Don’t Call It the Afterlife

…. Really it’s more of a ‘Beforelife’, isn’t it? A limpid state of nothingness and everythingness in which we swim until we are born.

And then to which we return when we die.

And here’s what’s really lovely: nothing really means anything in this great place beyond. Nothing is offensive. Nothing is oppressive. Nothing is heavy, and everything is light.

There are no mistakes. No one is on pins and needles. No one is about to blow. There are no consequences, dire or otherwise.

Instead there is only continuous discovery – a joyful unfolding of the fabric of life. And so instead of being held hostage by a small angry ego – and having to live in your defensive structure most of the time – you can just relax.

In fact, in this place you are beyond relaxed … you are love. And in that place of love, you are able to freely receive quantum abundance.

This abundance does not show up as fast cars, nice homes and the perfect skinny body in designer jeans. This abundance is simply a state of blissed out ebullience that is never ending — without edges, boundaries or constraints. And here’s the best part: your ability to receive that joy is limitless.

The words, thoughts and feelings we use here on earth are unnecessary for instead you live dimensionally.

You surrender to a world beyond logical thought – and exist on a plane that is made of nothing more than quantum being.

And that is sweeter than swimming in a sea of the purest honey.

The invitation is for you to begin to feel your way back to that sweet, essential state of grace. Your body knows this place, but your mind has forgotten. And there are conscious ways to return, through meditation, exercise, and the steady solace of breathing to begin with.

If you surrender to a simpler life in which you slow your frantic pace, you will quiet your wild mind. And so you can begin to let go of the activities, habits, relationships, and food and drink which keep you at arm’s length from your sweeter, purer essence … For they are no longer necessary for your ‘happiness’.

If you are like many of us, including myself, you are only just beginning to know this quantum happiness. That sea of honey beckons and only now do I feel myself worthy of approach.

Every day, I feel more and more of this God-given bliss as I sink into this sweet life I have been given.

Yes, even with the loss of Teal.

Even with the loss of my marriage, my ‘security’, my home, and the proximity of my son.

Even with the apparent open-ended question of exactly what I am to do next? And next? And next?

For me, I’m taking it one day at a time right now as I heal my way back to wholeness, and feel into what would be blissful from one moment to the next.

I invite you to come along with me and do the same. For this is a true return to happiness, now inspired by now only the Afterlife but the Beforelife as well.

Anyone else up for a swim in the Sea of Honey?

 

Something to Think About When Others Annoy You

You, and you alone, are responsible for your happiness.

I know … shocking, right? Because THINK of all the good excuses out there that would prove otherwise. After all, our fellow humans can be terrible jerks sometimes, as can we.

People do heartbreaking things to each other – they lie, cheat, steal, manipulate and even murder. And yet … not one of those things is inherently cause for unhappiness.

Just as disasters and other cataclysmic events are not always tragedies either. (Bear with me here, for I can hear your questioning mind.)

I learned this when Teal died. For instead of folding up into a horizontal packet of pain, I’ve managed to stay pretty upright with the occasional lie down for a good sob.

And I maintain this is because I have not, for one minute, held her death as a ‘tragedy’. To me, it just isn’t.

Indeed, it is a manifestation of what Teal wanted for herself on a soul level. As painful as her early departure may be for the rest of us, this death is part of the deal she worked out with God in this lifetime.

Mind you, on a conscious level I’m quite sure Teal never once thought to herself that it would be a good idea to die young. But seldom do we orchestrate such things consciously.

Instead, what Teal knew was that she wanted to help people – a lot of people. And she wanted to do it in a way that was innate, natural, and in true guided flow. And that she was willing to work with God in whatever way was necessary to make that happen.

And so … here we are. And she is indeed getting just what she came  (and left) for.

This is how it is with anyone whose behavior or choices torment you. The fact is that they are not in this world to live up to your needs, desires or expectations.

In fact … they are only here to live up to their own – as are you.

We are all divine children of the Universe, and in each lifetime, we are given this one delightful chance to script our own happiness. So when another shows up as other than we wish – we must ask ourselves this: why should they be any different than they are?

Recently, I annoyed someone close to me. I got all tangled up in my neediness about something, and burst into her day with a very poorly expressed request.

Lord, the drama I cooked up! I immediately felt terrible … and I knew I’d triggered her ‘stuff’ because while she met my request, she ignored my apologies. In her own way, she was letting me know a line had been crossed – and perhaps she needed a bit of time and space to recover.

But OH, how I needed to be put out of my writhing shame and guilt! I wanted her forgiveness NOW … and it was not forthcoming.

This is exactly when I saw – in Technicolor – how dependent I was on her response. And then  … I got it! I could graciously give her the space to show up just as she was — without needing to change a single thing.

And here’s the magical part: in that moment, I could actually forgive myself. I could let myself off the hook and graciously acknowledge that sometimes life is intense, and I don’t operate perfectly every single time. That sometimes my emotions do get the best of me and I do blunder along.

As long as I take responsibility and acknowledge my wrongdoing, I can give myself a break for being human. And I can give her one as well.

The minute I saw this, everything relaxed. I no longer felt hamstrung, waiting for her forgiveness. Instead, I honored her for taking the time to do what she needed for herself, which felt quite whole and right.

So now a new world of possibility opens up, one in which we accept each other just as we are … with nothing added. So we no longer have to manipulate, cajole, maneuver or manage others to get what we want. We can, indeed, provide it for ourselves.

In the past, my mind would have whirred and snapped angrily that my friend’s forgiveness was not immediately. My childish self would stamp her foot: “Hey – what about me? I apologized!”

Which is a guarantee of nothing, other than the fact that I apologized.

Being able to let go and let the other be, just as they are, is not only a sign of maturity – it’s a huge relief to your sensitive soul. And it’s something you deserve to give yourself.

Hanging on to another’s ‘wrong doing’, and playing it again and again in our mind, is merely demanding they squeeze through the sieve of our own unreasonable expectations.

And so those harsh demands are simply the cries of our own thirsty souls, wishing we would, in fact, give ourselves a break, too.

Can you relate? Are you up to the challenge of letting another – and most of all, yourself, off the hook? I know I am.
I’d love to hear your thoughts.

 

The Greatest Adventure of Your Life

Who wants to join me in the greatest adventure of our lives?

I’m not asking you to join a class, or read an e-course, or do an anything even remotely left brained or logical. Instead, I am asking you to be a student of nothing more than yourself.

I’m simply asking you to close your eyes, and set your heart of something you know you are meant to become in this one short life. And I’m asking you to move towards it in trust, doing what is required.

Easier said than done, no?

This is the divine mission I have been given. It is specifically to urge you and I both forward in surrender to God.

I write this as I sit here in the sweet little bedroom I have rented in Petaluma. As I let go a life in which contained my marriage of 23 years, and my home on 80 acres of pristine woods on Lake Champlain. As I give up living close to my beautiful son, now emerging into manhood.

As I give up a successful mid-six figure business with my amazing business partner. And even as I give up my daughter – my rock, my anchor, my Teal. Until now, she was the one who was always beside me, joining me in the perfect karma of our connection.

I certainly didn’t realize it at the time, but I gave all of this up just so I could surrender, viscerally, to God – and inspire you to join me along the way. For in no other way could I fulfill my life’s purpose and help both you and I move forward on our paths of divine surrender.

Honestly, Spirit has been telling me for the last two years that I would fulfill the greater work I’ve been given by ‘just surrendering’.

Surrender … what, exactly?

Now I know – it is simply to give up my attachment to everything I once held as meaningful and important. All of which kept me bound to an old, artificial way of being in which safety was more important than full self-expression.

I have been called forth to live in a much newer, cleaner, more pristine truth of what I would call emptiness – for the old values simply no longer apply.

Ironically, I write this on Black Friday – the day in the U.S. culture which is all about shopping and the accumulation of more stuff to cushion our lives.

Yet, it is in emptiness that I am redeemed. For only in letting go of all of this am I now finding my way back to the tenderest, truest most whole parts of myself. And so it is now that I am depending on myself.

And I am not without support.

And so my love for my son is purer, cleaner and better able to be whole without enmeshment. When we are together I can be so much more present for him … and so I believe I can better support my son to enter manhood unencumbered, and instead, inspired.

And I can befriend my former husband in a way that really honors all that we have been to each other, no longer locked into that old dynamic of control and scarcity.

I can love Teal more fully as the disembodied Spirit she has become as well. Now we live in our union more efficiently and more fully. I cannot say ‘how’ she manifests in my work … only that she does. She guides me, dropping in to remind me now and then of the love and support available to me.

And she fills me with a beaming radiance when I call upon her – it’s like a smile that fills my soul and makes my face hurt from grinning so intensely.

I can barely contain her radiant energy for more than a few moments at a time at this point. But it’s like the purest oxygen in that it leaves me refreshed, renewed, better able to go on without her … and spread our mutual message of love and healing.

All of this is surrender – for behind our false ways of being is a greater truth that we can just barely taste. We know it is there … and we imagine we cannot get there easily.

Oh, but dear friends we can indeed. All you have to do is know one thing: that you deserve this.

You deserve to be a child of God.

You deserve to be held in the ecstatic union of the divine.

You deserve to be known as who you truly are.

And you deserve that which is really in your heart … behind all of the distractions, the ‘getting’, the wanting and the frustration.

Behind all of the self-doubt, self pity and fear.

And behind all of the shame that has kept you small and like a child.

You are whole, pure and beautiful, friend. And you need nothing more in this moment than to know that. For that is the true meaning of surrender.

To allow yourself to just dissolve into your own self love. We are watching you and holding you in full acceptance of your own sense of bliss.

And we love you as powerfully as God.

Will you accept this … just from a few friends – one here on earth and one in the Great Beyond … who know you just as you know yourself?

Welcome home, dear one. You are loved.

 

 

A Different Type of Gratitude

As we enter into the official season of heart opening, I’d like to propose a new way to think about gratitude.

We are so often taught that we must be grateful for what we are given – homes, toys, careers, relationships. And indeed, there is a lot to be grateful for there.

Yet, let’s look beyond all of that for a moment. What if that gratitude extended to things uns

een, invisible and so often forgotten?

What if you and I became grateful for something as simple as the air we breathe right now? Or the way the sun comes in the window, or the shape the curtain makes as it is gently blown by the breeze. Or the way our body feels heavy and relaxed as we sit reading this.

The very fabric of life is teeming with sensation, energy and a force field of love that is waiting for you to touch into it. All you have to do is stop, slow down and feel into it. Even if you have forgotten … it is there and it is yours.

You knew it when you were very young, and you had not yet been trained to want things insatiably. You found comfort in that subtle presence all around you, and tuned in without even thinking about it. The fabric of life mattered to you.

Then you grew up, and life became increasingly complicated. There were things to do, places to be, obligations to fulfill, and all those dreams you’d cooked up had to be tended to, step by step.

All of which had to be fueled by your relentless drive to succeed … or perhaps it was not so relentless. And you found yourself giving up, getting confused or burning out.

And so, here you are. If you are like me, you long ago forgot to connect with the present moment and all of its promise. You tell yourself you can’t, because you are too busy trying to just get along.

And this, friends, is how we get disconnected from ourselves. We think our minds are running the show and so we’d better damn well listen … and yet ….

That’s usually when life happens. The plans are dashed. Everything gets turned on its ear. And so we are forcibly made to surrender to the here and now because we believe we have no other choice.

That’s what happened after Teal died — I had to rearrange my plans dramatically. The launch of my business has now slowed down to a tiny crawl as I finally let go and allow myself to just … be. To heal. To feel, and to tune into that finespun fabric of gold.

My conscious mind fought this, believe me. (What … me? Surrender? Never!) Even though my heart was broken, I thought I could crawl on like some last standing member of Survivor.

But what would the point be?

In truth, slowing down has meant feeling the immense pain of missing my girl – and yet, here is the truth that is present now. And it has it’s own sacred beauty.

There is nothing to avoid.

There is nothing to be afraid of.

There is only the self-love inherent in stopping and listening, for that is where the greatest joy will ultimately be derived.

Now when I listen carefully enough, I can hear her. I can feel my beautiful girl’s radiant energy pour through me and it is beyond comforting. It’s actually healing …

And that is what is available for all for all of us – to surrender to the love that is right here, at this very moment, just a whisper slightly out of earshot.

You can only hear it if you are willing to totally stop for a while, for no good reason. To rest in your own solitude and tune into the orchestra in your soul, waiting for you to conduct with love and care.

Can you consciously give yourself this gift of not crawling on, heroically, in your own life? Not pulling yourself further and further from your center as you do those tasks you believe will help you hang on?

Let go, dear friends. Let go and then feel the sails of God flying you forward in peace, ease and tranquility. That is the only rescue any of us can truly know. And it simply requires surrender … to that which is, right here and right now. With nothing added.

You know you need to do this if, like me, you have an aching in the pit of your stomach that begs to be listened to.

What I can promise you is a delicious release … even if you only let go for one day, one hour or even one minute. And in that release is clarity, promise and the expansion of your soul.

You are indeed meant to grow and find your way back to bliss. And this may well be the key.

A Word About Your Emptiness

Underneath it all, behind all the shiny cars, cell phones, overflowing to-do lists and structured days designed to max our potential … we are empty.

We are small, lonely and afraid. And we pretend like hell that we are not.

That is our way of being human at this particular moment in our history and our lives. And honestly, we are doing the best we can. Because we are only now just barely beginning to be brave enough to glimpse into the gaping maw that eats at our core.

The gaping maw is our own creation … it was born long ago of the idea that ‘stuff’ will save us. That if we get that magical combination right: career + love + two nice kids + house + good neighborhood … then the rest will fall into place.

Ah, but friends – that is just where the emptiness begins. For the illusion is that we can find that long lost love in a structure we build around us — like a well-dressed cage that we force ourselves to live in.

What we long for is actually our own redemption. Behind all of our good intentions is the simple desire to be forgiven – by God, by mom and dad, and most of all, by ourselves.

How we want to show up as good people who do the right thing. Yet at the same time, how we doubt our own ability to do that.

All we really want to know is that we are loved … and that we are lovable in the first place. And so we go looking to try to get it right – all on the assumption that we’re unlovable, so we’d better work hard to fool the rest of the world into thinking that we are.

This is what I call having a broken heart – a culture-wide malady that affects us all. Being broken hearted in this way is not just the result of a heartbreaking event (though they can help). It’s really subtler than that … for it’s an acknowledgement that somehow, your life doesn’t work.

Somehow you don’t have it together, no matter how hard you try to look good. You don’t have it dialed in quite right. You are disappointed – in your other, in what you have set up … and most of all in yourself. And at least some of this carefully constructed structure simply has to come down.

Oh, why on earth did you agree to any of this?

Enter the maw.

And yet, what is on the other side of that painful realization? Redemption! True, honest to God redemption.

Once you allow that heartbreak to engulf you, and you surrender to it completely … then you can find peace and truly begin to create.

That is what is happening now as I grieve the death of my child and the end of a deep love relationship earlier this year. After being pinned to the floor, I have finally surrendered to myself. I have been forced to look, in the clear light of day, at all that hasn’t worked and doesn’t work in my life … and slowly, lovingly begun to pick up the broken pieces all around me.

And so that broken-heartedness has become my friend. Night after night now I climb into bed alone with genuine joy. I can rest! I can snuggle with myself! I can journal, pray, contemplate and talk to Teal and Spirit.

I can read great books that help me understand my emptiness and make peace with it. And I can take the time to imagine in vivid, glowing pictures just what I do want … me, Suzanne. Gone is the need to please a million other ghosts. Now I use this sacred time alone to feed my own delicate dreams.

And so finally I have stopped running from that state of broken-hearted emptiness. And I have begun to let go of the terrible shame that there is anything broken about me to begin with.

Instead, I am learning to live with the maw and have found myself from time to time examining its teeth … oh, there are a lot of them! And quite sharp, too. And huh, look at that – its mouth gets bigger or smaller depending on the mood I’m in. There really is a lot to look at once you get friendly with your maw.

Honestly, we are so afraid of the darkest corners of life. But having spent some quality time in them recently, I am here to report they are not so bad.

Watching my child die was surreal, yes. But it was also imbued with an extraordinary grace – the same sweet, spiritual darkness that accompanies settlers moving west, and voyagers and explorers of all kinds heading into the unknown.

Life is never black or white … instead it contains all shades of grey. And it is up to us to find that shade we are in right now and appreciate the warmth behind its walls of steel. To rest our cheek on its smooth surface and thank God for the opportunity to know, love and trust our own vulnerability.

For only then can we truly be redeemed. And so give ourselves what we long for most in life – an emergence from being broken hearted to once again embracing our own tender state of joy.

Are You An Adult Yet?

That is the question I asked myself recently as the veils began to lift about some of my chronic ‘problems’.

That has been the most remarkable thing about losing Teal – the extraordinary clarity that has descended as I begin to see the truth about my life. It’s as if God has turned on the halogen lamps and now I can finally examine things for what they really are.

All those tricky relationships? Turns out I was not only calling forth difficult people to love, but I was in a hazy fog of denial about this. I believed they loved me more than they did – and that they were less harsh than they actually were to me. I also believed that I would be ‘the one’ to turn them around.

And the financial ups and downs? That would have to do to a similar hazy grip on reality – a desire to stay small, hidden and dependent by not putting on my big girl panties. So money wasn’t something that got used wisely and saved for future security, but something that got spent now because it was fun!

 This is what we do when we are afraid of life — we remain lost in childish thoughts.

For me, I was always a kid with a big imagination. And I was a sensitive girl who got teased mercilessly, and cruelly, all through my childhood. Every day included a mortifying and uncontrollable descent into tears. So I was understandably afraid to go out the door every day to school.

And I was understandably afraid to trust other people.

I coped by believing I was invincible, in just the way children do. So I never thought of my future realistically. In my childish thinking I could imagine that at any moment my empire would appear and I would be rich beyond my wildest dreams. Or that the project I was working on would take off and sweep the globe! So the last place I want to be is present with what is – which usually wasn’t that.

In fact, my habits were set up to prevent me from having all that abundance and satisfaction I craved. I didn’t want to see what life was offering me – or what was required. Instead it felt better to pretend … so I could just imagine my way to happiness.

I used to believe that attending to details, and handling my more mundane responsibilities was beneath me. Part of me thought that I was special. I was a creator! So I didn’t have to do the same stuff everyone else did … I could just ‘float’ and get around to these responsibilities when it seemed like fun to do it.

That part of me also wanted someone else to do it – a big protective daddy or mommy who would swoop in and take care of everything. Like a housekeeper who does lifekeeping, too.

 And … yet. Where is the satisfaction in that?

Do we truly want to be thumb-sucking babies all our life and avoid the distinct pleasure that comes from, say, saving up to buy our first car, or home, or business?

That so doesn’t work in adulthood. And why would it? As adults, we are called forth to prove what we are made of, to forge the fiber of our character through overcoming obstacles. To connect with others deeply, to open our hearts with compassion, and to give the gifts we were born to give.

But if we’re afraid of life, we never get to experience those ultimate adult satisfactions. And this hiding from responsibility keeps us stuck, angry and at times completely hopeless. Because it doesn’t work to be afraid of life – instead, it confounds us as we fail again and again to get what we want.

Now this is not to say we shouldn’t have visions, dreams and positive outcomes in mind. It’s simply that those dear dreams of ours must be tempered with right action as well. And with the clarity to see what is, then we can see what is needed next, next and next.

Instead of being stuck in dreamland, and its corollary, the endless complaints of victimhood, when we take responsibility we are set free to create. And that is when we can finally turn our visions into reality.

Then we can work with the Universe in right flow … with light effort, divine guidance and a clear view of just where we stand and just what is needed.

There is so much satisfaction to be had in standing up for ourselves. In leaving the job we hate for another, better one we have created. Or in walking away from the relationship that no longer feeds us — no matter how much we love that other person.

But to get there, we have to tell the truth. We have to take responsibility for what galls us in life – because nine times out of ten, we created it.

 Even something as random and inexplicable as Teal’s death can be viewed in two different ways – as a tragedy or as a massive opportunity for spiritual uplift.

Personally, I’m choosing the latter simply because ‘tragedy’ doesn’t resonate with me; I just don’t believe it. In fact, I know on some level it is part of our great karmic path together to which I surrendered long before my birth and hers. To view her death as a terrible loss, in which she should have lived and we should have been able to spend more time together is to miss the point.

We are the architects of our own existence, like master chefs creating a great sauce. And when we accept the full integrity of that job – and we create with all the best ingredients, the very best tools and a loving, empowered intent – then we discover bliss.

Because yes, even now, my life is blissful; it truly is. Maybe that’s because I have finally surrendered to being an adult. I have to say, it feels good to be home.

How about you?

 

My Gluten-Free Favorites Round Up

1. Udi’s Millet-Chia Seed Bread

http://udisglutenfree.com/products/millet-chia-bread/

This one has great texture and flavor. Toasts up great if the slice size is a bit small. But then, if you’re wanting to lose weight, that’s OK, right?

2. Mary’s Gone Crackers Original Seed Crackers

http://www.marysgonecrackers.com/your-products/crackers/original-seed-crackers

Just a note on these that it’s a good idea not to eat too many of these at once – I mix them up with others when I serve cheese and crackers. They can be a bit hard on the digestion, but they are really delicious!

3. Glutino’s Multigrain Crackers
http://www.glutino.com/our-products/snacks/crackers/multigrain-crackers/

These are my ‘Ritz Cracker’ substitute. I love them with butter and peanut butter!

4. Pamela’s Baking Mix

http://pamelasproducts.com/products/baking-mixes/pamelas-baking-pancake-mix/

Makes gorgeous pancakes and waffles! Please note, it contains dairy for those who are dairy-free.

5. Canyon Bakehouse 7-Grain Bread

http://canyonbakehouse.com/gluten-free/bakery-products.html

My favorite GF bread – really hearty, flavorful and the best for toasting.

6. Sesmark Mini Rice Crackers
http://sesmark.com/about/gluten-free-story

Just plain fun!

7. Ka-Me Seaweed Rice Crackers
http://www.kame.com/products/snacks/rice-crackers

Everything you love about an Asian rice cracker with a hint of seaweed – all their flavors are great.

8. Real Foods Corn Thins

http://www.cornthins.com

I’ve really come to love these with various things on them for lunch.

9. Glutino’s Gluten Free Pretzel Sticks

http://www.glutino.com/our-products/snacks/pretzels/pretzels-sticks-8oz-us/

Note that this does contain a tiny amount of sugar, but it’s less than 1 gm so me, I’m not going to worry. They’re fun!

10. Udi’s Whole Grain Hamburger Buns

http://udisglutenfree.com/products/whole-grain-hamburger-buns/