We do not know why pain and suffering, times of darkness, come into anyone’s life. Many theories exist, but no one really knows why. For myself, I have found the wisdom traditions most helpful for navigating difficult times. They teach that the heart’s compassion and courage most readily grow during our darkest days. A heart cracked open allows in a light, that otherwise we can barely see.
Much of my personal suffering has come through the loss of intimate relationships—through separation, death, abandonment and betrayal. These experiences have taught me to lean, ever so lightly and against my instincts, into the pain of loss. Surprisingly, from the pain itself, warmly embraced, an uncanny intelligence emerges to support and heal us.
Many situations can break a person down—chronic illness, betrayal, abandonment, death of a loved one, major disappointment or failure, financial crisis, depression or prolonged grief for unknown reasons. The reason matter less than the descent itself. The shock of loss brings us to a desolate inner terrain we, of course, prefer to avoid.
When these traumas strike, we have a chance to learn to be kind to ourselves in a radical way. Even as the loss threatens to overwhelm, we can learn not to run, but to embrace the shock and suffering. When we do, right in the heart of our brokenness, we may discover an abiding love calling.
If you are living with the pain of loss, I hope some of the resources on this site—articles, links, posts, quotes, humor, music or poetry—will help you dive with more confidence into whatever darkness surrounds you. I hope you will eventually find your way through the muck to the hidden treasures of the heart. To trusting again, to faith in the wonder of breath and heartbeat, to being here at all, to simple kindness towards yourself and anyone you may still find difficult to forgive.
After a bewildering abandonment, I searched for answers, but could find little support for what I was going through. Gradually, I realized I was in the throes of PTSD—a most-often unrecognized legacy of abandonment and betrayal. To help others get through this ordeal more quickly, I felt compelled to share what I was learning. Love and the Mystery of Betrayal: Recovering Your Trust and Faith after Trauma, Deception, and Loss of Love was the result. This book takes a deep dive into the shock of broken trust and the eventual transformation of pain and grief, no matter the origin.
My earlier book Embrace of the Daimon: Healing through the Subtle Energy Body: Jungian Psychology & the Dark Feminine offers an exploration of daimonic imaginal realms, the inner spaces between body and spirit, the home of the archetypes. Set in Jungian terms, this book is not for the faint of heart or the everyday reader. Still, it has developed an enthusiastic following among students of imaginal realms, shadow psychology, alchemy, goddess imagery, and women’s issues. Order either book on Amazon.com.