I used to compare every moment of my life to the moments of my life before the loss.

I used to understand and experience my life based on how my life used to be.

The ‘glasses’ I wore belonged to a life that was no longer here.

Now imagine the images that I got through these glasses.

Confusing to the new identity that is trying to become.

Familiar to the old that is no longer here.

But we don’t know this is what is happening.

We don’t really know that we are comparing.

It happens automatically.

The brain is something, isn’t it?

It looks to find familiarity in an unfamiliar new life.

When it can’t find it, it rejects it as wrong.

New is not wrong.

New is not to be compared with the old.

New is to be tamed. Stroked. Smiled at.

The new cannot be seen through the glasses of the old life.

It is like wearing reading glasses that don’t magnify.

Alan W. Watts said it best.

“There are, then, two ways of understanding an experience.

The first is to compare it with the memories of other experiences, and so to name and define it. This is to interpret it in accordance with the dead and the past.

The second is to be aware of it as it is, as when, in the intensity of joy, we forget past and future, let the present be all, and thus do not even stop to think, “I am happy.”

To be aware of it as it is.

Not an easy task but one that is required so the new can be here with us.

So the new life can emerge and blossom.

Interpreting in accordance to what was here is disrespectful to both the life you left behind and the life that wants to come in.

At first, every trip I took and every new interaction was compared.

It was a failed repeat of what used to be.

And trying to repeat a vacation.

A relationship. A moment will never work.

No moment can ever be repeated. (Click to Tweet!)

The only right thing we must do is to look at the life that is by our side waiting to be witnessed without the comparisons.

Honestly, it took me a while to stop comparing.

It is like asking someone to forget their name.

This is not lost on me.

I know what I am asking you to do is difficult.

But there is a way to do it.

I am going to ask you to do something completely new this weekend.

Something you have never done.

It could even be as simple as trying a new dish. A new restaurant.

So your brain can’t look for a comparison through an old memory.

We need to trick it at first.

It might be easier this way to interrupt the loop of experiencing and comparing.

Experiencing and comparing.

We want experiencing and living.

Experiencing and becoming.

With no comparisons…more or less.


P.S. My San Diego talk is nearly filled. If you live in San Diego or know of anyone who has gone through a loss and lives there please know this will be a life changing afternoon. Looking forward to meeting you in person.



Christina Rasmussen is an author, speaker and social entrepreneur who believes that grief is an evolutionary experience required for launching a life of adventure and creative accomplishment.

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  • Peter Dorsa says:

    I just started dating this past year, Monday July 16th will be the 5th anniversary of my wife’s passing. I went out with one woman 5 or 6 times and after the last time we just lost contact. A few days later while out on a trail run my late wife spoke to me her voice was as clear as if she were next to me, she said “You have to stop comparing other women to me. And you have to quit looking for me in them. I’m not here and I will not be. And it is ok to move on and find someone to love.” As a Buddhist practitioner I thought I had accepted Life is what it is. One of my favorite quotes from the Dali Lama goes something like this,
    “the less time we spend caught up in our past and the less time we spend perseverating about
    the future the greater the present moment becomes”,
    interesting idea.

  • Nada Brown says:

    It has been 17.5 years now. I have had many sad and hopeless days yet still wake up to another day. I knew I have been comparing my old life to the new and after reading this, I know why I can’t move on. I have a lot to consider now. Like trying something completely new so I don’t have a chance to look for familiars. Thank you!

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