How do you measure a moment? When sorrow seizes life, two of its hostages are tasks and time. There are things that must be done, responsibilities that I needed to complete.

Benjamin Measure momentIn the initial shock of loss, I went on autopilot. I just did them like it was an out of body experience. My body was numb, but it just kept moving. Phone calls needed to be made. Conversations needed to be had. Arrangements. Oh, how I hated the arrangements.

As time wore on I became worn out. The numbness lifted and the pain settled in. The short burst of doing faded into the long haul of being. Everyone went back to their lives and I went in search of mine.

I was caught in a time warp. Held hostage by overwhelming pain and acute sorrow. I had things to do and so little left of me to do them.

It was here that I had to stop and ask, “How do I measure a moment?” Grief changes all the rules. Success became getting out of bed. My accomplishments were calculated by a different scaling system.

Benjamin Healing in stillnessMy survival strategy was to get real simple, take it simple, and simply do what needed to be done. Where once I could juggle and multi-task, I started measuring life by one task at a time.

I also needed to be more than do. I needed to be in my sorrow. I needed to sleep. I needed to be alone. I needed to wander this new world of the Afterloss. I needed to feel in this new world and accept I could not feel the world Before.

I didn’t care if the mail piled up on the counter. I didn’t reach for the phone when it rang. The things I once did didn’t fit this new world where being mattered more than doing.

Didn't fit into new worldI needed to triage my sorrow and overwhelming loss. What needed to be done got done the best way it could under the new conditions of life.

But what I really needed to do was be easy with myself. And that took a new measuring system and a new strategy to live through another day, hour or moment.

From the beginning of my Afterloss to today, I measure life by moments. I needed to simplify my sorrow and go into each moment as deeply as possible. My Afterloss descends and ascends. It doesn’t go backwards and forwards. My Afterloss expands and contracts. It breathes. It sheds raindrop tears. It has its own flow and rhythm.

My Afterloss guides me into being. When I resurface I will do gently and simply, but in the Afterloss I will be – tenderly and loving just be. My Afterloss is where I take my hurt and search its landscape for healing. It is the place that resides within me more than around me.

I find it in stillness. I find it in sorrow. When I just can’t do any more in the day, it reminds me that I need to slip into moment and stop doing. It is a sign for me to go into being, to softly enter my sorrow and feel.

I need a lot of space to feel the expanse of my sorrow. I have found only the Expanse itself has that much room. My Afterloss takes me into the only place that can fill my emptiness.

Life is real simple in my being. The world complicates life and it complicates grief. All I needed was room to be with my loss and in my loss. I needed the world to go on its way and let me make my way through my new world of the Afterloss. They had things to do I and I another place to be.

I needed to reframe how I measured life. At one time the measurement didn’t include death. It didn’t include the loss of the ones I love. I didn’t have to put into the equation the emptiness, the fear, the loneliness, the longing, the pain, the exhaustion, the…. I had new variables that shaped measurement and reshaped me.

I have a different measurement for my moments now than I did when loss first changed everything. In the beginning it was just getting through that moment into the next. I still inch my way through a moment on some days. But on most days I measure my moment by how deep can I go, how high can I ascend, how much can I give and how much am I willing to receive in this moment.

But underlying all of my measurements is the one measure that defines and regulates each moment. In the shape of a question it is this – “In this moment, am I at peace?”

Peace to me is being able to travel life in the eye of the hurricane. It is not a lack of all that I must contend with in life. It is just the opposite. Peace is what I wish to be held by and to carry into everything I must contend with, whatever arises.

Peace is not a substitute for the gamut of emotions that I must lean into; peace is the vehicle that takes me deep into my sorrow. Peace gives me a place to cry. Peace catches my tears and holds me together when I just need to fall to pieces. Without peace I don’t believe I would be able to lean so deeply into my pain.

That’s how I measure a moment. Peace did not come easy. I did not find it by doing. I found peace by being. I found peace by being whatever I needed to be in my Afterloss.

I get real simple. I uncomplicate life by measuring my moment by who I am, not what I do. The world can judge me by whatever standard they want. I don’t care. I know who I am. I know what I must be. And that’s all that matters.

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