How to Move on When Things Change, Part 2

Finding Deeper Meaning in "Bloom Where You're Planted"

Posted Sep 28, 2014

Continued from How to Move On When Things Change, Part 1

Letting Go

There is a concept called “the path of conscious love”1 in which each partner in a loving relationship strives to serve the other, eventually exchanging self for other in an alchemical union that happens at a deep soul level. I feel that my late husband, Stephen, and I have achieved that union, which is why I can let him go. And more importantly—why I can allow him to let go of me.

As I have written books and blogs2 about my experiences with Stephen’s 18-year presence in my life and his 6-year absence, I have continued to learn more about him. I have also had the sense of him learning more about me, as we have remained connected, soul-to-soul, one in this world and one in the next.

I believe that we will never lose each other again because we have so completely internalized each other. This is true healing of the loss of one’s beloved—when absence is transformed into the presence of the other in one’s own heart. We do not contain the physical person we have lost, but we have imbibed their essence, which can never be taken from us.

In one way or another, I believe that this process of assimilating the essence and the meaning of anyone who has left us is the key to healing and being available for the next adventure that life would offer as opportunity and blessing.

We do not decide when healing will happen. But we become aware of its accomplishment because we notice a softening around our sense of separation and a lessening of tears. We may actually begin to feel newly connected to our loved one, even as we are increasingly resolved about the reality of never going back to a former way of life.

And we discover new insight into the purpose of the relationship. Where once only heartache existed, now a surprising sense of gratitude emerges. We may even conclude that we could go through it all again with a new partner because of how we have grown and matured in the process of being broken open by life’s most desperate challenges.

I am convinced that the only way out of any situation is to love your way through it. “Bloom where you’re planted,” as the saying goes—even if that means learning to love loss itself.

Rather than trying to forget the pain of separation, we focus on the memory of why we loved in the first place, allowing that original connection to grow in our heart until we find alive in us that which we most cherished in the other. When we can achieve that communion in our deepest being, letting go happens naturally and carries us on wings of healing into what’s next.

In the ultimate union that is the goal of most great spiritual traditions, we exchange our “otherness” for the True Self, relinquishing that sense of being a foreigner to the loving Presence that is so much a part of what motivates us to grow that we don’t even recognize it as the ground of being in which we are embedded.

So “bloom where you’re planted” takes on a new and deeper meaning. We are not merely sown in Earth, we are rooted first and foremost in Spirit by an eternal gardener who is the source and destiny of all our flowering.

Coming to recognize each of life's losses as a practice for releasing into that ultimate union is to me the greatest lesson that life can offer.

1.  See Cynthia Bourgeault, The Meaning of Mary Magdalene. Also audio and video programs on this topic at

2.  See A Beautiful Death: Facing the Future with PeaceA Beautiful Grief: Reflections on Letting Go, Psychology Today blog: A Beautiful Grief

Copyright © 2014 Cheryl Eckl Communications, Inc. All rights reserved.

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