5 Things I’ve Learned About Healing From Loss

Today is Day 9 since Vince and I decided to end our marriage and go our separate ways. In some ways these nine days since separating from him feel like a year. The emotional, physical, and spiritual intensity has been far beyond anything I’ve EVER experienced in my very full 37 years on this planet.

I’ve been very intentional in this process. Life has brought me to a place in my development in which I am extremely self-aware. After over 4 years of full-time self-exploration, I’ve become a master at listening to my inner voice and processing my emotions, which has made this week perhaps more deep and intense than it would be for some who are less connected to themselves. However, this also means that I am healing at a rapid rate. I can literally feel the deep healing taking place in my body, mind, and emotions. It’s palpable and tangible and although it’s been excruciatingly painful, it’s the most awake and alive I’ve ever felt in my life. As my psyche and body catch up to what has happened in my spirit, I’m beginning to see that the happiness I experienced in my life before was just a glimpse of the magic and ecstasy I’m now coming into. It’s thrilling. And it makes the pain so worth it. Perhaps it’s a little like giving birth to a child. Excruciating pain beyond description when you are in labor, yet the joy and life that follows makes the pain a distant memory. Isn’t life continually about death and birth? Ending, and beginning. Letting go, and then beginning again.

I want to share with you some important things I’ve learned already about healing from the loss of a loved one. (And believe me, this is definitely the loss of a loved one. Contrary to judgment I’ve received, it does NOT make it any less of a loss, the fact that I was the one who initiated the decision. C’mon people, really? Loss is loss.)

  1. Embrace Your Tears

You thought I was a good crier before? Oh WOW now I am a master!! I’ve never had pain so deep that I doubled over and had to scream and wail and make sounds I didn’t know I had within me. I am grateful that I am allowing myself to do this. My body needs to express the pain. You are NOT weak for crying. You are STRONG for expressing and allowing yourself to feel the pain.

2. Know When to Stop Crying

There’s a time to cry, and there’s a time to stop. In these 9 days I have had one very intense good cry at least once per day. I never know when it’s going to hit me. But it always does. I will be feeling SO strong all day, HAPPY even, and then – BAM!, out of the blue, something reminds of our life together and it hits me in my stomach like a sledgehammer and the only way to release the intensity in my stomach is to just let it out. Cry. LET. IT. OUT.

However, there’s also the moment when I know I’ve released the pain and I then have an important decision: move into depression, or move into joy. At this point, to continue to cry or to choose negative thoughts would spiral me downward. I’ve released it, so it’s time to harness strength. Often I look at myself in the mirror lovingly and say, “You’re strong, Noelle. You can do this. There is something SO amazing just around the bend. Keep going. I love you.” And then I go out and DO something – move, go for a walk, go out for a coffee, whatever moves me into the next moment in power.

3. Avoid Self-Medicating

One of the reasons I am healing rapidly and feeling everything so intensely is that for the first time in my life during a major trauma, I am not doing anything to escape from the pain. I’m facing it head on. Besides my work and connecting online with friends, I basically write in my journal all day long. I am deeply processing from sun-up to sun-down, and beyond. My full-time job right now is healing. I am OVERJOYED that I have not been tempted to use any of my former addictions (like alcohol or sex) to escape from the pain. In the past I would have been drinking and dating myself through the pain, which just delays healing completely. This is not something I EVER thought I would be strong enough to do. I am beyond grateful to LIFE, God, Spirit for bringing me to a place in my life in which I am able to face my pain head on. Amazing. HUGE breakthrough for me. This is life-changing! YES!!

4. Listen to Your Body

I’m AMAZED at how the body just knows what to do in times of loss and trauma. I posted a picture yesterday that caused concern and fear in some people, of me eating my first ‘real meal’ on Day 8, and mentioning that I have been too sad to eat without him. One of my dear friends freaked out at the sight of me having lost weight and hearing that I haven’t been eating a lot.

I want to assure you, that my body’s process this week has been one of the most glorious parts of this journey. The shock of this loss has catapulted my body into rest mode. There is nothing unhealthy about having a break from food. Hell, I fasted for 33 days in 2013 and it was one of the best things I ever did for my body – it changed my life. I HAVE been eating, but purely for fuel and WAY less than normal. It’s been exciting to listen to my body’s cravings and give it just what it asks for. Without any mental thought or planning whatsoever, I’ve had the best 9 days of detox and body cleansing EVER. When I posted that picture, the big milestone was in preparing a full meal and sitting down at the table where we used to eat together. It was a milestone to face that pain. And I cried half-way through the meal. But on Day 8, I was ready to face it and I enjoyed the meal immensely. Today I’ll be able to sit down at the table and probably not cry. It’s all good!

5. Don’t Listen To Others’ Opinions of How You Should Heal

I am overwhelmed with support right now from my online community, and I’m SO grateful. One thing that’s apparent since losing Vince as my partner, is that although I’m solo in the van now, I am definitely NOT alone. I feel more connected than EVER! Along with that support, however, has come ADVICE. A lot of people have been sending me private messages, encouraging me how to heal based on how they healed from their own pain. And this is so sweet and I know that there is so much love behind these messages. However, I am the one on this unique journey and I know best what I need in order to heal. I refuse to believe that it has to take 3 years before I’ll be ready for a relationship, or that I need to move out of the van for protection, or that I need to go out and get a job so I can be around people and keep myself busy, etc. etc. I am very happy with my life and my process, and I have had to consciously choose my own path above others’ opinions. So when you are going through this, be very intentional about continuing to listen to your own voice. Your path is YOURS. You are unique, and you get to create your reality. How someone else healed from loss does not determine how you have to. You get to decide what’s right for you.

 

I am honestly honored that I am being entrusted with such a journey. If you’ve read my book, Bliss Beyond Belief: The Journey Out of Pain Into Your Highest Destiny, you know that when I was 16 I saw a motivational speaker in a wheelchair and I was so inspired, that I made a wish, “I will gladly suffer through ANYTHING if it means I could inspire people like THAT.”

Losing Vince as my partner is like a death for me. There isn’t a moment in my day I don’t miss him. It’s excruciatingly painful beyond words, and yet I am rising above it and I will transform every morsel of this pain into something beautiful and powerful with which to inspire the world. I am getting my wish. And soon I’ll be ready to fly.

Choose to Feel Safe and You Will Be Safe

 

I had a MOMENTOUS breakthrough in rising above fear being alone in the van last night. I’m gonna share it with you straight out of my journal:

7:22 pm Sat February 6

“I’m feeling better tonight in the van. When I pulled into the Walmart parking lot there was a middle-aged black man standing outside his car, the same car that had kind of weirded me out last night. He’s obviously living in it. So I have been looking out the back window, hoping he’ll leave. I realized one of the things that sparked my fears last night, is that it feels kind of like it’s just me and this guy’s car – there aren’t any other RVs around, which is unusual for this location. It leaves me feeling more vulnerable than if there were others like me around. But now I’m making peace with it. And I’m processing what thoughts cause me to be afraid. It’s very interesting. Am I scared of him because he lives in a little car? Because he’s black? Because he’s middle-aged? Would I feel less scared if he were in a nice RV, or white, or old?

And as you take this train of thought down the way, you realize how pointless and illusionary fear is. This guy could be the sweetest, kindest, gentlest man on the planet. Why is it my FIRST assumption to FEAR him? Why do I CHOOSE to feel afraid, instead of CHOOSING to feel comforted by his presence?

In what scenario would the sight of him actually bring me extreme relief and comfort and joy? For example, if I were out in the woods alone and there was a big grizzly bear coming at me, but then I saw this man standing outside his car on a clearing just behind some trees, well, in THIS scenario, I would not think twice before RUNNING to this man and jumping in the car with him. No question whatsoever of feeling relief and comfort and joy at seeing him.

So this begs the question, if this really is a CHOICE to be afraid or not, WHAT IF I could simply choose, right now, to feel like this man is the sweetest, kindest man on the planet? In both scenarios all the circumstances are the same. In one, I am sitting here in my van, afraid. I am constantly going to my back window, lifting the curtain, to see if he’s still parked there, hoping he’ll leave, gripped with fear. And in the other scenario, I see him and feel happy and safe and don’t think about it another moment, and proceed to enjoy my evening alone.

WOW. This is a TRIPPY thought! What IF I CHOOSE TO SEE EVERYONE as GOOD, KIND, and SAFE, and I simply TRUST that God will protect me, and that if there is ever any danger to avoid, LIFE will steer me clear of it by guiding me with my intuition, my Joy, NOT with FEAR?!?

So can I do this right now? Can I CHOOSE to feel completely SAFE right here in the van? Completely protected? Can I choose to see that man as a kind, good, wonderful man and not think another thought about it? Can I set myself FREE from all fear? I can. This is my challenge on this journey, and my intention. I should read Peace Pilgrim’s book again. THAT would really inspire me on this topic for sure. If you think what I’m doing is a big deal? Well, read her story. She slept OUTSIDE, in stranger’s cars, even one time with a guy who’s intention was to RAPE HER, but she wasn’t afraid of him, she slept like a baby all night in the backseat of his car. In the morning he asked her what her deal was, confessing that he had planned to rape her, but just couldn’t do it because it was like this bubble of peace and love surrounded her. He couldn’t bring himself to touch her. What I’m doing is NOTHING compared to that! If she can do THAT, I can do this. I’m in civilization, at a nice well-lit Walmart parking lot, no wild beasts (we’ll have to conquer that fear another time), shelter over my head, and plenty of nice people around. I can hear the rain on the roof right now. I’m safe and warm and I can CHOOSE to SEE my surroundings as HOME, as a SAFE, BEAUTIFUL, COMFORTABLE PLACE.

Am I going to be perfect at this immediately? Of course not. But this is my new goal: to CHOOSE to see the world as SAFE and BEAUTIFUL and WONDERFUL. To forget about all danger, to simply entrust my life to God, the Universe, and to know that I am guided on all perfect paths for me. I intend to SEE the world as a SAFE, MAGICAL place with ONLY GOOD PEOPLE.

As my hero Wayne Dyer always said, “When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.”

I always say I want to change the world. Maybe THIS is how I will. “

And as a beautiful follow-up, I slept for 9 hours, and a miracle happened. As I was falling asleep, I allowed myself to wish or imagine that the space around me was filled with other RVs like mine with wonderful people, that it was like a community. And I got up to pee in the middle of the night, about midnight, and sure enough, I looked out my window and saw a big RV parked just one foot from me, and then I looked out the back window and there were THREE Sprinter vans behind me, JUST LIKE MINE. I was SO happy, and felt so peaceful, and continued to sleep through the night. When I woke up at 7am, I looked out the side window and noticed there was no RV. I thought, that’s strange. Then I looked out the back window and there were no Sprinter vans. All I saw was that nice man’s car, just like the night before. And I sat down on my couch, in amazement.

It had been a dream. God had given me the perfect thoughts, in my sleep, to allow me to feel and KNOW that as I trust that I am safe, I AM.

Strength from the Ocean Waves

Nights have been by far the most difficult part of this week. Every evening, when the sun goes down and I find myself alone in the van, it’s been pretty painful missing Vince. Like, gut-wrenchingly painful. I’m a crier. But I’ve NEVER cried this much in my life. But tonight something shifted. I decided to do something different, and I said, “Noelle, we’re strong. Let’s go to the beach. We’re not gonna mourn tonight.” So I drove to the beach just an hour before sunset, and no one was out. It was so windy the waves were wildly crashing — HUGE WAVES, and as I walked in the sand barefoot I put my headphones in and listened to my own voice singing 2 songs I wrote, before all this pain had hit me. And it was the combination of hearing the strength in my voice along with the strength of the ocean, I felt this energy rise within me, and I couldn’t help but start running. I ran and ran and felt the surge of courage and love and joy course through my veins. And suddenly I had the thought . . “I’m not afraid anymore. I’ve faced losing the thing I feared losing the most, and so there’s nothing left to fear.” And then I stopped and stood looking out at the powerful waves coming towards me, and I felt them as waves of power, love, joy, awakening. I stretched out my arms to receive everything the universe was bringing to me. I’ve never felt stronger, more open, more ready, more fearless, than I do since that moment a couple hours ago. I’m thankful for this shift. I know there will still be pain, but I see the bigger picture, I feel the huge waves of joy and expansion that are coming to me and flowing through me, and I know this pain is allowing me to find strength I never knew I had. Watch out world, here comes Noelle . . .

Big News: Vince and I Are Consciously Uncoupling

I never imagined that I would be writing to you this week from a new reality:

I am solo in the van now.

Vince and I are no longer in a romantic relationship. We have decided to consciously uncouple, a term I learned from Gwyneth Paltrow, which I LOVE so much better than the word “divorce”. It allows the possibility for the formerly married couple to become like brother and sister, to stay friends, to support each other through the separation and launching of separate journeys. And I couldn’t ask for a better counterpart to do this with. Vince is amazing. We love each other immensely and we’re both SO excited for the journey we each have ahead.

Vince joins me on the show today, and we vulnerably share why we are making this decision and the huge excitement we have for the future. The end of an amazing season, the beginning of a new one.

And while I’ve experienced the most pain I think I’ve ever felt this week since leaving Vince on Sunday, I have also had a taste of more joy and happiness and freedom than I ever imagined possible. Sometimes your heart has to break wide open in order to expand to experience more love and joy than you were capable of holding before.

I know you’ll enjoy today’s momentous Coffee Time, and I can’t tell you how much your friendship and support means to me.

All my love,
Noelle