Let me try to explain what teaching this weekend’s grief-shifting workshop at Kripalu Center was like. It’s impossible to put into words everything we went through together and where we ended up. But let me try to take you on this journey:
Friday night 30+ strangers with enormous grief sat in a circle in a room. One by one each person shared their story of loss. We heard stories of police officers knocking at the door to tell a mom and dad that their 23-year-old angel daughter had died in a car accident. We heard that same story from the parents of her angel boyfriend who died with her.
We heard too many stories of parents finding their sons dead from an overdose. We listened to the painful grieving of wives whose husbands of 30+ years died in their arms after suffering the ravages of cancer – or sudden massive heart attacks.
We heard from wives and siblings of those who chose to take their own lives because their suffering was too heavy to carry another day.
After sharing stories around the circle our room was wrapped in Love – divine love – as we honored the deep connection of knowing that all humans share the journey of loss and that grief is our greatest spiritual teacher. It wakes us up like no other teacher can.
Everyone acknowledged that their lives have already been transformed by the presence of the extraordinary showing up in ways that the rational world does not embrace. We shared these stories of visits and dreams. We asked for the healing presence of our loved ones during the weekend to help us heal. We went to bed. Exhausted.
I was awakened that night by a twenty something boy with a huge curly Afro and intense blue eyes hovering over me intensely saying: You have to tell mom that the human experience is only a small part of the journey. You have to tell them this!
I saw other faces of twenty something kids floating past but they all seemed okay with allowing this one boy to give the message to me. And he did. He was quite intense. I said ok. I got it. Don¹t scare me. And they let me sleep.
Early the next morning I shared my dream and described the boy. One mom jumped up and down with joy and shared the picture of her son. He was the boy who woke me up. She said he was famous for his wild Afro and would never cut his hair and that he was very intense in a way that sometimes put others off. I said, “Oh yeah. That was him.”
Others shared their dreams and visits from the night.
We meditated to quiet the mind and open the heart. We shared guilt stories and tore them into the trash in honor of acknowledging soul agreements and soul lessons and the awareness that we do not and can not control the soul choices of others.
We acknowledged that the best we can do here is live in alignment with our highest self and become sources of divine love wherever we go. Guilt is an illusion of control created by the ego. It serves no one. It blocks divine love.
We denied guilt the power of knocking us off center and keeping us from living up to our divine potential. We released it. We affirmed the power of Love.
We cried some more. We named our pitiful selves and our brilliant selves and we denied sadness and depression any power to knock us off center and keep us from being sources of divine love as our departed would want us to be. We did the break your heart wide open meditation technique to release the pain.
I explained how all of us are capable of connecting to the other side for healing and guidance when we go into the silence and quiet the mind. We picked up pens and paper. I guided them through a meditation to quiet the mind and open the heart. I told them to picture a happy memory of being with their departed. To see it, feel it, smell it and get inside of the love of that memory.
I guided them to write quickly as they asked their departed these questions: Why did you leave me? What am I supposed to be learning from this? How am I doing with my grief? What should I do with my life now? They wrote and they wrote.
We went around the circle sharing the words we¹d received from our loved ones. Every single person in that room knew in their bones that they had heard from their departed who gave them loving but honest answers.
We laughed and cried by the poignancy and power of what had been written and shared. These departed messages were quite clear that their moms and dads could be doing a lot better to move on and get their lives together.
One mom was told quite adamantly to get out of the house and get over it; to start reconnecting with life. Another was told to quit the job she’d long hated and start a business. And on and on went the messages. All told in the exact wording of their departed.
We went to lunch and filled the dining hall with laughter and tears. After lunch we explored our unique soul missions and soul agreements and ways to create meaning and purpose in our lives and work moving forward. We shared what our departed would want to see us doing with our lives and what the gift of loss had taught us.
We met up in the cafe where I gave little mini readings to everyone to help them understand their soul missions and soul agreements. I was profoundly struck by the four-way agreements between the four parents whose two children had died in the same car accident. We felt the presence of their divine loving souls around us as we talked.
The next morning we met up in the cafe where our shared laughter and joy almost got us kicked out for rowdiness. Then we went to class where we meditated to quiet the mind and wrote and shared our baby steps for moving forward. Everyone promised to go into the silence once a day for healing and alignment with their inner divinity and highest selves.
We denied grief the power to knock us off center and we affirmed that we are all sources of divine love for ourselves and others.
Our shared laughter and love in that room was so powerful that no one wanted to leave when it was over. We looked like a different group of people from the ones who’d began the journey on Friday night.
I’m home now. Still floating in the love and joy of our divine connections. Truth be told it’s hard to be home. I miss them. I miss their voices, their stories, their laughter. I miss the profoundly deep love and joy we shared – something so rich and poignant that being back in the everyday world seems a bit… well … Ordinary.
And maybe I don’t do so well with ordinary. I’d rather dance in the extraordinary- as we did all weekend.
And that’s my truth. And so it is. Namaste.