of the pain itself. The beginnings of grief can be like giant tidal waves that crash over us and send us rolling under the water. Grief is disorienting and all encompassing.
Healing from a big loss in our lives requires that we find solid ground after being knocked down and losing our bearings. Our healing is the return to ourselves, to the empowerment of our Souls and the right within us to choose how to live — even in the face of loss.
We cannot always cultivate the circumstance of closure. When we make the idea of closure the aim of our healing we are setting ourselves up for more heartbreak.
But we can always, in any moment, choose to honor our needs and to cultivate peace within ourselves. Regardless of what’s happening out there.