Do we ever lose any part of us? Even if it may not be manifest, does it ever really disappear? Maybe the parts that don’t seem obvious to us are simply that, not obvious, or maybe even just dormant. Maybe they’ll always remain so, or maybe they’ll wake up one day, jolted by something or someone. Maybe it’s like the rings of a tree – another layer that forms part of who we are now. There’s also the question of who we really are anyway. We are only alive in the present. The past is a construct, all of our memories are constructs and the dramas and stories that we cling to about them, even though they feel vivid and real, are not the absolute, fixed, unchanging objects that we might believe them to be. The future is only projection, only thought. Is thought solid? Where does it come from? Who are we really? And what of all these feelings that are attached to us, that live so very physically in our bodies?
In my head, I know that someday, I’m going to need to sit down and write about all those losses from my childhood. Not just the loss of what I briefly had, but the grief for things I never had. But there’s a part of me that feels that to try to pin down one part of my nature that I’ve "lost" is like trying to slice up and keep a piece of a sea. I just can’t see it that way. One part that can be separated from the rest of me.
The closest I can come, without picking too many scabs, is talking about, in very general terms, a vivid experience from which I know I changed markedly. An experience that caused me to shut down and harden my heart and armour myself in a way that I hadn’t done before, and as a child who had learned to detach, over and over again, a child who never really learned to deal with loss or feel grief, that’s saying something.
I was in my 20s. I don’t want to go into the details of the experience, what caused it, why it hurt so much. But the way I chose to deal with it was by believing, for a very long time, that I couldn't trust or depend on anyone but myself. I then spent over 10 years suffering from it, living the fallout of the pain of it, learning the hard way how impossible it is to live with a closed off heart.
I’m aware of it now and can have some compassion for myself for what I went through and the part I played in it. But I still think there’s a possibility it could happen again. Perhaps that’s why it feels so important to me right now, to actively practice, or try to practice, openness of heart. I was going to say that without that experience, I wouldn’t be where I am today. But I think that’s true of everything we live through.