“When an ex-boyfriend decided to take his own life as I vacationed in Hawaii with my family for the holidays, loss knocked the wind straight out of my body and brought me to my knees—literally. I was talking to a detective on the phone in my mom’s garage in the middle of the night, and trying not to wake everyone up with my shocked, heartbroken tears.
I remember that moment so clearly, because it was the moment I cracked open. Pieces of me went missing. Some of them permanently. Everything about me, my life, my business, and my path changed in that single instant. In ways I wouldn’t understand for years to come. In ways that would test and challenge me more than anything ever has.
In the aftermath of this traumatic event, my brain began deteriorating rapidly—to the point that I couldn’t put my own life story in order, let alone remember what I did the day before. I would sit in front of my computer and just cry, because I couldn’t remember half the clients on my list, nor could I remember how to code websites—something I’d been doing well and often for years. I had PTSD and it was bad. When I couldn’t handle one more day, I asked a friend and mentor if he could help. We immediately scheduled a healing process and, after two incredibly intense and painful hours, I woke up the next day with most of my memory and the ability to work again.
During this experience, I learned that this particular process worked with the philosophical concept of The Void. In other words, the idea that all of the good stuff we’re seeking exists just beyond a pocket of nothingness—that terrifying space of unknown, darkness, and depth we’re often too afraid to explore, because it can feel like we’re actually dying. It’s by moving through this pocket that we connect with what we’re seeking: truth, peace, love, purpose, trust, faith, source, and divine wisdom. In my life personally, it proved to be everything in creating what I desire. In healing. In finding purpose. In knowing who I am and who I’m becoming.
Around this time, I was also introduced to The Hero’s Journey, a narrative pattern created by Joseph Campbell. It consists of 12 core steps and three essential phases that are the basis of every myth, story, book, or movie. The Hero’s Journey also works with this concept of the void—that moment we cross the threshold into the deep underbelly of our journey (or “adventure”) and face death and rebirth, we are called to grow in truly challenging and life-changing ways.
The Hero’s Journey began to serve as a framework for how to truly rise up and come back from the most awful, heartbreaking chapter of my life. It was the missing piece I needed to finally choose to pull myself out of the grips of grief, to do the healing work, and to understand the purpose of the path I was walking. And not just “everything happens for a reason and one day you’ll see all the good and gifts and blah blah blah…” It was a key that not only served my own healing and recovery, but made clear what was next for me in every area of my life. It served as a much-needed map in a confusing and chaotic time, filled with unknowns, and has brought me into a new season of living, as well as a whole new body of work.
Today, I guide my clients through the challenging process of re-orienting to their own lives, relationships, and work in a way that’s fully aligned with who they’ve become in the aftermath of loss, trauma, depression, and big life changes. Because I really do believe that the only way out is through.”
Stephenie Zamora, Author and Life Coach