The Art of Losing

I lose things. I lose hours from my day in mindless distraction. I lose photographs and books. I misplace things. Over the years, I’ve been good at losing places and finding places and losing places. I live in new cities and try things on. I never have much difficulty in leaving a job. However, I’ve been bad at letting go of the idea of what kind of job I do. I hold on to that. That’s something I could lose now and then.

I have had many casual friendships, in places I have lived, meeting interesting and new people, having deep and meaningful conversations, and then we both walked on. Something was had and lost there. Something was exchanged. Something was gained. Sometimes I have felt guilty for not maintaining all of my friendships but it would be simply impossible. I have spent years couch surfing and moving in large social circles and yet, often, at the same time, spending much of my time alone, with myself. I can look back on those friendships with the sense that I am glad to have known this or that person.

A part of me is hungry for a different type of friendship now, one that is more long lasting. I have many friends that I love dearly and in recent years I find myself wanting to hold on to them, to invest in them, to not lose these ones.

And yet, all things are lost eventually.

I remember when I did my first Reiki course, there was a sign in the hallway of the holistic centre that said everything you love will fall apart, or words to that effect. And inside that is the paradox, too. This moment in time is lost and gone forever. And yet, eternity, every present, is not. This friendship, is for this place and time, but its effect and the warmth of the connection and memory are with me always. When I hold circle, I like to remind those present that this circle exists just once in time, and can never be repeated. There is magic in the specialness of it.

So, if things can be lost and yet not lost, what can I lose (and yet not lose) every day? I can lose my habits. They change. And yet they don’t. I scold myself and at the same time I smile at the predictability of my self. I can lose my posessions. I can buy more things. I can lose my awkward self consciousness but not my self awareness. I could die and lose my body and my life. That could happen any day at any time.

I don’t fear dying but I fear losing my family and my loved ones. I don’t want to be denied their presence and love in my life. I don’t want to feel the pain of loss and the grief that follows.

There is much I could happily lose. I could lose my addictions, my hesitations, my guilt and shame at my past, my fears, my possessions.

I would not like to lose my mind, my wits, my sight or hearing. I do not want to lose my lover or my friends. And yet, I cannot cling to them. I can love them. I can lose my ideas of them and my taking them for granted. I cannot control their presence in my life.

The world around me shifts and changes. People change and grow and live and move away and die and change their likes and dislikes. Life moves on. Sometimes it will take people and places from me. Eventually I will lose everything. Everyone I love will die. Everything I own will fall apart or disappear from view. There is only now. There is only this love, this life, this view.

I often reflect on how I would not change anything about my past or my experiences. It would change who I am now, and the life I have now. I would not change the unpleasantness in past relationships, as they have led me to the place I am in now, and to the love I have in my life now.

As this year comes to a close, I know that I have lost something. There are roads I didn’t take. There are second dates I didn’t have. There are choices I made that meant I lived in this house and not that, took this job and not another, and so on. All the potential for something other is gone. And I let it go. Whether I notice or not, it is lost.

As to the world that is coming, the life that is possible, the world that is unfolding, every moment is a loss but also a gain. What could have been, but also what is, what will be. This too shall pass. Something will be.

This post is Day two of my personal responses to ‘Honouring the Darkness’, a ten day reflective period leading up to the winter solstice. Facilitated by daily emails from Janelle Hardy at


3 thoughts on “The Art of Losing

  1. Anthony Mangan says:

    Love it! so many valuable and insightful points. i think as we get older the experience of loss becomes more common and more impactful ❤

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