cloudy sky over water

I experienced a deep and unexpected sense of connection recently when my childhood friend, Heather, passed away this year.  She was 41 years old and died from breast cancer.

I had not seen Heather in over 20 years, but because we live in the age of the internet and Facebook (digital connectedness or virtual connectedness), I was aware of her cancer and followed her progress intermittently over the last few years.

A mutual childhood friend informed me when she found out Heather’s long-term treatment had come to an end, and the family had called hospice to prepare for her death.  As Heather lived out of state, I wrote her a note (on Facebook) of love and appreciation for our childhood friendship which I hope she may have heard before her death.  I checked her page regularly for any information.

When I discovered Heather had passed, a surprising feeling of pure energy swept through me, beginning at my fingertips and toes, running up my arms and legs, coming together in my chest and solar plexus, filling my heart with mixed feelings of sadness, love, and pure energy. I felt deeply alive and aware of my connection to Heather and all of life. The heightened awareness of this state stayed with me throughout the day.  As I write this now, remembering her, I have those feelings again – loss and sacred connection – silently, I recognize and honor them.

On the day Heather passed, as I sat with these feelings, I remember having a number of thoughts about my sense of connection.  I realized that it is due to my own therapeutic journey that I am able to recognize these feelings as an expression of a force which connects me deeply, unconsciously, with all human beings.

I had a deep sense of connection to Heather and her passing even though I hadn’t seen her in over 20 years.  Sacred moments can be passed over easily. In my busy life, I can dismiss the eternal messages of love, compassion and connection that daily surround me.   I could have chosen not to follow her progress over the last few years.  I could have noted her death with disappointment, but dismissed my bodily sensations and told myself I shouldn’t feel “this way.”  I could have observed her death as sad, but not really felt the true loss which this experience holds for me – a young woman dying too soon from cancer.  But the therapeutic journey has changed me.

One of the greatest gifts of depth and process-oriented psychotherapy, for me, is the ability to live life feeling more deeply connected.  This connectedness occurs on a variety of different levels. It begins to grow with a personal sense of connection to one’s true self, based on acceptance, compassion and wholeness, instead of guilt, shame or criticism.  This relationship and attitude to self can also extend to a larger sense of connection with others and helps us to be more accepting, compassionate and whole in relationships.  Finally, a deep sense of connection starts to take hold as an awareness of one’s connection to the world as a whole – an awareness of our eternal connectedness, one that runs deeply through time and space, and can give the feeling of oneness with all.

My personal therapeutic journey has brought me to a place where I am more deeply aware of my connection to all of life, even those, like Heather, who I have not seen in years.  For me, the process of being in therapy is not only scientific and psychological.  Its effects run deeper and are more mysterious than I could have imagined.

If you are interested in psychotherapy as a journey toward the gift of openness and connection, contact LifeWorks to learn more about depth therapy and process –oriented psychology.