Sometimes I feel like I don’t have it in me.
To move fast.
To say much.
To speak in front of others.
To become every day someone new.
We are being asked to do so much.
It feels very machinery. Robotic with an AI brain.
Almost like a factory of the future.
It’s tiring to be human this way.
Unless of course you escape in the middle of nowhere, with some land.
And open roads.
Where you can remember what it was like to just hear yourself without the noise of the machine.
Sorry for today’s letter.
But all of the speed around me makes me feel that I am not fast enough.
Smart enough to keep up with everyone else.
Lately I heard the noise of the machine, louder. So I turned it down.
I don’t know how to say this without sounding wrong but I hope I never find big success.
Even the thought of succeeding makes my heart palpate.
So where does that leave me?
Let me tell you.
I am on my way to finding a big piece of land in Texas.
Our house here in California goes on the market next week.
We will be moving mid June.
Probably a road trip with the dogs.
Once there, I will continue to write, teach, speak and create but with one thing in mind.
My work is not my life. It is just my work.
First I do my life. Then I do my work.
Not the other way around.
And not fast. Not loudly.
Somewhere in the middle of the country on a farm with space to see the sun rise and set.
I am starting to like myself maybe for the first time ever.
Just a woman with love for herself, her family and all the people she wants to help with her words.
Oh sweet life. I have missed you.
With living life,
PS. I have such big news to share with you. A big study of Life Reentry has been funded and is about to begin at the Kessler Foundation. This has been a big dream come true. One day Life Reentry will find its way to your local church, community and hospital. We are making big strides.
PPS. I will be teaching a Life Reentry workshop at Omega end of September, REGISTER HERE: https://www.eomega.org/workshops/life-reentry-after-loss
I don’t know exactly when it started to happen.
But there was a moment in time when things shifted towards more happiness than hopelessness.
More joy than resistance.
More cheer than angst.
More present than past.
But It took me a decade to get there.
Yes ten whole years.
That’s 3,652 days.
That’s 87,658 hours.
For every one of those days and hours I became my own best friend.
I talked myself out of staying in the waiting room.
I talked myself out of thinking of myself as a victim, as widow, as weak, as alone, as abandoned, as unworthy, forgotten, lost.
And told myself that I had something special inside of me.
I was the underdog. I was the woman who could… and that I could keep going.
I was kind to myself.
At night when the world would reject me, I would accept me.
When every day I found closed doors, every night I assured myself that the door keepers were mistaken.
When I felt unloved, I found a way to love myself.
When I wanted to hide, I slowed myself down and only took tiny steps until I could do more.
So I started to be ok with who I was, how I climbed, how unsocial or social I was, how loving or unloving I was and what made me or didn’t make me happy.
I finally started looking for my own definition of good, my own definition of happy.
When I started being ok with my own kind of happy everything became better.
I didn’t resist myself anymore.
I didn’t feel as much guilt.
I didn’t have shame.
I embraced the uniqueness of my life after loss.
Who I had become.
And that got me out of hopelessness.
I became my own best friend.
Today, I am asking you to start giving to yourself.
When you go to bed tonight and think about all the bad things that happened in your day be kind to yourself.
Tell yourself that you are worthy of a million stars, of the brightest moon and of a million open doors.
Because you are.
P.S. Come reenter with me at OMEGA.
PPS. And keep going on your journeys with WHERE DID YOU GO?
It was late summer, early fall in 2011.
It was about 6:00 am in the morning and there was a really big storm passing the Boston area.
Thunder and lighting could be heard throughout the night.
I was drifting in and out of sleep when all of a sudden, the room started to spin.
I tried to get up and I fell on the floor, feeling very nauseous.
The spinning was speeding up.
I started to crawl towards the bathroom.
I thought I was dying.
No, no this can’t be.
You see, two days earlier I had just signed my first book deal for Second Firsts with Hay House. My biggest dream ever.
To be a writer. It was all about to come true.
The girls were doing so well.
I was just remarried.
I was finally getting my life back.
How could this be happening to me now?
The spinning was so bad that the back of my head started to go numb.
My left arm felt as if something was squeezing it tight.
I was certain I was dying.
Scared out of my mind, I started crying.
Eric got up and took me to the hospital.
They ran MRIs, scans, and every test you can imagine.
I spent a week there.
When I left the hospital, I was given two folders.
One said ‘Vertigo’ the other said ‘stroke.’
They said they think it is possibly Vertigo but they could not rule out the stroke and that I had to take the instructions for both home.
Back at home, I was having panic attacks every night as I would fall asleep.
I was afraid that it was going to happen again.
I believe that when we are mentally and physically pushing our boundaries for growth, our bodies push back.
It was not a coincidence that I was making my biggest dream come true while being hospitalized at the same time.
Changing our reality literally requires superhuman effort, especially after loss.
I bet you have gone through similar things, worse things even.
When you were about to create a new life for yourself. You got sick.
But there is something here that is important to know.
In every way possible.
In the most scary ways.
It may seem like a coincidence, but it isn’t.
You are dismantling a world that had been around you for many years, it won’t go without a fight.
Big change requires an awareness that can talk to you while at a hospital bed scared out of your mind thinking that this is just your bad luck. It isn’t.
Know that it is your old identity trying to hold on while you are letting it go.
I wish someone had told me this very thing then.
So if you are reading this from a hospital room somewhere, now you know.
And get well soon dear friend. Your new life is waiting for you.
With spinningful new beginnings,
P.S. Make sure you pre-order the new Second Firsts book.
PPS. Come reenter with me at OMEGA.
PPPS. And keep going on your journeys with WHERE DID YOU GO?
I have spent so many years thinking about loss and trying to get back to life that I never really thought about my own mortality.
I know it’s strange.
One would think that I would be thinking about it all the time.
After all, I write about life and death.
Of course my thoughts should go towards mortality and my very own passing.
But did you notice something?
But a few weeks ago I started to feel like I haven’t lived enough.
I missed things.
It’s actually hard to put it into words.
You see, I am used to change happening always after a sudden life event.
Never without a cause.
But there was no sudden event that was taking place when I started to think about my mortality.
It was as if something came and hit me over the head.
And right there everything came to a big realization.
I got to start living my life as if I am the one who is dying.
Because if I had been doing that, my life would look so different.
What would I keep?
I would keep the writing.
You are my longest love affair.
What would I change?
I would add space everywhere.
The only time I would run, it would be for fitness. (Smiley face)
All other times, I would slow things down.
I would be a traveler.
I thought about all the places I haven’t seen.
Oh my world, they are so many.
Then I thought about all the people I haven’t met.
The paintings I have not painted.
The stories I have not written.
And I wanted to start all at once.
And I did.
One thing is for sure.
My life will end one day and I would regret not saving some of it for me.
I used to say, I missed my 30s, grieving.
And I nearly missed my 40s rebuilding.
In a few weeks I am turning 47, and I want to spend the end of this decade and the beginning of the next one just living.
Preferably in the moment.
So next time you see me teaching somewhere you will notice the sparkle.
Not that it was not there before.
But this type of sparkle is like the sun hiding behind my eyes.
It’s what happens when somehow we find a way to be here, now.
The whole universe lives inside the present moment and we miss it by trying to build the next one.
P.S. I hope to see your sparkle at OMEGA next fall.
PPS. If you are reading WHERE DID YOU GO? Make sure you come find our private facebook group. The link is here and also in the resources section of the book. We are doing a live journey on Sunday.
Lately I have been loving life more.
I am putting my arms around her, every second of the day.
I tell her about my feelings.
And never let go.
I haven’t felt like this since 2003.
Oh I know.
I know, it’s been a while.
It’s been since the week he was diagnosed.
I stopped loving life then.
The air was taken from my lungs.
The water out of my body.
And even though I thought I had found a way to put it back in.
There was no real air or water, just impostors.
Impostors called, work and speed with some life in the mix.
Until a few weeks ago.
I was so used to carrying the heavy things, that I forgot that I was carrying them.
I was so used to life being hard that I had forgotten that it could be easy.
It was almost as if I forgot I was alive.
And now, today, this moment, I can even feel my fingertips typing this to you.
I sense your presence reading this letter.
I am listening to the soundtrack of The Notebook.
And everything has completely slowed down.
My heart started to feel deep things again.
So here is what I learned.
Life Reentry has many levels.
The most life infused levels take a long time to get to.
It is as if I just entered a different stage of living after loss.
How does this Life Reentry look like?
It looks like I have time to take it all in again.
To stretch moments out so they feel like eternity.
To love everyone without fear of losing them.
They had lost their significance.
They didn’t even look like they belonged to me.
The load had expired a long time ago and I did not know.
Did I lose time? Yes, I did.
Should I have dropped the load a long time ago? Yes I should have.
My long road load carrying has helped so many people along the way.
And for that I am grateful.
Now, I hope that the way I put my arms around life will also inspire you.
Help you to drop your load also, and never look back.
With life wrapped around me,
P.S. COME BE WITH ME AT OMEGA for 5 days deeply re-entering. Tickets and lodging are going fast. REGISTER HERE: https://www.eomega.org/workshops/life-reentry-after-loss
You may ask
What does grief have to do with physics?
What does it have to do with science?
I mean, come on Christina.
My heart is broken.
And you are talking about particles and atoms.
Have you lost your mind?
What about the real things?
What about the Bible?
My lonely nights, sleeping in an empty bed.
Did you know I wake up and I don’t want to be alive anymore?
I don’t even want to leave my house and go to work.
I can’t take care of my kids.
Why are you trying to turn things upside down?
Aren’t we already confused?
Go back and talk about real things I can understand.
I can do something with.
Do you see my point?
I see dear friend, I see it.
And I was where you are.
I was screaming and yelling at night.
And if someone told me that death is not real, that we are always alive and that we can even make new memories with someone we lost,
I would have thrown them out of my house.
I would have told them that they are crazy.
That I believe in a God that is biblical only.
That the so called Afterlife is for those who are desperate to believe.
But before you stop reading let me say this to you.
What you get to see in these words is a glimpse of a world that is much more kind and beautiful and above all, timeless.
This world still holds all the people we lost.
And if that is true then the bed at night is a little different.
Daily chores may have a little bit of stardust on them.
Grief doesn’t have to last forever. Just love.
And we spend more time opening the door to a bigger reality vs. a tiny one.
And just like one of my favorite scientists says which I also share in my new book Where Did You Go?
With no time,
P.S. I do hope Where Did You Go? Has found its way to you.
I realized lately that we have two different types of sadness.
Both are hard.
But one of them is deeply hidden.
Even for the smartest, most aware and strong people.
I guess, especially for them.
And because of that, it is the most dangerous one.
Finding the source of this kind of sadness can be a very complex endeavor.
Most people can’t figure out what makes them deeply sad, for so long.
Especially sadness that is hidden.
Under rocks and inside oceans.
So far down that it moves the water…under the water.
A systemic sadness can linger under surface.
For never to be seen.
I had this type of sadness.
And I dismissed it because I have had sadness that brings waves to the surface as tall as the Eiffel Tower.
“Surely” I said to myself “the Eiffel sadness is more real than the deep ocean one.”
But I learned something lately.
Both could wipe you out.
Ocean sadness takes you slowly.
Eiffel sadness instantly.
I had become such an expert on Eiffel that when I experienced the ocean sadness I was able to be with it and still live fully.
My skills of the Eiffel had made me so good at the deep ocean.
I had more time to tend to it.
It felt like I could be in charge of it.
And I was.
I really was.
Until one day the deep ocean sadness rose so high up that it started to feel like Eiffel.
It could no longer stay in deep waters.
I knew then I had to do something.
And I maneuvered everything in my life. So I could save it.
I am here today to ask you, is your sadness the ocean type too?
How can you tell?
Even if your sadness started as an Eiffel due to a traumatic event, when it never goes away and you learn to live with it, it becomes the deep ocean sadness.
Do not overlook this type of sadness.
It can be very dangerous because we don’t see its height.
And for those of you who never had the Eiffel, you can have the deep ocean one without a big traumatic event in your life.
So don’t you dismiss it.
This is how we lose people.
We lose strong beautiful people when they underestimate the deep ocean systemic form of sadness.
Rule number one.
With so much listening,
P.S. Watch my new interview with my friend Allison Maslan here:
PPS. If you live in Arizona come hang with me at Changing Hands Bookstore on March 8th. RSVP here: https://bit.ly/2tyYqu5
Change does not feel like breaking bread. Nope.
It does not feel like chopping wood either.
It is not like swimming.
Or running. Or even climbing.
Nope none of these. However hard some of them are.
Change is so much harder.
It feels like learning to walk on water.
Learning to fly without wings.
It feels like being scared to go out in the dark and having to go out regardless.
It’s like having to walk into a haunted house and there is nobody walking in with you.
Should I go on?
I think you get the feeling.
Even though the word change is not a synonym of darkness or haunting, or even flying without wings, it might as well be.
At least if someone had told us what change really is, we would not have put it under the self help category.
It would have been the 8th wonder of the world.
Rare. Miraculous. Almost inhuman.
Like the Great Pyramid at Giza and the Hanging Gardens of Babylon.
Because if we knew how hard change is we would prepare accordingly.
We would train for it.
We would find a way to invent wings.
Expecting it to be scary and impossible would have prepared us for the trip.
So since it is never too late. Here it is.
Change is the hardest thing you will ever have to experience. It is like being reborn without getting a new body. (Click to Tweet!)
Having to use the same brain doing something new with the old commands.
It is like asking ourselves to speak a new language without anyone teaching it to us.
So enough with the world talking about change as if we are breaking bread.
We are not.
We are going into the battlefield.
But here is what I am proposing to take with us.
Night vision glasses or in other words, wisdom from before the loss.
Also some people who have been there before.
They know the stakes, and the ghosts that live in the haunted house.
Photo reminders of ourselves as kids.
Diving in the ocean water without holding our breath.
And above all, well, above all the skill of falling down and getting back up again.
You also did that as a kid.
When you got your new body and learned to walk.
You never considered giving up then.
Life is made of moments of change stemming from very difficult losses.
You are born to learn how to change.
And fine, sure, you can also break bread.
But not before you grab those night vision glasses.
My dear friend, I have been writing to you for 8 years and my responsibility has always been to tell you the truth.
I am not a self help author, I am a battlefield warrior with many bodies all in one.
With night vision and breaking bread,
P.P.S. Hope you have found your way to the Where Did You Go? Book: https://www.amazon.com/Where-Did-You-Go-Life-Changing/dp/0062689622
It comes like a tsunami.
It forces itself inside your house.
You run out your front door.
When the tsunami ends, your house is destroyed.
Your things don’t look like your things anymore.
Your bed is not in your bedroom.
Your kitchen has no food that can be eaten.
You sit and cry on the floor.
You say to yourself I can make this work.
This is better than trying to find a new house.
You spend your days attempting to move the bed back inside the bedroom, but it won’t fit.
Your kitchen appliances have stopped making you dinner and cleaning your dishes.
The tsunami ate them up.
You think you can start doing their job too.
Make dinners from scratch.
Clean every plate, by hand.
By the end of the day you are exhausted and your bed is still in the hallway.
Days go by. Then weeks. Months.
Years for some of us.
And your life inside the house starts to look like the tsunami did.
The destroyer. The chaos keeper.
The end of you.
But this is what it will take.
Complete life destruction to move out.
It takes exhaustion. Pain. Torture.
The daily kind.
And now you know. At last.
You have to stop fixing what cannot be fixed.
And as you exit the door of your old house.
Heading towards the unknown.
You find the courage to not go back inside.
You find the strength to look away.
Take your first breath and make your way to living once again.
With lots of unknowns,
I wish I could go back.
Back to the beach,
laughing like drunk fools
getting lost in your eyes
holding each other as if we were immortal.
Like the sea always is
mimicking the waves,
buzzing with love,
The sunset flaming over us,
against your young skin.
Stepping on the sand,
earth mingling, loving
you were here
breathing the same air,
living all there is to live
without thinking of the end.
And now, now the sea is empty of you,
unplugged from us
without the breath that brought us together.
But with lastingness
that puts a spell on our heart
the moment that was…
P.S. I hope my new book Where Did You Go? Has found you.