With the passing of Prince, I am one of many in shock and grieving big time. But as I listen to my favorite songs of his -- Seven, Kiss, Adore, Erotic City, Purple Rain -- and the tears fall, it isn't only his death I am grieving. Prince is fine. He lived a phenomenal life and he's not in his body now. Yes, it's a loss. That voice, that soul, seriously. Hotness gets no hotter. And I mostly don't mean sexual hotness; I mean life fire. Indescribable life fire. My own life, particularly as a girl in the 80s and 90s, has been profoundly blessed by his talent, his passion, his soul. And all he gave and would continue to give, which so many of us had no idea about...
Yes it is a loss, and yet, while gripped by grief's gaping wound, I'm committed to not silencing its most profound message.
As I listen, a voice within me asks, "What is really the sad part in all of this?" How might Prince want us to feel, in honor of his life?
Whether or not you have children, you've heard this phrase:
It goes so fast.
While pregnant with my daughter, this was the most common thing people told me. Yes, yes, I would think, it goes so fast. You turn around and your child is graduating from high school and you're a sloppy mess of tears, wondering where your toddler went.
But I wondered, what do they really mean? What is the deeper message beneath this popular statement?
Years of reflection have led me to one core finding. And perhaps anticlimactically, it is the very same message beneath every great sadness, every great joy, every great union:
Be in love with your children, be in love with life, the whole time. As much as you can, be in love.
Fall in love with every moment and ounce of life that you can. Just aim for that. Then love yourself even when you aren't successful with it. Let love open you up; it's far more fun than the alternative. Listen to your inner voice. Tune out the noise and hear your own song. Cliche, cliche, cliche. Yet are we listening? Am I listening? Grief like this spotlights the places where I'm not.
How about you?
If you really love to dance, if your wild fire tiger comes unraveled in hot sauce when you move your hips to music you love... do you dance enough?
On a daily basis, are you captive to your To Do List, attentive to errands and appointments as afternoon comes, barely hearing the song of your heart's enormous capacity for feeling? Or do you open space for feeling every day, letting the grief that is present in life show you the way to greater love?
We step over feeling to favor something else. And that something else is there to block us from the most powerful thing a human can do: FEEL. And feel what? Love. Essentially, feeling grief for the passing of someone we cherish -- like Prince -- is an expression of Love.
Treasure life while you're in it. Don't wait until your death bed and don't wait for other people's funerals. That's what people are saying when they say to new parents, "It goes so fast." They're saying: W-a-k-e u-p. And why is so often said? Because we all need 10,000 reminders to remember the Love we are made of.
Dear Prince Rogers Nelson,
Thank you for your gifts. I am FLOORED by your existence. Your music seduced my soul. Your profound passion kissed this planet into greater bliss and beauty with every song you sang.
My deepest bow goes to you as you shift from the precious body that housed you, to a realm where the freedom you lived for, reigns.
Jessica Rios, Founder of Leaning into Light, is a lifelong letter writer, a mother, freelance consultant and eternal fan of Mr. Rogers and Sesame Street. This deeply personal blog and our recorded talks and workshops are devoted to one of her great passions: illuminating the beauty of the human spirit.