Suzanne Falter-Barns 22 year old beautiful daughter died unexpectedly 2 weeks ago. The honesty and courage of this woman and her family at this sad time is truly an expression of the grace that we can experience at what are the most terrible times and experiences in our lives. I share this with you because she had the compassion and kindness to share it so that others can enter into this space to attempt to gain some understanding of tragedy and great pain. We are helped through these unbearable times in our lives. It is sometimes at these most awful times that we ‘know’ something much bigger than us is holding us and is in charge.
Maybe because in these awful times we lose ourselves and our sense of who we thought we were, and what we thought life is about, so much so that we collapse into total surrender and fall into the bliss of the presence of all knowing and all love. Sometimes we get a glimpse that there is no death – only love.
How good God is!
I thank Suzanne for her love and compassion and for caring so much.
It is often thought that in the best of times, we are in bliss … and in the worse of times, well, life is simply hell. I’d like to argue that point.
What if even in the worst of times one can experience an unusual sort of bliss? That is what this particular moment has called for from me as I adjust to losing my 22 year-old-daughter Teal.
As many of you know, she died suddenly two weeks ago from an unexplainable cardiac arrest. And I am now in the sort of transition one would usually call a tragedy or even a crisis.
Yet, in the heart of this, what I am experiencing more and more is a remarkable sense of peace. I have, of course, been radically changed by this experience, as have Teal’s father, Larry, and her brother, Luke. And yes, we are grieving, sometimes together and sometimes alone.
What is happening more and more for me, personally, is an emergence, a blinking into an entirely new light. This is a place that is beyond explanation, control, or even comprehension, really. It is truly a field of bliss – and it continues on and on, expanding when I allow it, to fill my heart just a little more every day.
So what am I so blissful about, one might ask, now that I can never see, speak to, hold or even talk to my beloved daughter again? Now that I can never listen to her on the phone, perhaps crying with fear or frustration, or possibly excitedly reporting her latest win? How in God’s name can I be blissful of all things?
I can only say that this mysterious bliss transcends such small concerns. It is a state of grace that is liquid, potent and transports me instantly – so I literally transcend my circumstances when I let go of the suffering I could so easily subscribe to, and I allow myself instead to surrender to it.
Our logical minds want so badly to make sense of this old world. How we want to figure our path through uncertainty, imagining untold conversations and envisioning outcomes. And yet … there is no certainty to be had, ever, under any circumstances. All of that is truly just illusion, dear friend.
An illusion must be dashed in order to know this extraordinary bliss.
Believe me, I did not sign up for this experience willingly – nor did I resist it unwillingly. I just went with it, from the minute I got the call from San Francisco General Hospital telling me my daughter was in critical condition. I knew I had no choice … even when neurologists were telling us about her irreversible brain damage, and that they could do nothing more. And even when her father, her brother and I held her, dying, in the sweet, spiritual silence of her hospital room as we felt her slip away.
Really, there are only two ways to respond to anything that troubles you in life – accept, surrender and go with it … or resist. And to resist that this packed and powerful 22 years was all that our Teal would have is to simply miss the point. She was not misfortunate to have died so young. She was extremely fortunate to have had a life at all … and certainly to be born with a character so willing, so free, and so committed to joy. Teal’s life truly was brilliant and shining.
And so her death is not a tragedy but a reminder to us all to live just a little more each day. To honestly treasure the minutes we have, for real – not just with some polite PC lip service. But to really get in there and embrace our lives.
That means eradicating what is not true and aligned for you – the situations, relationships, agreements and bad ideas you’ve gotten yourself into. And not next week or next year or when you have more money or time, but now, dear friend. Now.
Ask yourself where you have held yourself back from joy? What are you resisting that must simply be owned, and ultimately honored?
This is where the bliss is. It is a rightness that you simply know in your body; it is You talking to you. And it is nothing less than your soul informing you of what must shift, right here and right now, so you can truly surrender to joy.
And why not, dear friend? All that you will gain is happiness, no matter what you must stop resisting. And no matter how much pain you must endure to begin the letting go. This is the true path back to peace and happiness, and now the choice is yours.
Will you surrender to the bliss that awaits?
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