Facing the Losses, Together, Episode 119

What if we knew ourselves as made up on many parts, as opposed to being a single ‘I’? Could we find a new way to relate to the parts that are afraid, hurt, resentful or ashamed? A way that at once treated them with great respect while remembering that there are always other parts which might yet have a voice?. A conversation about the ways we exile aspects of ourselves, and the possibility of taking the wholeness of ourselves into account, with Lizzie Winn and Justin Wise of Thirdspace.

This is Turning Towards Life, a weekly live 30 minute conversation hosted by Thirdspace in which Justin Wise and Lizzie Winn dive deep into big questions of human living. Find us on FaceBook to watch live and join in the lively conversation on this episode. We’re also on YouTube, and as a podcast on Apple, Google and Spotify.

Here’s our source for this week, which is written by Justin.

Facing the losses, together

There is a part of me that is tender, grieving and terrified of loss. ‘You’ll leave me’, he says, ‘all of you’ – friends, lovers, family, teachers, life itself. And he means me, too – the one of whom he is a part, the one who is his home.

He has sophisticated strategies to try to head off the losses he fears. He wants me to feel afraid, always, so that we won’t make a mis-step which causes others to leave. He’d rather I punish myself if it will get people to stay. He holds on very tight, and sometimes as a result I hold on very tight too.

He’s masterful at getting abandonment in first, finding ways for me to get resentful and abandon other people before they can abandon me. I have done this many times in his name. In a way, he feels satisfied when people do actually leave, because it shows that his world view, and his deep fear, are justified.

Over time I have come to see that my work is first the work of self-remembering. Remembering that I am vast and multifold. That as well as this part, there are many others. That there are things to feel that are different to what he is feeling.

That it is, secondly, to turn towards the inevitable losses that he so fears. Because none of his strategies will save us.

And that it is mostly the work of not running from him, not visiting upon him the very abandonment that he fears – but holding him close, cradling him, honouring him. It is my work to welcome him home. To say, “Yes, I see you. I have you. You are safe here. You cannot fall. We can face life – life as it actually is – with all the losses we cannot escape, together”.

It is in this welcome that I am freed: to love in the way I want to love, to create, speak out, be vulnerable and intimate and angry and truthful and real, and to risk the risks that are required to be fully alive, the very risks that he is too afraid for me to take.

Justin Wise, from ‘On Living and Working

Photo by OC Gonzalez on Unsplash