Author and Healing Medium, Annemiek Douw, shares her view on letting go after loss and moving forward. How do you let go and what can be counterproductive?
Perhaps you know the feeling: your lover ended your relationship and has already moved on while you don’t seem able to get back on your feet again because you are still hurting and grieving. Or you lost your job and with it you lost part of your identity; who you thought you were was attached to the role you played and now you don’t know what to do with yourself.
Or your children have moved out of the house, leaving you with an empty nest and no sense of purpose because, before they left, you had to take care of them so your days were automatically filled with all kinds of things that had to be done and now you have to create a new purpose every day.
Or a loved one died and you feel lost, like part of you has been amputated and you can’t make it on your own.
What all these examples illustrate is that when life takes a new direction, our expectations of it are seldom met. We live our lives thinking that we kind of know what life has in store for us. That’s how we make our choices – based on what we really want and what we expect ourselves to be capable of dealing with. Just make it daring enough, interesting enough without too many risks. We try to balance the unknown and the uncertainties with what we can control, and when we’re forced to let go of something or someone, sometimes we aren’t prepared. We don’t feel ready yet. Or sometimes we really aren’t ready yet.
Reprogramming versus emotions
Simply adapting our expectations often doesn’t work. Reprogramming ourselves or using positive affirmations can be a mental ‘trick’ but it doesn’t necessarily make us feel better or allow us to move forward. It even can make us feel worse: we know we ought to look at it in a certain way, but we simply can’t see it how we think we ought to and get mad at ourselves for being stuck. It doesn’t help, it simply adds to the problem by encouraging us to judge ourselves (you can read more about this judging in a 3-part series I wrote last year: part 1, part 2 and part 3).
Internally, it just doesn’t feel right, we can’t move on and we linger in a state of grief, moving between ‘how it used to be’ and ‘what will never be. It sometimes keeps us right where we are – stuck in a moment that is already history.
Identifying with your environment
When we lose someone or something we were strongly connected to. That connection was ‘normal’ for us. Now we are no longer connected, we no longer feel whole – something is missing.
In addition to this, what we had was part of our life and contributed to our identity. We were their partner, son or daughter, owner, or employee. That role gave us a sense of belonging. We knew were we stood in our life and we knew what to expect. Now that role is missing too and we need to reinvent ourselves. We need to figure out who we are now. What do we really want and need? Which gaps do we need to heal for ourselves and how can we do that?
Path to Healing
Healing starts with accepting where you are at the moment. So just know that when you’re still attached to your old feelings, beliefs and expectations of life, nothing’s wrong with you. Don’t try to change it. You simply prefer the old situation to where you are right now and what you expect the future situation to be.
In a way, it’s the most natural reaction there is because if you, as a human being, would have preferred something else, you would have chosen it. You would have chosen to say goodbye yourself but this way, the loss has been forced on you. You simply have to cope. So please, take as much time as you need to get used to that situation. There are no rules or guidelines as to the time it ‘usually’ takes to grieve and mourn. It simply takes the time it takes and you’ll find out for yourself how long you need, when you’re ready to make the next step. Because there will be a next step – sometime.
So healing starts (and finishes) with accepting where you are and what you feel. Embracing the situation as it is, just for now. You should even try to accept what you think, even if it doesn’t seem to lead you out of the woods. Accept yourself as you are in that moment in time. Do that numerous moments in a row and you’ll get through the most difficult ordeals. If you need to, tell yourself: ‘I don’t like this nor do I want this situation to be permanent but for now, I’m okay with it.’
Don’t fight it, just surrender to what is. Please remember not to judge yourself for thinking and feeling how you do. On the other hand, make sure you take care of the most important basics. Eat healthily, drink plenty of water, go to bed at your regular time, even if you don’t think you’ll be able to sleep. Structure the basics and go for walks or do sport so your body will keep making the hormones that will help you recover from your loss. And if possible: talk to others, don’t hold everything in. Talk as often as you need, only choose your confidantes wisely. The right ones will listen to you without pushing you in any direction, acknowledging your loss without letting you wallow in it. They will simply support you as you find your own way out.
On a Soul level though, your loss may be planned. The blow of a sudden death, the enormous pain of an unexpected departure, it can all be part of your Life Plan, though in the beginning that isn’t a big help. We all make Soul Agreements and to a certain extent we know on a Soul level what we created and why, but living as human beings we tend to forget and events simply seem to happen to us, like we had nothing to do with it.
The good news is that, if it was created on purpose on a Soul level, you can be sure you can deal with it because you would never have started your soul’s journey underequipped. You have what it takes to live your life to the fullest.
The ‘bad’ news is that, because we all have Free Will, sometimes people choose to ignore their Soul Agreements and then it can be more difficult for the one who didn’t choose to deal with and overcome their feelings of loss.
Since it wasn’t planned, you perhaps have to reinvent yourself with a skillset that wasn’t meant for this turn of events. It’s like a plumber baking bread, it might take some time to figure out how to do it and how to let go of the plumbing business.
So to me, ’to let go’ isn’t really a verb. It’s more a description of a process in which you guide yourself through a painful loss. Acknowledging what you think and feel is key as is being gentle with yourself. Even if the hurt feels too big to handle and all you can do is breathe. Then just breathe and wait, and so the seconds will pass too. 60 seconds later you’ll have survived a whole minute and 60 minutes later an hour. Sometimes all you can do is breathe and hold on, and in time something will change. Something will feel different, eventually. If you embrace every second of the process you’ll find yourself on a Highway to Healing. Perhaps not a joyful ride in the beginning, but in fact it’s all there is – for now.
You’ll think about which part of you was defined by whom or what you lost. You’ll find out how to fill the gap yourself and, in that way, it’s a transformational process where nothing stays the same and your feelings mirror what you are able to do for yourself. What you lack is what you need to become and thus you begin to transform and develop new qualities. You will find the good that was brought to your life before and will wonder what the essence of it was. And you will find new ways to bring that back into your life.
One way of doing this is to write any worries, concerns, or desires on a piece of paper and putting them into a special container called a ‘God Box’, as a way of letting go of them and allowing the Divine to help you. Ask the angels for their help so they can start helping.
Another way is to make a gratitude list – perhaps that sounds somewhat strange when you’ve just suffered a severe loss. Write down or name everything and everyone that you are grateful for, in the past, present and future.
If you align with gratitude, you’ll find your energy level lifted and your faith will return. You will be able to hear and feel your Soul, your inner guiding system, again. You may not yet know how, but the future is right around the corner and it’s coming your way. If you say “Thank you,” in advance for all the good yet to come and you do it from your heart, with Soul energy, you will throw your lifeline to that future and start creating a new one, without the person you lost, but still the best you can create.
Are you interested in dealing with loss and how to do that using the 21 Layers of the aura? My new book 21 Layers of the Soul: Healing the Karmic Ties with Friends, Lovers, Family and Enemies contains 101 real life cases. 21 Layers of the Soul is out now!
Alternatively, the Dutch version and the English version for Dutch readers are available here.
Skype sessions are also available!
ANNEMIEK DOUW, MSc is a management coach, energetic therapist, lightworker, medium, trainer and author. Coming from an unlikely background in engineering, Annemiek has always been interested in how people think and grow at a physical, mental, emotional and spiritual level. In her work within the government and business sectors, she began to see how illness comes into people’s lives, often making it unpredictable and seemingly out of control. This influenced her to start exploring bioenergetics and other alternative therapies, eventually leading her to complete a 3-year course at the Natural Medicine Academy South-Netherlands to become a paranormal therapist. In 1998 she dedicated herself to this work full-time. She later fell ill herself for an extended period of time, which allowed her to gain first-hand insight into the human experience of illness, and to learn how the soul is an internal compass that continuously guides. Probing more deeply into how this compass works, Annemiek discovered 21 layers of the soul that influence our ability to grow and to heal in our bodies, minds and relationships. This discovery became the foundation of her unique healing style, and today Annemiek helps clients heal at many levels, and teaches them how to read this compass for themselves. Wanting to share this unprecedented work with a wider audience, she published the Dutch language book De ziel in het licht van haar hogere auralagen in 2011, which now available in English under the title 21 Layers of the Soul: Healing the Karmic Ties with Friends, Lovers, Family and Enemies.