Remembering Loved Ones During This Sacred Season
“There are no goodbyes for us. Wherever you are,
you will always be in my heart.”
~ Mahatma Ghandi
As we approach the Christmas holiday, I am remembering with a mix of gentle grief and heartful gratitude my family members who have passed. I am also aware that so many families have lost loved ones during this difficult year. Most present to me this week is my brother Mike. Mike was just one year ahead of me in life but died at the young age of 38. We were called to the hospital on Christmas Eve in 1998 with the news that Mike had gone into a septic coma following a minor procedure after battling Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma for over seven years. Although his illness was well-known, his death was unexpected, and our family made the difficult and painful decision to withdraw life support four days later. We later lost my mother to cancer in 2002 at the age of 64, and my father to cancer in 2012 at the age of 74, and although none of those losses were easy and they all seemed to come too soon, my spiritual awareness of their living presence grew with each passing.
What seems funny to me now as my spiritual practice has allowed me to move more firmly into my awareness of the invisible world, is that sometimes I can’t imagine it has been nearly twenty years since my mother has crossed that threshold. I feel her invisible presence standing next to me every day as I move through my own journey of life, and often talk, listen, laugh, and cry with her as I engage with her loving energy. Several months following her passing I had a vivid dream with her and woke up to find a poem in full form on the notepad next to my bed. That poem became the book, The Land Beyond Forever, and it is full of my mother’s joyful energy and spiritual wisdom. The book was illustrated by a phenomenal Minnesota artist, Jill Dubbeldee Kuhn, who beautifully captured this connection to our loved ones through a doorway in our heart in the illustration below. The stanza on that page of the book goes like this:
For just around the corner
and a little bit above,
is the place beyond forever
where we meet the ones we love.
Our spiritual work in this lifetime is to remember who we are. The three triangle model reminds us that we are energy and not matter, we are Soul and not form, we are truly eternal Spirit in action. As the poem in my book teaches, we are “kings and queens of light and love,” living inside a deep and eternal state of Unity. Inside that web of eternal love and connection, we can never die and we can never be separated from those we love. We must learn to live our lives in fuller awareness of this deep spiritual truth.
When we look at life from this spiritual perspective, we open up our awareness to the eternal presence of those we have loved and this spiritual experience is a welcome balm to the difficult human experience of loss. When Ghandi declared that our loved ones will always be in our hearts, he was not just describing holding a tender memory of our loved ones. Rather, he was naming a real spiritual connection and a lasting relationship with those we love, despite the death of the human form. As we have been learning, our heart center is the doorway to our Soul where we make the connection between our physical self and our Soul Self, and our Soul is the eternal part of us that has no beginning and no end, no start and no finish. At the level of our human self, life in physical form comes and then goes, but at the level of our Soul, life is eternal and our connection to those we love is never ending.
During this Christmas week, practice bringing your awareness of your Soul and the sacred and invisible world into every moment of your life. Drop the worry and anxiety about buying the right gifts and your disappointment about the constrictions we are all experiencing this Christmas season. Let go of old wounds and unrealistic expectations and simply look for the light, love and magic that is around you in every moment. Commit to celebrating this season at a deeper level by bringing your deepest Self, your invisible Soul presence, with you as you go. If you practice living inside your deeper awareness, you will notice that you focus more on what matters and less on what other people think; you will smile at the store clerk with patience instead of grumbling with annoyance; you will take the time to tell those you love what they mean to you, instead of getting caught in the frustrations of the day; you will feel the expansive, joyful, life-giving presence of your Soul, instead of the ruminating, agitating and life-depleting energy of your small self. When you catch your small self hijacking the moment, breathe deeply and remember who you really are: A Soul born from the Source of Light and Love and here to experience the play, joy and fullness of Life.
My hope and prayer for all those that are grieving the loss of a loved one during this sacred season, is that you will move into the energy of your heart where you can continue your connection with those that have passed and can enter deeply and joyfully into the spiritual Mystery of Life. Remember, that while we are in this human body, we are the point where Mystery meets matter, and the invisible world is ever present. As you enter into this Christmas season, where we celebrate the birth of God in the form of Jesus and his ultimate resurrection into the eternal energy of the Cosmic Christ, remember that you too are a child of the same God and that your life holds the same promise. We are each born as an incarnation of the Light and Love of the Source of All That Is. Light a candle this week to draw your awareness close to those you have loved and know that you can meet them again and again by passing through that doorway in your heart and entering into your Soul.
Wishing you the blessings and light of the Soul, as you create the life you imagine.