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.)
- 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.