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Book 342 - A Year of Magical Learning

Reflection Title: Virtual Meets Reality!

Book – Spare by Prince Harry

Book Description:

It was one of the most searing images of the twentieth century: two young boys, two princes, walking behind their mother’s coffin as the world watched in sorrow—and horror. As Princess Diana was laid to rest, billions wondered what Prince William and Prince Harry must be thinking and feeling—and how their lives would play out from that point on. For the first time, Prince Harry tells his own story, chronicling his journey with raw, unflinching honesty. A landmark publication, Spare is full of insight, revelation, self-examination, and hard-won wisdom about the eternal power of love over grief.


I’ll admit, my wife and I are shamelessly British Monarchy enthusiasts. When I saw that Prince Harry was releasing a memoir about his life, I couldn’t resist the temptation to make this the next book my wife and I did together.

As my wife and I were slowly meandering our way through Spare together over the course of a month, I also happened to be reading The Grieving Brain at the same time through parts of the book. That was an interesting experience because so much of Spare is a raw look inside Prince Harry’s mind as he has been processing the grief of his mother’s tragic passing for the past 25+ years.

The Grieving Brain discusses the concepts of how our brain operates on virtual maps to navigate our lives and the world around us. We mirror reality in our mind to make sure we know where all the things that matter most to us in this world are located for quick reference. When something important is missing from our reality, our virtual maps are misaligned, and it sends the brain into problem solving mode trying to find what was lost. It really isn’t we can solve the problem and find a way to reunite our virtual maps with reality around us, that we can begin to move forward after losing something so important to our lives.

Virtual needs to meet reality for healing to begin.

Around the same time that I learned about this concept from The Grieving Brain, I came across a revelation about Harry’s life in Spare that truly stunned me. I learned that Prince Harry, for over a decade + after his mother’s death believed that she was still alive…literally. He truly thought that she had devised the ultimate rouse to escape the paparazzi that plagued her existence and faked her own death. He clung to the idea that one day she would return to him and his brother and let them in on the secret of where she had been and what she had been doing. This was truly heartbreaking imagining a 13-year-old doing everything he could to keep his virtual maps of a life with his mother alive for most of his adult life. I really feel for Prince Harry.

In the spirit of my own book title, I Can’t Imagine…I literally can’t imagine what it must have been for a young adult trying to navigate his way through the world with all this going on in his mind. Adolescence is hard enough and generally commands all our attention to problem solve our way through that experience, I can’t imagine how complicated his life must have been trying to reconcile his virtual reality to meet his current reality during that time of his life.

What we learned from Spare is that he didn’t. He decided to cling to that virtual map the same as it was when he was 13 years old for as long as he could carry it forward in his life, until one day when he finally realized it wasn’t reality anymore. It was at this time, in his late 20’s, that he was finally able to start the grieving process of losing his mother and cried for the first time since her death.

Once Prince Harry decided to finally grief the physical loss of his mother, I think he learned what all grieving people learn through that ultimate learning journey, and that lesson is that their loved is still with them. They may not be where they left them on their virtual map that existed when they passed, but we carry them forward with us each day in our minds. You can still have a relationship with anyone you want in your mind. They don’t leave you and can play an active role in your life once you find a way to make your new virtual world match up to the current reality.

Emilia and I spend every day together in love and joy these days, I truly hope Harry and Diana have found a way to reunite so Harry can have the relationship with his mother he has always deserved.

Question: Are you clinging to the past? How can you take steps to update your virtual maps to meet reality?



What is The Year of Magical Learning? - An Introduction

YOML Podcast Discussion - Coming Soon

YOML Bookstore - Spare by Prince Harry

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