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,
Recently, I went to the birthday party of a bright and beautiful 16 year old. Rather than having the typical sweet 16 birthday party, this free thinking young woman wanted the dozen or so people at her celebration to sit in circle and share.
After feasting and listening to music, we came together and were asked to answer a series of engaging questions. Each questions brought out delightful answers from those gathered. The more people shared, the more everyone in the group opened into deeper trust and authenticity. As time went by, eyes lit up and smiles got brighter. Fond memories, deep wisdom, and much laughter were shared that day.
It was deeply nourishing to be part of this birthday gathering. I came away feeling inspired and over the top optimistic about the future of our planet after months of grim political and ecological news being blasted from every media outlet. Being at the party felt like being rubbed down with a deep healing salve.
One of the questions asked that day was: “What do you wish someone had told you on your 16th birthday?”
At the time I said something about the importance of following your heart and soul. I still stand by that answer. Absolutely. Always.
Since that day I have pondered this question many times and have found another answer that resonates just as deeply with me.
So here goes. What I wish someone told me on my 16th birthday:
Develop the habit of turning towards connection. Connection is what matters most in life. Connect and you will be fine.
Connection has the power to heal and soothe whatever ails you.
Deepening connection with yourself and with the people around you is the powerful catalyst that transforms us into what is most real, valuable and true.
If you lack anything, connection is the next step, and the ultimate answer.
Master connection and you master life.
Wishing you a beautifully connected holiday today.
In loving connection,
These past few weeks have stirred up intense feelings for so many people. Have you been feeling this, too? I sure have. For a few days last week I felt inner turmoil on every level; spiritually, mentally, emotionally, and physically. Fortunately, after doing some clearing and embodiment practices, a renewed sense of peace, calm, and clarity returned.
Many of my clients have been rocking and reeling with these intense energies as well. You may be wondering what’s going on. In a nutshell…
The incompletions, failures, and losses of the past have been front and center, demanding to be noticed, uplifted, resolved and released.
Unresolved situations from the past are calling to be integrated in new ways, which can be an uncomfortable and painful process. Yet, facing these situations and the associated feelings doesn't have to be torturous. Really, I promise. Within all painful experiences are opportunities and gifts of great value.
One key to gracefully navigating these intense times is to change the way we relate to pain.
Pain comes in many forms: physical pain and tension in the body, painful emotions, as well as distorted and obsessive thought patterns. We often do whatever we possibly can to turn away from pain. Yet, pain is like the internal warning lights on the dashboard of a car.
These warning lights are simply giving us important information about something that needs our attention.
Sometimes pain is a mild warning that is calling you to do some routine emotional maintenance. Maybe it is telling you to take a day off to rest, or to speak more boldly in the face of possible criticism, or to put yourself out there in a situation where you risk being rejected.
At other times these painful signals are warning you that something is seriously wrong. Your intense anger may be a signal that your boundaries are being violated yet again. Your deep sadness or depression may be a signal that a loss has occurred that you have not fully grieved.
In spite of the great value of these warning signals, we often turn away from pain rather than turn towards it to discover the deeper message it is trying to convey.
Pain avoidance often leads to ongoing drama as we repeatedly relive a distorted version of the original situation which gave rise to the pain in the first place. Think of how ridiculous it would be if you were to turn away from a flashing “check engine light”. If you kept doing this, you can be pretty sure that at some point your engine is going to fail. And it isn’t going to be pretty!
As a young woman, I actually did this. I had a bright orange Honda Civic that I loved. I zipped around town in a bright fiery blaze of color. One day the oil light came on, and stayed on for several weeks. Being totally ignorant about these things (someone else had always taken care of this stuff for me), I ignored this light until one day while I was driving on the freeway, my car began to smoke and sputter. That was the end of my sweet little Honda! Needless to say, the pain of being stranded on the freeway with a smoking broken down car, and then having to buy a replacement car was way more painful than it would have been to pay attention to the warning light.
The avoidance of pain is often worse than the pain itself.
When we change the way we respond to pain and begin to see it like the warning lights on the dashboard; these signals become valued allies that can help keep us running smooth and functioning well. When we truly embrace, accept, and feel our internal pain, it often dissipates very quickly.
How would life change if you began to see pain as an opportunity to unwrap a great gift?
It is up to us to unwrap these gifts, which are many and varied. The gift may be a greatly needed new perspective, an invitation to forgive someone, an opportunity to resolve hurt feelings from long ago, inspiration to live in a new way, or an opportunity to heal and move forward with new strength. Whatever the gift, you can be sure of one thing…
Pain always contains hidden treasure, yearning to be discovered.
Only you can unwrap it and fly free.
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.