Are You Using All Your Soul's Resources?
The death of a child diminishes us all, and calls upon the resources of the soul.
'Most people live, whether physically, intellectually or morally, in a very restricted circle of their potential being. They make use of a very small portion of their possible consciousness,' he continued, 'and of their soul's resources in general, much like a man who, out of his whole bodily organism, should get into a habit of using and moving only his little finger. Great emergencies and crises show us how much greater our vital resources are than we had supposed." -- William James
I read it and want to run screaming, 'No more depth, please, no more, I'm deep enough.'
Adversities test our resilience and also build it. The good news about resiliency is, you can learn it. The bad news is, there will always be opportunity. Reverse the adjectives; either way it works.
Through all the common adversities in my life, I used my general coping skills, and bounced on forward. But when my son died, everything became a platitude. It is true, you are never the same.
I coach people who've lost their child. If there's one thing they are, it's not judgmental. My theory is that once you've tried to wrap your mind around the idea that your child has died before you did, you lose your appetite for idle thinking, which is what 'judgmental' is.
They also have a deep place that welcomes you, figuratively, when you connect with them; a reservoir carved out by the grief.
As my coach and friend Jilly Shaul, said, who's had her share, "I am not afraid of human emotion." She went out of her way to talk with a young friend who's child had died, whom everyone else was avoiding. Jilly, no; when she hears the sound of cannon, she goes toward them.
One deeply experienced emotion, deepens them all; one emotion stifled, stifles the rest. As a client told me, if God had told him 21 years ago he'd give him Joshua, so much happiness and pleasure, and then take him away in 21 years, he would still "take the deal." I'm humbled by this client who now must measure the depth of the pleasure with the depth of his sorrow.
Crises give life to pat phrases I've read. When I got the phone call my son was in the ICU and not expected to live, Churchill's words came to me, "This will be our finest hour." I knew I might be called upon to endure every Mother's nightmare, and if he died, and I survived it, and thrived again, it would require my soul's resources.
It's terrifying to keep loving with all your heart and soul in the face of loss, and it is also the antidote. The greater loss, the thing to fear more, would be not to fully love when we could - ve.
We learn to forgive, by forgiving. We learn to love, by loving. We learn compassion, by being compassionate. And we learn to survive loss, by surviving loss. There's no other way.
About the Author
Susan Dunn, The EQ Coach, GLOBAL EQ. Emotional intelligence coaching to enhance all areas of your life 'career, relationships, midlife transition, resilience, self-esteem, parenting. EQ Alive! 'excellent, accelerated, affordable EQ coach certification. Susan is the author of numerous ebooks, is widely published on the Internet, and a regular speaker for cruise lines. For marketing services go here.
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