freefall: valley of grief

I went off the rails recently. I dropped into a valley of grief so deep I was stunned by it. The precipitating factors were twofold: I’d just spent a number of days at the Art of Living Retreat Center in the mountains near Boone, NC. It’s a beautiful place, and I was surrounded by people of like minds and hearts and a delicious feeling of BEing and presence.

The second factor was the exceptional encounter I had with my entire little family in spirit as a result of a meditation there on the mountain. Mike, Billy and Boo. They all showed up and they were full of love, exuding happiness. Even writing this, I can again see in my mind’s eye how they looked: shimmering and luminescent. The way they appeared to me was so striking that I keep coming back to those words and seeing the three of them, all radiant and lustrous. And then they were gone and I was alone once more.

I floated around for a couple of days on the strength of that sacred place, the visit with my three loves, the power of Suzanne Giesemann’s retreat, and the several hundred wonderful souls who had gathered there. Then, as I was approaching Atlanta, returning to my (very happy) life, I started sinking, really feeling the fact of having been left behind. Again.

Sinking spells are pretty rare these days. That remarkable visit in meditation, though, marked the tenth anniversary of Mike’s death in 2012. Little Bill joined Mike a few years thereafter, and I am still actively missing Boo, gone now for 16 months. But most of my periods of melancholy now are like wispy clouds drifting across the sky rather than the massive thunderclouds of misery I lived with for years. The wisps are nearly always responsive to the many tools I now have to center and find balance again.

This one though, it was a beast. Nothing I could do shifted the energy to that peaceful, happy, flowing state I’m thankfully so used to now. I was doing what I know to do, feeling it, feeling it, FEELING IT, using my spiritual toolbox, and still no relief. It was a massive thing settled on my chest, immense and heavy and I couldn’t dislodge it. Not wisps, or even thunderclouds. It was a major storm system stalled out over my heart.

The intensity and sudden appearance of this thing was so surprising that I did something just about unprecedented. I asked for help. Ha! It’s a real monster if it could drive me to that. I am the helper, not the helpee, but ask I did.

The responses to my SOS from the group of nine of my soulfamily on a text thread were beautiful and supportive and so kind. I could say it all out loud to them, these people I trust implicitly: all I want to do is cry. I’m afraid I’m broken and I’m going to stay this way. Maybe all of the work I’ve done in healing isn’t real. And the biggest fear of all, the one that fueled the spiral: I’m scared that the intensity of this grief wave will prevent their ever coming back. That was the thing, the core of this immovable sorrow.

When the three of them came to me at the retreat, I was ecstatic. But what if the depth of this post-visit plunge keeps them away from future visits as a protective measure? “Let’s don’t upset her again. She’ll be here soon enough.” The thought was wretched.

It’s interesting in retrospect that I got so spun up in this. It was bad. I made it a thousand times worse with what I was saying to myself in my head. I know better! And isn’t that just how it goes? Wearing these human suits, we do things that aren’t helpful even when we know better, even when we know it could hurt.

So there it was, help from my friends, these beautiful souls wearing human suits for just a while. In phone calls and texts, they were loving, reassuring, encouraging. I talked to Raven Friday afternoon and she said she’d been feeling a bit of the same. I told her all of it, which lightened the load. My sweet Sandy texted to see if we could talk Saturday morning, and the angel, Jayne, high priestess of our little gang of ten, asked if she could do a healing Saturday afternoon.

Meanwhile, feeling lighter and more hopeful, I went for a bike ride. My thoughts were drifting and I was chatting with spirit at times. My eternal questions arose: “Are you really real? Are you really here? Why do I *still* sometimes have a hard time feeling your presence?” And always, “please show yourself, give me some kind of sign.” As I’m writing this now, I get the absolute nuttiness and full-blown humanness of that internal conversation.

Give me a sign? I have been walloped by some of the most remarkable, stunning, irrefutable and amazing mystical experiences, signs, wonders, and STEs. And still, I’m all “send me something!!!” like I’ve never had any of it. It’s good to know that I / we / all of us are so deeply loved that our human foibles are met with understanding (and, surely, much merriment) in the misty realms.

The street at the far end of the complex was empty until a little boy stepped out from between two cars. As he walked toward me, our eyes met and I instantly realized I could SEE him, the More-Than-A-Little-Boy-Him. His eyes were huge and dark, like Brenda’s were the Monday before she died, when I looked at her and saw not my friend, but the magnificence of her true self.

The little boy’s eyes were like that and it felt as if we were joined by some kind of electrical current passing between us. He maintained that eye contact, and then commenced a crooked little smile that grew enormous. You could only describe it as “knowing,” like the way you’d smile if you shared a scrumptious secret with another person. And then there was a jaunty wave of his hand, the “hey there” kind of wave you give someone you know across a crowded room. It looked and felt like, “yeah, here we are, and I see you too.”

It was riveting. Something not of this human world happened as we moved past one another. And then we were past and I was realizing that I’d been given a glimpse of his soul as a gift, arranged by my loved ones and guides and angels on the other side, just as I’d requested. “Hello, we really ARE here, even when you feel alone. We’re hiding in plain sight, masquerading as the neighbor, another driver, the clerk at the grocery store; your family members, cherished friends, an enemy. And yes, a little boy with electric eyes.”

Five minutes later, as I continued my ride, there was the boy again, and this time he was just a boy. He looked oddly flat compared to the first encounter, and there was nothing in his face, no recognition or even attention paid to me as I rode by where he was playing with his friends.

The difference was so striking, and the first experience with him so extraordinary, I found myself wondering if I could have imagined it? Did that boy’s soul really show itself to me? Writing this, I am overflowing with gratitude. I love this life, truly, because right then, as I began to have doubts, I rounded the corner on another street in the complex and one of the workmen who maintains the grounds here popped up from behind his truck. He looked directly at me, gave the same knowing smile, and rather than a wave, a nod. But it was there again in his big, shining eyes and the felt electricity of connection: “I see you and you see me. Trust.” Another confirmation.

We are all here ~ and Here ~ at once, together, always. It was wildly comforting to have that revealed for just a few moments in the eyes of strangers.

Sandy on Saturday gave me tremendous insights into where this was coming from (old stuff, of course, the never ending Old Faithful supply of opportunities for growth). She had suggestions, she had words of comfort from the highest realms. Relief. And some actions to take. 

And then Jayne sent me the results of her healing, and it was delicious. In addition to all that she did, her methods, and the beings who helped, there was this: “…Lynette’s chakras were beautifully open and moving in equal clockwise circles. You can tell Lynette is a meditator and very connected. I checked Lynette’s aura surrounding her body. Her aura felt clean and good.”

I was in good shape AND deep grief. 

I was crying AND my aura was clear.

This is such an affirmation for all of us. Hard times don’t mean we are broken or damaged. We are always whole even when we don’t feel like it. I am reminded that the first time I felt my husband’s touch, six months after his death, I was bereft, crying so hard I could barely breathe, and suddenly the warmth and pressure of a hand on my shoulder and even in my complete devastation, I could feel that it was him. I knew it.

I was devastated by grief AND connected.

Difficult times, just like joyful times, only mean that we are experiencing the fullness of what we came here for, what Suzanne calls L.I.F.E. ~ Love In Full Expression. None of us like the painful stuff and yet we’ve all had it. We will all have it going forward. Even now, some fresh hell is slouching our way. It’s the nature of this life.

But experiencing the difficult emotions is not a measure of who we are or our spiritual progress. Spiritual progress, living awake, it doesn’t mean that we will never again experience pain or struggles. Sometimes those feelings will flow on through and sometimes they’ll be snagged for a while.

The test for me is this: if (when) I get entangled in an emotional snag, can I refrain from judging, punishing, or criticizing myself? I don’t want freedom from feelings. I’ve noticed that it’s impossible to stuff one without stuffing all of them. What I want is freedom from the ugliness I dispense in response to what is absolutely human, natural, and the very experiences I came here for.

Through sadness, through tears (through rage, resentment, aloneness), I can ask, “what have you come to show me, to teach me and share with me?” In the contrast between the eternal light within and this world, there’s some kind of crazy magic that brings delight if I allow it.

Those famous words from the church peoples’ book remind me to “count it all joy.” And when I do that, I experience freedom. The tangles come undone, the snag releases me. I’m free.

_____________________

And some magic with this post even though it’s waaaaay too long already. I clicked over to FB for a moment and there’s this perfection from my never-met soul brother, Jeff Foster. His sacred words and the image of a lion, the marker of my friend Brenda’s presence. Grateful.

42 thoughts on “freefall: valley of grief

  1. I love you! Your light shines SOOOO bright! What a treasure and a gift you are to us, your fellow earthlings! Sending you MUCH love!

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  2. Thank you for sharing that. I now know it’s not just me that has deep despair, some times it’s a very deep valley to climb out of . Many thank lovely Lynette xx

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    1. Jacqueline, never just you (or me, or any of us). I think when we say it out loud, it helps somehow. We fall, we climb, we stumble. In our (silly ass) soul’s view, it’s all good, but holy cow, that is hard to stomach at times when we’re in it. Thanks for reading, and for your comment. Grateful for your honesty.

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  3. Your words are so timely.sending you soooo much love…. I am working on an piece right now and your heart image reminds me of mine as well! Thank you for sharing 🌈😘

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  4. Thank you, Lynette. I found myself tearing up with your emotions, and rejoicing in the revelations from this experience you had. My son’s 10th anniversary is coming up on November 17. We all remember the incredible pain we felt those first few years, and nobody wants to go back there! But it does seem like brief visits back there are part of it. Still, there’s a lot more hope now than there was back then. Something I have found very reassuring recently is the orbs my son sends me when I am feeling any kind of emotion. I get the feeling to turn on my video camera, and there he is! So, sending more hugs your way, and thank you…

    Sent from my iPhone

    >

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    1. Hi Carol, I love your experience with orbs!! Would it be wondrous if we could see them clearly with our people eyes? I’ve seen a few, but I know we are living out these lives completely surrounded. (I suppose if we could really see, it would be like swimming around in a world filled with bubble tea lol.) It’s such a comfort to know. Thank you for reading, and for sharing. It means a lot to me.

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  5. Wow Lynette, thank you for sharing your fall because it only lifted the rest of us up with you! I love the Old Faithful supply of opportunities for growth, you say. What a reality that is and. a great metaphor. Reading your blog today assures me I’m not alone, there is love and help and support for when I fall off the next cliff and the growth opportunity will be priceless in all shapes and sizes. Your writing is such a genuine, expressive, heart filled story of suffering to joy all felt at once. I loved it and I feel better because of it 🙂

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    1. No, we are never alone, and what a wonder it is to have found a community of people who know, and who understand that a fall doesn’t mean we’re not doing it right, or hard enough, or whatever. Suffering to joy. What we (so stupidly, idiotically) came here for. 🙂 Mostly kidding these days, but wow. Sometimes … Thank you for reading, my friend. It means a lot to me.

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  6. Lynette this is beautiful. Thank you for sharing it. It’s all so familiar which makes it so true. Love in full expression. 💚💚

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  7. Hi Lynette.
    Beautiful sharing of your experience, strength and hope!!!
    It’s so great that you post this because your words have healing power… they are the healing!!😜
    Thanks,
    Katy😘

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  8. Syncronicity. I just finished watching on Netflix, the movie “Five Feet Apart” about two teens with cystic fibrosis dealing with life and death issues.
    I never watch movies in the morning! But I was pulled to this one somehow.
    Needless to say, the hospital scenes caused me to reflect on my husband’s end of life experience from an unsurvivable subarachnoid brain bleed, during covid protocols where we were covered in protective coverage equipment , PCE’s, and lost the intimacy of touch.
    In grief, that is what I miss the most. The hug.The dance.
    Tears flowed as I acknowledged this. I was reminded that I am not alone in this grief experience.
    I cherish my spine tingling soul conection, recognizing the energy field continuum that surrounds me. This is my comfort as I move forward , a day at a time, in this roller coaster experience called LIFE.
    God bless,
    Mary

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    1. I’m so sorry for your loss, Mary. And with all of that complication. Such misery. And yes, the hug, the dance. The constant. It’s what I miss the most in breathing life, and it’s the thing I know I still have now, just harder to feel. But every now and then, a touch, a full hug, a triple tap on my chest. These are comforts, little breadcrumbs to get us through, keep us going. Thank you for reading, Mary. Bless you, dear one.

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  9. This is such a vulnerable, accurate account of grief. I felt so much compassion for you, and then the sadness for losing two husbands, my father and recently my mother, filled my heart, bringing new tears. It is good to release the pain in intervals. Furthermore, living within 30 minutes of the retreat you experienced is my sign to go there too. Thank you.

    Dawn Anderson dawn4help@yahoo.com

    >

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    1. Why oh why do these things come in clusters? That’s a lot of loss and I’m so sorry. It’s beautiful up there on that mountain. I was at Suzanne’s retreat, which was very special, but they do things there all the time. Definitely go see. It’s comforting just being in that energy. Take care, Dawn.

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  10. Thank you for sharing. I cried all the way through your beautiful words.
    My wonderful husband passed 8 months ago and although I feel him, I hear him and I’m blessed to have seen him twice there are still those ‘bottomless pit’ days that I don’t have the words to describe.
    Sending love and light
    🙏❤️🙏❤️

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    1. I’m so sorry for your loss, Michele. Those bottomless pit days do spread out. I think I lived at the bottom for a few years after Mike. And I don’t think we’ll ever be immune to the occasional wave of such intensity it takes the breath. The one I wrote about was quite a shock. It’s been a long while since I experienced something so strong, but I guess that’s a kind of promise in itself … it does get better. Hold on to the experiences you’ve had. More will come … And take care of you. He would want that.

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  11. Beautiful Lynette, thanks for being so generous with your words and time. I lost both my husband and my mother on the same day last year, him at 9.30am from blood cancer, her a few hours later, 300 miles away, from asthma-related breathing difficulties compounded by grief for me and my daughter. Our beautiful golden retriever followed a few months later, at the ripe old age of 15, after seeing me through the worst of it. There are no words really, we just put one foot in front of the other and move forward, with the occasional wallow. We see and accept the signs (feathers, orbs, birds, songs), acknowledge and honour their spirits in whatever ways we can, and keep going for each other. Suzanne, Sanaya and everything you all do in your amazing community proved to be all the counselling I needed – I will never be able to thank you enough.

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    1. Oh my, what a wretched thing, two loves within hours and another a few months later. I’m betting that you, like me, and a big, long list of “WTF was that about???” To present upon arrival in the misty lands. And yet I read your words and I can hear that you are okay. Yes, one foot in front of the other, accepting the signs, acknowledging and honoring them in whatever ways we can. Thank you for being a part of this divine community. Thank YOU.

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  12. Dear Lynette, thank you for sharing your experiences. You always manage to take us with you and feel your emotions. You are very lucky to have so many beautiful souls around you. I do hope you find your peace soon. We love you. God bless. xx

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    1. Hi Mary, thank you for reading and for leaving your thoughts. It means a lot to me. The funny thing is that now that I’m willing to flow with these episodes (which are, thankfully, rare), there is complete peace at the center. I remember some Buddhist teacher (can’t remember his name, the book, or even generally what it was about) saying, at the time of his father’s death, “my heart is destroyed and I am devastated, and still there is joy inside.” Or words to that effect. Ive never forgotten that phrase from years ago, and now I understand it completely. Blessings, Mary.

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  13. “Hard times don’t mean we are broken or damaged. We are always whole even when we don’t feel like it.” These words resonate deeply.

    Lynette, I’m so grateful to know you. Your L.I.F.E. – your Love In Full Expression – continues to move me and to educate me (hoo-boy, does it ever). You have changed my life, and you continue to do so. Thank you.

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    1. And we roll through this L.I.F.E. Together, yes? How else could we do it. These days, I don’t think I even know anyone who hasn’t had at least one crushed-heart-experience. These are our people. All of us who’ve lived through that and come out the other side. Like you, my friend. I am so grateful for you. Xo

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  14. As always blown away by your ability to express the inexpressible. Feeling everything with you and in awe of your courage, strength and tenacity. Thank you for modelling how to get through the hardest times and still see the light. Sending love and gratitude Lynette xx

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    1. Catherine. Thanks for reading and leaving a comment. You know how we all do this. With each other. Without spirit-with-skin-on ~ for hugs, for listening ears, for kind words ~ how could we get through? Bless you.

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  15. Dearest Lynette, Your newsletter has touched my heart deeply today, so deeply that I felt hot tears running down my face halfway through. As you shared your story of vulnerabilities and wonderings, affirmations and heartfelt joys, I could see the messages of hope and encouragement at every turn. Have you written a book yet? You surely could! You really are a great visual writer drawing us into your heartfelt messages. Your sharing this today was an incredibly timed message for me to personally read. I will just say that Spirit was definitely at work as every bit of what you shared was like a healing balm for what I am going through right now. Please know just how loved and appreciated you are! I thoroughly enjoy you, Bev, and Suzanne when you three are together and marvel at the beautiful friendship and joy you share. You are doing great work! Thank you for sharing your lovely newsletters with all of us. Blessings to you.🙏💖 With Joy and Gratitude, Bethany Kirwen

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    1. Bethany, what a beautiful message ~ and an affirmation. Thank you. Even though I know it is true because of my experience, I am still awed by how sharing our vulnerabilities brings us closer to others. Showing weakness is not something we’re generally encouraged to do, and yet living behind a false front of absolute strength is such a lonely thing. I love LOVE this beautiful community that has come into being as a result of Suzanne’s mission. So very grateful for ALL of US!! Thank you for reading, Bethany. Very grateful.

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  16. Thank you for your raw honesty. I also lost my husband. I understand this feeling of ups and then a down out of nowhere. It does such a service to others when we “share” our grief. It’s because we are one! We heal each other. 💕

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    1. It really does, Laurie. That’s a lesson I’m slowly taking to heart. I know it from experience, that sharing difficult feelings is healing and connects us to others on a deeper level. Still overcoming that childhood teaching to just suck it up. I’m so sorry about your husband. Downs out of nowhere. Tsunamis of grief. Fewer now, thank goodness. I hope so for you as well. One of us here. Can’t be lost or separated in reality. Thank you for reading ~ and for sharing your thoughts.

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  17. Your story hit a chord with me. I’m preparing to travel home from Portland, OR after moving my dad into an assisted living facility. He had a mild stroke back in August, recovered well in rehab, but still needs a wheelchair. Hopefully with more help he can use a walker one of these days.
    He’s had a tough two years since mom died. He always thought he would be the first to go. They enjoyed 56 years together and he’s missing his driving privileges and other freedoms most of us take for granted.
    Having spent time since August visiting him in a hospital, rehab center and now assisted living, I still see glimpses of the old him. The guy that worked 42 years as a plumber providing for his family. The one who could fix anything.
    Now my brother and I (and some good family/friends) look after him. He is appreciative and still maintains a decent attitude amongst the challenges.
    I appreciate the ability to get on a plane, drive a car and walk without assistance. The simple things and family really are important to our daily lives. Maintaining a positive and grateful outlook is too!
    Take care and Thanks for sharing!
    Brad

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    1. Brad, you’ve just given a short tutorial that could be called, “how to live school.” Appreciation, love, honoring the lives of others, compassion. You lifted my spirits with this comment. Thanks for popping in, reading, leaving your uplifting words.

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