The Art of Answering Your What Ifs

June 3, 2021

Sometimes the new life is hiding behind a tiny moment. Behind just one thought.  If you could look inside your mind you would see two words connecting the old chapter with the new one.  These words can be missed completely if we are not paying attention to our inner experience.  It is almost like a lottery win.  Rare. Unexpected.  Invisible to the naked eye and inaudible to our ears.  But then how could we hear it or see it?  How can we find something that is not seen or heard?  Well, let me show you.  Imagine you are going about your day, and wondering the same things, thinking the same thoughts.  And just like that, a question pops up and it starts with the words... what if.  Just... what if?  When this happens, complete the sentence and answer the question.  When you answer it, add, and then what?  And then, what would happen if I did this?  Keep going.  Don’t stop the trail of the thread.  That is how you jump from one chapter to the next.  How you change your life.  I was on a road trip from Austin to Los Angeles last week and in between Albuquerque and Sedona the what if question popped in while I was thinking about something and I stayed with it.  I answered it.  All the way until it became a decision which I acted upon.  What if you did the same thing.  Answered your what ifs?  Then, the what would happen if you did this? If you dared yourself, with the answer.  We take life so seriously.  We agonize over big decisions.  We wait.  We let time pass by these words, unanswered.  When I finished the answering of my what if, I stopped at a rest area where a jewelry shop was magically there, in the middle of the desert.  I walked in and bought a beautiful cross to signify the moment of the answering.  You can never let your brain forget the seeing, the hearing of the unseen, and the unheard.  May you listen in, find your what if, answer the question and make it a memorable experience.  Will you dare?  With many what ifs, and a few... then whats, Christina  P.S. I hope you find your way to this week’s podcast with one of the greatest teachers I have ever met. Listen here.

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Grief’s Monastery

May 28, 2021

There is a place deep inside grief that can hold us without pain.  The deepest most hidden place of the grief experience is a seat of Trinity to witness life from.  I was trying to explain this to someone this week. She saw me looking sad and struggled believing me when I said I am very happy. It is hard to explain that this feels good to me and not be seen as my suffering. The nostalgia and sadness that stems from that corner is not the same as the mourning experience.  It is not anxiety. Nor trauma or depression.  It is a grounding and integrating of the self.  When you have spent years in grief there is a spontaneous evolutionary experience that takes place but rarely noticed by others.  We experience a feeling of depth, deep reflection and insight that sits in a quiet, silent elysian space. We carry that with us at work, in our craft and in our relationships.  It is never talked about.  When it is, it is presented as meditation, or a zen experience.  It is not that. It is grief’s long term healing depth.  It is grief’s version of a monk like experience.  It is grief’s Monastery.  Most people don’t know about the real magnitude of grief and why we need to find the precise words for it.  I struggle when I get put in a box because it is the easiest way for someone to understand me.  And why I light the way for the places within me and you that get by passed, dismissed and never seen.  This tiny monastery that grief built inside of me and you is the deepest place of the soul.  It is the most beautiful experience I have when I am there.  The tears that stem from this place are bathed in a timeless existence of the self.  This tiny monastery of grief inside of us is similar to a quiet church visit, a peak experience on top of a mountain.  It is holy. It is transcendent. And universal.  How does it look like from the outside? Sorrowful.  How it feels from the inside? Ancient and divine.  It is the face of our soul in human form.  How do we get there?  By crying all the mourning tears, all the healing tears.  By not bypassing the magnitude of grief even when it feels like a tsunami.  By being present in the aftermath.  And by feeling all the pain before it.  Grief’s monastery requires time.  Years of pain and sorrow.  Then moments of joy and gratitude. Life.  When we merge it all together, going back and forth between the painful grief and the joyful life, we stumble upon that deepness of what may look like sorrow but it is not.  It is an unspoken world of deep knowing of what it is like to live with both grief and joy.  When you find that tiny corner of gravity where the monastery is built inside of you, don’t be fooled by the tears.  It is your soul being seen by you.  At long last.    With monasteries, Christina P.S. This week’s Dear Life Podcast Guest is the one and only Anita Moorjani. Listen in here P.P.S. Here is the blog version of this letter.

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Have I been Faithful To Myself?

May 21, 2021

I was interviewing Dr. Parker J. Palmer, an extraordinary poet, writer, change maker.  And in the middle of the interview, he asked me if I was faithful to my gift.  My eyes must have widened quite a bit.  My brain repeated.  Faithful to my gift?  How would that look like? I thought about us in that moment in time.  About all of us.  Everyone.  How faithful are we to ourselves?  I mean, have you ever thought about asking yourself this question?  When you are in a conversation.  In a relationship. At work.  Every place in your life.  Do you stay true to your specialness?  Faithful to your gifts.  Or do you drop yourself on the floor while trying to hold someone else up?  Are we cheating on ourselves?  Oh my world. What a question.  One I had never asked myself, and why it stopped me in my tracks.  I saw the thousands of times when I cheated on my gifts.  And chose someone else’s.  The times when I rejected myself while choosing another.  What an abandonment.  What a neglect of self to be unfaithful to the specialness of me.  I went to bed last night thinking about this.  Have I been faithful?  To me.  Have you? Been faithful to yourself.    With unfaithful moments, Christina

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The Two Moons

May 14, 2021

It’s late Thursday evening as I am writing to you.  And the dark of the night makes for a deeper connection between us.  It’s almost as if we slightly step out of space so we are closer together.  It will be morning when you are reading this letter, night when I am writing it, and so we meet at dawn.  Dawn has always been a sacred time, a non-local world between the sleeping and the wake. The light and the dark. The spoken and the unspoken. The things that make us. And unmake us.  Grief. Love.  Remembering. Forgetting.  It is the place where loneliness and solitude reside side by side without touching. The place where impossible things exist.  Unearthly worlds. Unimaginable lives.  But somehow, this place of dawn, the in between day and night, makes everything less earthly. Less humanly. More outwardly.  I often found grief to feel both heavier and lighter there.  It feels as if we know we can endure it but we also know it's torture.  During that time we can believe in both fairies and science. In healing but also in the infinity of life’s hardship.  I don’t think, though, I could have felt the specialness of dawn if I had not been touched by grief. Dawn without deep loss is just a place semi-dark.  Nothing magical to it.  Life without loss is also just a place.  Nothing magical to it.  In Michael Collin’s book Carrying the Fire (the third astronaut on the Apollo 11 mission) he says, “There seems to be two moons now, the one I see in my backyard and the one I remember from up close. Intellectually I know they are one and the same but emotionally they are separate entities.”  I know you and I have not gone to the moon, but in many ways losing someone we love is as life changing as seeing the moon up close.  It resembles Michael Collins' two moons experience.  After loss. We have two views. Two lives. Two selves. (Click to tweet!) But if you ask me, at dawn they become one.   They find their way to each other and blend in.  Grief becomes life, dark becomes light.  And just like that, there is no duality, not duplicity and certainly no extremes, just us and the moon waiting for the sun.  Preparing ourselves for the day ahead. Today, remember how incredibly lucky we are to see two moons instead of one, to carry the fire within us, and maybe even to have the power to put it all back together at dawn.    With carrying fire at dawn, Christina  P.S. Read the books, listen to the podcast, and live a life full of moons.

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