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The Short Version: Melody Chardon understands the surprising ways that grief can disrupt our lives, and the experiences she’s endured in her life and relationships have made her a more effective coach. In her DiamondLight Leadership practice, she helps clients deal with their lingering grief and trauma — no matter how long they may have been holding on to their troubles. Rather than focusing on the adage that “time heals all wounds,” Melody offers clients strategies to work through their issues. She takes pride in giving them tools that they can use for years to come.
Melody Chardon, of DiamondLight Leadership in Calgary, Alberta, understands firsthand the impact of unresolved trauma. Her divorce was predicated by a number of distressing events that affected her partnership.
“I went to a grief coaching workshop where I learned how incomplete grievances within the relationship had gotten in both of our ways,” she said. “One of those was a miscarriage I had between my two daughters. Neither my husband or I had the tools to deal with it, so it became a wedge in our marriage.”
Even though she knew the marriage was over, Melody continued to stay with her husband for five years. One of the death knells of the partnership, she said, was the couple’s ineffective communication.
“It took me five years to leave my marriage,” she said. “But I eventually left because I was unhappy with who I had become in the relationship and our unhealthy marriage.”
One of her issues was quite common for couples: Unresolved grievances. She explains that many people in partnerships don’t recognize grief if it doesn’t fit into specific categories. However, the concept of grief is much more expansive.
“Grief is usually thought of as death or divorce,” she said. “But if we use the word grievance, people get it. People hang onto resentment, disappointment, judgment, and expectations, too.”
When people fail to acknowledge their grief and work through it, they risk not only spoiling their current relationships but also bringing negative patterns into their subsequent unions.
“When people repeat a cycle of bad relationships, I want them to consider: ‘Who are you in the relationship?’” Melody said. “What are you bringing to it? And what are you carrying forward from old relationships?”
Melody focuses primarily on coping with loss, whether that loss is unexpected or has been years in the making. She promises to help clients make peace and move forward with useful strategies, and believes that starts with love.
One of her favorite quotes comes from Sophocles: “One word frees us of all the weight and pain of life: That word is love.” Her goal is to equip clients with strategies for eliminating their long-standing issues so they can bring love back into their lives.
“I make it easier for them to open up and share, and I take them there more quickly,” Melody said. “I show my clients how to let go, and move on.’”
The wide variety of experiences that Melody deals with include the end of relationships, loss of health, or significant lifestyle changes.
Melody practices the Grief Recovery Method which suggests ways of moving on from a devastating event. The method suggests that familiar adages like, “Time Heals All Wounds” and “Be Strong” are myths. In fact, they’re counterproductive to healing. The strategy even helps individuals who have held onto feelings of loss for years finally heal.
Most clients’ problems stem from them not knowing how to move on from angst— especially if common tropes about remedying regret fail them.
Melody says: “Just like a diamond in nature is formed by pressure and upheaval we become more resilient and brilliant with the emotional upheaval that comes in when life changes.”
Melody also offers workshops to help people reach their goal of living a successful life after suffering through loss. The workshops are in addition to her personalized sessions that dig deeper into her clients’ patterns and behaviors they want to change.
“My sessions are tailored to the individual,” she said. “What’s most important to them? We use life as a curriculum. I let them know, if we don’t shift your patterns, they are going to repeat themselves in the future.”
Many of Melody’s clients want to move beyond their circumstances so they can experience more fruitful partnerships.
“I often work with women in transition. At a certain point, we all start to question why we’re here and what we’re doing,” she said. “When kids get older, moms have more time. If they’ve been married and divorced and devoted much of their time to kids, as I did, they have to get out there and reinvent themselves and reconnect with who they are.”
For these women, and others wanting to better understand what they want from relationships, Melody offers Love and Life Coaching. This type of coaching focuses on moving on after grief or a traumatic experience. The question that directs a client’s process is: “What is my life about and what is possible for me now?”
Melody uses a straightforward approach while working with clients to answer that question.
“I’m pretty direct. I call out what I see and hear, she said. “But I’m also very loving and compassionate. I create a safe space for people very quickly.”
She talked about one of her clients who she helped move past the trauma of his first romantic relationship.
“He was 18, and it was his first heartbreak. He had been in a serious relationship, they were expecting a child, and she miscarried,” Melody said. “He had a lot of things going on at that time, but it all boiled down to that relationship, and he couldn’t resolve or reconcile what happened.”
With Melody’s strategies, he overcame his feelings of sadness and eventually resolved his ideas about the failed relationship. In turn, he became more engaged with his life, and Melody said he was offered a professional hockey contract six months later because he was more focused and quicker on the ice.
Like in her own marriage, Melody knows that the right path forward isn’t just staying with a romantic partner no matter the cost. She offers another example of a client she helped break free from a bad situation.
“One woman’s husband was having an affair, and he wanted to separate,” she said. “Everything was wrapped up in that relationship. They even had a business together, and she didn’t know who she was or how to manage her life afterward. But, ultimately, she went on to find a true relationship, one that was right for her.”
Melody finds her work most satisfying when her clients implement her strategies over the long term, like one client she has helped with many issues over the years.
“He’s still using the tools that I taught him. It shows sustainable change and long-term results. He’s called me when challenges arise in his life, and it’s easy to bring him back,” she said. “My favorites are the ones who are open, want the change, and want to do the work.”
“When people really get it, they have those aha moments; I get full-body goosebumps. I love sharing what I’ve learned, and learning from them, as well.” — Melody Chardon, DiamondLight Leadership
When her clients flourish after working through their struggles, Melody reaps the benefits.
“It makes me feel alive. When people really get it, they have those aha moments; I get full-body goosebumps. I love sharing what I’ve learned, and learning from them, as well,” she said.
But even more satisfying for Melody is when she can help someone who, in turn, helps others.
“I worked with a teacher who was separating, and it was quite a messy thing,” she said. “She had two kids of her own, and all the work we did together, she took into the classroom. When people take care of their emotional business, it has a ripple effect on everyone.”