Warning: this is going to be a long one! There is no short way to describe or explain being visited upon by Death and seeing one’s own calling in His face.
This morning over breakfast with one of my spiritual warrior goddess friends, she posed the following challenge:
CLAIM IT. CLAIM WHO YOU ARE!
We had been talking about the Magdalene and my calling as not only a Magdalene priestess, but of BEING the Magdalene. What she did not know is that I had only minutes ago come out of a shamanic journey where I was reminded of a calling even deeper than that of the Magdalene (actually, the Magdalene calling encompasses this). For lack of a better word, I am invited to embrace my calling as a:
This, however, is more of a calling. It is more of an embodiment and one that has haunted/beckoned to me my entire life. It began with my harrowing birth and the “failure to thrive” which followed and all the other “mysterious” ailments that have accompanied my life (the First People rightly call Sacramento “The Valley of Death”).
Then when I was somewhere around 5 or 6 years old I had a dream of end of the world – one which has set the tone and the course of my life path. In the dream I asked how we could prevent the world from ending. I was given a specific task which I have been diligently tending to my entire adult life.
In this adult life, an obvious pattern has emerged. In EVERY SINGLE work environment/situation, I have shown up minutes (in Divine time) before the whole place starts to fall apart. I’m most certainly not the one causing the “death,” but I’m always the one who sees the writing on the wall, who tries to warn those involved and who attempts to give them the tools to prevent their own death. Not once have the institutions involved accepted my recommendations and in every single case, they have died a fiery death.
While I am no longer in an institutional setting, the trend continues. In my local community, I see the institutions who are in trouble, I have attempted to share my insights and wisdom, and in every case they have been refused. It saddens me deeply to know the inevitable outcomes and I grieve every time I see one of these institutions making choices that will only hasten their death.
I also know that these deaths are necessary. Hierarchical/Patriachal institutions based in fear, power and control have destroyed our world and continue to do so. It is time for them to die.
But still I grieve. I grieve for those who will be negatively impacted by the deaths. I mourn for those who may literally die because of the irresponsible actions of the power structures and for their loved ones who will be left behind. I also grieve for our loss of innocence as a culture and as a world. While many worry the pandemic of the Coronavirus, their greater concern should be the global financial collapse that is soon to follow – if certain measures of reform are not immediately embraced…
But there I go again, trying to prevent death.
Death is inevitable. Everything and everyone has a natural life cycle and we live in a world where death is no longer natural, but man-made. Humanity has created its own death. How insane and tragic is that!?
So as my friend is encouraging me to OWN THE MAGDALENE, a deeper voice within me is screaming at me to OWN DEATH!
Death as my calling. Death as my Beloved. Death as why I am here and what I came here to do. Not to bring about death, but to be witness to humanity is its relentless march to its own destruction, and after the death, to support the world in finding new life.
In the journey I completed before meeting my friend for breakfast, this is what I saw:
Myself and my Beloved, standing at the ocean entrance to a cave set within a rocky shore. Behind us in the world above was the dying world, aflame in its self-destruction. We stood safe within our cave gazing out over the crashing waves as the light of a new dawn was breaking on the horizon. Standing at the threshold between death and new life, confident and at peace in the knowledge that it is only in dying to the old that new life might come forth.
So with this, I accept and acknowledge Death as my calling.
There is a popular theme in classical art which depicts Mary Magdalene holding or gazing at a skull. I have never really understood this image. If Jesus was truly raised from the death, then the skull cannot be his. If it’s not Jesus’ skull, then whose is it? Is the former owner of the skull even relevant or is the presence of the skull merely symbolic? Why was this a popular theme among classical artists and why does it not persist today?
For years I have pondered the meaning of these paintings. What is up with Mary Magdalene and the skull? After the events of this past week and the spiritual experiences I have borne related to these events, now I get it.
The Events of the Week:
This week, Oshkosh experienced its first school shooting. A hurting and troubled teen attacked the school’s Resource (police) Officer with a knife. In the struggle the officer’s gun was discharged, injuring the officer. The gun was discharged a second time and the student was also shot. Following active shooter protocol, the school was evacuated while the offer and student were tended to. Fortunately, both the officer and the student survived and are recovering from their wounds (if you can ever really recover from such a traumatic event). The students, staff, their families, and the entire community are now grieving, trying to make sense of the trauma and (hopefully) examining what can be done (if anything) to prevent future incidents.
These kinds of incidents place us in the position of feeling helpless, confused and lost. First, we suffer shock. Then after the shock wears off, we grieve. For some, the grief comes out as anger. For others disbelief (denial). Others try to come up with all the things that could have/should have been done to prevent the tragedy (bargaining). There are those who do not know what to do with the energy of their grief, so they find ways to stay busy (creating distractions). Finally, there are those who will recognize the deep loss that comes in tragedies such as these and they cry. They weep for the loss of innocence. They weep for the hurting child and their family. They cry for the students and parents who were terrified. They wail over their own fear and the feeling of helplessness that arrives in the stark truth that we cannot always protect our children and over the brokenness of our world that drives a child to want to fatally harm another human being(s).
How it Unfolded Within Me:
As unofficial Pastor of Oshkosh, acknowledged empath, and ordained Priestess of the Magdalene, this is what unfolded in me relating to the above events and why I now understand the imagery of the Magdalene with the skull.
On Sunday, December 1st – two days before the incident at Oshkosh West High School, I got hit by an overwhelming feeling of anxiety. I immediately knew the anxiety was not mine, but it was powerful enough that I took a Lorazepam to stave off the impending panic attack. Then I checked in with my empath friends and Magdalene sisters. They were all in agreement – they too had been hit by powerful anxiety accompanied by overwhelming grief. We all wondered what was happening or soon to happen in the world that we were feeling it this hard. We had no idea that the anxiety and griefr we were feeling was the preview of what would soon be happening in our own backyard.
The news of the event came out via social media as parents and students began informing the community of what was happening. Without knowing who or how, I immediately “saw” an image of the officer and the boy. I knew who the officer was (without knowing) and I knew the boy was white. I then simultaneously went into prayer/empath mode while reaching out to leaders I know in the community to gain information beyond social media reactions.
While praying, holding and processing the energy of the trauma through my body (as empaths do), I was also fielding phone calls, text messages, etc. from parents and friends who were somehow involved in the incident. Listening. Holding Space. Offering counsel and comfort. As an empath/unofficial pastor, I was being called upon to be with them in their fear, confusion, and grief.
Another day in the life of an empath.
After two days of processing with others, the heavy hand of grief fell upon me. Once again, however, this was not my grief. Yes, I grieve for those involved and for our community, but what I was experiencing was a grief disproportionate to even that which our community was feeling. With this also came wave after wave after wave of compassion for the hurting boy and his family and for all the children in our world who are hurting and either not getting the help they need, or who are simply overwhelmed by the current state of our world. (To our children, the world out there really sucks and they often feel there is little to hope for. To understand this more, please read HERE and HERE). When the hand of grief came, I set aside the day for prayer and to sending healing (Reiki) to our fragile and broken world.
This brings me to Thursday. (only two days after the incident). Thursday brought the presence of Death. “He” came to me upon waking from a restless sleep and has remained with me since. This is not the first time Death has come to me, and I have been told that “He” is here to stay. Death, it seems, is to remain my companion (in fact He’s been here all along) and as “He” explained, “He” is what I have been seeking after all along.
For those new to the language and mystery of death, let me explain. I’m not suicidal. Neither am I wishing or praying for death, or even having fantasies as such. Instead, I have experienced the profound awareness that Death has always been with me and something I do not fear. Of course, I would hate for my children to preceded me in death (God forbid!). Yes, my body reacts to life-threatening experiences with fight, flight and/or flee. Absolutely have I grieved those I have “lost” to death. But the fact remains, I have never shied away from nor fled death. Instead, I have been fully present to it in whatever form it has taken in my life – and it has taken many forms. From the death of every single institution in which I have worked (the deaths strangely beginning to unfold shortly after my arrival), to the death of the university from which I earned my master’s degree, to the death of a marriage, the death of my Church and my relationship with my church, the death of friendships, the death of dear friends who were taken from life much too soon, to innumerable endings (deaths) that have occurred in my life. The death of dreams. The death of hopes. The death of what I once thought my life would be. For as long as I can remember, Death has been my companion and dare I say, “my friend.”
To those who might experience fear in the face of these statements, here’s the thing: DEATH IS A PART OF LIFE. In fact, it is out of Darkness that life comes into form and it is Darkness/Death to which we return. We cannot have life without death – either literally or metaphorically. As such, it behooves us to get comfortable with death. As our world becomes increasingly divisive and continues in its race toward death, we best make friends with death SOON!
But not everyone is comfortable with Death, neither is everyone called to be a Priestess of Death. Priest/ess of Death is a unique calling. Priestess of Death is a calling that requires discipline, persistence, tenacity, immeasurable courage and the ability to stand toe to toe and face to face with that which humanity fears the most. As a Priestess of Death, we must be willing to DIVE DEEP – first into our own wounds, past traumas and fears and do the really challenging work of transforming these wounds so that our TRUE BEING might emerge. THEN (concurrently) we have to be willing to Dive into the Darkness around us – being witness to that which is made out of fear, holding and accompanying others in their pain, being the vessel through which the pain and untruths of our world are processed and released for those unable or unwilling to do it for themselves.
It is this final piece that best describes the work of the Priestesses of Death. We are here to bear witness to everything in our world which has been swept under the rug, every lie that has been told, every loss that has not been grieved, every fear that remains, and every trauma that humanity is unable to clear themselves. Bearing witness, however, is simply not enough. Our most challenging task is to hold that pain in our bodies and allow it to move through us as it seeks its own healing and release. If you are a Priestess of Death – you know about which I speak.
This is the meaning of the Magdalene with the skull. Unlike the other disciples of Jesus, Mary Magdalene embodied the ability to not only be with Death but to hold the space and process the pain and trauma of death that others are not able to do for themselves. As Priestess of Death, Mary Magdalene did even more than this. She held space with and for Jesus as he journeyed toward his death and in being with him there, she became Co-Redemptrix – transforming through her own body humanity’s fear. After Jesus’ death, Mary continued this work and through the Magdalene succession, this work continues through those equally gifted and called to be Priest/esses of Death.
For the past number of years, we have been experiencing the great awakening of human consciousness. This awakening has been given many names and equally as many faces. Some call it the “New Age Movement” (for the record, there is nothing “New” about New Age. It is simply a rediscovery and reclaiming of what Mystics and Prophets have known all along). Others call it Ascension. Still others call it enlightenment. I’m sure there are other names, but we’ll leave it at that. While there have been many positive aspects to this awakening, there is one ENORMOUS DANGER and pitfall which very few acknowledge and even more fall into:
Ascension is NOT the path to our wholeness. Ascension is not the goal. Ascension is not the final outcome. In fact, our human journey toward wholeness – where we are one with our Divine and Human selves – is not complete until we have moved past ascension and are willing to descend into the depths of our own, as well as the world’s darkness. Descending is the profoundly challenging (and yet deeply liberating and rewarding) part of our journey toward wholeness where we come face to face with:
After we ascend and discover the ecstasy of our Union with the Divine (our higher and truest self), we have to bring that Union into embodiment. The only way to embody our true and Divine Self is to let it come through us, bringing us face to face with all of who and what we are that is not in alignment with Love. This is the work of the Shadow Worker and where our true gifts come to light.
For support with your shadow work, read my book, Authentic Freedom. Available HERE.
The truth about Descending is that we cannot “LaLa” the darkness away. Neither can we avoid it by escaping into reverie. We don’t change things by thinking the right thoughts, raising our vibration, eating “more highly vibrational foods,” or through thoughts and prayers. We have to do the messy, dirty, sometimes terrifying work of turning away from the light and toward the darkness. This is the DEEP DIVE that has nothing to do with “Dark Night of the Soul” and everything to do with the BIRTH of our Soul. Here, the fragmented and broken parts of our humanness are acknowledged, transformed, and then released so that only Love remains. I will make no bones about this part: the LOVE that we are is not some glittery, flowy, rainbow filled unicorn of light. This is the LOVE that can withstand all that we are, all the world is, and everything life will hand us, without turning tail and running away. This is the Love made up of fierce courage. It is the Love of Mother Kali who cuts away all that is not supportive of our mission and purpose on this plane. On a collective level, it is the Love of the Destroyer that burns down whatever stands in the way of our human evolution – even the Brazilian Rainforest if that is what it takes to
WAKE US UP
But again, here is the trick: We do not arrive at our wholeness through “love and light.” We get there by burning the f’cker down. And the work starts and ends with ourselves!
If we are not willing to do the challenging work of facing and being with our darkness and our greatest fears, then we cannot be a source of Love and support for our dying world. If we do not do this critically important work, choosing instead to escape into Ascension, then we will suffer the consequences.
While Ascending past the illusion of separation and finding our Union with Self is an important first step, avoiding the Descent will paralyze us with this one critical truth:
What we resist will persist!
As a friend of mine once observed, “God is a nag!” I would translate that by saying that our True Self, our Soul is a heartless bitch! She will hound us until our work is done. The harder we work against Her, the more vicious She becomes. Choosing only Ascension, imprisons us in our darkness which then comes out sideways in:
Passive Aggressive and .Bullying Behaviors.
And the king of all demons: DENIAL.
When we are stuck in ascension, we are blind to our darkness (oh, we might see it, but we will do everything we can to “La La” it away). We pretend it isn’t there. We avoid anything that might have to do with death, disappointment, failure or inner conflict. We pretend we know ourselves, when we really do not. Our unhealed wounds come out sideways as we spin round and round in the drain of our inability to be completely and wholly accountable to and responsible for ourselves.
The journey if descent is excruciating, but staying in ascension is even worse! How would you like to spend an eternity in the game of pretend? Pretty soon you can no longer remember the lies you have told yourself to stay in the light as your darkness overtakes you.
Here’s the really funny thing about this truth……Jesus knew it, and so did the Kabbalists who were likely his teachers.
Above is an excerpt from my Authentic Freedom Weekly Lesson. To subscribe and receive the full lesson click HERE.
Sunday morning, another classmate of one of my children died by apparent suicide. Between my two children, this is 15 children who they know who died by their own hand. To say this is tragic would be an understatement. Our kids are not alright! What follows is an excerpt from a previously published article. Here I will no longer make excuses for who is “not at fault.” Because as our children keep dying….WE ARE ALL TO BLAME. Here’s why:
The single most problem, and the reason our kids are not alright is: Our world.
Our world is a mess. Our world is a mess for all of us – and for some of us, it is just too much to bear. Let’s look at the facts:
For as long as our children have been alive, THE WORLD HAS BEEN AT WAR.
If it’s not a conflict or a war with a name, (Desert Storm, Iraqi, Afghanistan, Israel and Palestine, etc. etc. etc.) it is “the war on terrorism.” And the worst of all the terrorist attacks have been accomplished right here on our own soil by our own U.S. citizens. The media does not help in this regard by triggering our fears through sensationalism. As my son said, “Hundreds of people a year are shot in Chicago and no one cares, but as soon as one guy gets shot in Oshkosh, the whole world is in a state of panic.” (This also points to media and racial bias which is a topic for another blog another day.)
For our children – the world does not feel safe.
In the U.S. success is determined by external measurements like money, status, power and fame. And some of these measurements are literal – how much money you make, how many time you are Tweeted or your Facebook post gets “liked,” if you have your own reality show or not, and do you measure up to the current standards of “beauty.” For those who do not know their true selves and who have no way of knowing themselves except in comparison to others, success feels like an impossible goal – especially when they look at the TRUTH of our economic situation – which brings me to #2
Education does not mean what it used to. In the old days, a high school education was enough to prepare you for a regular job with a decent rate of pay. Then, college became the necessary gateway to a career, a paycheck and economic security. Then, a master’s degree became the gateway, then a PhD. Now….none of this really matters – and our children know this. A college degree guarantees you nothing, or as a friend of mine told her daughter, “Do what you love because there won’t be any jobs for you after college anyway.” Bleak, but true. As much as politicians are touting the economic recovery and that the “recession is over,” this is not the truth.
The world as we know it is dying. Our children know this and they know that they will be the ones who will be creating the new world. For some, this is just too overwhelming a task. Imagine, for a moment, that you are a player in the Hunger Games and the entire world (as you have known it) crumbles at your feet and you are left with the task of building the new world. While the endless possibilities and the excitement of building something new is enticing for some, for others, it is overwhelming and feels impossible and they shut down under the burden of the task.
And finally…..our children are empaths. What this means is that not only are they feeling their own anxiety in the face of a world that is a mess, they are feeling EVERYONE ELSE’S anxiety. They feel the anxiety of their parents, their siblings, their classmates, their teachers, and the entire world around them. When there is a terrorist attack on the other side of the world, they feel it – maybe not consciously, but they feel it. When a weather system is moving through that will cause people anxiety, they know it – again, maybe not consciously, but they feel it. For those that don’t understand the gift of empathy and who don’t have tools for managing this gift, the emotions come out sideways – temper tantrums, disproportionate negative behavior, anxiety, depression – and you guessed it, suicide.
Today (8/19/19) as I write this, I don’t know what caused that young man to jump off the bridge to his death. What I do know is that his death should not be in vain (my original post was in January of 2016….and literally nothing has changed to help our kids!.) His death should be another wake up call for us as parents, teachers, and other adults.
Our children are not alright!
Our children need our help. While we cannot change the outside world, there are things we can do to help our children, and in helping them, find help for ourselves in a messy and broken down world:
Lead them to resources to help them manage anxiety. Resources that have been proven to help manage anxiety include: meditation, mindfulness, regular exercise, a healthy diet, adequate and deep sleep, creativity exercises, being in nature, being with others in healthy community interactions.
Here’s a new one: SUPPORT THEM IN GETTING THEIR BASIC NEEDS MET: food, clothing, shelter, transportation and safety. (Thank you Oshkosh Kids Foundationfor taking the lead in doing this much needed work!!!!!)
Another new one: TRAUMA INFORMED CARE. Too many of our children are growing up in trauma….not only from the world in general, but in their immediate environment. Unless treated, this trauma will come out sideways in anxiety, depression, panic attacks, inappropriate and often dangerous behaviors. Beyond their basic needs, these kids need TRAUMA INTERVENTION and support. A little mental-health care please! PLEASE! School advisers and counselors are not enough. We need full-blown mental health clinics in our schools so our kids can have some support. PLEASE!
Support them in knowing their TRUE selves. Self-knowledge increases self-esteem, confidence, and the ability to be ok with our differences in a world of great diversity, and to weather the storm of other people’s judgements.
Help them develop a different set of values. This starts with us. We need to stop valuing ourselves in terms of money, fame, status, power, and physical characteristics. What we are wearing, whose bag we are carrying and what car we are driving DOES NOT MATTER. These external measurements of “success” or “popularity” do not give us happiness. In fact, all they do is create more ANXIETY. If we want our children to be comfortable in a world that will NOT have the resources in which everyone can be a Kardashian, we have to help them find value in the internals – peace, contentment, joy, and fulfillment in knowing and exercising their gifts. We then need to give them tools for finding this inner peace which leads us back to items 1 and 2.
Support them in their dreams. Our children see and know the new world. They see a world that is free from the separation with which we have defined the world. Instead of separation, they see only oneness. They do not comprehend the separation we keep placing between ourselves and others we view as different from us and they definitely do not comprehend the violence that arises out of these perceived separations. Our children do not see race, religion, sexual orientation, or even gender as barriers, they only see this as the miraculous and amazing diversity among human beings and they seek to know more and to honor these differences. Let’s get out of the way and let them do this, shall we!?
Teach them what to do with Empathy. Empaths are healers and those with this gift (all of our children) possess this gift because they are here to heal our dying world so that a healthier and happy world can emerge. Our children need to know what to do with these feelings and how to stop taking responsibility for everyone else’s pain. Interestingly, this also brings us back to items 1 and 2.
While we cannot change the world, we can change the world in which we are living and the journey starts within. Let us join together to help our children, and in helping our children, helping ourselves so that we can survive in a world in the midst of change and through our children’s dreams, help to support the birth of a new and better world. Then perhaps these children would not have died in vain.
For the last several days (weeks, months, years) I have been experiencing a deep and pervasive sadness. This is a sorrow that I have been unable to give a name to; neither have I been able to identify its source. Until now….. After giving myself the time and permission to sit with this sorrow, exploring its depths, its name was finally revealed:
The death of every dream.
As I sit at this place in my life, I am realizing the difficult truth – every dream I had once had for my life has died (ok, not every dream, only the ones born of ego). I am nowhere near where I thought I would be at 54 years old when I embarked upon this journey of self-fulfillment some 26 years ago. I am not a best-selling author. I’m not rich or famous. I have not been successful is reforming the Catholic Church or in starting a new way of being church. Neither am I speaking Jesus’ message of love before thousands. And I have definitely not met and am not living my once-dreamed of “happily ever after” with the elusive “Mr. Kelly.” Finally, not one of the “new age” or “new thought” promises of abundance and prosperity have found their fulfillment in my life.
As it turns out, I am not living a single one of the “American dreams.” Even more disappointing I’m not even living one of my own dreams. But then again, who is? How many people do you actually know who got everything they wished for? Not too many I suspect. In fact, I bet many who say they are living their dreams are lying, and if they are living their dreams, they are not likely happy for it.
I remember when my parents hit this stage of realizing many of their dreams have died. I watched two of my dearest friends face the death of their dreams when their perfectly healthy 21 year old son died. I have watched three other dear friends face a similar death with the loss of their beloved partners to brain cancer. And just this week, another friend’s dreams died with her son in a deadly car crash. Every day, thousands, if not millions or people face the death of their dreams. I am convinced that this is the path of the human experience. We dream. Our dreams die. And on the other side of the dream is the life that was meant for us all along.
The ancients call this alchemy. Christians call this redemption. Jesus called it “the kingdom of God.” Throughout scripture Jesus speaks on this topic of leaving our worldly dreams behind so that we might fulfill the calling of the Soul. Over and over he turns the table on the societal conditioning and ego-filled dreams of riches and fame (he had to confront these temptations himself) and invites us instead into humility.
Then said Jesus unto his disciples, Verily I say unto you, that a rich man shall hardly enter into the kingdom of heaven.
And again I say unto you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.
When his disciples heard it, they were exceedingly amazed, saying, Who then can be saved?
But Jesus beheld them, and said unto them, With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible.
Then answered Peter and said unto him, Behold, we have forsaken all, and followed thee; what shall we have therefore?
And Jesus said unto them, Verily I say unto you, That ye which have followed me, in the regeneration when the Son of man shall sit in the throne of his glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.
And every one that hath forsaken houses, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my name’s sake, shall receive a hundredfold, and shall inherit everlasting life.
But many that are first shall be last; and the last shall be first. MT 19: 24-30
What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? 37 Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul? Mark 8: 36
Then Jesus told his disciples, “If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake will find it. For what will it profit them if they gain the whole world but forfeit their life? MT 16: 24-26
Do not love the world or the things in the world. The love of the Father is not in those who love the world; for all that is in the world—the desire of the flesh, the desire of the eyes, the pride in riches—comes not from the Father but from the world. And the world and its desire are passing away, but those who do the will of God live forever. 1 John 2: 15-17
As Jesus continually pointed out to his disciples, the world’s ways are not God’s ways and the things of this world will not lead us to peace, contentment, or love. The kingdom of God that Jesus came to know within himself and then tried to show others how to attain, cannot be found through worldly gain or through what the world values as “success.” Instead, it can only be found by moving past worldly aspirations and then emptying ourselves of any and all attachments we might have for worldly things – riches, fame, success through doing, accomplishments, goals, achievement, possessions, positions of power or status, etc. etc. etc. Only when we are empty – completely empty – like Jesus was on the cross – are we able to find that Oneness that defies reason and understanding. Only in setting aside the things of our ego can our Soul step forward, leading us to the life we were always meant to live before taking on all these attachments.
For myself, this means another layer of ego-death. Acknowledging the death of my dreams. Sitting with the loss. Allowing myself to grieve. And then, walking on. As I step out of the ash left by my dying dreams, I will enter into a new world. No longer encumbered by the weight of these dreams, I will be free to receive the new life that is intended on the other side of this death. Kinda like enjoying my very own Easter.
What dreams have died for you?
How are you creating space for yourself to grieve the loss of those dreams?
How are you supporting yourself in being open to the new life that will come forth once you lay your dying dreams to rest?
Let’s talk about all the good things and the bad things that may be
Let’s talk about death…..
As it has been said, there are two things that are certain in the human experience: change and death. We have spoken at length about change, but we haven’t spent much time on the topic of death. Death is certain and every day of our lives is a slow (or quick) march toward that death. We cannot avoid it – our own death or the death of those we love and care about. While death is certain, and could simply be viewed as an ordinary part of our human experience, it is also our greatest fear.
As we fear and resist change, so too do we resist and fear death. It may not be death specifically that we fear, but the inability to control, when, how and with how much pain (physical or otherwise) we experience death. We also fear that which comes after death – if anything. And perhaps more than the “if anything” we fear the possibility that this life might be all there is….that there is nothing waiting for us on the other side of death. From a rational, objective, scientific perspective, we have no way to prove what there may or may not be after death. What it there’s nothing!?
Every religious institution has its own beliefs about death and what comes thereafter. Some suggest that this life is all there is. Others preach the ever-evolving wheel of karma and that we return to this life over and over and over until we have worked off that karma so as to earn enlightenment or nirvana. Some suggest the purpose of the human journey is to grow spiritually and that we return until our eternal Soul has completed its growth. Others suggest a place of eternal damnation. Others suggest a place of eternal reward. Some used to suggest there were places in between (limbo or purgatory), but both of these seem to have been eliminated in favor of heaven or hell. Others believe in a hierarchical afterlife where only the very special chosen ones will receive the fullness of the heavenly reward. The beliefs that human beings have developed around the idea of death are endless. No matter which of these is true, we have no control over when death will come for us or how that death will happen (unless it is by our own hand)…..and this scares the hell out of most people.
Until it does not. In the Christian tradition, we are told that Jesus came so as to conquer death…..:
“Very truly, I tell you, we speak of what we know and testify to what we have seen; yet you do not receive our testimony. If I have told you about earthly things and you do not believe, how can you believe if I tell you about heavenly things? No one has ascended into heaven except the one who descended from heaven, the Son of Man. And just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in him may have eternal life.
“For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life.
“Indeed, God did not send the Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. John 3: 11-17
God, who saved us and called us to a holy calling, not because of our works but because of his own purpose and grace, which he gave us in Christ Jesus before the ages began,and which now has been manifested through the appearing of our Savior Christ Jesus, who abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel, 2 Timothy 1: 9-10
…but what was the death that Jesus conquered? Jesus did die…(at least that’s what scripture and Christian doctrine tell us). If Jesus brought eternal life, it is not an eternal life on this human plane. Christianity then goes on to tells us that in his death Jesus guaranteed eternal life for “all who believe in him.” But what about the rest of the world? Are only Christians saved? I very much doubt it. I personally believe we are all saved, but not in the way that has anything to do with a heavenly reward, or lack thereof. Instead, it is not physical death and the “what comes after” that Jesus saves us from. Instead, Jesus came to save us from that which prevents us from LIVING while we are right here, trying to get through this thing called life (Cue Prince). Ironically, the way we make it through this human experience is to face down and move through this which we fear the most – namely death.
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The short answer to the question: “How do you survive soul death” is YOU DON’T. Soul death is what many are experiencing right now as we are facing the death of the world that we have known and the void between what we have known and what has not yet come into being.
Soul death can be recognized by:
Feeling as if you are weighted down
Life feels as if you are walking through wet cement
You feel heavy, depressed, unmotivated, paralyzed.
NOTHING seems to be happening in your outside world.
Inside you feel vacant and empty.
You feel the need to weep but you don’t know why.
It feels as if there is nothing to hang on to, nothing holding your attention or interest in this world.
You don’t want to die, but THIS doesn’t feel much like living.
You are SOUL WEARY. Exhausted. Worn out. Physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually.
The spiritual practices that normally provide some measure of comfort feel empty and lifeless. They provide no relief.
Symptoms of soul death seem to be the common theme for sensitives at this point in our human evolution. The world we have known is dying (thank God) and we are in that void between what has been and what has not yet been brought forth into our lives and world.
There is no surviving soul death because death is the point. All that we have done, been, believed, been a part of in the old (patriarchal/hierarchical) world needs to come to an end. We cannot leave the old world behind while clinging to what gave our lives meaning and purpose in that world. Neither can we leave that world behind while clinging to the beliefs, structures, practices or habits that supported our survival in that world. It all needs to go. It all needs to die. And that is terrifying.
Once we have allowed the death of all that has been, we enter INTO THE VOID! This is the state of complete emptiness where we know nothing and where WE ARE NOTHING. This can be a frightening place – especially for those (like me) who seek after some measure of surety. We long to have something to hold on to. In the void, there is literally nothing, so there is nothing to hang on to. Instead, our only option is to SURRENDER. Here, instead of resisting, we enter deeply into our soul death. We allow ourselves to courageously face the darkness, the emptiness, the nothingness and to feel the deep pain of separation, knowing that this perceived separation is only an illusion for in the perceived darkness where it appears there is nothing, THERE IS EVERYTHING. Everything that has ever come into form came into being from this place of emptiness. In entering into the nothing we discover EVERYTHING.
Surviving soul death requires to us surrender to it….enter into it….be with and allow it. Survival comes in allowing the death and being with it every step of the way. Only then can the new life come into being.