Let Go. No, Really, Let Go. Enough Already, Let Go
The RWS five of cups shows somebody dwelling on what they’ve lost and completely ignoring what they still have. As we know, life is full of loss. It’s also full of gain. In order to make way for new and different things in your life, you need to make space by losing some of the old ones.
But this being life, loss and gain isn’t always a neat, linear process and the things you lose aren’t always junk and clutter. Sometimes they are quite dear to us: Jobs, prestige, friends, money, family members, and homes for example. Sometimes losing these things can really suck in a three of swords kind of way, but experiencing pain is part of the overall life experience package. As much as we could all do without it, we have to, perhaps begrudgingly, admit that we would not have the same opportunities for growth without that pain.
Emotions are great teachers. Much of the richness of life comes from processing emotions, letting them run through us. Even the harshest emotions may have their way with us for a time, but eventually dissipate and become a memory, leaving behind a life lesson or two.
But what happens when you get stuck dwelling on what you lost? What do you see if you are focused on the closed door instead of the open one? “Not much” is the answer to both those questions. There’s no going back, and you can’t see a path forward because you’re looking in the wrong direction. You don’t have to forget or disrespect the past to move on, but focussing solely on loss, on the backwards path, means there is no opportunity for growth and no opportunity for healing. You are effectively stuck.
A person can get so focussed on their loss that it becomes their entire world. Years can go by, even the remainder of a lifetime. We feel compassion for someone going through the grieving process, but sometimes well-intended compassion can be an enabler of the continuation of that process. A person can become stuck being comforted in the safe, familiar environment of their grief and therefore stuck in the past, unable to move on, not wanting to acknowledge any positives. This is not a healthy place to be emotionally, physically, or spiritually (hence the reversal of the card).
Ideally grief is processed and a person moves on. Sometimes people need assistance to see that life isn’t over. We want to be compassionate about that assistance, but we need to find the line between facilitating healing and enabling stagnation. Sometimes you actually have to pick someone up and spin them around (emotionally and/or mentally speaking) to at least show them that there is a forward path, should they chose to walk it.