To walk the Path, one only needs to keep returning to the heart, free of complication and deliberation. To walk the Path is to allow life to be what it is: to be in this world but not of it.
There is a trail lined with dew-jeweled blossoms, the laughter of children in the distance. How do we reclaim innocence, away from the madding crowd? How do we walk with God and keep on returning as life pulls this way and that?
Today as I awakened, I heard: When the mind is troubled, keep to the heart. It leads you true. There is no calculation there, no clutter. The path is free and easy.
I came to this after a stormy night in which I had things to say to God for life’s plight. God, in His Mercy, did not even blink at my grievances. As long as words are sincerely spoken, God receives with infinite Grace. Just before retiring to bed, I asked for a sign that He had heard.
A light heart is good heart, as the sweet breath of earth after a torrential rain. Upon awakening, I felt the rejuvenation that only God can give. If God understands your heart, then you can be confident— through the morass, the snares, and ego’s sway—that the path opens again, pure and sweet with the morning sun. It’s always there. You only have to remember.
To read about my book, Freedom To Fall, click on the link, Morning Song Books.
I’ve expressed in a variety of posts how love allowed me to recover from the loss of my son. Here is perhaps one last post on this theme, which remains dear to my heart. These stories stand as one person’s testimony to the miracle of love, as it transcends from one realm to another.
Loss as a Journey in Faith
After my son died, I was sometimes told, “You never get over it.” But I had faith in a journey that could allow me to recover, believing that only good can come from love.
The difference between these two approaches may be illustrated by a story. My brother Bill, who is a psychologist, was working with a patient who had lost his daughter. Bill mentioned that he had a sister who lost her son and who thought of her loss as a journey. Some time elapsed, and one day the patient remarked, “Your sister saved my life. I had only thought that there was life before my daughter died and then there was life after she died. After she died was like arriving at a dead-end. There was nowhere to go from there. My life was over. It didn’t occur to me that my loss could be a journey. So thank your sister for saving my life.”
I felt humbled by my brother’s story because it had never occurred to me that I could possibly not be on a journey, and so had missed what is most important. That it is possible to step onto a path in loss and go places we have never been before, perhaps awakening onto a new dream.
We create our own realities by the beliefs and attitudes that we hold. In truth, life after profound loss is never the same. It is an experience that encompasses your entire being—mind, body, and spirit—and from that comes growth. It teaches you to appreciate the small gifts of life. It can change aspects of your character and personality. I became more authentic, less prone to want to prove myself. I simplified my life. Most especially, I learned what can’t be taken away. And therein lies the saving grace in loss.
When someone we love dies, we lose their physical presence, but the essence of that person lives on. The radiance of Chris’s smile is with me always, as a feature of his soul. And the love between us lives on, soul to soul—pure energy, a beam of light. It exists wholly, with holiness, in the moment unfolding. By letting go of what once existed but is forever gone, we can find the eternal bond. It takes a journey, one founded in faith, to arrive at this discovery.
Little by little, the light of love fills the void that loss leaves. You can become whole again. And you can know joy, in ways perhaps you haven’t known before.
After a lengthy preparation for my on-line seminar last week, it’s nice to be back blogging again. The seminar was about loss as a spiritual journey. But that fits into a bigger framework of life itself being a journey, one step at a time.
It’s always nice when you reach a place where you can look back on where you have been, maybe what lies ahead—a place of perspective, those special times when something has been resolved, completed, or there is more clarity. But that can be short-lived. Something else comes up, and then there you are, in the thick of it again, not knowing at times quite how to respond or what is emerging.
The Journey One Step at a Time
I love the idea of one step at a time and allowing God to lead—especially when emotions rise to surface or the mind becomes murky. I believe that everything happens for a reason. And if you are like me, sometimes the challenges are hard. God never gives us more than what we are capable of, and if we listen to what God is saying, the way is at hand and usually gentle. We rarely, if ever, have to accomplish a spiritual or emotional task all at once. Truly, God will take us by the hand and present many situations, with room to falter. The same lessons can be learned more deeply over a lifetime.
The main thing is to keep stepping, to be an active participant in life, in Partnership with God. God’s voice comes through the moment, arising from within and also from the world around us. God cannot help us, if we don’t listen and respond. When we miss an opportunity, it’s gone. But another one will come along.
No matter how hard the road can be at times, the stepping stones are there. Each step of the way, life opens up. Any problem usually comes from looking too far ahead or assuming where the path leads. What lies ahead on the spiritual journey is quite different from what I expect. That is, the result of following through with this challenge or that and what I learn from it is something I couldn’t have imagined.
I just love the journey, the fact that we can have a journey. That there is always a way to respond to situations that present themselves and expand awareness within ourselves. When there is struggle, I’ll often hear, Don’t give up and other words of encouragement. Lately it seems that I’m coming to a place where the more difficult tests are behind me. Or perhaps it’s only a temporary reprieve. We just don’t know what lies ahead, even though goals help guide. We don’t know the gifts that will be revealed along the way or the nature of having arrived somewhere on the spiritual map. It is a process of discovery, a true adventure!
Excerpt from Freedom to Fall:
Every instant is a possibility, every second a potential, until I respond. Wherever I step, potential becomes reality, the substance of my life.
I can live for yesterday and tomorrow, and that will be my fate. I can release the past without grasping for the future, and that will be my fate. Either way it is a life of my own choosing. I can keep to the path of familiarity, leading nowhere, or I can step to the brink, overlooking the abyss.
How can I choose to live with no knowledge of where I’m headed? What anchors me if not my memories and expectations? I listen. Step this way, now that, trusting the voice within. Leaving behind old themes, I begin to slip into sync.
To follow fate is to recognize that you cannot direct your life. No matter how hard you try, life eludes. You can stop where you are, settling in, or you can keep going, listening and stepping. You have to be willing. You have to be strong and brave. You can’t afford to lose another moment. To strive is meaningless. It is rather the absence of striving and the simple act of living that way.
Today I want to share the link to register for my free on-line event on July 10, 10:30, pacific time. If you can’t listen in then, it will be available for free until July 31. Just go to Hay House radio and to the title of my event: Freedom to Fall: A Spiritual Approach to Loss.
However, I encourage you to register for the live event, as it will involve interaction with listeners. You’ll be able to send in questions, and I’ll respond vocally on the show.
I am deeply grateful for being able to share my story for this seminar. I’ve always envisioned a day when I would be able to share with others my experience of loss, the journey it entailed, and the miracle of reclaiming the true bond with my son and my life. In putting together this program, I’ve come up with practices and insights to help encourage this journey in you. It can be the journey of a lifetime. It can change your life and in some cases, save your life.
Here is the link for purchasing a free on-line ticket that allows you to listen in:
I look forward to having you as guests on the program!
For the past month I’ve been writing and preparing for a live on-line Hay House seminar. It was supposed to air June 11 but was postponed until Wednesday, July 10, 10:30 PDT. This is a free event, and I will be sending out a link later for registering. You will be able to call in with questions and comments, and I certainly encourage you to do so. This event is important to me, as it is my response to what I was given after losing my son 10 years ago. Following is the course description:
Freedom to Fall: A Spiritual Approach to Loss
This course is about loss and the redemptive power of love. It is designed to help people navigate through the loss of a loved one in the best way possible, whether the loss occurred years ago or recently. This live online event will help you come to terms with a loved one’s death, finding the courage to let go while holding onto what is truly important. By making daily shifts away from the past and into the present moment, magic can happen that engenders healing.
My book, Freedom to Fall, is the story about the death of my son in a rock climbing accident and how I was able to keep our love alive, allowing me to redeem my life. This is not a love that clings but a freeing love that is joyful.
We will explore ways of cultivating a sense of a loved one’s presence after they have died as well as ways of letting go. The two go hand in hand! In those two practices you will be promoting a deep spiritual truth: Love is eternal. You never really lose who you love. Once you develop that awareness, it is yours forever—for the giving and receiving every day.
You can begin benefiting from this dynamic approach to loss today. By learning to keep alive the bond with a loved one, you begin a process of recovery. There may always be an element of sadness for losing someone you love. After all, loss is real. But a more profound reality can emerge through practice and faith—a beam of light shining through the loss, awakening invaluable gain.
After my son died, I felt intuitively that he was still with me, would always be with me. But that sense was overshadowed by his absence, the sense of loss. The deeper sense of our enduring bond would take years to develop, through persistence and faith. Chris was there, but in order to sustain that sense from where I stood, I had to become an active partner. I had to cultivate it, to keep coming back to it, to believe in it. Most especially, I had to learn to let him go.
Keeping Chris alive occurred through many and often wondrous ways, which crisscrossed and ultimately formed a cohesive whole. Today there is deep gratitude, knowing that through God’s grace we never lose who we love.
Love Burns Eternal
From the beginning, there were simply ways of experiencing Chris without any thought or effort. He had been a lover of the natural world, and I felt him in the wind, the brilliance of autumn, rainbows, and crimson skies, knowing his spirit could be many things. I spoke to him each day, telling him how much I loved him and how proud I was that he had become one of God’s own. I would look to him for guidance and pour out my feelings. Chris comforted me daily in my sorrow, whispering, Mom, I am with you always.
I recorded memories of Chris, vignettes about growing up, and collected stories from friends, traveling to places where he had lived. Through the hearts of others, Chris came to life in ways I could not have known him otherwise, enriching my own memories. Our collective tales formed a kaleidoscope of perceptions, capturing his essence.
Though it felt wonderful to connect with Chris’s spirit, I could not have sustained it without letting him go as I had known him. I would have kept drifting back to the sense of loss as the dominant, tangible reality. It wasn’t a given that I could let him go—having raised him from infancy. You revel in the aliveness of your child and the miracle of his being. Releasing Chris, accepting his death, came in many guises over many years, in little steps and with frequent backsliding.
Letting Chris go meant the willingness to live again. To dance again, run with the wind, embrace hopes and dreams—when Chris could not. It meant admitting I still belonged to Earth, with more to learn and more to give. It meant risking our bond, for in reclaiming my life, I feared his spirit disappearing, when all would be lost.
For the first anniversary of Chris death, I journeyed to Yosemite, the place that had claimed his life. On the anniversary day, I hiked Half Dome, circling the 4000 foot giant by trail. Standing high up in the elements, in the deep ethereal blue, surrounded by the granite wonders Chris had so loved, I scattered his ashes, releasing him to God.
The ways of keeping Chris’s spirit alive are with me still. I share my visions and the news of the day. He quips clear, humorous one-liners, as he did in life. I see the calm, smiling nature shining through memory. I see him in the serendipitous way of things and in exquisite cloud formations. I feel the joyous giving and receiving of our love. Meanwhile, I keep letting go, stepping back towards life.
God never takes without giving back a hundredfold. Ten years after Chris’s passing, our love burns eternal—a beam of light, becoming ever more golden.