Meeting our Ghosts: Coming to terms with the Lost, Left, & Lingering Voices

Updated: Oct 27

As halloween draws near & many of us enjoy the season with ghost stories & haunting tales I thought it timely to talk about the ghosts that haunt our psyche. In particular how do we address the pain & confusion of those who left us without closure, conversation, or even a word of goodbye?


At some point in our lives all of us will lose someone we care about. These endings often come with grief, disorientation, & confusion. There are those goodbyes that are final, the death of a loved one for example & those that haunt us in their lack of finality - an unrequited love, a withdrawn family member, a friend who stops connecting for no apparent reason.


After such loss it is common for an apparition of the person to haunt us - a superimposed vision created from our fears, beliefs, hurts, & confusion. Much like the monsters we saw in the dark as kids - these frightful visions dissipate in the light. In our presence, kindness, & humility we can meet our ghosts & even come to terms with our emotions & beliefs. What we discover in such an exorcism is that though grief & sadness may linger they also imbue a sense of empathy, shared humanity & character that gives strength to our person & our voice.


Below I guide you through simple steps of meeting your ghosts & creating the space to reconcile with that which may still haunt you. This is a process that requires great kindness, & care. Please be gentle with yourself & your heart as your light makes it’s way through the darkness.


Slow Unveiling

Coming to terms with our ghosts - these strong & often complex situations takes time. It happens in layers. As we mature & evolve our ability to shed old ideas into new understanding happens organically - not to be rushed or drawn out by our will.


Patience is the greatest gift we can give ourselves. When there is an agenda to ‘fix’ to just ‘let it go’ or ‘get over it’ the aversion itself perpetuates our suffering. Sometimes this desire to fix shows up as a ongoing anxious rumination - our mind relentlessly analyzes in an attempt to ‘do’ something to fix the problem. But this doing is itself a ghost - a mind grappling with it’s inability to control.


When you notice this take a deep breath, acknowledge the agenda, the desire to fix & let it be there & be witnessed. Remind yourself;


“I am willing to go slow & to be patient & kind with myself, even here”

Write a letter (or many letters)

Writing letters is an incredible way to recognize what’s inside of us that longs to be said, seen, & understood. These letters are written for our own self understanding - not be sent but to be used as way uncover what lingers beneath the surface.


If you notice you are writing in a way that seeks to manage or manipulate the other person’s imagined response acknowledge it & continue writing. This aspect of self awareness is also part of the process.


Try the following prompts;

Dear_______


I feel angry that ….

I feel frustrated that…

I resent….

I hate that you…


I am so sad that…

It hurt when you…

It hurt when I…

I am so scared that…

I’m afraid of…

I wish that you…

I want you to know…

I want…

I am so sorry I…

I am embarrassed that I…

I wish that I….

I am grateful that…

I appreciate that…

I understand that…

Thank you for…

I forgive you for…

(And then for you)

I will take care of myself by…

I forgive myself for…

When you complete your letter walk away. Sometimes one letter is all you need to find a sense of clarity & sometimes you may write letters for years. It’s not about the quantity but about giving yourself the space to appreciate & meet your experience & voice.

Space for You & Connect to Others

When we begin to excavate the ghosts in our psyche there is a fine balance between care & obsession. Sometimes we ruminate over the smaller aspects of a scenario (i.e. Why didn’t he say….) as a way of avoiding the larger picture (i.e. accepting a break up). Other times our attempt to ‘heal’ may become obsessive to the point that we lose touch with the rest of our world.


One of my teachers, the late Diego Palm, once said to me as he described ceremony - “Sometimes we need to be in our process & sometimes we need to hold the space - the important thing is not to spend too much time in one or the other”


This applies to our personal reconciliations as well. When we decide to meet our ghosts it’s important we do so in a way that is balanced with our lives - to both take the time to meet this process & take time away from it.


Whether your tendency is to obsess or avoid it can be helpful to set a specific time parameter around intentional time for processing & integration. For example, you may want to set aside an hour a day to take care of yourself as you process a new or more intense grief or you may be set aside one 30 min period to address that nagging situation that’s been on your mind.

During this time turn off all distractions & intentionally work through the process. Use the letter above, go for a walk, journal or meditate. Meet this time in a way that best serves your needs & disposition.


When the time is over walk away & do something pleasant. Connect with friends & family, play with animals, go look at art, laugh, volunteer do anything that connects you to the world around. This time is not about your process but about connecting, helping, & engaging with the world.

The Light of Time

When we allow ourselves to meet our ghosts - the apparitions that have been created around those we’ve lost - we find not only clarity in the situation but perhaps a deepened sense of purpose & understanding. By turning inwards & intentionally bringing awareness to these ‘ghosts’ we learn that things are rarely as scary as we make them. It’s not always easy but with practice we find more ease bringing light into the darkness & may take take comfort in knowing that this light is always with us.

As humans we have an inalienable gift of evolution & the capacity to move towards growth. When an encounter, however painful, becomes the catalyst for transformation we may in time find that that which once haunted us is now held in clarity & with appreciation.



About the Author Amy Thiessen is a coach, writer, & musician who focuses on helping others find & express a their voice with resonance. Her unique approach works with the wholistic mechanism of voice utilizing somatic awareness, psychology, mindfulness, spiritual practice, & vocal techniques of toning & song.


Want help to overcome & understand your perfectionist tendencies? Book a free consultation to see if In Resonance Coaching is right for you.

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