Face your darkness, loss or life change. When we face our darkness–instead of feeling terrorized by it–you will discover liberation, no longer bound by your doubts and fears. Liberating yourself will unleash within you a deep reservoir of strength and resiliency.
In this series called “5 Things You Need To Heal After a Dramatic Loss Or Life Change,” we are interviewing successful people who were able to heal after a difficult life change such as the loss of a loved one, loss of a job, or other personal hardships. We are also talking to Wellness experts, Therapists, and Mental Health Professionals who can share lessons from their experience and research.
As a part of this interview series, I had the pleasure of interviewing Ariela HaLevi.
Ariela HaLevi is the Co-Founder and Director of Healing at Soul Centered, a spiritual center for meaning, purpose and healing for people in the Afternoon of life, midlife and beyond. Ariela holds a Masters in Social Work, is a shamanic energy practitioner, ancestral and past life healer, emotional release healer, Reiki Master, yoga instructor and holistic health practitioner. Ariela has guided countless women through energy healing, profound personal transformation, and healing deep wounds that get to the root causes of suffering and transform that suffering into physical, emotional and spiritual freedom.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we start, our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your childhood backstory?
As a child, there was a hole inside of me, a missing piece that made me feel hollow and unworthy. I was sensitive and emotional in a world that told me to be quiet, stuff down my emotions and be seen and not heard. A rupture in my family only enhanced this unworthiness, and I spent years pretending, lost, and felt vacant inside. I learned that in order to pretend to fit in, I could ignore my body, and use my nervous system as a watchdog to make sure I was being who everyone wanted me to be. I also learned that life and adults were unpredictable, so I trained my nervous system to be unassuming and agreeable. This worked for everyone–but me.
I found my magic and my true nature in animals, mountains and rivers and trees. Being in nature allowed me to relax my nervous system and listen to the soul whisperings and intuitive wisdom that I came into this world with. In this relaxed state, I found my magic. I would connect and talk to animals, feel their thoughts and their heart. I loved being outside and felt my body and energy relax and open up in a way that I never could do when I was inside. In nature, I heard the whisperings of my heart, and felt my voice fill with so much power, that it often scared me! In nature and with animals, I was finally safe. I wasn’t conscious of the dichotomy of opening and closing depending on where I was in the world, but as I grew older, I felt that memory arise as I began to harness my voice and allow the Divine healing wisdom to flow through me.
As I got older, I learned to cover up my inner insecurities with my outer successes, building a beautiful life, marrying my soulmate, raising four amazing children, supporting, guiding and leading large groups of people to spirituality, soul purpose, and embodiment. As I came into my empowered voice, I also healed a long time relationship with body dysmorphia and the hole that was inside of me finally filled with love and light of my own worthiness.
I now know that what I was missing in my life was my soul. I was missing Spirit. I was missing the knowing that I was a divine soul and worthy of love. What I intuited since childhood, was this small, still deep inner voice inside of me, that needed to come alive. This was my soul, my divine feminine wisdom that didn’t know how to truly live in this physical body I was given.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
I’ve always said, “Heal your roots, feel your feelings, transform your future.”
It wasn’t until I intuitively explored my family’s history and patterns, did I open to the realization that if I could connect to my wise and healed ancestors, they could help me heal my origins. From there, I have worked with countless ancestors of my own to help them heal in the afterlife, which has truly transformed my own life. Ancestral healing has also taught me the importance of being responsible for my own healing. We can’t blame our issues solely on what has been passed down and unhealed. We may not have created our ancestral patterns, but we are responsible for healing them. When we feel our emotions, and express what is repressed, we free our bodies from these patterned behaviors, and in turn, have better health, enhanced connections to ourselves, our souls and the Divine.
I am also a big believer in what the shamans believe about healing our future: when we take our healing in our own hands, and become our own healer, we can positively influence and help heal seven generations down the line. That always inspires me as a mom of four children!
You have been blessed with much success. In your opinion, what are the top three qualities that you possess that have helped you accomplish so much? If you can, please share a story or example for each.
- Authenticity: I always felt like the black sheep of my family because I needed truth and honesty. I have never been someone that pushes things away or hides from the truth. This has not always been an easy process, but it has served me very well in my business and in my relationships. I am a truth seeker, searching for shadows and hidden meanings, and bringing darkness to the light in order to learn and grow from it. I believe when we bring what’s hidden to the light, it brings us closer to who we truly are and what our divine purpose is here on Earth. From this belief, I am very open to ways in which my business has its own divine light and path, and I learn and grow from it daily.
- Intuition: We all have a strong intuition, but it’s like a muscle; if you build it, it gets bigger and stronger. I uncovered my childhood intuition and wisdom and have used this gift in all of my sessions, groups and teachings, following the guidance of Spirit and trusting the synchronistic messages that I receive daily. I love calming my body, and inviting the Divine into my body and soul, asking my guides and angels for help and guidance, and then surrendering to the answers and flow in my life. Intuition is very inline with Divine guidance, which we find when we have a deep compassion and love for ourselves and our lives.
- Trust: I feel this is one of the most important qualities anyone can possess because it takes some work to get here. For so many years, I didn’t trust my voice, my intuition, the Divine and life. I overworked, overparented, and felt overwhelmed with everything I did. I succeeded, but at a high price to my nervous system. It wasn’t until I was willing to heal my patterns and ancestral history that I really began to trust in my own worthiness and my empowered voice. This has helped me immensely in my business and my own life, and what has morphed from it is a co-creation with the Divine. I now trust that I am not alone in this journey of life and the more I relax into my body, and my nervous system, the more the Divine leads me to the highest good for me.
Let’s now shift to the main part of our discussion about ‘Healing after Loss’. Do you feel comfortable sharing with our readers about your dramatic loss or life change?
Yes. Below is my story of what I call a soul storm, because my entire soul was lost at sea, and I was the only one that could save my soul when my mom died.
I had a soul storm. It was much bigger than a midlife crisis. Midlife and beyond are full of changes and losses. I had a full-blown soul storm that left me crawling on my knees, bloodied and beaten to the ground. I unraveled nine years ago when my mom was diagnosed with a rare adrenal cancer. I face planted into the stages of grief six years before she actually lost her life. I lost my mom the day she was diagnosed. She dove into her illness, and it consumed her body, her spirit and her mind. I dove into the depths of despair and my own midlife unraveling, convinced that if I lived my dreams and remained positive, I wouldn’t lose my mom. I even picked up my family of six and moved us all to a mountain top in the Israeli mountains, determined that I was going to survive and thrive through this soul storm. But no one prepared me for 2018, the soul wrenching year of terror, grief and the unknown. Your mom is supposed to prepare you for times like these, but my mom checked out years ago.
In January 2018, my father had a heart attack, was rushed to the hospital, and had open heart surgery. While he underwent the surgery of his life, my mom was dying for the sixth time that year, in a different hospital, so my sister and I spent our time running from one hospital to the other for over a week. That April, while my mom lay dying in yet another hospital bed for the seventh time that year, my step-father died suddenly in his bed. He was not found for two days and was surrounded by his loving dogs that were frantically trying to save him. Imagine the immense sadness of telling your mom that her husband of 30 years is dead, while she lay dying simultaneously somewhere else.
It was then that my family and I decided to move back to the states to be closer to our family. Two weeks later, my mom died a long and painful death, fighting tooth and nail the entire way. My grief, my year of loss, and honestly, my childhood stood before my eyes. I sang my mom to her death, surrounded by angels and the spirit of her loving father. I watched my mom pass from this life to the next, grateful I had witnessed such a presence of God in such a tragic, sad and anger filled death. I lost my mom. My mom. How does someone you love so much, wilt away right before your eyes? I knew God held her in her arms, even if she refused to believe in a God that would take her too soon. I knew she was safe and finally out of torturous pain.
My pain felt torturous. It was like someone popped a balloon inside my nervous system and unfurled immense sadness, loss, grief, tears and anger. I cried hot tears of intense pain, intense relief from the past six years, and deep disbelief. My pain curled into me, brought me to my knees in the middle of stop lights. I could finally breathe because my mom was gone. I didn’t have to worry anymore about her. And yet, I was left with this raw, free falling terror that I have never ever known before. It was like falling without a safety net. I fell and fell and was never sure who or what would pick me up. My anger, sadness, and pure exhaustion were like a roller coaster, never knowing when it would stop.
This tsunami had one more wave to roll over me. It was three months later that my husband and I decided it was time for us to seriously get our son help. We made the painful decision to place him in a therapeutic boarding school for one year. This last act of 2018 was the nail in the coffin of grief. It was looking into the eye of the storm and getting knocked over by the waves and water taking over my body. It was darkness and fear like I have never known, compiled with loss and sadness from my other losses.
But these soul storms were also my light. I was being called to heal old, childhood wounds that continued to haunt me until I dug them out of the closet. I was shown the light through the darkness and found a profound awakening inside of me. The more I embraced my shadows, cried my tears, and felt all of my emotions, the more I found deep healing. The more I was willing to sit with these different parts of me, the more I felt connected and in a deep relationship with the Divine. I discovered this scared little girl inside of me, longing for a mother and terrified she couldn’t get through these life challenges without her. But what I found was the Divine Mother, opening her arms to me, and inviting me to rest. I discovered that my healing was a free falling without a net, but also a deep healing of old and new wounds that brought me more joy and light than I have ever known. For the first time in my life, because of 2018, I found my home. She is me, all of me: my grief, my losses, my pain, my joys and my light.
What was the scariest part of that event? What did you think was the worst thing that could happen to you?
It’s funny because you would think that the scariest part of all of my losses would be the actual losses themselves. I knew I could get through them. I had the tools, inside and outside of me, and I knew how to move through my grief. I also have been cultivating a relationship to myself, my soul, and the Divine since I was 25 years old. I relied heavily on this relationship and watched it go even deeper as 2018 progressed.
I think the scariest thing for me was dying without expressing the music inside of me. Wayne Dyer, the king of the self help and motivational movement, said, “Don’t die with your music still inside of you.” I have been on a spiritual path since my mid 20s, but it wasn’t until I turned 40 that I really understood that the Divine message of life is to honor and heal both our shadows and our light. I realized that I needed to express what was repressed inside of my body to truly live. After you witness so many traumas and death itself, it invites you to really live your soul purpose and heal the old beliefs and wounds that are preventing you from living that truth.
How did you react in the short term?
Living on a mountain top in Israel, stripped of most of my comforts in America, I learned that you cannot take anything with you when you die except your soul. Everything else is left behind. And within that soul is all the healing, love and light of your lifetime, and lifetimes before this one.
So, as these storms were happening, I used my meditation practice and shaman practices of talking aloud to the Divine, healing old wounds that arose, practicing truth and authenticity, and soaking in the silence around me. I also learned to receive and sought out healers that did similar work as me, healing ancestral wounds and childhood wounds that arose as well. I learned from that silence, my soul needed to sit and be still as much as I could while parenting four children, and listen to that still small voice within.
After the dust settled, what coping mechanisms did you use?
After the dust settled in 2019, I noticed that I stopped fighting life like I used to. I used to force and control situations from lack of trust in myself and the Divine, and people. After the dust settled, I had nowhere to go but up. I began to surrender to life around me. When I found myself forcing life again, and trying to get my way, I pulled back and remembered to breathe into each present moment. Being in each moment means that we don’t get to choose which moment we are present inside of. I didn’t know if my son would be ok, and I honestly didn’t know if he would see another day! That present moment awareness was one of the most painful moments of my lifetime. But I allowed it to be here, and I opened to each and every emotion that presented itself to me.
A lot of anxiety and fear would fall away when I was willing to sit with it. I often found that when I ran from my emotions, they got bigger and more scary. But if I really faced my deepest and darkest fears, they fell away, and I could reconnect to Spirit and my soul, which is where peace resides.
Can you share with us how you were eventually able to heal and “let go” of the negative aspects of that event?
I don’t feel that when we have big events, we ever fully let go of them. We move through layers of healing, and the pain isn’t as raw–but we don’t just let go. Healing happens in waves.
I am not sure I can ever “let go” of my mom’s last breath, or the song we sang to her in her final days. But I have found deep forgiveness and love for my mom, when in reality, our relationship was wrought with unspoken pain–even in her death. So, I have opened to communication with my mom from the other side. Everyone has the ability to continue the bonds and repair and connect with their loved ones on the other side. This healing process with my mom from the other side has helped me let go of the darker moments of her dying. I also have been willing to heal the patterns and behaviours that have been passed down to me through my mom’s lineage. This has immensely helped my healing process.
Aside from letting go, what did you do to create an internal, emotional shift to feel better?
In my own healing practice and with my clients, we embark on a journey through the body to heal and feel our emotions. Our bodies hold the emotions, traumas, wounds that are unprocessed. They are stored inside the body until we are able or willing to unpack the feelings and face our wounds. When we feel an emotion and really let ourselves open fully to it, our body can release it and let it go. Many people have unexplained illnesses, and chronic pain that hold their emotions and wounds, unprocessed and hidden from the light.
I created an internal, emotional shift by what I call The Elevator. Starting at the top floor, I invited the most surface emotion to come up and fully be felt. Then we go down each level, exploring and expressing what is deeper than the previous level. Finally, when all emotions are felt, there is an internal and external peace (some call this Source) that feels healing and expansive to all parts of us. In this peace, we can see that the emotions are just placeholders for our true healing. When we find this peace, healing from within can truly be felt. From here, we invite all the people involved in this grief, wound or trauma to dialogue with us–using our imagination and visualization–expressing all the unsaid emotions and things we couldn’t say. We allow Source to be our mentor and guide us through this process. There is deep forgiveness in this work, and most people find answers to questions they never imagined they could find.
Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to cope and heal? Can you share a story about that?
I am grateful for my spiritual mentors for guiding me and holding me in the container of healing. From this container, I used my year of grief to unpack old ancestral and past life wounds that haunted me my entire life. My healers helped me commit to a path of communication with these ancestors and help heal their old wounds that have kept my family in negative patterns for years. This healing has moved me into the place of trust in myself, being my own parent, and standing in my own empowered voice. I am forever grateful for my healers and believe everyone needs outside guidance through hard times.
Were you able to eventually reframe the consequences and turn it into a positive situation? Can you explain how you did that?
I really believe that we all have a deep connection to our ancestors to help us on our journey in life. I was able to look at my family as a gift, and see the patterns and old behaviors that have been passed down to me as opportunities to remember to live in alignment with my soul purpose. When I started to connect to my ancestors, I began to fill myself with such deep gratitude for all they went through, and it really helped me to stop blaming them for their mistakes and see them as human.
What did you learn about yourself from this very difficult experience? Can you please explain with a story or example?
I think our culture is quick to ditch our bloodlines and separate ourselves from our families because they are toxic or don’t share our values–or they’re just too hurtful. Now, of course, there are times to cut ties with abusive family members, but it is a common theme in our culture to cut ties and not look back. In other cultures, ancestors are revered and people create altars with their loved ones’ pictures, honoring them and revering them for their lives. I found that through my mom’s death, it opened me to what she went through and how the patterns from her side of the family really affected her. This helped me to create a genogram, a family tree, to explore the resources and ruptures that were passed down through generations and how those patterns affected me. This has changed my healing process and also how I parent because I take responsibility for my own healing. I also know that when I choose to heal, my children will be better for it.
Fantastic. Here is the main question of our interview. Based on your experiences and knowledge, what advice would you give others to help them get through a difficult life challenge? What are your “5 Things You Need To Heal After a Dramatic Loss Or Life Change? Please share a story or example for each.
1. Face your darkness, loss or life change. When we face our darkness–instead of feeling terrorized by it–you will discover liberation, no longer bound by your doubts and fears. Liberating yourself will unleash within you a deep reservoir of strength and resiliency.
2. Feel your emotions. It’s time to befriend our emotions, our bodies and befriend what hurts. So often we sweep what hurts us under the rug and allow it to hide in our bodies. This can be in the form of traumas, old hurts, wounds, illnesses, stress, anxiety, and depression. But life is wrought full of T’s: transitions, traumas, trials and even tragedies. At some point, life calls us to feel in order to heal from these T’s and the wounds they bring up from our earlier years and experiences. When emotions arise, I invite you to bring all of your awareness to an area in the body that is protecting and holding that emotion. Flood these emotions and your body with acceptance and love. Allowing it all and accepting it all. Let it know the emotion is allowed to be here. Close your eyes and breathe in and accept it all. Give yourself permission to feel and heal and find this beautiful freedom on the other side of your tears, rage and fears. This is your soul’s calling.
3. Align yourself with Source. Aligning with Source energy means that at any given moment, we can truly know that we are not doing this life alone. Calling upon the wisdom of Source is like having a partner in life that knows exactly the answers you are looking for. Aligning also means to live in balance and harmony and surrender with what life is bringing to you right now. Fighting life is a losing battle. Surrendering, even in the hardest of times, is asking Source to be there for us.
4. Healing is your responsibility. Choosing to heal from difficult times is your responsibility. When we take healing into our own hands, and stop playing victim to our lives, then life aligns with us to help us heal from even the most difficult of times.
5. Be a spark seeker. Even in the darkest of times, we can discover the shards of light within the darkness. When we face a shattering, there are also openings, beginnings and possibilities. Of course, we would never ask for shatterings, but seeking the light within the darkness is a mystical and magical experience that can teach us so much about ourselves and how to move forward.
You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be?
My life goal–and some of that I have already lived–is to create a spiritual center where all spiritual seekers are welcome to support, love and learn from each other. I love this new change on our planet because we are opening to a non-hierarchical way of living. No one person is your guru, pastor or rabbi. We are all one and my goal is to create a center for spiritual seekers to support and connect to Source energy and share this oneness.
We are very blessed that some very prominent names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US with whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this if we tag them. 🙂
I am so inspired by so many people! I would definitely have a conversation with Lee Harris. He is a globally acclaimed Energy Intuitive and Transformation Teacher who offers grounded, practical teachings focused on helping conscious, intuitive, and sensitive people heal, thrive and live a better life! He is down to earth, a life changing role model, and I love that he helps sensitive people heal. I also love the different opportunities he offers to be a part of his community.
How can our readers further follow your work online? Your readers can follow me on
Thank you so much for sharing these important insights. We wish you continued success and good health!