The loss of a loved one, or other kinds of loss can break us open, overwhelming our hearts and nervous systems. The emotional pain can leave us feeling depleted, vulnerable disconnected and confused about how to start feeling better. Here are some thoughts to consider that might help you feel your way into your personal "healing vortex".
Grief is a temporary narrowing of experience while we release pain and gather our strength, wisdom and footing. Because of this contraction, We might feel like we have lost part of ourselves but we are moving through a growth that is like death and rebirth, as well.
The "Healing vortex" is an inner reservoir of wholeness that we are meant to draw from. It is a neuro-physiological network of strengths, associations and choices compiled over a lifetime. When we are born, we internalize nurturing and, in turn, we feel safe and loved. As a somatic psychotherapist I help people grow through difficult times by reaching back into that reservoir, or vortex. I work with spontaneous imagery (supported by the use of flower essences) to help clients meet challenges from a fuller sense of self. click here for more information about flower essences .
A new loss can trigger pain and fear from old losses to emerge on top of the current upset. These reactive states are not where your resources are. A significant loss creates a contraction. We pull our energy inward for self-protective purposes and step away from the more potent/expansive sense of self. But we are built to contract and expand in response to life and its inherent pain. Sometimes we get stuck in the contracted state and feel frustrated that we can't bring our more empowered self to the table, it can leave us feeling somewhat disconnected, helpless or heavy-hearted.
Coping strategies during a time of Loss
The decision to get some therapy while you sort out how you are going to deal with a painful change or loss can feel like a relief - a letting go of some of the burden or aloneness. Having someone there to help down-regulate your stress cues your system that you are being supported and are going to be OK.
As a therapist whose training is in somatic integrative psychotherapy, I help people work with difficult emotional stages by working with sensation, emotion and imagery. We communicate with so many different parts of ourselves through mind-body channels that are deeply connected with intuition and potent states of being. Through heart-centered, experiential gateways, we are in touch with the healing power of self-compassion and a very special kind of "empowered vulnerability" that is freeing. With this being your "ground", even if you are in crisis, you are still connected, which makes a world of difference.
Using the strengths that you are familiar with become a ballast of support beneath you. During a time of great loss, I continued my habit of swimming across a lake every morning. It expanded the scope of my life beyond the loss, even though I was having periods of grieving at other times of the day. In the practices that I use in sessions and groups , we explore how to create a feedback loop between the trauma and the healing vortex. It becomes something you can depend on to keep feeding you, even if we have a hard road to walk. In my example above, the daily swim was a way to engage in my healing vortex. Keeping the strong part of you active informs your heart, your thinking, and helps you live inside potent ideas about who you are, and what's possible. The healing vortex seems to have a medicine all of its own.
Tending to your heart in times of loss
Acknowledge your pain and suspend self judgment about grief. We can be triggered by many different and unexpected emotions. Use a meditation or mindfulness practice to stay in touch with the part of yourself that is capable of witnessing compassionately. Taking care of your heart is about accepting yourself and talking care of yourself emotionally.
Remember we are wired for connection as critical factor in healing from overwhelming experiences. If you don't have enough opportunity to process your feelings with friends and family, you might want to consider contacting a therapist for support. Being in community, such as a group process setting where people are holding space for each other and growing together can be a very self-supportive move.
Taking care of your body and mind through walking or yoga, breath-work, meditation are helpful to keep you grounded. Movement is cuing your system for healing and firing brain pathways to help you feel more vital and confident that you will find your way.
If the pain of the loss is long term and so constant and severe that it keeps you from resuming your life, you may be suffering from complicated grief or clinical depression and you should seek professional help.
Remember, nobody gets through life without loss and trauma. If you are willing to open to your feelings, get support and stay connected, you will grow yourself in new directions, stronger at the broken places.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Bobbi Courtney, MSW, is a somatic-psychotherapist, certified flower essence practitioner and owner of Aura Infusions. She is well known for her expertise and experience with integrating flower essence treatment into psychotherapy sessions and therapeutic group-work, known as "Evolution Awakeshops." With 20 years experience using an integrative approach to therapy, Bobbi assists with conscious evolutionary support. You can reach Bobbi on her website, BobbiCourtney.com , by email firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 978-609-0497.