Surviving the Loss of a Love
We feel euphoric as we initially fall in love. The euphoria is often short lived because the powerful forces of love bring all our core issues up to the surface. We all go into relationships with our baggage. But one of the most beautiful things about relationships is that it provides us with an opportunity to work through our core issues. Courage and a willingness to face the issues are essential if our love is to continue to grow and mature. Sadly, many people lack courage or maturity. And theyíre more apt to distance themselves or sever the relationship as the issues begin to arise.
The loss of a love can inflict deep emotional wounds. And it sometimes feels as if weíre left with a big hole inside when someone we love disconnects from us. Painful breakups or experiences of abandonment can be especially jarring to a personís system. The damage is visibly apparent to me as I look into peopleís subtle bodies. There are many instances where I can still see the damage in the subtle bodies years after someone goes through a breakup, divorce or the death of a partner.
One of my best friends lost his partner a few months ago. The loss didnít really seem to register at first. My friend Jason was studying the Emotional Freedom Technique at the time. He was always tapping on these points and saying that things were fine, but I didnít feel that he was really connected to the reality of what had transpired in his life.
I could see that much of the grief was not being digested as I looked into my friendís heart chakra. I encouraged him to breathe softly and deeply while focusing his awareness on all the feelings that he held in his heart.
I saw my friend some weeks later and noticed that the reality of his loss was beginning to set in. I probably encouraged that process by having him breathe into his heart. I asked Jason how he was doing and he told me that he was going through intense grief.
Jason told me that he was trying to follow the advice of a popular spiritual teacher who encourages people to ask themselves a series of questions "ÖHow do you react when you get that thought? ÖWho would you be without that thoughtÖ?" He said that it reminded him to stop going to the places where he held all the painful feelings.
I said to Jason that he could try to forget about or disconnect from what happened and his feelings by intellectualizing his way out of it. But all those painful feelings and impressions will remain trapped within him until he digests them. There is no way around grief. Itís crucial for us to learn to understand our body, mind and emotions and really go through the grieving process in order to heal the loss.
I asked Jason what was happening as he breathed into his heart. He said that it feels like too much to breathe into his heart and that itís was just too overwhelming.
Painful feelings often do intensify as you breathe into them. It can also bring up lots of other feelings that you may not have even anticipated or been aware of. And you may feel overwhelmed by all the feelings at times. The grief can be excruciating, but do the best you can to stay very present by breathing into all the feelings and realities that present themselves to you.
Many people tell me that they donít want to go there. But there is no escape. We end up internalizing the loss. Distorted patterns or models of relationship begin to develop within us. The patterns become more deeply entrenched, so that we attract more of the same kinds of negativity in subsequent relationships. That can cause us to become angry, resentful, depressed, needy, and hurtful to others and lots of other things that make us less attractive to the kind of person we really want to attract into our life. And then the hurt spills over into other parts of our lives and into the lives of those around us.
It will hurt like hell at times, but you will survive. Going through the process is not easy, but it facilitates a profound awakening within you. And you will go through an amazing transformation as your heart and mind begin to open. The façade will fall away, which will allow your more authentic self to emerge. Your connection to source will deepen and a greater warmth will flow from within you and that will help to nurture and heal others.
Jason told me that he felt like he was rehashing the same things over and over again. Many people expect the feelings to just go away. But itís normal for us to repeatedly experience the same kinds of painful feelings associated with the loss of a love. The deep emotional bonds that connect us to the people we love reach way down reach way down beneath our defensive armoring. Our shell cracks open in response to the loss of a love and then weíre put in touch with all our deepest vulnerabilities. All those hurts come flooding out from the depth of our body-mind and we then find ourselves consumed by the pain.
Some of us have experienced so many losses in our lives and we carry huge reservoirs of painful feelings and memories. Much of this pain and hurt has been stuffed down inside of us for many years. Some of these losses date back to our earliest childhood bonds. The dissolution of a relationship can open our most painful emotional wounds. All these experiences and feelings have become so deeply ingrained within us over the years. Itís not something that weíre going to just let go of.
Jason told me that he sometimes felt so bound up by the grief. He said that it felt as if was consuming all his vital resources. The pain causes us to seize up inside and that prevents us from flowing with life or manifesting much of what we need. We sometimes barely manage to function or even get through the day
Jason went on to say that his feelings were all over the place. There were times when he felt okay and then there were days when he could barely function. Feelings do have a way of changing from one moment to the next. There are moments when everything seems to be fine and weíre just going on with our life. Then there are other times when all these painful feelings begin to well up within us and it seems that we can barely move.
Jason asked me if it would ever get to the point to where it doesnít hurt when someone leaves us. Loss is a reality of our lives. Everyone we know and love will eventually leave us. People change and go in different directions. And we will all eventually die. We may all connect up on the other side someday, but we really donít know whatís going to happen. It probably will always hurt when someone leaves us, but we will have a greater capacity to allow life to unfold as it will and to let it flow through us.
Our feelings and emotions can be excruciatingly painful during the acute stages of grief. The painful feelings eventually diminish after some days, weeks or months. Many people expect to get over it within a short period of time. And they wonder why they continue to experience so many painful feelings months down the road. Grieving is a process takes time. And itís normal for these feelings to continue to surface for months and even years.
Many of us make the mistake of thinking we have gotten over a loss once the acute stage of grief has passed. The pain may have diminished but the wounds have not necessarily healed. Most of us never fully digest the grief pertaining to the losses that we experience in our lives. The parts of us that respond through feeling have a tendency go into a numbed or deadened state and remain frozen in grief.
Some of us run right out and find a new partner if a relationship dissolves. And being physically attractive can make it easier for us to hook up. We may find someone to fill a role or fill the emptiness inside of us. But we can go for long periods of our lives without finding someone with whom we share a truly deep and meaningful connection.
Iíve heard people say that you have many acquaintances in your life, but only a few friends. We may rarely find another person with whom we share a deep intimate connection. And some of us suffer from many years of being alone.
We may busy ourselves with all kinds of other distractions. Or we eat ourselves into oblivion or go on a spending spree. Itís all an attempt to avoid the emptiness and other painful feelings within. Sometimes we just need to be really present by opening up to being alone. We do that by breathing into our present day experience and all the feelings that arise in response to it.
We have tremendous needs to love and to be loved. But many of us are just not getting the love we need. And we long for closeness and companionship. We suffer when our needs continually go unmet. Parts of us may just numb our and then sometimes it just really hurts. The lack of love may also leave us with a tremendous hunger within.
We have a tendency to close our hearts when weíve been hurt. We contract in response to the pain and that disconnects us from our feelings, our bodies and the reality of our day to day lives. We may become disillusioned, cynical, bitter, mistrustful and guarded. Our negative attitudes serve as a defense that prevents others from getting too close. It stops us from feeling the hurt that we hold within, but it may also prevent us from ever healing.
We can never heal these hurts until we learn to become present to the realities of our lives and really feel all the feelings and emotions that arise in response to them. We become more present by really opening all of our senses to whatís happening.
Some people tell me that they do not feel anything when I first have them focus their awareness within the heart. The heart tends to become numb after years of hurt, disappointment and lack of fulfillment. Sometimes thereís a real absence of feeling. But the defensive armor will melt and your heart will begin to awaken as you continue to breathe into the flat, numbed, or deadened sense that you initially experience within the heart.
You may be afraid to open your heart because you feel that it will make you more vulnerable and then you will be hurt again. You probably will get hurt again at some point. But you can only experience true compassion and empathy and develop the capacity to give, receive or attract the love that you truly desire by continually opening your heart. Open to what is, go into what you truly feel and breathe into whatever you experience.
I experienced a sense of numbness or absence of feeling within my own heart. But I continued to breathe softly and deeply while focusing my attention within the heart during my nightly commute from Santa Fe to Albuquerque. I couldnít feel much of anything for the first few nights, but then I began to experience faint vapors of feeling. The feelings grew more powerful as I continued to work with this practice. And before long I was experiencing these powerful feelings of emptiness, loneliness and longing. Something opened up within me and I began to experience euphoric feelings and a sense of divine presence flowing through my heart.
Most of us still carry around lots of stuff from past loves and losses. Close your eyes and imagine an old boyfriend or girlfriend sitting across from you. Imagine looking into their eyes and remember what it feels like to be in their presence. And then notice how you feel in your body. Begin to breathe into the feelings that emerge. Other feelings and memories of the times you spent together and the things you went through will begin to surface as you continue to work with this practice. Allow yourself to follow the feelings and memories as they go through their progression. This practice will help to awaken some of the deadened spaces within your heart.
People are on their best behavior when theyíre in love with us. But they frequently reveal others side of themselves as the feelings of being in love begin to abate. They may jerk us around emotionally, lie, cheat, betray our trust or do other things that end up causing pain. We find ourselves trying to sort through the confusion to make sense of whatís happening and wonder why the other person changed. We often end up internalizing much of the hurt and confusion.
The pain within us may cause us to become so fixated on the other person. We fall into these circular patterns where we go over and over the same thoughts and feelings. We spend hours trying to figure out what went wrong. We analyze everything the other person said or did, and then we fret about the mistakes we made. We imagine what the other person is thinking ...we start to wonder why they donít want to be with us Öand go on to think if this person doesnít want me, then no one else will want to be with me either. We remember what it was like when we were still together and then we wish that we were still together. We start to imagine all kinds of scenarios. We get strung out on the other person and fall deeper and deeper into a downward spiral.
Iíve learned to catch myself in the midst of the downward spiral. Iím able to break through the destructive cycle by asking myself "Whatís the deepest feeling behind all this?" I then begin to breathe softly and deeply as I go right down into the middle of all the pain. Iíve learned over time to breathe into the feelings in the midst of whatever Iím doing. The fear and other painful emotions can feel horrible at times, but these feelings eventually dissipate as I continue to breathe into them.
Some of us have a tendency to wander off into daydreams and even generate fantasy realities. The danger here is that it can become a trap that prevents us from really seeing and coming to terms with what Ďs happening. We set ourselves up for a fall. And weíre often devastated when the whole thing crashes.
Iíve fallen into that pattern too, but I keep pulling myself back to the present moment reality by acknowledging whatís actually happening in the moment and then I notice what Iím feeling in response to that. I then breathe into what Iím sensing and feeling at the moment. This helps me to get back to my own center.
Weíre all wired up differently as individuals and that causes us to think, feel and represent realty in so many different ways. That makes us respond in different ways to loss. People who lose their ability to feel may never develop really strong attachments. The pain is usually much greater for those of us who have a sensitivity about us and especially if we struggle with issues of abandonment.
Many of us hold so much tension in our bodies as a result of our resistance to whatís happening. We fight against the reality of the loss. But itís so important to stop fighting, to come into a place of acceptance and to allow what is. Breathe into the resistance and tension and begin to relax your body. Open up to the possibility that you may never be together with this person again. Feel yourself opening up to all the sensations and feelings of loss. Really feel what itís like to be alone.
Relationships change or come to an end for many reasons. Peopleís feelings change over time and they grow in different directions. We can be with someone and they realize after sometime that they have a different vision of what they want in life and weíre not really meeting their needs.
We hold so much promise as individuals. And sometimes itís really heart breaking because we can see the potential for our partners and the relationship we could have. But relationships are often far from what they could be.
We hold so many barriers to intimacy within ourselves. We cannot tolerate closeness because it puts us in touch with all the things weíre not willing to look at or feel. And we sometimes unwittingly do things to sabotage our relationships. Or our partners may be caught up in their own tangle of pain and confusion. They canít see to find their way out of it and all we can do is allow them to be where theyíre at.
Many of us grow up with emotionally distant or abusive parents who were incapable of love or empathy. Some of us have also been subjected to physical or sexual trauma. We may have internalized much of the pain and confusion. We may come to associate love with pain. That may prevent us from developing the capacity to truly love or bond with another.
We internalize many of the screwed up emotional and relational dynamics from our upbringing and the hurts from previous relationships. Many of us are not that in touch with our feelings. We react emotionally and yet we donít know what weíre really feeling or reacting to. And that can causes to be so incongruent. Parts of the self are holding one set of feelings. Other parts are feeling something completely different. Then thereís all the cultural conditioning thrown in on top of all of that.
Parts of the self fail to develop and possess the maturity of an adolescent, or even worse Öthat of a small child. These parts of us will remain frozen and we will never mature unless we allow ourselves to really feel and process the underlying emotions and issues.
So much confusion is generated by all the conflicting feelings that people hold within. Many people really donít know what they want and thatís why we give and receive so many mixed messages. Our partner sends us love notes one day and tells us that they want to spend the rest of their lives with us. Something changes and then we may not hear from them for long periods of time.
There are times when we want so much to pick up the phone and call. The desire is so strong that it can feel like an addiction. Our natural impulse is to reach out to try to save the relationship by fixing the problem, but then we find ourselves becoming more deeply entangled. But no matter how much we want to be with this other person, we canít fix them or the relationship. We canít change people. We cannot heal for someone else or compel them to grow and learn their lifeís lessons. We have to know when to stop and allow the other person to make the move Öif they chose to do so. It can be so hard to have to let go of the other person and let them do what theyíre going to do, but sometimes thatís all we can do.
Thereís a boundary or a threshold between our self and the other person. We have a tendency to reach across that line and try to fix the relationship when things start to fall apart. That does work on occasion, but we can completely lose our center if we continually overextend ourselves. Sometimes we need to acknowledge that the other person is not engaging us or choosing to be with us. Part of that acknowledgement means really opening up to how it feels for the other person to not engage with us.
Intimacy can become very frightening to some individuals because it puts them in touch with all the painful feelings and memories that they have internalized. They may not even know what theyíre reacting to but they start to put up walls or barriers at some point and they become more inaccessible to us. Our attempts to reach out or fix the problem reinforce all the feelings within the other person that caused them to distance from us in the first place.
Some people need to know they have an escape hatch in order to feel safe. It can require a lot of strength on our part, but we can help people who are frightened by intimacy to feel less threatened if weíre not holding on or pulling on them.
Iím become more aware of my own tendency to overextend as my self-awareness continues to develop. And then Iím learning to pull my essence back to my own center. I sometimes go into this meditation where I begin by feeling the whole energetic sense of how I have overextended myself. I feel all the ways Iíve been reaching out to or trying to hold on to the other person. I often say to myself "ÖI canít control whatís happening". I then feel all these parts of myself that were holding on releasing their grip. And I just allow that person to fall away. I continue till everyone and everything falls away from me so that all I have is myself.
Our intense emotional attachments for the other person can often get in the way. Charged emotions have a way of obscuring our vision and that makes it really difficult for us to see the other person for who they truly are. Our attachments to the other person may need to dissolve so that we can move on in our lives. Attachments may also need to dissolve so that they can reform in a new and healthier way if the relationship is to continue.
Unhealthy attachments began to dissolve for me as a result of breathing into the painful feelings and emotions. The yagyas, healing sessions and vision quests have helped access parts of myself that I couldnít get on my own, to do the reformatting that makes it possible for me to create healthier relationships.
Some of us have gone through so many losses over the course of our lives. And most of us are at a loss as to what to do with all these feelings. The feelings usually get pushed down inside of us and they all just sit there indefinitely.
But we can begin to activate the generative healing powers within our own body-mind as we breathe softly and deeply into the feelings and emotions. This practice helps to bring the light of consciousness into the wounded parts of ourselves. Our dysfunctional patterns are brought to the forefront of our consciousness as our senses become more acute. It also awakens within us a desire for and determination to create healthier relationships.
You can anticipate that the feelings and emotions will continue to surface for some time. But it helps to come from a place of self acceptance and to realize that healing the loss of a love is a process that takes time. Breathe into the feelings whenever they surface. Do the practice for five minutes if thatís all the time you have. There may also be times when you find the need to go on with the practice for hours. Continue to breathe into the feelings as you go about your day. You will gradually learn to stay connected to your feelings and allow them to move through you in the midst of whatever you are doing.
We have a tendency to internalize the painful and traumatic events of our lives and the emotions that we experience in response to them. These experiences and emotions begin to fixate or become hardwired within our body and mind. We tend to recreate or attract many of the same kinds of painful events and experience the same kinds of painful feelings.
Thereís a very thick heavy quality to the grief we experience in response to the loss of a love. That can make these feelings and experiences very difficult to digest. The grief tends to get stuck in our body and that keeps us trapped in the pain for longer periods of time. Most people never fully digest these losses on their own.
Outside intervention is needed to facilitate the changes within us that make it possible for us to heal and move forward in our lives. Deep tissue massage can help to open the flow by moving these stuck feelings. The yagyas, healing sessions and vision quest have really accelerated the healing process for me. These resources have made it so much easier to digest the grief and losses of my own life. They have also given me a resilience that allows me to bounce back. And it keeps me open and receptive to what life has to offer.
My senses have opened up so I can really see my own internal dynamics and understand the patterns that have played out in my life. That makes it possible for me to really learn and grow from my experiences. Internal models of relationship are reconfigured so I can go on to create healthier and more fulfilling relationships. Negative karmic patterns are mitigated. Other more positive karmic influences are set into motion to elicit the support of nature so that I can attract more of what I really desire in life.
Healing the losses that you hold within brings you to a place where you feel a greater sense of wholeness within. And that makes you more desirable to the kind of people that you want to attract into your life.
Healing the loss takes you through a process of evolution. You heal the losses by digesting the feelings and experiences. That facilitates an awakening within you. You begin to access a greater richness and depth within yourself. You then emanate a warmth and compassion that helps to nurture and heal others. Healing the loss also allows you to align with forces of nature, thereby enabling you to attract more of what you want and need.
There are no guarantees and we really donít know whatís going to happen. But we can use our life experience as an opportunity for growth. The best we can do is to make the commitment to ourselves to do everything possible to digest our own emotions and resolve our issues and to work with various spiritual-healing practices so that we continue to evolve. People who do not want to grow will tend to fall away from us. And we will attract healthier partners to walk along beside us as we journey through life.
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