I didn’t know what to expect when two big SUVs pulled in my driveway and 4 women jumped out with bedding, towels and pillows, flowers and pictures.
They all smiled at me and said we are here to get your house ready to sell.
This was part of our realtor Dana’s complimentary services for her home listings.
They were the stagers.
Universe’s angel stagers
They started bringing in these white linens, and white everything.
Big bags full of big cushions.
There were at least 30 of them.
I went to help them and they immediately said no, no don’t worry we got this.
They split in two groups and went in the bedrooms making the beds.
I followed them around.
Experiencing this moment of being taken care of to the fullest.
Within an hour the house started to change and along with that I started to feel this emotional joy.
House photography by Nate Denny
I didn’t know why but it felt as though the whole universe came in to help me move.
Yes we did scrub the floors and painted the walls for the last two weeks, but it found us and said stand back, let me take over now.
I sat there witnessing the women putting it all together and within a few hours the house was completely transformed.
It was no longer my house.
The transition had already began.
The future was entering the present.
And the universe was literally winking at me.
See Christina when you make these big decisions, there comes a moment when you are supposed to just let go so I can take over.
Hands off, Christina.
You did your part.
Let me now do mine.
I realized in that moment that it has always been like this.
When we do the really hard part and have the courage to initiate big change the Universe brings its stagers and takes over the things you least expect.
I sat down for a few moments on the steps inside my house and tried to think about all the other times the universe took over during a hard transition.
A few weeks after Bjarne had passed the girls and I were traveling to the UK from Boston and were sitting at the terminal waiting to board when three men in pilot uniforms came to us and asked us to follow them.
A friend of mine wrote to the airline that we had just gone through this devastating loss and they wanted to put us in first class.
The girls giggled so much when they saw the beds on the plane.
And they were treated like princesses all the way.
I remember feeling this emotional joy then too.
And I know if you tried to think back at different times in your life when you were moving from one chapter to the next there were moments when the universe took over and you felt spoiled and loved and taken care of.
Our house went on the market today, and the angel stagers made sure every single room looks like heaven on earth.
With many winks from the Universe,
PS. Join me at Omega in the fall: https://www.eomega.org/workshops/life-reentry-after-loss
PPS. Grab the new book here: https://www.amazon.com/Where-Did-You-Go-Life-Changing/dp/0062689622
PPPS. And make sure you pre-order (woohoo) the new edition of Second Firsts here: https://www.amazon.com/Second-Firsts-Step-Step-Guide/dp/1401957064/
Someone said to me the other day.
Christina, you must have not moved on.
You are still writing about your loss.
I have to tell you my first response was to shake my head and dismiss it.
As it is such an untruth.
But soon after, I realized how unfair it is to dismiss it, especially since some people only see the blogs.
And even then, it may not be enough.
Before I begin, I must tell you that it took a decade to get here.
I hope it takes you less.
I wish I had someone to tell me what I am about to.
I don’t think its OK to suffer forever.
And It breaks my heart when people do.
It is not that I am not OK with mourning. I am.
We need to mourn.
But, there comes a time when long term grief can lead to depression, suicide and unnecessary hurt.
As you know I call that place the Waiting Room.
When we are there for what it feels like an eternity, it is not OK.
Especially since there are so many tools and resources to help us.
For me, the way out of that eternal feeling of grief came first with the understanding of how to use my brain to heal my life.
I had to make it bring me back to living.
I had to redefine what it means to be whole again.
It took me years.
I never thought it was OK for me and my kids to be in this horrible pain.
During those years I felt cold inside.
Even when I was falling in love.
It was freezing.
The freeze was there even longer than my grief.
Alongside anger, bitterness, fear, depression and confusion.
Most people think it’s grief that outlasts all of the above.
But that is not true.
So to the person who thought I was still grieving, a better statement would have been.
You still seem furious about what happened to you.
You bet I do sister.
Of course I am furious about the tragedies of my life.
And you could have also said to me, you still seem afraid about some things.
Oh yes, I have never recovered completely in regards to trauma and PTSD.
Sure, girlfriend. Yup.
And the confusion. YES.
The confusion about the seeming permanence of mortality lead me to writing Where Did You Go?
I had to find out what happened to him after he died.
I then had to find a way to understand the place he had gone to.
So I started to experiment with entering and exiting my world.
I called these experiences Temple Journeys.
I had to know first hand what science, physics, and religion were all talking about.
I spent the remaining few years taking care of both my physical and non-physical life.
And sister, I have to tell you that when you travel to the places I have been, it changes you.
Words like “Have you moved on?” and “Are you still grieving?” no longer have relevance to my life.
I am sorry sister, but I want you to really understand this place I am trying to take you.
I want you there too.
You see, love never dies.
It transcends time and space.
I had to learn how to transcend.
I had to remember my non-physical self.
I had to work on both my life here and there.
So when you ask me if I have moved on,
I giggle a little.
From where? To where?
Darling, I have travelled across many universes.
Moved in and out of dimensions.
But I have never moved on from love.
Finding my way to a deathless life.
Where we never lose anyone.
Where everything is possible.
So, sister come along with me.
Come live a life of wonder and miracles of the seen and the unseen world.
One day you will understand that death is but a doorway to another beginning, another life, another adventure.
Yes, we must mourn.
We must grieve.
But then we must seek the truth and live as if everything is as it should be and this, this sister is one of the many adventures we get to have together.
We meet in many lives and many embraces.
Physical loss is an evolutionary experience.
One day we will all learn that love is the thread between the seen and the unseen.
With many journeys,
PS. I did an amazing interview with NPR New Dimensions Radio. It is free until April 9th.
Click play on the link here and take me with you on the road.
PPS. Come reenter with me at Omega. It is the only Life Reentry class I will teach this year.
Oh life, you are so complex. You give, you take. We ask. You respond. We live. We die. We lose. We cry. We mourn. We re enter. (Click to Tweet!)
My daughter is going to college in the fall.
She was six when her dad died.
Her sister was four.
We began a journey together.
The three of us.
And every night, we would hold hands.
And whisper to each other.
Me and the girls.
We became one.
To make it through.
To live. After him.
And we did. We got here.
Now the oneness expands.
So she can leave.
So she can go on beyond the house.
Beyond the three of us.
And when she does, life… please give to her.
You already took so much.
So let her have a little more.
I know it doesn’t work this way.
But I will always ask.
Her sister will ask
And as I am about to finish this letter, he comes in too.
Whispers from another world.
Far and beyond.
With whispers and chills,
P.S. We featured some new writers on our Second Firsts site this week.
Our health contributor, Leanne Ely, talked about making dinner for one here
Our new author contributor, Brian C. Taylor, wrote about guilt here
Our new author contributor, Kelley Lynn, wrote about dating again here
My heart was beating almost as if it was everywhere.
Not just inside my chest.
But inside the two hundred and fifty humans that were waiting to hear me speak.
It was on the walls of the conference room.
Inside the mic on my blouse.
On the stage.
Like a storm of heartbeats.
That is how scared I was.
I walked towards the stage.
I started to speak.
Word after word.
Step after step.
I started to move the storm.
And make me a part of it.
I became the storm.
I walked with it, spoke with it.
Was with it.
“You are not controlling the storm, and you are not lost in it. You are the storm.” Sam Harris
For everything I had to become, I first had to scare myself.
I don’t really know how others change.
For me it has always been a scary experience.
This is also why loss broke me in an unmended way.
I was not controlling the storm, I was lost in it.
And could not become it. Not for years.
But even now, the planes I tried to fly, the books I wrote, the talks I have given, the companies I started, the people I loved and lost have all been born inside a storm.
I learned something while inside the storms of my life.
The storm is part of your soul.
Without the storm you would not be human.
Without the storm the stage would not be there, love neither.
The storm is what connects you to the outside world.
So tell me, what is your relationship with your storm?
When life is calling you and the storm takes your breath away, do you still step out?
And if you do, remember that the storm is not going to be scary forever.
You will become it and will be on your way to your next chapter, your next love, your next adventure. You have always been the storm.
P.S. Check out our newly designed website with my own name: www.christinarasmussen.com
I stopped it.
It was only for a few seconds.
A few seconds not being who I had been.
The stop, crushed me.
The interruption of who I was, brought on panic.
I interrupted the force that had kept me going.
The engine I installed inside my brain to keep me from losing my mind after loss, was for a few seconds silenced.
I started the engine back again, immediately.
But these seconds were enough to hear inside the silence.
I turned the engine back on.
Roaring. Forging ahead.
My engine has been working on full force for 11 years.
It almost doesn’t need fuel, it just goes.
I became the whole engine.
I put myself inside of it.
It was better than feeling pain.
The engine had a way to stay in motion.
It even has a name, internal combustion.
A small controlled explosion.
Creating enough power so that the car can go places.
I have been combusting internally.
My controlled explosions of motion were breathtaking.
My engine took me places.
As the years went by I forgot that the engine was there.
That is when I became it.
For 11 years.
The engine. Was me.
A human engine that had to be born after loss.
The heart was hurting.
The brain was stuck in a loop of loss and grief.
Something had to get me out.
The engine is extraordinary but also just an engine.
And it should not be allowed to go on combusting for years.
We must stop it. Look around.
Check in on a life without an engine.
And I did that, this week.
I stopped the controlled explosions.
The engineered motion.
It had done its job.
Now I need to do this life thing without my engine.
I don’t know how that will look like, but I do know I am ready.
I hope you turn off the engine too.
The engine of busy, the engine of routine, the engine of running away from the pain.
Even for a few seconds a day.
Give yourself a break from internally combusting.
There is something in store for us that requires no engine, just heart.
No engine just being.
Go on, untethered. Unbound. Free.
P.S. If you are part of an organization that provides grief services apply here for our next Life Reentry® Training for professionals. https://lifereentry.com/courses/life-reentry-practitioner-training/
It was not like any other day.
Something was in the air.
A heaviness, with no name.
A knowing. A goodbye.
An Ending. A full stop.
And it was known.
Nothing could prevent it. Nothing at all.
It was coming. Like all endings do.
The Ending arrived quietly. Almost like a whisper.
“I am here, and I need to end this.” It murmured.
“But why do you have to be here Ending?” I asked.
“Can’t we have a new beginning without you?”
“This kind of beginning requires me to end some things.” Ending said
“But the things you want to end are things I still need.” I said.
“Yes they are.” Ending said
“So, then don’t visit with me.” I replied.
“It’s too late, I am already here. You must let go.”
“Let go.” Ending whispered again.
As I started to let go, the air moved.
My sadness breathed easier.
“Do you see her coming in?” Ending said and pointed towards the ocean.
I looked but there was nothing.
“Keep looking.” Ending said.
“At first, it will look like nothing is coming.
Especially as I am still on my way out.
The further I go, the more you will start to see your beginning clearly.” Ending said and I could barely hear it anymore.
My heart was squashed.
My knees were trembling.
I was on my own now.
Looking for my new beginning.
And as I was standing there, just like that, my beginning appeared in front of me.
She was bigger than I had expected.
At first I could not see all of her.
But the parts I could see surprised me.
This beginning was different to any other beginnings.
She was vaster than the ocean itself.
I sat down, put my hands on my face and cried.
Oh ending, I get it now.
The letting go.
You ending things I thought I still needed.
You were right all along.
I could not have this beginning without you ending the things I thought I needed.
With an ending and a beginning,
I search and search and search.
Behind every word I say.
After every new decision.
I seek to find myself, the self that lives underneath the rubble.
Under the invisible losses.
And hiding, still.
Sometimes I wonder if I lost her completely.
But as soon as I do, I see her. I hear her.
I feel her presence.
She is still there. Standing tall.
Waiting for her emergence.
You see there is a part of me that never ever reentered.
Life after loss is a little tricky.
Sometimes it appears that we are truly living again.
We are there, at the beach.
Laughing with our friends.
We try new relationships. New jobs.
New houses. New hair. Adventures. Hikes.
We do it all.
But we are never quite there, the way it used to be.
Fully embraced by the present moment.
Standing at the door of each of our experiences.
Just like we would be if we walked inside a house and just stood at the doorway.
This has been my biggest invisible loss.
And it took me many years to figure it out.
The more I reenter, the more clearly I can understand myself and what really happened to me since he died.
A lot happened.
And one thing is for sure, even though I have rebuilt my life from the ground up, there is one thing left to do.
To walk all the way inside my life.
To stop standing at the door.
At first I thought that I was just witnessing everyone because of my life’s perspective.
But as the years went by I looked closer and I saw myself standing at the door and everyone else hanging in the living room or the kitchen.
No wonder it has felt so lonely.
I never let myself all the way in.
I learned that true mastery of life after loss can only be attained by many Life Reentry® journeys. (Click to Tweet!)
Each new Life Reentry® adds to the one before.
My very first Life Reentry® was to laugh out loud for the first time.
The next was to move my bed around.
Then to paint my walls.
Find food tasty again.
Go on an adventure trip with my girls.
Get a new job.
The list goes on.
If I was to count my reentries, there must be thousands.
But as the years go by it gets harder and harder to find my way to the one I need the most.
It took me a while to figure out that there was a part of me that was always left behind standing at the door.
But now that I know, I will make sure no parts of me ever stand at the door again.
During my next Life Reentry® class.
I will not only teach it, but will participate fully.
Reentering with everyone else.
And for those already in my class, nudge me, walk with me too.
My question today for you is, which part of you is still standing at the door?
Are you just witnessing everything instead of being inside your life.
And if the answer is yes, it is ok.
Now we both know.
And we will find our way in.
With love and so much life to live,
P.S. 4 Days left until our next Life Reentry® Journey. Class begins on Tuesday. Doors close on Monday night. REGISTER HERE: https://lifereentry.com/courses/life-reentry-winter-2018/
Whenever I want to give up,
I think of the bold words of Ralph Waldo Emerson
“God will not have his work made manifest by cowards”
And I want to scream.
I am not a coward, God.
I am not a coward. I will keep going.
Keep knocking on doors.
Keep doing the work.
Keep making a fool of myself. Falling. Hurting.
And I won’t give up.
Not even when my legs don’t want to move.
Not even when my heart feels like it is sitting inside concrete.
Not even when I would rather be a coward than live this courageous life.
Not even when I ask why bother, we all die.
Why bother with it all when in the end, it doesn’t really matter how much fear I lived through.
I have a confession to make.
Whenever someone really courageous dies, I cry.
I think about all the courage they had to master in their life, all their hard work and now they are gone. Gone. Forever.
Helen Keller, who was deaf and blind all her life and championed for the deaf. Courageous.
Nelson Mandela, spent 20 years in prison. Resilient.
Martin Luther King, fought against so much unfairness. Dreamer.
George Orwell, gave up his wealth for something greater. Humble.
Amelia Earhart the first female to fly solo across the Atlantic. Disappeared forever while flying around the world. Wonder woman.
I cry for them.
As if they were my friends.
As if we had known each other.
As if I was there when they were there.
I want to be courageous like they were.
I want my life to matter. Like theirs.
And then I think of all of my fears, and I want to grab them, and scramble them.
As if they are made of nothing.
Destroy them with my will.
And scatter them everywhere.
I want to run to the highest mountain, and see what I am made of.
To run out of breath, and collapse.
As if I have no more air to breathe.
And then find my way back. Or not.
To not be afraid of that, the not coming back.
To not be afraid of losing everything again.
You see, because of all the loss I have experienced, I am so afraid of loss.
Because I know how my body can’t even withstand it.
It is as if I have seen the monster that lives in my attic and I am scared of it coming out again.
So I go quiet, to not wake it.
So I stay in, so it won’t hear me open the door.
So I pretend to not exist so it won’t come after me and take what I have left.
And then I think about what Ralph Waldo Emerson said about God not entrusting his work to cowards, and I know.
I just know.
I have to make noise even if the monster in my attic hears it.
And I know you do too.
You must come along with me, and let the monster in the attic hear you leave.
Let it come downstairs.
Let is try to scare you.
Let it roar on your face. I know you can roar back. I know you can.
And you know what else?
The monster has a secret.
It can’t leave the prison it has made for you.
So, it tries to keep you inside, afraid of the world outside.
It knows once you are courageous, you won’t look back.
The monster won’t be a monster anymore, it will be something that was feared once but forgotten.
Come along with me, and Amelia, and Martin, and Helen, Nelson too, let’s leave our monsters behind like they did. Let’s…
With many monsters waiting for me to come back home,
P.S. 11 days left until the next exit. Join me in my next class here.