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.

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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.

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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.

Photographer: Kristina Saint