I have a very specific vision of myself.
Quietly residing inside my mind.
Comparing itself with the current reality I live in, every day.
It narrates all day long.
And it keeps pointing me in her direction.
It used to sound like a broken record.
I would ignore it, until recently.
I realized it was my destiny.
You know what I mean.
The voice inside of you that tells you, it’s meant to be different may be trying to get your attention.
It is possible that the version of you it is offering, is meant to be.
I am talking about everything that you don’t have in your life, but you think you should.
All the places you are supposed to visit, but you haven’t just yet.
The way your hair should fall on your face.
And the work you know you can create.
The things you know about yourself and others fail to recognize.
The books you haven’t written, but always wanted.
The recognition you deserve from your family but never gotten.
The connection you are supposed to have with friends.
And yes, of course, we can’t bring back the people we lost.
And we can’t age backwards.
But the other things. You know the ones I am talking about.
Don’t ignore the voice that tells you you should have them.
Don’t be mad at it.
It’s working hard so you don’t forget all that you deserve.
Don’t question it because it is hard to imagine yourself with so much goodness.
It is all yours for the taking.
Tomorrow morning, when you wake up, listen to it.
And marvel at all your beautiful deservings.
With my destiny calling,
P.S. Come and reenter with me at OMEGA end of September. The days we will spend together, will be the most life altering moments after your loss. I will take care of your heart.
Register here: https://www.eomega.org/workshops/life-reentry-after-loss
I am in the UK on vacation with my family so there won’t be a letter today but just a short message to say have a great week and be good to yourself.
And…I will leave you with a short excerpt of my latest book Where Did You Go?
Just in case it hasn’t found its way to you yet.
“I wrote this book to find the truth about death. Instead, I found the meaning of life.
In my pursuit of finding what comes after death, I discovered the dying inside our living.
It was simple: death leads us back to life; life leads us to death. I discovered something I didn’t expect, in someplace I never expected: I found divinity in science. The deeper I looked, inside the atoms, protons, molecules, and all theories and experiments and possibilities, there it was: miracles.
Every day unexpected moments full of wonder.
We call them miracles because we think they’re not normal or frequent experiences. But there’s nothing rare about these miracles. They happen all the time.
Imagine this: life is both physical and nonphysical. Those who die, die only for a moment in this reality. In the reality of their consciousness, which persists beyond time, they move to another reality, another world. The other realities, other worlds, are connected to ours.
There’s a presence inside us—our Super Watcher—that makes us aware of these other worlds.
This presence exists in all realities, all dimensions, along with all the people you’ve loved and lost.
To experience these other realities, you just have to learn to see with your eyes closed.
In this book, I’m asking you to consider the possibility of a reality without a physical construction. Without what we’ve created as a time constraint.
One you must navigate without using your senses. To do so, you must access a nonphysical form from within you, to go beyond your senses and cross over as you did last week and, now, go beyond that threshold. I’m asking you to believe, truly, that you can exit this physical reality when you close your eyes and choose to go where you have not intentionally gone before.
Our “real” life isn’t as we perceive it to be. It’s inside a world without gravity and without the depth that we perceive. It’s inside a flat surface. But we see it as a three-dimensional experience. How is this even possible? And why does it matter? The answer to the first question lies in the holographic universe theory. Recently, scientists have found increasing evidence that the entire universe is encoded on a flat surface and that our perceived 3-D reality is a projection from the 2-D reality.
In other words, our physical reality is an illusion. Our brain constructs our reality by interpreting frequencies from a reality that is in another dimension outside time and space.
Our brain is an interpreter, and it’s interpreting a universe that is holographic.
The best way I can illustrate this concept is with the example of 3-D glasses in a movie theater. The glasses take the image from the flat screen and make it three-dimensional. We live inside the flat screen, but it feels as though we live outside it. We’re here to experience this three-dimensional reality, which is a projection from a two-dimensional experience—just like in the movies when we’re wearing the 3-D glasses!
To answer my second question—Why does it matter?—once you truly embrace that we live in a holographic universe, your Temple Journeys will become even more meaningful. They will feel—and are—as real as this everyday reality you’re living in. When you can look up from this book and accept that what you see in front of you is more of an illusion than a concrete reality,then the journey you experience inside the Temple World gets to become either equally significant or at least more real than you thought it might be.
Ultimately, when you narrow everything down, we live all the way inside the molecules, the atoms, and the photons. There’s so much there. Inside this flat surface where all this lives—it’s all a vibration and a projection. Our consciousness and brain project this reality.”
Excerpt from Where Did You?
And see you all next week.
With London eyes,
P.S. I hope the Dear Life Podcast is enriching your life every single week.
If you haven’t downloaded the episodes and subscribed please click right here. www.dearlifepodcast.com
The more awakened you are, the more lonely you feel.
And since grief awakens us, it becomes a lonely experience by default.
The key is to continue to wake up regardless of the isolation you feel.
Regardless of the radical self you are becoming.
New and different from the usual.
When one awakens, one becomes anew.
Being awakened is not necessarily better.
Grief bridges you from unreality to reality.
Uncomfortable and torturing.
Grief gives us no choice but to wrestle with the truth.
Awake and hurting we find our way to intelligence.
Reality is a complex matter.
Understanding it, requires a lot of introspection while you are brutally awake.
You have to reconsider so much.
And the unrest that comes with that is enormous.
Vast as the sky above you.
Grief has always been explained so simply, it makes me furious.
A broken heart is not just a broken heart.
It is an instrument of coherence.
The break permits the awakening.
Which leads to more pain at first, but in time it brings us all to living a radical life.
Crumbled but radical.
Tired but aware.
Broken, but for the first time in truth.
Banished from the old life and past relationships, suspended until we find the others.
The others, like us.
Galloping from one reality to another.
Looking to make a home away from the darkness of the ones who remain asleep.
Not knowing how, we stumble at first.
Wishing for the grief to go away so we can go back to sleep.
Unless we learn how to get to earth’s stratosphere.
A tall order.
But a holy journey for the few who make it through the collision of the two lives.
The two selves. The before and after.
The asleep and the awakened.
The lies and the truth.
Life without any grief provides a comfortable bed that carries no evolution.
And yes, you may not care about evolution, you and I would definitely choose to have our people back, but our world was not made this way.
I do think that there will come a time when we won’t have to die to evolve.
Call me radical. Please. 🙂
But evolution will help us find our way to eliminate death if only we can be born awakened enough to evolve.
This is why your mission should be to stay in the intelligence of grief and build not only sand castles but learn how to make it outside of grief’s gravity.
When we get there, grief will be a thing of the past.
Not for us, but for those who will come after us, hundreds of years from now.
I believe in a world lived inside many dimensions.
And death would never come take us.
With no gravity,
P.S. I hope you have enjoyed the new Dear Life Podcast episodes. Check them out here: www.dearlifepodcast.com
And if you love the podcast leave a review on itunes.
I love people more now than I did before he died.
I love people with nothing.
People who lost everything.
This Sunday it will be Bjarne’s 13 year death anniversary.
I have spent the last 13 years trying to love myself again.
It was harder than expected.
At first I had to start loving others who also lost a lot.
I had to start with loving you.
Compassion for you allowed me to have compassion for me.
But loving myself took the longest.
I have thought about the dance between pain and love.
Darkness and love.
Grief and self-love.
Something breaks down when the two meet.
I wish someone reached out 13 years ago and whispered to me ‘Try to seek joy and gifts for yourself.’
Give to yourself first, then to your kids, then to your future.
Self-love is one of the biggest invisible losses after a major loss.
It is because our old self dies and the ghost self that is present prioritizes survival.
The brain wires itself for just the basics.
And you get used to living in hardship, just getting food and water but nothing else.
As I look back at the 13 year old journey since he died on July 21st 2006, I realize that I didn’t just lose him but the love for myself.
This is something I never expected.
Without love of self we can’t really heal.
No matter where you are on your journey after loss prioritize love for yourself.
Without that, the darkness won’t go away.
The pain won’t stop hurting you.
It’s your own hand that needs to feed you and gift you things you don’t think you need.
Lately, I have found that the gift I needed the most all these years has been freedom.
And the only person that could give it to me, was myself.
I denied it the longest.
A couple of days before he died he whispered to me through his two oxygen masks ‘I wish I stopped working earlier.’
He wished he had given himself more freedom.
Looking back now he did whisper this to me.
I just couldn’t apply it to myself.
But 13 years later, I care less for the things I used to care the most for.
I no longer try to make other people comfortable.
I miss deadlines.
I run away from building big things unless they come chasing me.
Instead, last week I made a list of all the things that make me feel blissful.
I am sharing it with you, so you can write yours without having to wait 13 years.
When you write the list ask yourself not what makes you happy but what brings you euphoria and bliss.
It has to be at that level.
Here is what I put together.
Swimming in blue turquoise waters
Learning about the universe
There are many things I enjoy but these things make me feel euphoric.
I hope I have the chance to live long enough where I am able to live every day doing just these things.
Now it’s your turn, what is your bliss list?
If nothing comes at first, don’t give up.
It’s the only way back to life.
Here’s to your bliss, especially for you my sisters and brothers who lost everything.
With blue waters,
P.S. SEE YOU AT OMEGA: https://www.eomega.org/workshops/life-reentry-after-loss
I look for signs of my destiny in my childhood sometimes.
I can’t find any.
Not even a small tiny memory that could indicate the future.
“You must have always been a writer,” people say to me.
And the answer is always, no.
Not only was I not a writer, I didn’t even learn to write and speak English until I was a young adult.
The chances of me getting published were close to zero.
I grew up in a small town in Greece.
My aunt had a small school close to my home where she taught English as a second language.
I went there after school.
As a teen I took my first important English as a second language exam and failed it.
Then my aunt Toula, spent nearly every afternoon for weeks with me, teaching me grammar.
My parents sent me to England when I turned 18, and I remember arriving there and feeling like my English was so basic that I could not even understand people when they spoke to me. I was so afraid to go out and about and ask for things in English.
I lived in the Northern part of England, a place called Newcastle.
I had two aunts who lived there.
They were my grandmother’s half sisters.
I stayed in their homes.
They took care of me as if I was their own daughter.
I spent 2 years failing all of my exams to get into college.
Fail. And fail. The third year was my last chance.
I had this professor who used to laugh at me for even trying.
I worked so hard that year (just to prove him wrong) that I didn’t just get in one of the best Universities in the UK, I got the highest grade in his class.
I then spent 5 years at Durham University.
I was 21 in my first year.
Three years older than all of my friends.
Always older. Always behind everyone.
Never ever believing that I could one day be published.
That even the UK book stores where I used to go to, would have my books.
No trace yet of that destiny.
After I graduated from Durham, we moved to the US.
Where I had no work visa, just a spouse visa.
I was not allowed to work here. I had my girls during those early years.
I was a stay at home mom.
And then he died.
My agony. My desperation. My brutal life.
Gave birth to what was hiding all along.
I remember sitting in a cubicle in my corporate job.
I looked around me one day and I knew in that moment, there was something else I am here to do.
This was early 2010. Bjarne had passed away in 2006.
It was as if I could see further.
I started with nothing.
Not knowing I was a writer I began quoting words of ‘real’ writers shared every day on my facebook page and slowly a few words written by me.
I would spend hours on one paragraph before posting.
Then it started to happen.
More and more people would comment on my paragraphs.
The facebook page grew. And grew.
This weekly letter was created in 2010.
Not knowing that this was the best thing I could have ever done.
One day completely unexpectedly I asked someone if they knew a book agent.
I had no idea where that came from.
Weeks went by. I had forgotten I even asked.
Then this friend said I may know someone who knows someone.
I was then invited for tea at an author’s house.
We chatted for a bit, it was nice but I didn’t think anything would come from it.
By the time I drove home, there was an email waiting for me.
An introduction to my current book agent, Stephanie Tade.
Surprisingly she said ‘put a book proposal together, I want to be a part of this adventure.’
Around early November in 2011 the proposal was complete.
It was sent out. And we had a few interested parties.
Two publishing houses specifically. One of them, Hay House.
I said yes.
Writing my first book Second Firsts was a scary experience.
It was hard for me to see myself as a ‘real’ writer.
I wrote my way to 70,000 words. Many rounds of edits later.
My first book was published in November 2013.
And I went out to meet my readers. Always pinching myself.
Always thinking they must have it wrong.
I am the girl who was always behind.
Not speaking the language.
I knew then that there were definitely higher powers involved.
This was not just me. It was something bigger than me.
It was a dance between this dimension and the universe beyond.
We partner with the higher powers but nothing is given to us without us reaching, acting, doing, and somewhere deep down, believing it’s possible.
When I wrote my second book Where Did You Go? I had to once again reach outside of the bubble of what I had already created.
I may even be bold and say, I was even more scared than when I was writing Second Firsts. This time I was truly dancing with the powers beyond.
I had to go outside of not only my comfort zone, but outside of this physical reality to write about The Temple world.
One day these letters right here, will be a book too.
I am also on my way to completing my first work of fiction.
I share my journey with you today so you know that if I was able to do this, you certainly can.
I am now fully aware of our powers to make anything possible and I just want to make sure I use them not only to help others but to create the life I want for myself.
There is one thing I keep in mind daily.
Death could be here any day and I am going to make every moment of this reality count until that happens.
With many more words to write,
P.S. Here are some resources for you if you want to be published traditionally:
Proposal templates for non fiction books here: https://www.twliterary.com/bookproposal/
Stephanie Gunning helped me put together the proposal for Second Firsts. She was also my book editor for the first draft of the book to be delivered to Hay House. Here is her website: https://stephaniegunning.com
Kelly Malone helped me put together the proposal of Where Did You Go? She was also my editor for the first draft of the book to be delivered to Harper One. Here is her website: https://wordsup.press
Don’t forget, it has always been up to you.
(Photo taken in 2009, just a few months before the writing began.)
I know this letter matters.
To the person who reads it while sitting alone on the floor.
Standing in front of the kitchen sink.
Feeling brutally unseen.
Stuck in a timeless non-validating nature of their life.
I write this for you.
I don’t really care for the person who has been loved by many.
Who lives comfortably and laughs out loud while on the phone with their best friend.
I never wrote for them.
I wrote for the invisible face.
The unheard heart.
The person who has lived an unfair life, for real.
The one who never had it all.
For the one who lost it all.
The one who knows what it means to live within mountains of suffering.
Where there is no valley. Ever.
This is for the person who has learned to live well without hope.
Oh you brave soul.
You have found a way to see yourself in the midst of poisonous loneliness.
In the center of multiple moments of pain.
Never really one event of loss, but millions of them clustering around you.
What is the definition of life when everything is made of loss?
I know you are searching for meaning.
You think, there must be something monumental hiding behind the mountains you have climbed.
I searched for that myself.
But maybe the meaning is more about not caring of the elucid monument but the seeing of ourselves as the only mountain torch.
The glue of all the clusters.
I talk to you the most because it is you who knows how to light up the mountain with your haunting upward steps, regardless of the heartless nature of your path.
You are the only one I respect.
I share my life with.
Especially the darkness.
Everything else, is just small talk.
These letters have always been personal.
Otherwise what is the point of writing to a warrior kneeling on the side of the mountain, hovering between giving up and taking another step.
The only voice you would listen to is the one who knows that just because you don’t look like you are in imminent danger, it doesn’t mean that you are not afraid.
Please know that the meaning of your life lives within you, away from the confines of a clean cut life story.
The road is long and dark but it becomes bearable and livable when you find your own meaning about your loss clusters.
Even though I don’t believe there is a reason for everything.
I believe that we can write out our own personal vantage point of view.
I started to write mine for the first time after he died.
Even though this was not my first loss, it was the first time I took over the pen and wrote the next chapters of my life.
It’s not about a better, easier fate.
It has never been about that.
It’s about knowing that death is coming.
Loss in plural is inevitable.
And yet you find a way to write a chapter that still has pain but with a view of the stars, the galaxies above you.
You find a way to go and write from the moon.
And you find the meaning.
You see yourself on the side of that mountain, lighting up the way for us all.
And for the first time you feel that it was not all for nothing.
It was for the light in you, you could only see from the moon.
With a moon landing,
P.S. SEE YOU ALL AT OMEGA. Register here: https://www.eomega.org/workshops/life-reentry-after-loss
Last night I cooked a meal with my girls.
We did the whole recipe.
You know, found a recipe, went to the grocery store, got all the ingredients and then spent hours cooking and baking.
I also got myself a glass of wine while I was cooking.
Had a piece of cheese.
And it hit me.
Of course I knew what I am about to tell you for some time now, but last night it hit me differently.
Grief took the simple pleasures of life away from me.
The things I did just for the fun of it.
For the pleasure of it.
They are hardly ever here.
I do know why.
It is exhausting to live fully and to do it just for fun.
Depression, anxiety, grief, pain of the heart are all so tiring that putting effort in pleasure is too much for us.
After a day of surviving the last thing you want to do is find a recipe and cook a new dish while you are having wine from a brand new bottle of Malbec you found at the store.
But isn’t it amazing to make a life that looks like that?
As I poured the Malbec I had a piece of cheese in my hand with the opened recipe book. The pot ready to cook.
The hustle of the kitchen.
The creative mess of the counters.
I took it all in. I lived that moment.
Knowing how I had starved myself from living for the sake of pleasure.
That wine was the best wine I have ever had, somehow.
I swear, time stopped.
It was a moment of reentry.
A moment of living purely for pleasure and enjoyment.
I went to bed last night tired in a different kind of way.
I felt full, not because I made this amazing chicken dish, and my daughters did this incredible lava cake.
I was full of life.
All in all it took about 5 hours of my day from the beginning to the end.
I am behind on work, ahead in life.
Ahead in my relationships.
Ahead in my connection with my girls.
Ahead in feeling pleasure.
Ahead from grief.
And in the midst of living fully yesterday we booked an indoor rock climbing class session for Saturday. Sure, I don’t want to go.
I have been living so much more lately that my body is tired but I can’t stop now my dear friend.
I can’t stop.
I have to keep living.
Here’s to food making, wine drinking, rock climbing, house moving, daily hiking and above all choosing yourself instead of your to do list.
Choosing pleasure instead of work.
Because work is grief in disguise.
Relentless work is anxiety in heels.
Go barefoot, with some cheese in one hand and a Malbec in another and see how that feels. You may cry at first. I know. Life tasting after loss can be bitter sweet.
But we can’t die while we are still alive.
Cheers to us.
With an exhausted body but a full heart,
PS. I hope you listened to this week’s podcast episode with my dear friend Michelle Steinke-Baumgard: http://www.dearlifepodcast.com/episodes/ep5
It is one of the hardest things to do.
It took me three years to do it.
If it wasn’t for my moving from my house at the time, it may have taken me a lot longer or maybe never.
How do we let go of all the personal belongings and clothing of our loved ones who are no longer in this physical world.
For the first few weeks I would go in the closet and smell his clothes.
After a while they didn’t smell like him at all.
It was as if he had never worn them.
His shoes particularly used to make me sad.
I wanted them to start walking towards me.
I know it sounds weird to say.
But they just didn’t move.
His wallet with our pictures in it always left behind at home. He always had it with him.
The toothbrush stayed on the sink for a long time too.
Then it was time to move and I had to make decisions.
What do I keep?
What do I let go?
What would the girls want to have when they grow up.
And I started going through everything.
I bought these green plastic buckets to put in the things I was keeping.
And I went through everything with two things in mind.
What did he love wearing?
And what would the girls want to have one day?
I kept his diaries and wallet with my personal belongings, the rest inside the green buckets. He loved to ski and he had this very bright purple ski suit.
I kept that. And his favorite jeans and shirts.
The rest I gave to goodwill.
Since that day I moved three more times, including this last move to Austin.
The buckets have traveled with us every time.
And I have never thought about all the things that I didn’t keep.
I don’t even remember what I gave away now.
Selling his car was very hard.
He used to drive this little black vw golf.
He would tell me that even if we ever won the lottery he would still buy the same car.
I cried for a long time before I drove it to the dealership.
And when we sold the house we bought when he got diagnosed was painful but looking back at this now I should have sold it as soon as he passed.
It was so hard living there for another 3 years.
It was almost as if the house created this emotional darkness that I could never escape from.
So my dear friend if you are wondering what to let go of, or how long is normal to wait to go through the closet of your husband, wife, partner, child, mother, father, sister or brother. Here are a few things I learned along the way.
Wait for as long as you need to.
There is absolutely no right or wrong time to go through your loved ones belongings. When it feels it’s time you will know it. And for some people that time never comes. And that’s ok too. You make the rule book.
Alone or with a friend
When the time comes, ask yourself if you want to do this on your own? Or are you someone who feels ok crying with a best friend or family member. If that’s you, invite someone you trust to do this with you.
The questions to ask
What are your questions to ask while you are going through all of the belongings. Mine as mentioned were “What did he love?” and “Would the girls want it when they are older?” So write yours down. And go from there.
What to do with the things you are letting go of
Some people make quilts with the clothing. Others donate them to goodwill. Do what feels good for you.
I am going to tell my kids to give everything away but to keep my paintings, the books I write and to take care of the ideas I left behind in this world.
Anything else can go.
As I moved into my new house in Austin, TX this last week and saw the big truck with all of our belongings arrive I got sad. We have so many things we don’t need.
Things that mean nothing at all and yet we carry them along with us as if they are an extension of our arms and legs.
It is strange to me that Bjarne and I never talked about what to give away and what to keep, we knew he was dying for quite some time and yet we never had the courage to talk about his belongings.
But something tells me that he is pleased that I only kept these 3 green buckets.
And memories. And stories about him. And photos for the girls.
The diaries too, he knew I was going to read them one day.
He left them for us.
So, find what has meaning for you and hold on to it, and let the rest go.
With less and less,
PS. I hope you are enjoying my conversations at the www.dearlifepodcast.com
I am not going to lie, I am tired.
Moving from one reality to another requires your brain to be going into manual gear 24/7.
Nothing is familiar. Everything is new.
Even when you go to the bathroom in the middle of the night you have to really wake yourself up to find it.
No turn inside or outside the house is on default.
Everything has to be thought through.
Everything is a conscious experience.
The brain has to be alert all the time.
No wonder we don’t like to change.
We miss steps. We spill coffees. We hurt our toes in unseen corners.
And that’s the least of our problems.
It’s as if the old reality is trying hard to stay with us.
But it can’t.
In a few days though the brain will start to get used to the new life and memorize all the new people, corners, bathrooms, names, places.
And before we know it, it will feel as if we have been here forever.
I have to tell you, it feels as if I walked inside a different universe.
It’s tiring but so exciting to see who I get to be here.
I am holding on to all the newness however hard it feels.
I want new habits, new likes and dislikes.
I want to be someone else.
I know it sounds weird to say this.
It’s not because I didn’t like the old Christina, but because I want to choose who I am instead of who I was born to be genetically and circumstantially.
Maybe I like to jog every day.
Maybe I like fruits and vegetables haha.
I have received so many emails from people who followed along with my move to tell me they are also moving.
Or that they just moved.
That it was hard but they did it.
I am so proud of us.
We are the ones who can do this because of what we have been through.
And as you know, I always say you can do the impossible because you have been through the unthinkable.
If we can’t move from one place to another, from one reality to a chosen new one.
Then, who can?
We are the superheroes of our world.
And if you haven’t been able to see yourself this way, you should start today.
You are special because of what you have been through.
Here’s to many new lives inside this one.
Where you get to choose who you are and where you want to make a home for yourself.
With a brand new life,
P.S. Make sure you register for my Life Reentry workshop at the Omega Institute here: https://www.eomega.org/workshops/life-reentry-after-loss
PPS. And listen to the new podcast here: www.dearlifepodcast.com
I have been planning for this day for months and it is here.
We are on our way from California to Austin, Texas with our dogs, kids and a couple of pillows for the road.
We said goodbye to our home and I have to tell you it felt like I was saying goodbye to a person. A person who always provided for me.
The house had this unselfish relationship with me.
It always gave.
And I took it all.
I took the stars above it.
Prayers from the nights.
The sun rising from its deck.
Peace from the back yard. Comfort inside the kitchen.
Love and acceptance all around it.
Now I know it’s already giving it all to the strangers who moved into our home.
And that’s the way it is.
My bags are packed and I am about to get in the car with the girls, Eric and our dogs Gracie and Zoe.
Look for us driving across America.
While I am on the road I hope you spend some time listening to the Dear Life Podcast and know that I am always with you.
Episode 1 is here: http://www.dearlifepodcast.com/episodes/ep1
Episode 2 is here: http://www.dearlifepodcast.com/episodes/ep2
Sometimes I feel like I need to make sure you are all taken care of if I have to go somewhere.
I love you all.
With adventure and new beginnings,