How I Survived the Death of Myself and Rebirthed Once Again
How far would you travel into the underworld to discover the source of your infinite light? If your soul asked you to give up everything and enter the vast unknown, with no promise of when or if you’d ever return, would you? Over the last year I did exactly this, leaving behind a life most people dream of, in exchange for absolutely nothing but the reclamation of the ancient voice of my soul. I gave up my home in paradise, my beautiful community, a brand that touched millions of people, a business that funded my lifestyle and global travels, and my entire sense of identity... and all I got in return was love. This is my story...
The promise of a new day dawned as the pink sky took over and I felt like I had been born again.
After months and months of feeling like I was dying a slow painful death, here I was with a second chance. I had been through hell and back, struggling with every layer of my own abandonment wound while plagued with shortness of breath and extreme adrenal fatigue that left me bedridden most days. In my final darkest hour I was attacked in my home in tropical paradise by two men in the night, which required me to finally leap across the threshold I had been avoiding for so long. (I wrote more about this here: When the Divine Feminie Rises Up and Ruins Your Life.)
This meeting with my own demons in the flesh was nothing short of a mind blowing spiritual awakening. I had feared it my entire life, as a child staying awake at night always on guard, as an adult constantly questioning if it would ever happen to me, and what I remembered in the moment when my greatest fear began to unfold is that it lives in the flesh of every woman whether she realizes it or not. Standing there in total darkness, suddenly feeling a hand cover my mouth with a cloth and my whole body restrained, the feeling was alarmingly familiar. I had been there before. Maybe not me, but an aspect of me. Some ancient memory within my DNA that knew what came next.
It was the darkest fear of all fears that I was not in any way in control of my own destiny.
Every alarm bell you can imagine went off in me. Flight was my first response that got me nowhere. It became apparent that there were actually two men holding me down and my struggle to flee was futile. Next came the bargaining with God. “Is this actually happening right now? Is this actually happening right now?” I plead in a panic, silently calling out into the darkness to a nothingness that seemed too far away to grasp.
But in a split second all of the flashes of preparation that had guided me right to this climax came flooding in as an answer to my plea. I remembered the months prior I spent taking boxing classes to train my reflexes. The many days I spent contemplating immortality with the words “I could die today.” The conversations I had with friends about violent rapes that had been happening recently on the beach. And of course, the nightmare I had just two nights before, where someone broke into my house to assault me. Yes, I had even dreamt it before it happened.
As this understanding dawned inside of my brain with explosion after explosion, the ultimate ball dropped and literally cracked me wide open with the understanding that it was not only indeed happening... but that it was meant to be happening. And that understanding made everything ok, because it told me that I was safe.
How could this be possible?! How could I be in the depths of my own greatest fear, sure that my life was about to end, stripped of any illusion of control, and also be safe?
The mental paradox of it created an experience I can best describe as a complete shattering within my own mind, which finally ended in a still point of light that flooded my entire body, clearing away any belief that I could ever be abandoned by the Divine. It was a total and complete letting go into the lake of infinite peace. This all took place in a millisecond yet felt like a complete dissolution of time itself.
I was held. I was actually safer than I had ever been in my entire life. And so I surrendered. Not to my attackers, but to the present moment. I surrendered to life herself, and in doing so I allowed life herself to save me. A rage I didn’t even realize I had within me erupted from the depths of my belly and my entire primal intelligence took over. Without any interference of hesitation or doubt, I fought like hell to unleash my body, release my voice, and free myself. Like a wild animal I scared away the very demons that had fed off of my own fear.
The other day a man said to me, “Not to be insensitive, but can you see how you attracted that experience into your life?” And I simply replied, “If I did, it was only to set myself free.” Because beyond any bullshit interpretation of the Law of Attraction, the gift I received in my own darkest hour was the ability to realize even if just for a flash that love is the ultimate reality. Love is the only actual freedom or safety net in existence. Like so many who have journeyed with the dark mother through the medicine of ayahuasca will attest, when we look death right in the eyes we finally see the truth: love. I didn’t take any plant medicine, but the dark mother certainly found her way to me.
What’s incredible about dissolving into the darkness, is that it is always followed by a burst of light.
As a kid I remember reading stories of survivors of near death experiences describing the crossing of the threshold as a bright light through a tunnel. I imagine this is also what we see when we travel through the birth canal and begin to see the light of the world.
Friends were stunned and confused when I said I felt happier and my heart more open than ever in my life immediately following this extremely traumatic event. But what they didn’t understand, is that after feeling for so long like I was dying, I had been given a second chance at life.
So many sisters within my community swooped in to support me, helping me with the police report, taking me into their home, giving me massages and singing me lullabies, bringing me special treats while my face healed, and caring for me those few tender days before my flight out of the jungle. I felt like I had died and these were all of my angels, soothing me through the great transition between one lifetime and another.
But... I was also traumatized. For days after my attack I was flooded with a manic adrenaline that kept me on hyper alert and made me feel powerful enough to kill if necessary.
I was unable to sleep at night because simply closing my eyes pulled me back into the memory of what happened, re-living it over and over again. With well meaning intentions, people would ask extremely unhelpful questions like “do you know who it was?” and ask me to retell the story, which continually re-traumatized me. This taught me that the best thing we can do when someone is in shock is just be present and available and take responsibility for our own shock and confusion without projecting it onto them. We don’t need to mentally understand what happened or why, we just need to show up as love.
Through this experience I saw how terrified most of us are of the unknown. We need to understand “how” and “why” things have happened in order to give us a certain sense of false security. If we know the details then maybe we think that we are in some semblance of control. But what my attack showed me more than ever, is that none of us are in control...of anything. And while that is our greatest fear, accepting it is actually the only thing that makes us safe.
At that point I could have spit on the ground of that land I had once loved but had somehow come to hate. I had no desire to connect with the Mother there in any possible way. But for the sake of my own closure and completion, still with a black eye and a fat lip, my final afternoon in the jungle I rode my bicycle discreetly to the beach and made a mandala out of seashells to give back to the sea. I thanked her for everything we had survived together, and with very little emotion I said goodbye.
I saw the proverbial light again when I arrived a few days later at the healing waters of Lake Atitlan, Guatemala, considered to be the heart chakra of the world and the homeland of cacao.
The air contained a sweetness I had all but forgotten those many days laying in bed wondering if anything could ever bring me joy again. Inspiration came back to me and I found myself singing, dancing, and enjoying my yoga practice that had completely dissolved during my long dark night of the soul. After accepting the black invitation of the dark mother at the threshold, I had been rebirthed back into the golden light of the maiden and her fresh dew. Something like innocence.
Through synchronicity I connected with an incredibly beautiful trauma release therapist living at the lake, and with her support I regulated my nervous system and came back down to Earth. Working weekly with a deeply compassionate and highly clairvoyant past life healer I recollected so many fragments of my own soul, past lifetimes, childhood, and beyond. In my little wooden bungalow overlooking the lake, cocooned in the energy of the women’s circle I had created with the sisterhood of volunteers and the lovely mother who owned the space, I was at the very beginning of a whole new path to love.
As I dove deeper into soul retrieval work, the stronger the Mother seemed to call me through the many faces of the Goddess. With Rhiannon’s guidance I called upon the Queen for help to more deeply honor my sense of self worth. Through Innana’s courageousness I faced my own darkness with a new kind of reverence. In the embrace of Isis I began to open to the magic of the priestess and what might be possible for my life. And in my final days at the lake, a soft voice whispered to me, calling me into a new direction of my destiny that both excited and also terrified me. I was being called to walk the path of the divine woman, with the feminine as my guide, and I had no cognitive understanding of what that actually meant at the time. I feared the depth of surrender she would ask of me, but it also felt inevitable and beyond my own capacity to resist. So I just kept listening to the quiet whisper, even though I was afraid.
The day that I left the lake that had held me in her loving womb those pivotal post-jungle weeks, I was ready to come out through the birth canal.
I finally let go of This American Girl, the brand I had invested my whole life into, the voice that had given me so much over the years, and the business that funded my lifestyle. Without any plan or promise or knowing of how I’d ever make money again, where I’d ever live again, or who I even was anymore, I set off into the unknown to find myself all over again. I was too far down the rabbit hole at this point to turn back. All I could do was keep trusting forward.
Letting go of This American Girl didn’t even feel like a decision anymore. It was an inevitable ending that needed to happen. After so many years of living in the spotlight, I wanted to be anonymous. I wanted to face the nothingness to strip back any delusion that any form of external validation made me worthy. I wanted to remember who I really was at my absolute core beyond all of that.
I wanted to love myself within the deepest most essential crevices of my own beingness. I wanted to be nobody to everyone else so I could be everything to myself again.
That’s when I arrived at a magical island in Thailand, where the sea is as clear as green glass, sandbars stretch for miles, and the sunsets require that you come down to your knees and bow in reverence because they are so beautiful. Many months before my assault I I had registered myself in an intensive course in rebirthing breathwork here on this island, hoping to add another skill set to my facilitator belt and take my women’s retreats to the next level. The training offered me this, absolutely, but more than that it offered me a profound gateway to realizing my own life and death within a single hour. Over, and over, and over again.
Our breathwork sessions, which employed a style of breathing scientifically proven to release dimethyltryptamine in the brain, lifted so many veils within this lifetime and far beyond. I met with original ancestors, traveled down my mother and father lines witnessing the many traumas that had shaped my personal karmic story, cracked open to an unfamiliar frequency I can best describe as “miracles,” journeyed into so many past lives where I lived as a priestess training huge numbers of women in temple dance, guiding women’s mystery schools, and participating in hieros gamos, a sexual ritual enacted to achieve spiritual oneness.
I saw my soul lineage with crystal clarity and was gifted a mantra for my life’s work from the triple Goddess Brigid herself.
Though what alarmed me the deeper we journeyed into the training, was how disconnected I felt from my own physical body, and how automatically I seemed to dissociate. I could blast into the most unbelievable frequencies yet felt extremely ungrounded with a dizziness that made me feel like I was spinning most of the time. I knew I needed to just go and incubate somewhere, speak to no one, and leave the training, but I persisted. Eventually I got sick with constant diarrhea and couldn’t seem to keep anything inside of me. When I would slow down and tune in with the spins, I looked into a deep deep deep well of grief that I hadn’t met yet, but that desperately wanted to meet me. It was everything I had ever been and forgotten, felt and denied, needed and given away. It was the water plunge that followed my fiery awakening.
With so much to integrate I went completely offline and checked myself into a detox center to fast on water for eleven days and allow my body to receive the many transmissions that had been activated mentally, emotionally, and energetically. I prayed for rain to keep me inside with no distractions, and indeed it did rain every day.
Laying in bed with nothing to eat and nothing to do, the unease I had experienced for nearly a year through incessant shortness of breath was all consuming. As I enquired deeper into this restless anxiety and allowed my body to speak, self betrayal after self betrayal after self betrayal rose to the surface. I was confronted with every way I had ever self abandoned and self harmed, sacrificing my body in this lifetime and beyond to unworthy causes. All of the times I had said yes when I really meant no. All of the times I had dishonored myself to please another. All of the ways that I had harmed my own innocence in an attempt to reach for love somewhere outside of me, thinking that was the only way I’d be fed.
But there was a tiny flame inside of me that came back to life that night I fought for my honor in the darkness of the jungle, and simply knowing that flame was there offered me a solace beyond measure.
I decided it was time I started bowing to that little flame that lived in the dark cavern of my human body as the most direct path to God in existence. It was time I stopped seeking outside and started diving all the way in where source actually lived. I immediately set boundaries and delivered “no” in ways that felt extremely uncomfortable because I knew that if I didn’t it meant death for my soul. With each self reclamation I felt a piece of myself coming home.
Eventually through diving all the way into these demons I cracked into the other side where I met with a kind of bliss that is beyond words. It was a homecoming that flooded in to greet me like a lover reuniting with her beloved who had been lost at sea for seeming eternity. For the first time I actually understood on a cellular level what it meant to be “in love.” By that I mean, living in the frequency of love. No matter what had left and no matter what remained, I was dwelling in the essence of love itself. And this love came through gazing all the way into my own darkness and discovering the only thing that was real.
No matter how many yoga trainings I had taken, how many spiritual books I had read, how many ceremonies I had attended, it was the first time in my life I actually realized that I was God.
This wasn’t a momentary realization. It was a permanent imprint that I could never pretend didn’t happen. I could doubt it, and over the months that followed I certainly did, but beyond my cognitive understanding I knew I had crossed a major life threshold because something within me had majorly shifted on a cellular level. I had quite literally taken a quantum leap in reality.
I started painting black vortexes containing the ocean and crescent moons and starry night skies filled with rainbows. I was falling in rapturous love with the unknown as the ultimate space of truth, magic, and beauty.
By the end of the eleven day detox, I was ready to confirm my devotion to my inner beloved and to nurture my newborn baby self and journey even deeper into this dark unknown magic. I felt incredibly fragile and delicate having purged so much physically, emotionally, and energetically, and I needed a place where nothing could touch or distract from the seedling that wanted to grow. So I took myself to a part of the island that could only be reached by boat.
I can best describe my time there as a honeymoon with my own essence.
I went offline. I spoke to no one. I had no plans or agendas. Instead, I cried, I prayed, and I opened my heart to the teachings of the many feminine mystics and in particular Mary Magdalene. I started vision questing with my own womb space as a gateway for meeting with my inner beloved. The deeper I dove into my womb the more she began to speak to me and bathe me in her unmet waters. Grief became an essential part of my morning rituals.
This grief soothed me, it comforted me, it told me that I wasn’t alone. It allowed me to love and care and feel as deeply as I always did but judged behind a wall of indifference because I feared the world would think that I was “too much.” Grief let me be as sensitive and loving as I had always been beneath the layers of protection. Grief was the magical key that allowed me to let go.
As I opened my heart back up to myself I started feeling the presence of my inner beloved expand out into my aura. My beloved was not just within me, my beloved was beside me and all around me. He was an actual energy within my own auric field. The dream man I thought would never show up had suddenly arrived through my own beingness. He was there... all of the time. I knew exactly how he felt and his invisible energetic presence dissolved the many beliefs I carried around unworthiness.
How could I be unworthy if love was inside of me and all around me? How could I be unworthy if love was making love to me?
For the weeks that followed, transitioning from Thailand to the tiny sand strips of the Gilis of Indonesia, and eventually on to Bali, I felt like a new woman. My face had changed so much I could hardly recognize my reflection at times. My voice surprised me when it passed through my lips. As I moved throughout the world I felt like I was running on a new operating system. Enlightenment no longer seemed like a lofty goal for renunciate monks, but an inevitable reality for all of humanity.
But suddenly came the glitches. Like a new application short circuiting and reverting to the old. I noticed my inner beloved distancing. I started falling out of love. Devastating is the only way to describe it. Little by little the old program came online again, and I found myself violently oscillating between total fear and absolute love within a given hour.
What seemed to make the biggest difference between doubt and surrender, love and fear, was how much I was trusting the unknown or resisting it.
Each time I tried to prematurely show up in the world and start working again, I’d feel panicked with self betrayal and have to stop. Each time I tried to make a practical decision like renting an affordable house for a couple of months instead of spending money I didn’t actually have on expensive hotels, I’d experience post traumatic stress symptoms and genuinely feel like I was going to die.
My behavior probably looked insane to people on the outside, as I cancelled the retreats I had planned and made long term commitments to rentals and immediately left after one night. It wasn’t a logical process. It was an excruciatingly uncomfortable refinement process in listening to my intuition. In choosing the soul voice above the voice of conditioning. In saying “yes” to my new destiny and “no” to everything else. Even when it seemed to make my life less and less stable.
Within this turbulence of learning to trust where my highest self was guiding me, I finally started mourning the loss of my old life.
It had been set on the shelf while I mustered all of the will to survive my attack and get myself out of the jungle. But the more I fell out of love, the more it came to the forefront to be seen.
Like a wild animal uprooted from her natural habitat I wondered if I could ever feel a sense of home again. I realized how much I had made that tiny beach town in Costa Rica where I lived for so many years responsible for not only my happiness, but also my right to reside with my own body, my only real home after all. Nature was everywhere but I didn’t know how to connect with her anymore. I ached with the deepest wound that I was separate from Mother Earth and the only way back to her was the one place that I couldn’t return.
Why couldn’t I just go back to Costa Rica? Wouldn’t that make it so much easier? Many people asked and I also wondered. On one level my devotion to my own innocence was so profound at this point it would have felt like absolute self betrayal. My body had become so attuned to this betrayal that I had actually developed a physical aversion to Costa Rica itself. And on a more “practical” level, I realized that my projection of Source onto a place had never been healthy.
I didn’t want to belong to any particular strip of land. I wanted to be free to choose, not out of starving desperation but from a place of self sovereignty.
So, I sat with the pain, and I grieved. A lot. Every single day. Sometimes more than I thought was possible. I had survived plenty of heartbreak in my life, but none even touched the surface of this.
At the same time, my soul voice finally spoke that it was time to come online again. Which... felt like an absolute shitstorm. I didn’t want to. Frankly I wanted to go live in a cave (aka a fancy hotel room) and grieve and pray and make love to my beloved til the end of time. But as I explained before, whenever I failed to listen to this inner voice it felt like death for me, so I started showing up again.
And as I came back online, up came all of my unresolved grief around the death of This American Girl, my former brand and business.
What. Have. I. Done?!
This thought triggered me so badly I could hardly function at times. I had no idea who I was and yet I was showing up, and it felt horrible. I wanted to run back to...anywhere else. Everything that I used to place on the shoulders of my online business as evidence that I was worthy came up for review, requiring me to feel totally unworthy in the absence of it. So much unresolved resentment around giving so much of myself away for so many years blocked me from wanting to offer any kind of generosity at all.
And well... there was the matter of my finances which were a hilarious disaster. During my trust fall I had maxed out all of my credit cards and accumulated a shocking mass of debt. I had many reasons to doubt every step of the heart-guided journey I had been on since leaving Costa Rica.
Though thanks to living for three months on a small island in Thailand with no cars while all of this was purging, I tempered the horrific panic and total devastation with soulful dance sessions along the ocean under the moon singing out to all of the elements and collapsing in bliss on the sand. Again and again and again I was reminded that even in the midst of my greatest suffering, having experienced divine rapture only to lose it, having totally trusted the unknown only to completely doubt all of my soul guided choices, and having given up everything that I had ever considered my dream, I still deserved to sing my heart song and dance my dance of ecstasy. I still deserved to smell a flower and speak my extremely limited Thai with a massage lady. I still deserved to laugh. I still deserved to smile. And this was the very evidence of the love that still survived.
What’s incredible about deep grief, is that it actually opens a portal into the collective field of unmet sadness.
I often judged myself for feeling like such a victim in my circumstances when they barely scratched the surface of what so many people in the world have survived. Though I also knew that my particular flavor of pain was just a portal that connected me with the pain of the collective. Some mornings I would wake up crying because I couldn’t fathom that God could exist in a world where such unspeakable acts of violence occurred. How could the Divine be real and women be tortured and men be murdered and babies die from incurable disease? How could tsunamis destroy entire communities and how could genocides be allowed to happen and all of that be sorted out with a blanket statement like “look on the bright side”?
One of the greatest rebirth stories of all time is that of Jesus Christ, who in his own darkest hour calls out to the heavens, “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” I may not have been nailed up on a cross to die a slow painful death while crowds of people shamed me, but when we tap into the suffering of any kind of death, whether of a loved one, a relationship, or a sense of identity, we tap into the deep suffering of humanity.
I don’t pretend to understand the heartbreak of women I’ve met who survived genocides in third world countries or of close friends who rebirthed through the death of a child, but I can say that I understand the source of suffering itself: our own limited understanding.
It’s the belief that there is any possible reason or evidence that we’ve been abandoned by God(dess). Because we don’t fully understand life, and we don’t remotely understand death.
I had been blessed enough to receive a total flash of reality in my darkest hour of my attack in Costa Rica, but that understanding had all but faded as my mental logic took over. One of my last nights on my tiny island in Thailand where I felt so safely held, I heard a story of horrific violence that took place there years back. It brought up all of my anxiety and trauma around what I had experienced, and the greatest fear that there was nowhere in the world where I could go to actually be safe.
Laying in bed that night I prayed over and over and over again to understand how to feel safe in a world of so much pain and destruction. I prayed for understanding. But first, I had to face all of my anger that resulted from my misunderstanding.
In my meditation I lit on fire with a rage towards the men who had attacked me, allowing myself to chop them up into tiny pieces and kill them a million times. I felt better, but eventually this anger brought me into something much deeper. Forgiveness. The only true path to freedom through acknowledging that you have no idea what’s really going on.
All I wanted was forgiveness because all I wanted was the freedom of understanding again.
I started chanting my Ho’opono’pono mantra over and over again until my heart opened wide to compassion. “I’m sorry. Please forgive me. Thank you. I love you.” I felt a love swell up within me that was far greater than any act of violence and I visualized myself rising up in the presence of my attackers and saying, “You may have forgotten love but love has not forgotten you.”
I remembered all over again that the only thing that makes any of us safe is love. Not just some passive kind of love, the kind of love that will kill if she must. The kind of love that will do anything to protect and honor the sacredness of the inner flame. And that is as close to truth as it gets.
In ancient Hindu mythology which is far older than the stories of Jesus Christ, the great Mother Goddess Kali is the emblem of death and rebirth. She is both the one who creates her children and the one who destroys them. She is the fiercest kind of love that our minds have such a hard time grappling with. She loves beyond logic. Her only interest is to reunite you with the endless source of love within you by stripping you bare of all of your illusions that love has ever been outside of you.
She will do this at any cost just to get you to let go and receive her love that lives inside of your own heart.
In my case, she ripped away from me all of the things that I thought made me happy so that I could finally discover the tiny seed of light within me that can never ever leave. But then she did something even more devastating, she tested me so relentlessly to the point that I lost that light over and over again, teaching me that the path of love is far from linear and one dimensional. There is always another threshold to cross. There is always a deeper devotion to discover. There is always a deeper crack to allow in even greater light. And this process is incredibly precious and sacred. We’d do well to more fully honor ourselves in that.
My own life and death eventually brought me to the ancient land of Greece and Her Goddesses. Through tremendous soul activations that came full circle from my breathwork training and awakened the wisdom of the High Priestess within me, I prepared to guide my first women’s retreat in over a year and a half since dying and rebirthing so many times.
We can only meet others as deeply as we have met ourselves, and through my many meetings with both demons and angels I was able to facilitate in a way so far beyond anything I could have prepared myself for. I witnessed myself rise as a true midwife of the soul supporting these women in rebirthing themselves multiple times within a given day. The voice I thought had died along with This American Girl rose up again, with a whole new fresh message.
It felt like such a sweet homecoming to realize that my “best years” were not behind me and I could in fact start again.
On one of our final days together in Greece we journeyed with the dark crone goddess Hecate, the dweller at the threshold herself. In our morning session of transcendental dance meditation followed by rebirthing breathwork, I experienced for the first time as a facilitator a complete tearing of the veil. It was like the sky above me completely ripped open and I was simultaneously existing in my own past, present, and future. As I continued to guide the session I was so overwhelmed with Grace it was difficult to even speak. I could genuinely feel the presence of angels all around me. The sweet omen I had received the night that changed everything returned to me: light follows darkness, and darkness follows light.
So... darkness did come again unexpectedly just after Greece. Feeling ready to take my next steps and finally launch my new brand and blog into the world, I plunged back down into the underworld. Meeting harsher than ever all of my primary wounds around Mother and Father, Earth and Spirit, Body and Soul. Having to rip apart all of my plans because my soul voice screamed no and then grapple with the self judgements and abuse that I was continually destroying any sense of stability in my life. Again I was tested to listen or self betray. As uncomfortable as it was, I chose to listen. I chose to keep trusting forward. I chose to allow the wild feminine to continue this process of inner refinement.
By staying with the process I started remembering the truth about stability. Just as I discovered in 2011 when I lost my job, my relationship ended, and I booked a ticket to Costa Rica on a whim, stability is not what it seems. Stability doesn’t come from a career, a home, money, or any relationship with another.
true Stability only comes from one place: listening to your highest self as your one and only guide.
My journey was far from “finished”, yet there was a deepening and an awakening that could never be undone. The seeming instability I experienced was the constant uprooting of anything that wouldn’t survive in my new frequency. I had received my beloved and I knew how that trajectory tasted. Just like I couldn’t undo the magic that Costa Rica had activated within me seven years ago and go back to a desk job in the states, neither could I undo the taste of true love that I had discovered from within me and sacrifice that love for something less.
It may have felt like a lifetime ago, but the soft memory of my beloved offered me a thread of gold to follow in the midst of my own darkness. And the only way that could happen was through trusting my own suffering. Through believing that my woundedness and relentless aching was actually guiding me somewhere. That it was pointing me directly to what I had been created to create. That my courage in staying with all of this darkness was bestowing me with tremendous power and gifts, even if I couldn’t fully see them yet.
In the old Hindu myth of Radha and Krishna, the ultimate lover beloved story, Radha is desperately in love with Krishna who represents Christ and all of his radiance. Though Radha’s love is returned by Krishna, he also offers his love to the many other women in their village, which creates a turbulent and dramatic relationship between the two. When Krishna comes calling, Radha is enraptured. When Krishna leaves, Radha is destroyed. Anyone who has ever been overtaken by intensely passionate romance knows this feeling.
Whether we are pining for a Lover, for a home, for God, for Mother, or in my case for anything familiar to hold onto, we all know how much it hurts to be separate from the one who awakened us to Love.
But this attachment can quickly become its own trap. We grow dependent on that person or that thing as “it” when “it” has always been inside of us and also all around us.
The lover beloved relationship between Radha and Krishna comes to a tear jerking end when Krishna is called back to rule the throne in his place of birth. He leaves never to see Radha again. Many years pass, he’s married to another woman, and one day he asks his friend and yoga teacher Uddhava to go and check on the village where he spent his youth and to visit Radha.
When Uddhava arrives he is shocked with what he discovers. All of the women in the village are adorned like Goddesses, going about their day selling milk and tending to their cows praising everything as Krishna. They seem to be led by the maddest woman of all, Radha. In horror over this great illusion the women are living within, he calls them to gather so that he can educate them in yoga. “Krishna loves you all, but now it’s time to go within. Close your eyes and discover God inside of you.” Radha gazes over at Uddhava with a playful smile and says, “You yogis are so funny, you close your eyes and you search and you search and you search for God. Everywhere I look I see God. Everywhere I look I see Krishna.”
This story of Radha’s unrequited love for Krishna lives at the heart of Bhakti. It’s about living the ultimate orgasmic yes to life and realizing the divinity that exists in every aching breathing moment. Of no longer projecting God onto a single source and opening wide to the true understanding that God is the Source within all things.
We don’t need to hide away in a cave and search for God, when God is actually everywhere.
Though it’s important to realize that Radha’s orgasmic yes to life and her ability to see God in all things, came first through the absence of what she had once thought to be God. This is the dark night of the soul that many mystics speak of. It is the journey into our own darkest spaces to discover the essential light of love within. Only then can we truly look around and realize that we are already living in Heaven, in the magic of our Mother Earth that our suffering has blinded us from. We have to journey to the source of our suffering to realize the Source itself. Only then we can remember the Source in all things. Only then can we dwell in Heaven on Earth.
I’ve often wondered what Radha went through during all of those years that spanned between Krishna leaving and her living as love. Through my own wonderment, without any guide, I’ve been discovering and learning her path for myself. A path I know not as enlightenment, but as integration. In Vedic astrology I am Anuradha, which translates to “another Radha”, “another devotee of God.” Her story lives in the very star matter that made me. This story has been playing through my life for as long as I can remember. It may be my personal archetypal journey, but I know it’s one that resonates with us all.
Within all of us lives this longing for God. It’s the desire to know thyself. To know the light of innocent love within you that never dies. And we also all contain the yearning for Goddess. The desire to know the oneness that extends beyond yourself. To know nature as your true nature and to know life as love in all of its messy mortal expressions. This longing and this ache can appear in our lives in infinite costumes, but ultimately every single one of us are imprinted to feel it. We feel it because we are the ones here to heal it.
We feel separate from love because we are the ones here re-membering love. re-weaving love into the very fabric of our humanity.
This is what we are all hungry for and it requires both death and rebirth to get close to and intimate with. All of the spiritual trainings in the world cannot bestow you with the kind of authentic path to love that life and death are here to teach you. No “gurus” will ever be the ultimate teachers. Life and death are the only real teachers. Follow your soul. That’s the only map you will ever really need.
To trust this terrifying refinement process is to be both out of your mind and also entirely blessed. It will require you to totally let go of anything that won’t survive your next incarnation. And it is to be truly empowered with the knowing that you are no longer a victim, because you have come to embrace everything that you thought made you broken as the very thing that makes you whole. It is to be lit with the untouchable power of knowing that your own darkest moments are your own gateways to your most radiant light. It to embrace the heartbreaking paradox of life and death.
It is to remember who you really are, and why you really came here.
As I continue to rest in my own dark womb of infinite possibility, trusting deeper in the inevitable blossoming of my divine destiny, I am finally ready to offer the fruits of what all of this death and rebirth has taught me. To begin again with a new voice and a new community that speaks to the journey of awakening through the at times heartbreaking thresholds that we will all cross.
Not waiting til I’m perfect, but sharing within my own totally messy human process. Because I deserve that. We all deserve that. We all deserve to wake up out of the idea that our shadows and our darkness make us unworthy and to realize that they are the raw material we have been given to create our masterpiece.
In a world that is often obsessed with being “the light,” our darkness is the fertile womb of Source.
Bowing to the wisdom that spoke from within my own body over these many months, I am creating a new kind of Priestesshood for the women here to discover their own unique path of love, through this heartbroken open dance.
For the women walking towards the truth that we all came to create in our own uniquely perfect broken way, exactly as nature intended.
For the women devoted to trusting their own souls to the point of insanity because they know that to do otherwise is the only real death.
For the women yearning to love without holding anything back because they know that whoever does or does not leave, the eternal soul mate remains within.
For the women offering their unique gifts into the world and radiating in their purpose because they know there must be others who also ache where they have ached, and if we’re not in this together we’re not in this at all.
For the women courageous enough to continually spiral through the great cycles of life because they remember that they are not other than life and we are all intimately linked in this great mysterious dance of existence.
For the women wholeheartedly willing to continually die and rebirth across the great thresholds of life and in the tiniest moments, in all of their messy imperfect beauty.
For the women who most of all desire to live in every heartbeat and in every breath as love.
Let’s begin again, shall we?