Heartbreaking loss is one of the most painful experiences of being human.
When you’re heartbroken, suddenly the world doesn't feel quite as safe anymore. Your trust in the goodness of life waivers. The connections you counted on become tattered and frayed, and sometimes completely severed.
Any of these experiences can be a catalyst for heartbreaking loss…
The death of a beloved spouse, friend, or parent.
A divorce, or an unwanted breakup (again!)
The death of a pet who has been there every single day through thick and thin.
A big empty nest.
Being abandoned or betrayed by someone you counted on and trusted.
Heartbreaking loss makes you reevaluate everything you thought you knew about life and love. It can tear you apart and brings you to your knees. Over and over again.
But only if you let it.
As hard as heartbreak can be, surviving and learning to thrive after a heartbreaking loss can be one of the most triumphant experiences of your life.
Heartbreak demands that we face the hardest parts of being human. It calls us deep into the shadows of our core wounds. It also offers a powerful opportunity to heal and become more authentically alive and engaged in life. It can be a powerful catalyst to courageously awakening our innate love, wisdom and spiritual awareness.
The essence of heartbreak is feeling the presence, love, and support of someone…. and then it is gone. The love is gone, and the support vanishes. The one you depended on, and maybe even cherished, isn’t there for you anymore.
When someone you love isn’t there for you in the ways they used to be, big empty spaces often fill the places in your heart once reserved for them. Sometimes those empty spaces are filled with a never-ending flood of tears. At other times the pain and anger feel like they have taken over every part of your life.
Our culture often denies heartbreak and the need to fully grieve and heal. In the midst of loss, we often quietly fall into the life diminishing habits of denial and repression.
We turn away from the pain. Or we fall so deeply into it we feel like we are drowning in a sea of despair.
We medicate. We binge. We sob until the tears run dry, or push the tears so far down everything grows cold and hard.
Yet, no matter how hard you try to “get over it and move on”, unless the wound is tended to, heartbreak lingers and it keeps right on hurting. In times of emotional heartbreak, the parts of the brain that registers physical pain are also activated.
Heartbreak hurts, deep down and all around. I know. I’ve been there. More than once.
I’ve gone to the depths of heartbreak, and eventually found my way back into the light. Stronger, wiser and happier than before.
The unexpected passing of my beloved five years ago was a catalyst for healing not only the grief about his death, but for also facing a lifetime of unresolved heartbreak and disappointment. My healing demanded that I come to terms with all the times people I loved and counted on weren’t there for me in ways large and small.
Each time I allowed myself to grieve, something seemingly miraculous, yet quite natural happened. Love and more love emerged within and all around me. As I embraced my grief, my heart continued to open and expand.
Most significant of all, instead of feeling like a victim of my beloved's death, I knew that healing this heartbreak was one of the greatest gift I have ever been given.
As I healed my own heartbreaking losses, I became acutely aware of the great cloud of collective loss that dampens many people's ability to fully and freely live and love.
Most people have multiple significant unresolved heartbreaks in their lives.
Maybe it was the breakup or divorce you never really got over. Or the death of someone significant and trusted. Or even a major life transition that felt like a loss.
Whatever the unresolved losses, we pay a great price for not embracing and healing them. Depression, addiction, and the inability to create supportive relationships are but a few of the common results of unresolved loss.
From my own experience of grieving my beloved’s death, as well as grieving a divorce that occurred many years earlier, and other lesser losses, this is what I have come to know…
The deep pool of unresolved grief that so many people carry within every single day can be transformed into an infinite source of love.
Since my time of deep grieving, I have supported many others in navigating the sacred journey of grief so they can thrive again after loss.
Through a series of energy psychology and relationship coaching sessions focussed on healing their losses, clients find acceptance, peace, and more love than ever before.
This is the kind of support and guidance I needed when I was deep in the shadows of grief and heartache, which I now give to others.
If you are interested in finding out more about how you can heal unresolved loss and heartbreak, click here to schedule a free introductory consultation.
P.S. Please feel free to pass this message along to a friend who is suffering from a heartbreaking loss.
Happy Summer to you, wherever you are!
These early days of summer at Sweet Water Retreat have been filled with so many joyful times already. Slowing down and catching up have been front and center in my life recently. I have had cherished friends and family come to visit from far and wide. We have been basking in the long warm days and cool nights that are common in the Sierra foothills of Northern California, throughly enjoying sweet summertime activities. Sharing relaxed meals on the deck, hiking in nature, dangling feet in the cool creek, and enjoying live music in this charming small town have been deeply satisfying. Life simply doesn't get any better.
Our most joyful experiences often occur when we feel deeply connected with others in nourishing ways. Yet, we sometimes unconsciously stop ourselves from deeply connecting because the pain of disconnection can be intense and hard to move through gracefully.
We have all felt the sting of disconnection, in large and small ways. At some time or another, you reached out to someone and they turned away. A once cherished relationship ended or radically changed. Someone you believed in betrayed your trust. Maybe your child grew up and moved away. Or your beloved partner, parent or friend died.
And there you were feeling the pain of disconnection, longing for the warm glow of healthy intimate connection. Instead you felt empty, alone, and sore to the bone.
The unresolved pain of feeling disconnected robs us of joy and sometimes keep us from creating new connections.
Yet, disconnection isn’t inherently painful or sad. Sometimes holding on to the ideas about how life should be unfolding is more painful than the actual experience of disconnection and separation. One of the reasons disconnection can feel so bad is that we often believe in the myth of 'happily ever after'.
The myth goes something like this...
Anything good should last forever, right? And if it doesn’t, something went horribly wrong.
But, what if the myth of 'happily ever after' isn’t even remotely true?
What if the temporal nature of experience is one of the elements that makes life so good?
What if the experiences of connection and disconnection are essential parts of the natural cycles of life?
Connection and disconnection are like night and day. They are complimentary polarities, each with unique gifts to give. What if it is perfectly natural for one cycle of connection to end and another to gracefully begin?
We don't cry when the sun goes down, because we have faith that it will rise again. And in the meantime we get to enjoy the cool dark of night.
Can we learn to face the pain of disconnection with calm abiding, confident that we will again experience the warmth of intimate connection?
As hard as it can be, disconnection also opens the door to creating rich and nourishing new connections.
Maybe the biggest myth of all is that disconnection even truly exists.
When we really get that we are always connected to everyone and everything as parts of this one magnificent life, that's when the real 'happily ever after' begins.
In loving connection,
This week I’m honoring the bountiful life of my beloved, Douglas, who passed away suddenly five years ago.
We had a deep soul connection that is rare and precious. On his birthday I scrolled through photos of our rich time together. I smiled all the way down to my toes as I remembered the nourishing and crazy beautiful times we shared. And then the waves of tears came. They were tears of remembrance for all that was, and tears of deep longing for all that might have been. They flowed even move intensely when I thought of all the life experiences he is now missing.
As I was remembering and loving him, I suddenly felt his strong presence all around me. An intense quickening moved through my whole being that brought goose bumps and overwhelming gratitude.
I felt his presence, his love and support, and his deep acceptance of the turn his life had taken.
It felt like his strong hand was on my back, holding me and reassuring me of the power of the connection we share, then and now. In that moment I was humbled by the strength of his soul and his ever-present commitment to loving. It was a moment to cherish forever.
Feeling his presence since he passed out of his body is very different from being hugged by Douglas while he was alive in his tall strong body. Yet, the essence of the connection is clearly the same.
The outer connections from body to body may be severed, yet the true connection, soul to soul, never dies.
This is true whether someone has crossed over or not. So why not take a moment right now, and send a wave of love to someone you are connected with, soul to soul. You might just make their day.
In loving connection,
Have you ever felt expansive, yet grounded; connected, yet free; autonomous, yet deliciously united with the people around you?
You were touching into a state of wholehearted connection.
Why is connection so important? Research show that developing strong social connections correlates to higher self-esteem, greater empathy for others, and the development of more trusting and cooperative relationships. The bottom line it that connection generates greater social, emotional, and physical well-being.
Enhancing your capacity for connection is not simply a skill to develop, but a way of life to embrace. It is a way of life that rocks. Some of the brass rings you get when you ride the connection merry-go-round: more satisfying relationships, better health, greater affluence, and security.
Sadly, the opposite is true for those who lack social connectedness. Low levels of connection are associated with declines in physical and psychological health, and increased violence behavior.
Really smart and well educated researchers have spend a lot of time and money verifying these claims. Studies have shown that developing greater social connections leads to lower levels of anxiety and depression, a stronger immune system, faster recovery from illness, a better brain, and even greater longevity.
Where connection lives, happiness follows.
Are you in yet? :-)
Knowing connection is really significant and deeply fulfilling is very different then being able to cultivate more of it in your life. This connected place is a sweet spot we may visit at random and sometimes unexpected times, yet all too often we don't know how to recreate it on demand. There are particular skills and capacities involved in creating deeply fulfilling and wholehearted connection. Most of us are in the process of discovering and honing those skills, so I've dedicating a series of blogs to the elements that go into that process.
There are three significant dimensions of wholehearted connection: connection with self, connection with your inner circle, and connection with your extended tribe.
Deepening connection in all three spheres creates a vast doorway to a bigger life.
Living a wholeheartedly connected life opens this door so that ever deepening connection becomes your new normal. Not just the place you visit briefly on vacation, or tip toe into from time to time, but the place where you are deeply grounded no matter where you travel or who you are with.
The most significant first step in creating wholehearted connection is getting more connected with yourself. With your body, your mind and soul; with your heart’s deepest longings, and even the fears and sorrows you have encase in tired old tragic stories and quietly tucked away.
When we stop dodging and hiding what lives authentically inside of us, life gets really interesting.
Connection quite naturally thrives as you discover the truer stories of who you are; the rich tales inscribed upon your soul that are waiting to be translated into the language of this time and place.
What does self connection feel like?
Being present. Body awake. Heart, soul, mind, brain, and nervous system aligned. Heart leading, and persistently beating you towards what matters most. Feeling alive and embodied as love. Your inner powers activated.
What does healthy connection with your inner circle feel like?
Safe. Safe. Safe. And did I mention safe? Love and respect. Acceptance. Authenticity. Room for vast differences, yet cut of the same cloth. Truth is the language spoken here. Warmth. Sharing it all; the burdens and the beauty.(Be sure to check out the shot below of some of my inner circle at a recent holiday brunch).
What does healthy connection to your extended tribe feel like?
One human family. Inclusive. A place for self expression. Gifting. Either no expectations, or crystal clear win/win expectation. Owning and sharing Your Superpowers. Being a loving stewart and protector of all people, the Earth, the leafy ones, and our many legged friends. Alignment with a greater power, whatever you may call it. Basking in the mystery and embracing the many facets of this complex and sometimes perplexing life.
If any of this sounds intriguing or maybe even downright compelling, you can open to a fuller experience of wholehearted connection right here, right now.
Today I'm sharing a really simple yet powerful practice for Grounding and Presence to access greater self connection.
Try the Practice for Grounding and Presence Here
In loving connection,
As promised, I am sending you messages of love this holiday season. The first one I sent, 360 Degrees of Love, struck a cord with so many people.
Today, I offer you an opportunity to be steeped in a vast love that transcends time and space and the sometimes narrow confines of how we often conceive of love.
This video is short, intense and amazing. It left me speechless and unsettled in a way that only deep truth can do. It shouts of 360 degree love; of a love shared by two that is so big it blesses the entire universe.
If you have ever loved... watch it.
If you have ever lost someone you love... watch it.
If you have ever yearned to define or touch Spirit... watch it.
With bright starry love,
An energy therapist, relationship and spiritual life coach, Ariana is a lover of love in all of its many delicious forms; self love, couples love, family love, community love and ultimately, the universal love that pervades all.