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.