It Figures

We’re all grieving. All the time.
June 13, 2024

Alanis Morisette could not have articulated it any better:

Life has a funny way of sneaking up on you

When you think everything’s okay and everything’s going right.

And life has a funny way of helping you out

When you think everything’s gone wrong

And everything blows up in your face.

And who would’ve thought? It figures

[Ironic, Alanis Morisette]


I heard it said once, “Say YES to life.” But how do we say YES to losing someone we deeply cherish? How do we say YES to losing money or our vitality, youth, or freedom? Do we fake it to cope? Do we train ourselves to accept our losses against our will, against our rage, worry, or core needs? 


Well, NO.


It is my belief we are all mourning all the time. For multiple things all at once. It may be from the heart-rupturing loss of a loved one, but also the decline of our youthful vital body, the loss of a home or a belonging or just simply a beautiful but unrepeatable chapter of our lives. 

But the (hard) truth is, we’re not unfortunate for our losses. What I mean is, we’ve come precisely for that. We’ve come to this world to lose it all. Everything is given, to then be taken away. People, our capacities, our belongings, and our sanity sometimes. We gain only to lose. We celebrate to then mourn. One may ask, what IS the point of this whole show? Is it about learning to let go? About not resisting the flow? Is it learning to be present and still in our woe?


At the end of the day, let come what may,

And embrace the shit, and get on with it. 


The best we can do is learn to foster a curiosity for it all. The love and drama, the comedy and tragedy, the gains and losses, the pains, the process. If we can try to love ourselves and tend to our hearts the way we would a child whom we love… if we can try to stay IN love, with ourselves and with life—with its ups and downs—then we keep our candle kindled. Then can we live life on Life’s terms, with no regrets, no dooms. But in celebration of everything. While we can. 


Unless we are extremely ill or hopelessly destitute, we have choices. We have the choice to keep a positive attitude. We have the choice to rejoice in what we do have. We have the choice to love our life as it is, and love ourselves as we are. If we choose not to, we’ll pass our entire lives cloaked in black, grieving that which is a given: Loss. Eventually, we lose even ourselves to this world. 


If we grieve our youth, our vitality—if we feel younger than our age—we can sit with ourselves and be curious about the whole thing. And know that our spirit never ages. 


If we grieve a loved one—someone who might even have meant everything to us—we can sit with ourselves and honor the tender shared moments and their eternal life within our hearts (and, if you’re like me, entertain the idea of meeting them again in a next lifetime).


If we mourn the loss of a job, or work opportunity, we can embrace that as part of our life journey, knowing that we can reinvent ourselves. 


Our heart is so much MORE than we realize. There it beats, within our chest, faithfully and lovingly, to the very end. I like to remember that it’s there. Even try to hear it pa-pooming, feeling and taking in all the funny or icky ways about this ole Life. 




Augustin Rodin’s The Thinker is a sculpture we all know. Typically, to anyone, it registers a degree of introspective thoughtfulness—a visual equivalent of “hmm,” over anything and everything. 


But I believe his gesture is more than just introspection. A hand upon a face is a powerful thing. We may bury our face in our palms in elation or despair, or cup the cheek of our babe in gentle loving care or empathy. It’s like a powerful kiss of the hand (and in intimate love, a prelude to a passionate kiss). This gesture somehow reconnects us to the intimacy of reality. And if this gesture is towards ourselves, it is one of self-love—not pompous or vain, but simple, resolute, and deeply affectionate.


So, we don’t have to fake it to cope. Or to accept losses against our will. Our heart will do it all. We can cup our sad or happy faces in our open palms and know that Life gave us Life. And that we’re here to feel it ALL. 


Easier said than done, yes. But I’m working on it, every day. Care to take my hand and join me? 



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We don’t give it up for free.
(And neither should you.)