Facing Loss

We all know what it is like to lose something: love, friendships, identity, opportunity, pets, homes, our hair. And although we know that impermanence is a fact of life, each loss still hits us afresh, almost as if we had never lost anything before. We feel empty, angry, desperate, uncertain—and lost ourselves. It's easy enough to say "This too shall pass," but what about the pain we're feeling right here, right now?

In this special section, put together by Tricycle contributing editor Mark Magill, meditations by Frank Ostaseski, founder of the Zen Hospice Project, lead us through the four stages of the grieving process. In an interview, Gehlek Rimpoche talks about losing his homeland, and the power of appreciation in coping with loss. Authors Barbara Hurd, Mark Matousek, Noelle Oxenhandler, and Martha Beck offer their personal reflections on facing loss, mourning, letting go, and moving on. Finally, Lama Surya Das provides some tips on practicing with loss, while throughout, Andy Goldsworthy’s artwork bears witness to a world of creation and dissolution.

Early morning calm
knotweed stalks
pushed into lake bottom
made complete by their own reflections
Derwent Water, Cumbria
20 February & 8-9 March 1988

—Andy Goldsworthy

Image: Courtesy of the Artist and Galerie Lelong, New York.

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