Everyone Loses Something
“At one time or another, everyone loses something. We lose loved ones. We lose our health. We lose our glasses. We lose our memories. We lose our money. We lose our keys. We lose our socks. We lose life itself. We have to come to terms with this reality. Sooner or later, all is lost; we just don’t always know when it will happen.
Loss is a fact of life. Impermanence is everywhere we look. We are all going to suffer our losses. How we deal with these losses is what makes all the difference. For it is not what happens to us that determines our character, our experience, our karma, and our destiny, but how we relate to what happens.” Lama Surya Das
This quote arrived in my inbox this morning, and it held my attention, because it seemed so true to my own experience. A crazy morning for me because I couldn’t seem to find the most obvious things I needed: keys; gloves; glasses; sunglasses; jacket. And this was all before breakfast.
Truth is, what I had misplaced was minor and simply inconvenient compared to the loss of the really tough stuff. But the other truth is when we get better at not losing our cool over these little things we are building habits that will serve us well when we are hit with the major losses in life.
The reason I was stressed was being in a rush. And it was also due to not putting those items where they belonged the night before. Once you start rushing and are concerned about being late we get stressed. When we get stressed it is harder to remember. This isn’t just my opinion, rather, it is a well-researched topic in the field of neuroscience and psychology. Dr. Heather Palmer, PhD in Neuropsychology has worked with seniors and with people going through chemotherapy about what she refers to as brain fog.
Brain fog is a type of loss that we all fear, although I notice my grandkids, have no qualms at all about losing gloves, forgetting backpacks etc.
Simple takeaways for everyday to help our cognitive functions:
Be a list maker. List makers rule, as it turns out.
Have a home for everything.
Don’t put it down put it away.
Have less on your list than you are capable of doing.
Provide time and space for transitions, between activities. No more cramming.
Let go of the small irritants.
Exercise! Exercise! Exercise! This does not require a gym membership or to cycle 100 km a day up and down hills. It means move your body. Do not get comfortable on the couch. Get outdoors often. You know what you can do. The missing link is to do it.
Spend time with people you like. Being in the company of others who lift you up, rather than drain you, cannot be overstated.
Try new things. Put yourself in situations where you don’t know everyone. This is like exercise for the brain. You may be asked an unexpected question. Your brain likes this. Take an art class or go to a concert or lecture. Stay social and resist the urge to withdraw to your hermitage.
Find opportunities to laugh and people to laugh with.
Eat well and enjoy a treat now and then.
Ask for help when needed.
Please don’t be mean or cross with yourself. Mistakes happen. We get to fix some of them. The rest we live with and move on.
Look for something beautiful every day and take the time to really see and appreciate it. No one is exempt from loss. It is part of the human condition. How we respond to unfortunate events is the key. It doesn’t mean it is easy and that is why we have each other. As a wise teacher frames it:
“We are born and we die and in between we have the chance to keep each other company and that is the thing that counts the most.” John Tarrant
Note1: I am now re-engaged with Nasrudin, and here is his famous story about losing his keys. I hope it makes you smile and even wonder what he is really talking about.
The great Sufi master Mullah Nasruddin was on his hands and knees searching for something under a streetlamp. A man saw him and asked, “What are you looking for?” “My house key,” Nasruddin replied. “I lost it.” The man joined him in looking for the key, and after a period of fruitless searching, the man asked, “Are you sure you lost it around here?” Nasruddin replied, “Oh, I didn’t lose it around here. I lost it over there, by my house.” “Then why,” the man asked, “are you looking for it over here?” “Because,” Nasruddin said, “The light is so much better over here.”
Note 2: Thank you for reading these posts. I wish you many joyful moments as you go through your days. See you next week, Trudy
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