What Nature Can Teach Us About Love & Loss
I’m warning you now; this is going to sound cliché as f*#k, but hear me out. The other day I was out for my run and admiring the beautiful colors that are now starting to saturate the trees. Deep hues of red and orange are slowly replacing the brilliant shades of green that once drenched Mother Nature’s trees.
As I was running I began reflecting on something I recently read that stated how Mother Nature is always seeking perfection in all of her kingdoms by removing anything she senses to be a lack or flaw in her creation. Naturally, this got me thinking about human beings.
It would seem that humans have such a challenging time knowing when to let go and trusting that if something is being removed from our lives, it is merely to assist us, not punish us. Of course, I am speaking in regards to a breakup or someone deciding they no longer want to be a part of our lives for whatever reasons they have – not really in regards to other painful situations that feel slightly more permanent, though on some level – even those situations serve.
The gift & the curse
But I digress.
Human beings are both gifted and cursed with attachment. Gifted because attachment is what has enabled us to evolve as a species and live the way that we currently live, but a curse in that sometimes detaching can feel incredibly painful. Oftentimes when we are faced with letting go of a person or situation that meant so much to us, we are given corny messages of being like the trees and shedding old leaves so that new leaves can appear in the spring.
I’m not saying these quotes are not beautiful and I love the metaphor in understanding and embracing the nature of life, but rarely are they super helpful. I’m guessing it doesn’t feel painful for the tree to let go of the leaf because the natural cycle of life is for that leaf to fall away eventually. The tree doesn’t have a brain that worries and stresses about whether that leaf will be replaced in the spring- it is just one with nature and all that is so there is no worry to be had.
The tree does not have any attachment to the leaves because it possesses no brain that makes it so. The leaves are just a part of the tree much like our hair is a part of us. We do not cry when our hair falls out, much like the tree does not cry when it’s leaves fall. Humans are a bit more complex. We overthink, we overanalyze, we worry, we stress and we get attached to things and the people that come into our lives. As a human being letting go is quite different than that of the tree. Often we have to consistently remind ourselves that it is safe to let go.
The strength it takes to love
We have to remind ourselves that nothing in life is permanent and that even though we may have psychologically become attached to another human – we can just as equally detach ourselves psychologically if we so choose, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s easy. It might be necessary, but I feel that sometimes even when we know it’s the right thing to do, it can still feel painful.
We have to remind ourselves we are not weak for having trouble in letting go, but rather how incredibly strong we are to love another person, flawed as all of us are, and the risk that was required to get attached in knowing full well that the situation may not last. And in that, we must remind ourselves that it also takes a tremendous amount of strength to let go.
Of course, we can pay homage to the trees as they wither and bloom with each passing season and we can remind ourselves of the natural cycle of life as we watch the passing of time, but we do ourselves a huge disservice when we decide that we are not doing life correctly when letting go feels painful.
In my experience, diving into the depths of my pain is necessary. I can also recognize that all of us would do well to understand that we carry the story of past pain everywhere we go and that we are always free to let them go. We are always free to detach from our stories of hurt and sadness when we are ready, and only when we are ready.
I say, feel the hurt. Feel the pain in loosening your grip and eventually that old leaf will fall away, but you must be willing to open your hand. Perhaps when you can release the weight of holding onto past seasons- you give yourself an opportunity to bloom into a different one and maybe over time you start to practice with feelings of non-attachment towards present moment and just simply allow things to be as they are.
Perhaps over time we really can become more like the trees after all and recognize that if someone or something is being removed in our lives- it is merely Mother Nature seeking perfection and there is something much better suited to us on the horizon.
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