Soul Retrieval: Healing Grief of a Different Kind
Reclaiming an aspect of yourself that was left behind.
The term soul retrieval is best known in reference to Shamanism, an ancient tradition that believes we lose a part of ourselves (part of our soul) in response to trauma. Sandra Ingerman, an author on the subject, writes, “The basic premise is whenever we experience trauma, a part of our vital essence separates from us in order to survive the experience by escaping the full impact of the pain.”
I’m using “soul retrieval” a bit differently in this article. The loss that I’m discussing can occur with or without trauma. In the story I use in this article to portray soul retrieval, there was no trauma as the root cause of the loss. It was merely unfortunate circumstances that influenced a teenager to make a choice that held a subtle yet long-term impact on his life.
In this story and the analysis that follows, I’ll be discussing the aspect of losing a part of ourselves that leaves us not feeling fully whole without it. Quite often, we live our lives feeling this void, either consciously or unconsciously, yet never recognizing the impact it’s having on our lives.
I use the word “soul” because I believe our soul is our whole self. The subject of this piece is about losing some aspect of who we are that deprives us from feeling whole. Yet this is a human condition only. Nothing happens to our soul, our higher self—whole self—in the spiritual dimension. Rather, we lose touch with an aspect of our whole self during our human lifetime, although it is always retrievable. The key to retrieving it is having the awareness that the void (grief) exists and then knowing how to reclaim what was lost.
I’ll begin with a story and finish with some steps you can take to bring yourself back to wholeness.