Part of why I love having Soul Power as a part of this site is because it provides the opportunity to further connect with one another as a community. I appreciate so much the depth at which people are willing to go with their writing, and personal anecdotes. Carrie Lewman, is a brave woman who writes over on her site carrielewman.com. I’ve come to know her virtually through her participation in my September Self-Care program a year ago. She took so much away from that experience, and continued to help herself in her journey to healing. It brings me so much joy to share with you her writing as a part of her process in understanding herself in dealing with loss and a deeper connection within.
My thoughts on death and loss have always been that grief is what you experience afterwards. That it is a stage you enter into. Actually grief is not something that happens to you, it is something you do afterwards. It is your reaction to loss or death. We have all heard of, and perhaps walked the many stages of grief; anger, denial, depression, acceptance, etc…, but no one ever speaks of the heartbreak. It is essentially the root of grief and where most people get stuck. Your heart has been broken as the result of loss and this loss does not always directly pertain to physical death. It can be the demise of a relationship, loss of a job, relocating, loss of innocence, and disappointment in life not turning out how you thought it would, just to name a few.
Within the last ten years I have encountered loss at every level in my life. Loss seemed to be firing at me in rapid succession with little time for me to regroup, much less recover. Once the rapid fire of loss appeared to have subsided I felt as though I had gone through all the proper stages of grieving but would often find myself continuing to mourn the people, things or situations that were gone. I felt as though I was stuck and could not move forward. As I began to look around me though I noticed that I was not the only one stuck. Many people were stuck in the vortex of grief as well. This is when I realized we were not addressing the underlying issue; a broken heart.
Often, in getting stuck we forget that when our heart breaks it is an opportunity for us to evolve and become someone new. I believe that we have several hearts within us that resemble a nesting doll. You remember the dolls that when you open one there is another doll inside and within that doll there is another, and they get smaller as they go along. The same resides within each of us only with our hearts I believe it goes in reverse and as your heart breaks it has the capacity to grow in size, not shrink. We are only able to access the new heart if we are able to let go of the shattered pieces of our broken one. I was not able to do this so I found myself sitting in the middle of many shattered pieces of my heart trying desperately to put them back together. In doing so I was not able to see that in the center of my chest sat a full, open, thriving, beating heart that was ready to live and experience all that is was meant too.
When our heart breaks we don’t have to try and put the pieces back together again because with each break there is an opportunity to bring forth a new heart, a new you, new thoughts, new beliefs, and new experiences. We never have to try to go back we only have to try to remember to evolve and go forward. I don’t want to go back to the child I was when my mother initially abandoned me and broke my heart. I don’t want to go back to the woman I was whose heart broke as she held her father when he passed away from cancer, nor do I want to go back to the woman I was whose heart broke as she let go of a man she truly loved.
While there is a part of you that dies in a heartbreak there is also a part of you that is waiting to come alive. It is the cycle of life; birth, death, birth, death. You cannot have one without the other, but often we get stuck in the death and we forget there is rebirth waiting. A chance for us to decide and determine who we are now outside of what has happened to us. Stop trying to put the shattered pieces back together. Recognize your heart is broken. Don’t try to find the shattered pieces on the ground and glue them back together for that is not the purpose. The true purpose is to recognize the new heart that resides in place of the old one.
An ongoing question that ran through my head after my father passed away and then again after the demise of my relationship with my love was, “What am I supposed to do now? How am I supposed to go on?” I continued to circle the cycle of death and did not understand the opportunity that was presenting its self for me to become and instead allowed the heartbreak to consume me to the point where my shoulders permanently curved inward in an attempt to protect my shattered heart. A better set of questions that I should have asked myself would have been, “What can I make of my life now? In what way can I allow this to transform me? How can I grow from this?” By not asking those questions and allowing and making room for the answers to flow too me I got stuck in heartbreak, prolonging my suffering and pain.
At the realization that I was stuck and circling death like a buzzard over a fresh kill I made the decision to let go of the shattered pieces of my heart and welcome in my new, full, thriving heart that was ready to experience life in a new way. This is not to say that I have forgotten my losses or any experience with death, but they no longer rule my life. I am in a cycle of birth and am open to experiencing all that comes with my new heart. A heart that is much bigger than my shattered one, for remember that within the cycle of death and birth there is expansion. I can tell this new heart has a greater capacity for love and compassion. I also know that when I enter the cycle of death again I am better equipped to travel that road and know how to look recognize the chance for rebirth. Ever cycling, birth, death, birth, death…
Carrie is an author, speaker and mentor who used a diagnosis of Hashimoto’s in 2012 as a wake-up call and catalyst for change in her life. By being transparent with her own journey of healing she is on a mission to encourage others to use the defining moments in their lives to dive deeper within so that they too can heal and live a vibrant and thriving life. Find her on her website, Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. You can also find her books here and here.