Update from a Grieving Mother (My Radical Life Reboot)

Arch rock.FBIt’s been a year and a half since my daughter Teal dropped dead suddenly from an unexplainable cardiac arrest. And not only has my life radically changed, I am better for it.

This is where I’ve been delivered — to a place of radical rediscovery. Of life, of love, and most directly, of myself.

Most of the time these days I am raw. Unfiltered emotions well up and fade away. All of my old veils are gone. I can no longer pretend to be the scheister who appears to be really clever and capable, but secretly thinks she’s getting one by on the world.

In the past, I suffered from something called the Imposter Syndrome. I believed that despite my elite education and natural talents, at any moment I would be exposed to be the fake I actually was. In my wounded heart, I assumed I was no good. And that no one would truly benefit from knowing me or my work – which was, of course, an illusion.

Plenty of people benefitted and everyone knew it but me. But now I’m starting to catch the drift.

In the past, I was also a harsh workaholic; harsh in my treatment of the dedicated people who served me. (No weekend was ever sacred if I needed answers and I needed them now.) And I was harsh with myself, continually driving myself past the edge of reason as if success could never just naturally come to me.

I mistakenly believed I had to work like a dog to even begin to deserve success. My coach, Maya, calls this “an act of violence to the Self.” Yeah, but … sputters my old way of thinking. Because that eternal sense of shame is always around the corner, lurking, looking for the way back in.

The illusion: I won’t get anywhere unless I drag this smoldering junk heap inch by inch up the mountain.

The truth: When I am ready, my destiny will be delivered to me, whole, perfect, effortless. My work is to prepare.

These days I know the sanctity of life and I understand how blessed I am to have one at all. And I know my two big jobs are exquisite self- care and following God’s instructions.

For instance, I write this to you from a beach on the Sonoma Coast called Arched Rock. I needed to hear, see, and smell the waves as I wrote these words. I needed to see the cascade of California poppies tumble down the cliffs and watch mist dissolve the coastline out to nothingness. I knew they would inspire me. And I needed to write, as ever, making sense of my discoveries one by one as I put them into words.

Which is not to say there aren’t things to do.

For the last six weeks I have been radically rebuilding my Joy Facilitator’s Training, turning what was once a generous license with a pretty good home study course into something truly beautiful. As I craft each piece of this new model of how to run a workshop business – and discover how completely that world has changed in the last two years – I feel inspired. And I’m taking my sweet time to do so.

Originally I thought I could rework the product in a week. That stretched into a month. Now we are nearing the seven-week mark and the April launch date may get pushed out again. But that’s okay. Now I know that this is a damn good product I can be truly proud of, because I’m building it right.

I no longer have to hide in the bulky overcoat of my shame. It’s safe to come out, play naked in the sunlight and take the time to create something truly excellent.

And I no longer need to prove a damn thing to anyone. I’m good with my little corner of the world; I have pretty much everything I need to get by (save for a love relationship and she will show in perfect time.)

I no longer need to listen to that tinny drum that beat in my head through my twenties, thirties and forties, driving me to ‘become a household name.’

Of course, that is no longer the point. Hell, I could die tomorrow and that would be okay, too. Only one thing matters any more: taking care of blessed little old me. Only then can I show up and move the world as originally intended, because only then can I truly hear God.

It’s funny about that. The other morning I woke to hear Spirit whispering these words to me: You are a spiritual leader to millions. There was a quiet insistence to it, as if God was waiting for me to finally get the joke. And it seemed surreal but I got it.

It was only by losing everything that I, too, had to die and be reborn. And so I get to live again – this time with Grace. And maybe just enough humility to finally make a difference.

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  1. Steffanie
    Steffanie says:

    Suzanne, you have been an important part of my life for a very long time. I have your original book, and I am happy to tell you that I have revisited it many times over the past 5 years.
    The sharing of your loss of Teal, and all that you experienced and shared with us has given me “permission” to speak up and tell you just how much you have inspired, and helped me in my life’s journey.
    Thank you Suzanne, Thank you from the deepest depths of my soul for Be-ing. Thank you.
    Sincerely, with love,
    Steffanie

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