In these turbulent times of political and racial divisiveness, one human experience is the great unifier: Loss. We cannot avoid it, individually and collectively, especially if we are engaged with the world through our work and media information choices. We see fires ravaging communities of trees and people, floods disappearing whole ecosystems and devastating towns, and humans suffering through the terrors of pandemic illness and death on every continent. Whether these losses are personal or witnessed, our awareness of them can positively impact what we think and feel and share with others. Recognizing shared losses puts us in touch with our common humanity. As difficult as loss is, it makes it possible to expand our sense of connection to others, no matter where we are in the world.
Because of the work I do in the world, I dip into The Tapping World Summit on line every year. (See https://www.thetappingsolution.com/ for information about the summit.) The past couple of years, this global community of energy workers has become even more important because COVID has isolated us in our homes. This year’s summit had many informative presenters, but the person I most resonated with, Dr. Damon Silas, caught my attention because his presentation focused on the theme of loss.
I first met Dr. Silas in print, as I read about his clinical psychology practice, his qualifications in hypnosis, and his training in Tapping, all modalities growing out of his personal experience of loss and employed to meet his clients’ healing-journey needs. His actual on-line presentation connected the summit participants to a person deeply empathetic to others’ experiences of loss. From the moment I saw this young black man whose practice is in DC and Maryland, I felt the resonance of shared experience connecting us at the heart level. This may surprise readers who know I am an older white woman currently living in a predominantly white state. Such differences as age, race, and geography matter little when it comes to the heart connection created in those of us who experience, acknowledge, and mourn our losses. We become members of an invisible clan, rich in compassion and empathy, emotions we sense in one another long before we share our stories, if we ever do.
The compassion and empathy we sense in one another grows out of the humanizing influence of loss’s invitation to grieve. If we accept the invitation, we are admitted into what Clarissa Pinkola Estes calls, The Tribe of the Sacred Heart, Scar Clan. Our membership is global, and we are blessed with the felt experience of human connection regardless of external trappings. We have an inner sensor developed by the losses we have experienced and grieved, a sensor that tells us when we are in the presence of a fellow pilgrim on the sacred healing journey all loss requires we undertake. It is the heroic journey, one Dr. Silas has made time and again.
During his presentation, I was touched by the way Dr. Silas could home in on the heart of loss, its universality, its many calls to heal. After his session, I reached out to him. During our Zoom introduction, I was surprised to learn that our very different losses led us to discover many of the same vital sources of healing, the most notable of these dance. I am smiling as I write of this unforgettable moment of deep pilgrim connection.
Loss is an embodied experience and as such, it requires embodied expression. My teen experiences of dance’s therapeutic value fostered my sense of agency when, before I began to dance, I had none. Dr. Silas’s teen experiences of dance grew out of his precious connection with his older sister. My dance experiences were intensely private, allowing me to move into my flesh safely after a decade of dissociation. His were very public, often choreographed, and publicized to attract fans and gigs.
Although our initial dance experiences were different, this expressive art helped us to feel fully alive to the possibilities of life. When his sister was brutally murdered, Dr. Silas, then still a teen, stopped dancing. This sense of life shuddering to a halt is part of loss’s impact on our lives. Dance, like Tapping, reaches into the body to our sensations and visceral memories, sources of reactivity or peace, depending upon our need and/or readiness for embodied work. Dance, like Tapping, activates our joy, and, like Tapping, articulates and soothes our wordless sorrows. I was happy to learn that dance returned to him in a deeper and more far-reaching form that continues to bless his practice, his personal life, and his many communities.
Finding a young person active in the world of healing who employs the same modalities that have changed my life for the better makes me feel there is hope for our species, even though the ugly truth of systemic racism and institutionalized denial works against this hope. Loss’s universality helps us to bridge any differences in lived experience because it forges unbreakable heart connections. For example, as I read From Mourning to Knight, Dr. Silas’s poignant memoir on the loss of his beloved sister and many other significant losses, I felt in the presence of a kindred spirit who may have taken a different route from mine but ended up at the same deep well of compassion for the suffering that comes with loss and the healing that can bless and transform it. This is loss’s unifying potential as a source of Agape, the Spiritual Love infusing our hearts when we open them to our shared reality.
I recommend Dr. Silas’s book as a singular example of the heroic journey we are all invited to embrace. His story is marred by the sober realities of life and blessed by the healing techniques he has employed to mourn and integrate the losses stemming from these realities. In many ways, his story is a blueprint for how to become a Knight, not armed with spear and shield, but with wisdom, compassion, and an open heart. Dr. Silas’s bridge-building story is available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Balboa Press. May this work touch your heart as it touched mine.
Until next time,
with love, kindness, peace, healing, and joy,