by Kristin Prevallet
When he called to tell me that he could not see me anymore, I was perfectly calm on the phone as I said goodbye. But the next morning, it hit me. And as if a plug had been violently pulled out of a wall, I suddenly experienced surges of terror that were a kind of electricity — they shot through me spontaneously for days, seemingly without warning. It was irrational, but I was associating this feeling of a broken heart with a fear of dying.
Anyone who has experienced a sudden and abrupt heartache knows this feeling and how inadequate the metaphors are to describe it. My thoughts, which for the past six months had so pleasurably drifted along with his voice and the memories we were creating, were now faced with a hole, a gap in the time and in space that I had begun to define as my reality.
There was one piece of knowledge — one thing I know to be a fact — that helped me get through that period of grief and move into solid ground where I could begin to function again. I knew that the surges I was feeling were the firings of my nervous system in response to images I was replaying over and over again in my mind: our long drives, the way he held me, the dark river behind him as he sat across from me in the restaurant.
These images had once triggered incredible “hits” of chemically addictive neurotransmitter-pleasure. Now, those images are triggering anxiety, fear, and a cocktail of cortisol and adrenaline. This is the fight-or-flight response that fills in the empty spaces that used to be filled with feelings of abundance and love.
For me, the potion was knowing (and trusting) that whenever I began to feel out of control, I needed to hunker down into my feminine witch energy and turn the thought around as quickly as possible. I needed to switch the images in my mind as quickly as possible — like turning a crystal — knowing that doing this would eventually retrain my nervous system to no longer over-react whenever I thought of him.
The visions I concocted to help me with this process are ancient, tried, and true: in the midst of feeling the terror of being alone, I imagine a campfire around which all the people who love me, and who I love, are present. I focus on the flames, and feel the heat.
Another image that comes from the old world is of a “spirit hospital” — I imagine myself sitting near a lake, my broken bones and broken spirit being nursed back to health by shadowy figures of light.
Tapping (what is commonly called EFT) is a practice that comes from Qigong and works incredibly quickly to redirect an energetic system gone out of whack. I use the short hand version of it: even when in the thick part of a panic, I grab my wrist and gently encircle it. I close my eyes and imagine the campfire, or the spirit hospital. I then release my grip and tap on different points: crown chakra, third eye, eye socket (above and below), jaw bone, clavicle bone. When I feel a slight calming down, I encircle my wrist again. Saying the word “calm” or “you’re ok” as I release.
I also love this rose quartz ritual conjured up by Phoneix, who keeps a wonderful blog of spells:
Whether by rituals, spells, or tricks of imagination, visualizations effect the energetic spin around which your body and your mind circulate. When you use them (and other visualizations that you’re amazing creative, healing, restorative mind will conjure up for you) you are tapping into the wise woman power that has enabled us to survive wars, famines, and floods.
Onward! With love,