Yesterday, I was talking to a friend, who also happens to be an energy worker/healer, about the events of the past week, involving the death of Ember. She asked me to tell her what I had learned and what I thought it means going forward. Here is what I told her:
The day Ember was hit, I heard the delivery truck coming up the driveway and I had a flash of what was about to happen. I KNEW. As I ran toward the driveway, I knew what was happening and although all that I saw was a flash of white, as I got closer, I knew exactly where to look in the driveway.
I saw her and ran to her and I kneeled over her and knew she was gone. There wasn’t a mark on her. No blood, no contusions, nothing bent or broken. It was as if she were sleeping on the bed. But, she was gone.
After we let Junior sniff and nudge her, I wrapped her up and sat in a chair, holding her for about an hour. I stroked her, talked to her, kissed her and Junior sat with us. It was the most peaceful, serene, mystical experience. I was calm and loving and felt as if I were absorbing her into me; as if our spirits or souls melded together.
I know this sounds weird or airy-fairy to many of you, but it felt so perfect and necessary. Saying goodbye. Acknowledging that death is merely the end to our physical bodies and not the end of our essence.
I felt as if she was giving me a gift. Like most of us, I feared death for many years. I was terrified of losing my parents. I made my husband take our pets in to be euthanized because I couldn’t face it. It was better to just not think about it.
I was there when we put our dog Chili to rest and I was glad I was there for her, but this time, it was much more intimate and comforting. It healed me. I felt, smelled, tasted and embraced death in a way that I had never imagined. I had been feeling death in the air and I assumed it was my mom. So, maybe this was practice. A way to be there for her as she transitions.
We push away death in our culture. We deny it and fear it and sterilize it. This taught me to embrace it and know that death isn’t horrible. It isn’t the end. It’s a change of address.
Ember is now unbound by physical constraints. I ache for the loss I feel in my life, by not having her physically here with me. But, I know that my mom will be okay and that I can encourage her to face her fears. I can tell her that she can let go and join my dad and her parents and sister. Those of us still on earth will be fine and we’ll join her one day. There is nothing to fear.
My heart is in a million pieces …again. Loss has attached itself to me like a tick that is hell-bent on teaching me some sort of lesson or sucking out my life’s blood by taking everything that is precious to me.
Yesterday, I lost my feisty, beautiful, bright light of a dog, Ember when she was hit by a delivery truck in our driveway on the farm. She died immediately and with her, I could feel some of my soul empty out of me and into her, leaving another void that can never be filled. She would have been 3 years old in a few weeks.
The pain I’m feeling as I write this is acute and dizzying. I feel foggy and dull, other than the stabbing throb in the pit of my stomach.
The Buddhists teach that in the end, we lose everything and everyone that we love. That is just truth. This is why they teach so much about loosening our grip; to be wary of becoming attached. Attached to material goods, ideas, money, status and yes, those we love. And most of us love our pets as much as we love our humans; in my case, even more I think.
One minute, we were out picking asparagus and the next, she is dead. Just like that. We’ve all heard the saying that life changes in an instant, but until it’s laying in front of us in our driveway, we don’t always grasp it.
My dad died similarly two years ago. He went in and had lunch with my mom, went out to do yard work and in an instant, he was dead in the back yard that he loved. I guess there is some comfort in knowing that neither of them suffered and they were enjoying themselves right up to their final breath. But I miss them both with an ache that is searing.
I miss my dad in that I can never call and seek his advice. I am saddened that my mother continues her earthly journey without him by her side. She misses him desperately.
Ember’s loss is still so new, such a raw, open wound. I got up this morning to one very somber dog, who also misses his companion. Making up one dish of food, seeing her empty crate, and her collar on the counter. No barking and scrambling to be fed and get out the door. Too calm; too somber.
Yesterday, we were all outside, my husband, two dogs and probably a couple of cats, when I heard the Fedex truck starting to come up the driveway, I knew the dogs would run that way. I shouted “Fedex” and for some reason began running toward him as well. I NEVER do that, but I KNEW what was happening. I could feel it before it happened.
We live on 10 acres and so it was some distance for me to cover and I can’t possibly keep up with terriers, but as I ran, I saw a flash of white on the driveway and I knew. I knew she had been hit and then I knew EXACTLY where to look on the driveway as I approached and I saw her, motionless.
I KNEW she was gone. As soon as I got to her. There were no visible signs of trauma. The driver had no idea that he’d hit her. He knew that we had two dogs, he’s at our house at least once a week. He said that he saw our other dog, Junior. Didn’t see Ember.
My husband sent him away angrily. I feel compassion for him; I know that he suffered with this all day yesterday. Knowing that he killed my dog. He didn’t mean to, but he was driving too fast and was distracted or something.
I’m doing my best to not second guess and flood my mind with ‘what ifs’ or ‘whys’. Shit happens. Good shit, bad shit, life shit. We never know why. I believe that when my personal Fedex truck comes along and removes me from Earth, all of those questions will be answered.
For now, I grieve. I know that Ember burned very brightly in her short time on Earth. She was fiery as they come, and quick and loud and boisterous and demanding and loving and hysterically funny and I loved her with a fierceness that she returned to me. She crammed a lot in during a short time. She helped me through some other difficult losses and though I have no idea how we go on after losing her, I trust that we will.
Today, it’s one foot in front of the other. Making sure our other dog, Junior is loved and cared for, as he is mourning the loss of his second lady friend. We are resilient, yet so fragile. That is life.
I’m spiritual, but not religious. For many of you that statement means that I’m not serious. That I can’t make a commitment. The stereotype of that kind of thinking is an air-headed flake that can’t quite make up their mind.
For others, even uttering the word religion or for that matter, spirituality, will mean the conversation is over. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard the words “I’m not like that” or “I’m not interested in that”, when I want to talk about spirit or the metaphysical or even religion. Complete tune-out happens.
And that’s too bad because as humans, we truly are spiritual beings in a human body (I didn’t invent that phrase, by the way). Our soul and/or spirit needs to be fed and nurtured. It’s probably more important to our health, than is the physical. The two are tied so closely together that many can’t even feel or recognize their spiritual component.
When I say that I’m not religious, that doesn’t mean that I reject religion, but that I just don’t embrace it as my personal path. In fact, I believe that we are entering a post-religious era on earth as we watch all of our sacred institutions crumble due to corruption and because they no longer serve the needs of the ‘flock’. They serve themselves and wealthy benefactors.
Religion in it’s current form, feels to many of us as if there are too many rules. It should make us feel loved and uplifted, not punished or judged or broken. I believe that we are made in love and of love and for a religion to assume that we are all sinners isn’t healthy for the world.
Having said that, Jesus was such a great teacher and the Sermon On the Mount is something that I re-read fairly often. To me, that’s the essence of Christianity in it’s simple message. If you’ve never read it, I encourage you to. It’s powerful and a beautiful example of how we should walk in the world and treat others.
But, that’s my opinion. We’ll see how we evolve.
What I want to express to those of you who reject organized religion and are also throwing out spiritual practice with that dirty water, is that you can make your own path and form your own belief system. You don’t HAVE to label it. You don’t HAVE to join a group or community (although sometimes, that feels pretty good). You don’t have to go anywhere or label yourself. You ARE spiritual because you are part of humanity and an inhabitant of Mother Earth.
My personal belief system is constantly widening and expanding and morphing and growing. I’m like an octopus with eight arms, reaching out to wherever my intution leads me; many beliefs and practices speak to me and that’s okay.
I started with Christianity for obvious reasons and then studied Buddhism, began to meditate, was drawn to a more metaphysical approach. I am fed and inspired by nature, so I am drawn to some Native American/indigenous peoples practices. I recently began reading about shamanism and have incorporated that into my meditation practice. Delving into astrology in a deeper way has opened up my eyes to the ancient wisdom of man.
Every step that I take results in a richer spiritual understanding of not only myself, but everything else on earth and of the things that we can’t see, but that we can feel. Death no longer scares me; in fact, I now believe that it will be another phase of my development and existence on another realm.
So, when I suggest to people who tell me that they’re struggling or angry all of the time or feeling lost or adrift, I tell them to begin a spiritual practice. I usually suggest meditation and yet, so many reject it. “I’m not religious. Look at all of the wars and violence and killings that religion causes!”
Yeah, I get it. I used to say that, too. I used to say that I don’t believe in anything that I can’t see or prove. “Religion is the opiate of the masses”, right?
So, don’t be ‘religious’. You don’t HAVE to pick one. And contrary to conventional wisdom here in the U.S., you don’t HAVE to be Christian. You have a huge, rich, diverse body of spiritual thought, philosophy and literature to choose from.
Thousands and thousands of years of wisdom is available to pick from. Be a rebel WITH a cause; your own spiritual growth. The choice isn’t religion or atheist. You are a spirit. Your spirit aches for acknowledgement and growth. Let it out to play. Find what speaks to you and if it’s a tree, then study some earth based rituals.
The truth of the matter is that we are all made of earth, air, fire and water. There’s a reason that we love walking the beach, a campfire, the smell of fresh cut grass ; we crave those parts of us and too often, we deny them.
If you’re struggling, know that we all are. We all suffer as humans, we all are challenged, particularly by modern life, where we feel so powerless and untethered and unloved. Your soul will tell you what you need, if you JUST LISTEN. Stop rejecting spirit. You don’t have to go to church or join a religion or follow rules.
Your path is yours. Not your parent’s or your children’s or your government’s or your neighbor’s or your friend’s or your minister’s/priest’s. Locate your spirit, talk to it, listen to where it guides you. Be you. Be brave.
I was reading something about my natal astrological chart and the placement of a particular planet or asteroid. Thanks to this placement, it said I was very good at giving advice…to other people. The article suggested that I sit down and give myself the same advice that I would to a give a friend in my situation. That’s not so easy, eh?
But, here goes:
First off, you need to lighten up. You just don’t laugh like you used to. In fact, you walk around with creases in your face, looking as if you’re deep in worry or concern or even agony. Not a good look for you.
You can’t solve all of the world’s problems. I know you feel called to speak up and call out what you perceive as ignorance, injustice, foggy thinking, hypocrisy, blah, blah, blah, but sometimes people enjoy the confusion. Or maybe the people that you think are confused, are actually wiser than you.
We all look around us and see ‘other people’ screwing up. It’s their fault that there isn’t more love and peace in the world. If only ‘other people’ would seek enlightenment; if only they would awaken. Well, some will and some won’t.
Jane, you can only fulfill your own destiny. You can only walk your own path and your overwhelming need to control your own path bleeds out into needing to control everyone’s. That, my dear, is not enlightenment. That is suffering and confusion and pure futility.
You’re also way too hard on yourself. The striving for perfection in your diet, your intellect, your pet guardianship, your finances, your….well, your life, is paralyzing you. You are on a constant and exhausting search for the holy grail that will transform you into this being of glowing health and light. This striving is what is actually KEEPING you from attaining this. STOP striving! Stop grasping and controlling and gnashing your teeth.
Jane, the dogs and cats will be fine. Allow them to just ‘be’ without the constant worry over their diets, well-being and activities. The same goes for your darling husband. Let him be who he is. Don’t micro manage his diet, his clothing, his TV/media consumption. Let that shit go.
You have to trust more. Life will flow as it flows, just like the water that embodies your astrological sign of Scorpio. You have a lot of water in your chart, along with a fair amount of fire, but you need to give the water freer rein to tamp down that fire that compels you to be constantly ‘workin’ it’. Flow, Jane. It’s all any of us can do.
The bottom line is that you know all of these things. You’ve studied and read and ruminated and immersed yourself in the metaphysical and the spiritual. You meditate, do energy work, call upon your guides, spend time in nature and attempt to give it all up to The Divine/Source/Spirit/The Universe and yet, you still suffer.
So, finally, here is my advice to you/me: Listen. To you, to me, to Source, to nature, to your gut. All of the guidance, help and comfort that you seek is in you. It’s already here for you. Listen and don’t question EVERYTHING. Listen. Allow. Then, be.