By: Lindsay Quella Kara and Jeremy Renta
At the end of my Saturn return (age 28) I experienced a cataclysmic event that changed my life. A relationship ended with someone I had loved deeply- my best friend at the time and former husband.
I didn’t have a framework for this kind of event. It was unfathomable… initially. To fully describe to you the depth of that process… we’d have to get dinner and a movie, many times. But I experienced a turning point in the process that forever changed my life. I’d like to share it here. I now refer to it as the anniversary of my rebirth.
It was early Spring, the time of year in Colorado that feels like Winter’s hangover. The fluctuations of cold freezes followed by attempts plants made to grow mirrored the hollow loneliness I felt, equally matched by my dreams of a new beginning.
I came to a point in my process, after art, after long runs, after many sessions with professionals and many sessions with friends… that I wanted to create a visual representation of my process. I wanted to see my pain- to have a way of acknowledging how lost I felt while also reminding myself of my worth. In the depths of winter, I felt like I had experienced a death. I was ready to round the wheel, to open to rebirth.
I embarked on a weekend in Arizona with a specific mission in mind. I was going to do a grief shoot- a name I coined to describe a photoshoot about pain, about death, about loss, about the feeling of being lost, the feeling of dust and ashes. Thankfully, I was not alone. As I conceptualized the space I wanted held, my cousin, her tribe, and an incredibly talented photographer within the tribe waited to receive me.
That weekend was a blur of awakening. I tried yoga for the first time. I tried Reiki for the first time. And I let myself be photographed while I sobbed my eyes out, releasing the dreams of a relationship that had died. I began the shoot in my wedding dress, feeling the loss in every fiber of my being. Then I took it off and threw it on the ground, in joy and anguish crying out, “I don’t need it anymore.” As I stripped away layers of hopes, layers of expectations, years of memories and the life I had known, I settled into the dirt. I felt Pachamama rise to hold me. I sunk my fingers and toes into the earth, intuitively brushing it all over my body. And suddenly, I felt a shift. A wave of energy, this beautiful, healing, accepting energy enveloped my body. I was filled with bliss. I was filled with new life. I was reborn.
I left the shoot-which had been no longer than an hour and a half- changed. I left that weekend, which had been filled with lots of ordinary moments of good food, laughter, and conversation… changed.
In fact, my experience was so profound that it set off a sequence of events that propelled the rest of the year, allowing me to rebuild, to grow, to evolve, to release my need for certainty and open up to wonder.
My experiences of death and rebirth have shaped who I am today. They have informed who I am as a healer, as a coach, and as a guide. They have inspired the vision for what I want my clients to experience. At times in life, we do die. Just because it’s not a physical death does not mean it’s any less real. The hope I wish to offer is that for me, in my life, death has always been followed by rebirth. A new starting point. A chance to begin again.
Lindsay Quella Kara is a Licensed Professional Counselor. Lindsay is co-owner of Voice Hands Heart, an integrative healing practice in Boulder, CO.