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.