This excerpt from my newest book – a spiritual memoir called Water Oak: The Happiness of Longing – is timely considering how Hillary has been called a “nasty woman.” Let me know what you think:
Yet wasn’t this the story of all women; all of us potently loving and profoundly angry at once? Perhaps it only mattered how well we walked the edge, how seldom we surrendered to the dark; what gifts we had gathered to keep us upright when things fell apart; how not to hide in the kitchen eating chocolate and drinking Coca Cola when the world was tilting; instead to reach up, arms stretched wide to the empty sky and have our hearts broken open in the light; to call in the grace and take a different posture completely – the prayer pose instead of the fetal position; or to become a healer instead of surrendering to the rage of human suffering.
Why was our shamanic knowingness rejected by this world, considered witchcraft, schizophrenia, hypersensitivity, emotionalism, depression when it was clearly the gift of seeing beyond the surface, pulling back the curtain to reveal the script, the playwright, the contracts we’d signed before the play began.
How deeply women understood that the unseen and unsaid is more real than real; and how seldom men seemed to grasp this – to see beyond appearance; most of them barely able to imagine our rage, consider our pain; instead calling it names, giving it labels, finding a drug to hush it.
Were we simply trying to master the dance of shadow and light; to see through the cracks in the world? Why were women unafraid of this dichotomy while men seemed terrified of the shadow? As Jung had pointed out – the shadow self is as necessary as the higher self; there’s so much wisdom revealed in every dark night of the soul; great truths only uncovered when we disconnect from the world, allow our souls to linger in what we’ve lost.
From my new book: Water Oak: The Happiness of Longing
It’s the morning of July 14, 1980. I awaken to the sounds of a mourning dove outside my window and a view of Boulder’s sacred limestone slabs reaching into the clouds; these front range Rocky Mountain slopes are where my husband and I once spent happy afternoons climbing, hiking and feeling invincible.
Yesterday, this elegant and strong young man died from cancer at the age of 34. His death ended a year of unforgettable suffering for both of us. My ego tells me this is a deplorable soul-sucking tragedy. Paul was the most loving man I’d ever known and did not deserve to suffer and die before his life could unfold – before we could have our future.
No one will ever love me like that again, says the ego mind. I’m alone, grief-stricken, and sick with heartbreak. I’m scarred for life – just as he was at the end. But I’m still here and he is not.
This voice in my head crushes and flattens me, pushes me back into bed, feels like molten lead pouring down. It deletes my future. I feel miniscule underneath these heavy thoughts. “Why would my husband die of cancer when everyone else our age is launching careers and having babies? What kind of loser am I?” whispers the ego.
Hours later and with tremendous effort, I push out of bed and step outside on the balcony, gazing up at the jagged pink flatirons jutting into a cloudless sky. I take a deep breath and observe their beauty, remember their promise.
It stirs a memory of a time when I first chose Boulder, chose to come to Colorado from the flatlands, with no money or job, just courage and determination. I wanted to break away from old fear patterns, to climb these dizzy rocks even though they terrified me. Magical things happened when I got here; an impossible mountain climbing career, marvelous friends, soul-mate-love and unprecedented happiness.
This reminiscence stirs a powerful recognition inside of me. I’ve chosen the path of courage before. And it served me well.
The voice of inner wisdom that has been knocked out of me for the past year, now whispers: This is your greatest moment. Every lesson you came to learn in order to push into your soul’s potential and align with your highest self, lives in this very instant of devastating grief.
The energy of these words lights me up, gives me breath. My mind chatter quiets and I hear my higher self say: Paul was your greatest spiritual teacher. He revealed his spirit to you as he left his body. He took you on a spiritual journey disguised as a healing journey. It was your healing journey, not his. It was his gift to you.
Over the next few months, I begin to realize that all the things we experienced together in the year of his dying – the meditations, healers, Native American ceremonies, and his fully conscious exit from his body – were all for me. He was finished with this lifetime, not meant to stay longer, just long enough to show me that I was worthy of love and could reach into my soul to find wisdom and courage. He helped me see life in a new way.
“You’ve never been alone,” whispers this inner voice of the divine. “You’ve been held in love and light even in your darkest moment. You must choose which path to take now. This is your choice point.”
The next few years of my life play out as up and down as a roller coaster. Sometimes I’m able to embrace my divine lens view and move forward. Other times I’m lost in self-pity, self-doubt and the blind confusion of anger and grief.
Yet my choice will ultimately be for trusting my soul’s wisdom and consciously taking the spiritual path that gets me here – writing this to you.
Our journeys are never one straight line of uninterrupted wisdom and enlightened action. Neither are they one continuous journey of negativity and fear. All of us vacillate between our ego lens and divine lens perspectives. We spend time viewing life through each lens so that we can make a fully realized choice. These two viewpoints battle for dominance inside of us until our heart finally chooses. This choice becomes the essence of who we are.
-By Sue Frederick, author of Bridges to Heaven: True Stories of Loved Ones on the Other Side
Join me for a grief healing retreat in September at Shambhala Mountain Center
Your Divine Lens is finally available in paperback!! Keep this book by your bedside for inspiration & guidance! Here’s the link: http://amzn.com/0976239337
Excerpt from Your Divine Lens:
There’s no joy without pain – no pain without joy – when all is said and done. We have to love the play for what it is – a textbook of mastery for our divine evolution.
Of course, like you, I long to step away from the pain and live in the bliss – meditating on my porch while a summer breeze stirs my heart and I cry from the beauty of a tree in the morning sun; the perfect dance of light and dark; the brilliance of a mourning dove’s sweet song; the song that wakes us up from the bliss of higher realms.
In a moment of sudden panic at the airport, I hold my daughter forever, kiss her lovely forehead and never let her go. I stop her from walking towards the gate away from me. Then, like mothers do, I blow her a kiss good-bye as she disappears from view. She too needs to see the beauty and the horror side by side.
We all must sip from this potent brew or there’s no need to be here. It’s the play and the play’s the thing. And when you take your final bow, it matters how honestly you spoke your lines, how bravely you faced the audience; if you played your role with every ounce of heart you could muster.
It matters how true your words rang out into the night – filling the audience with hope, sorrow and understanding; your poetry drifting into a moonlit sky.
But the play’s the thing. And it gets me out of bed. It’s the thing that holds us together waiting for the divine reveal. We hope for one word of unbroken truth to fall into our hearts and touch us so deeply that for a brief instant we remember who we are and leap to our feet shouting “Bravo!!”
For that one moment, we see the perfection of horror and beauty. We understand the play of light and shadow; and it illuminates us.
Only at the final curtain call can we say it was terrible and wonderful and that we’re glad we came – that the story was worth it. And the script was brilliant.
Be the player on the stage we can’t forget. Pull the naked truth from your heart and lay it on the stage for all to see. Speak your untarnished wisdom that wakes us up for a brief instant of shared illumination. Because you are divine and nothing can stop you.
Your Divine Lens – now available on Amazon
Fear, my old friend, I recognize you now when you come to me in the night, disguised as bills, illness, heartbreak, grief or disappointment.
I recognize you by the stirring in my gut as you approach, the quickening of my heart, the frantic pacing of my thoughts. Ah! It is only you! And you, fear, are not real!
You are the boogeyman I planted in my closet. The one I told to awaken me in the night so I would learn to dance with you instead of cry. So I would learn to use you as fuel to help me reach my next level. So I would see ultimately that you are my friend, my fertilizer, my divine companion on this journey to rediscover my soul.
I embrace you, fear, because without you I would be nowhere. I would never have jumped off my first cliff into the unknown. I would never have stepped into my first terrifying adventure that changed everything. I would never have found my voice. Because without you, fear, I would still be sleeping.
I embrace you fear because I know that when I turn away from you – I make my bravest choices; I take steps in a new career direction; I quit the job that isn’t working; I stand in my truth.
Because of you, fear, I can courageously move forward into the unknown – which is always the juicy spot, the sweet spot and the first step on my path to success.