“The art of losing isn’t hard to master” – this is the starting verse of Pulitzer Price winner, poet Elizabeth Bishop‘s poem entitled One Art. I have never heard of Elizabeth Bishop until today when I watched the movie Reaching to the Moon, inspired by her life.
This verse got me to thinking because it speaks of an irrefutable truth: we cannot really lose anything, because we do not own anything to start with. We do not really own a piece of land on Earth because it belongs to Earth and our act of property piece of paper does not really make it so; we do not truly own a business, because the business would not exist without the building that it operates in, without the people we employ, without the customers we serve; we do not fully own a house, because, without the infrastructure created and maintained by the community and other people, we would not be able to have a house at all; we do not own our animal companions, even though most people think they do. AND… we cannot own other people; we do not own our families, our children, our friends and our lovers.
We cannot lose anything and anyone. So we must honor it all and be grateful for the experiences we have on our properties, in our homes, in our businesses, in our communities, surrounded by loved ones, and others not so loved and by the animals who arrived in our lives to enhance them and teach us about freedom and love.
My eyes are tearing up as I think about everything I have in my life and I do not own. I cannot lose anything because it is not mine. All I can do is cherish every moment I have and every being who enters my life. And when moments pass and people leave I remain in reverence, full of gratitude for the beauty and perfection of it all.
the art of losing’s not too hard to master
though it may look… like disaster.” – Elizabeth Bishop