*I am sharing this with a blessing from the Caldwell Family, to whom I both admire and give thanks.*
Journal Entry #41
I didn’t start the day with a full tank of Tic Tacs.
Yesterday wore me out, but I awoke this morning to a Big Heart knocking on the door. Joy and Robin had offered a Soap Making Workshop as a fundraiser on Friday night at the Seagrave Church in support of our family. Joy stopped by with a big smile and an envelope full of love. Although I have never met her before, her Spirit is jovial. This community continues to amaze me with their generosity. I love how others are using their gifts and talents for a greater good, to help others and to bring the community together. It truly is a wonderful thing.
Today was host to an event that I have been praying to be well enough to attend since April. It was organized by a local family who holds a special place in my heart. After all that they have been through and the loss that they have endured, today represented light, connection and something good coming from something so tragic. I’m sure is wasn’t an easy day for the family, who no doubt incurred a rollercoaster of emotions as the village came together to support them and their cause.
Scugog Hoot for Hospice was an amazing event.
Although I grew up with Matt, I only crossed paths with his sister Carley Anne a few times. Regretfully, I really have only known Carley through death. She fought a good fight, with dignity, hope and grace but cancer eventually claimed Carley just over two years ago. She left behind an amazing family that has had to find a new normal and a new way of living without their daughter, sister, fiancé, aunt, friend. She left a huge void for so many, but she also left us with the beautiful gift of her existence and memories. Carley was magnetic, larger than life and inspirational to so many through her strength, compassion and determination. Her love for fine foods, amazing music, painting and the great outdoors created many amazing memories for all those that knew her.
As hundreds of people gathered in her memory today, to paint an owl (her favorite) in the beautiful sunshine on Perry Street in Port Perry, Carley’s presence was palpable. Her light was there in the connections, the laughter and in the community camaraderie. She would have been so excited to see everyone coming together for something that was happy and fun…something that was meaningful…something that will benefit others.
I shared a moment with Carley Anne just a few hours before she left her body and transitioned home. It was a sacred moment, and until today I haven’t been willing to share it…because I didn’t reallyunderstand it. What a honor to have sat with her in some of her final breaths…what a gift to be a part of her existence…what a self-less surrender of her family, to offer what little time they had left with her, to help ease her suffering in a way that aligned with her beliefs and constructs.
It was a moment that changed me.
I am a healer. I am a helper. I am a lover. And when I see clients, I give them everything I have. Not everyone understands Reiki or Energy Work and not everyone believes that it works or it is true. I don’t expect everyone who reads this to believe, what matters is that we recognize that Carley did, and that is why this message is coming forward.Usually the intention of a session is around healing, recovering, coping, or managing life. When I sat with Carley to share Reiki in those final hours, it wasn’t for any of those things. There was no getting better. There was no recovering. There was no coping. There was no managing.
There was only surrender.
Energy work is a difficult thing to put into words…it is best described by experiencing it for oneself. Reiki is always a journey – although there are similarities and “typical” exchanges, every experience is different. When energy is appropriate, the recipient will invite it in and allow it to do what it needs to do. When energy isn’t appropriate it bounces back to the sender, in which case they get the healing energy. The sender then re-grounds themselves, re-groups and either abandons ship or offers the energy in a different approach or a way that would be more appropriate for the recipient. I don’t want to get lost in how this amazing medicine works, but it is important that I share this piece so that you can feel the importance of what I am about to share.
Carley Anne bounced the energy back to me that day.
At first, I remember stepping into self-doubt and judgement – what am I doing wrong? But after 18 years of practicing this energy medicine, I realized that I had just assumed what she needed. Healing. Recovery. Coping. A rookie mistake. Carley didn’t need any of those things.Then I thought, ‘what an amazing woman, to be dying and still sending love out’ as the energy bounced back to me. Finally, I held her hand and I asked her what she needed. When I say that I “asked”, I mean that I invited her Spirit to translate through my Spirit because she was not physically able to communicate. As my intuition began nudging, the tears fell freely from my eyes as I understood what she needed.
Permission to let go.
And so the energy that flowed was that of forgiveness, love and surrender. I don’t profess to understand it, to know what she did with the energy, or what transpired for her. I don’t know what was left that she needed to reconcile or resolve within herself in order to leave her world behind. That isn’t my business, nor yours or even her loved ones. It was between her and the Great Beyond. One thing is appropriate to share though:
She invited that energy in.
I thought I understood it as it was happening, and as I look back on my journal entry from February 3, 2017, I realize that I didn’t…not really. But today, I looked around the crowd, felt the emotion in the hugs from the family, heard the laughter from the tables around us, and I think I finally starting to understand.
Surrender is bold. It takes courage. It doesn’t matter if we are surrendering cigarettes to be smoke free or surrendering carbs or surrendering old patterns and ways of thinking or surrendering a job or relationship or surrendering our physical “meat-suits”… it requires hard heart-work. When I think about the times in my life when I have chosen to surrender, there has always been pain and growth associated with it. It means change and transformation are at hand. It means that we are at the threshold of something new…even if we can’t see what it is yet.
I felt Carley there today, celebrating…whispering that the strokes of the brush don’t matter…it doesn’t matter how it is going to turn out…just let go and let it be what it is…and enjoy this moment where new memories are being made…
And isn’t that just so true? That we get in our own way…get stuck in our heads, lost in worry, fear, regrets and grief that we miss the moment at hand? How easy it is to forget to surrender to the present moment. Surrender. Is. Bold.
In order to surrender, we must give ourselves permission to do it. Every time.
I find grief is one of the hardest emotions to surrender. For a lot of different reasons. When we are willing to let go of the pain of the loss, it is only then that we can be in the present moment. When we allow ourselves to feel the loss but not be a slave to it and then surrender it, we allow the light to return to our lives. Our hearts can begin to breathe again and beat with a wise love that understands the boldness of surrender and the beauty of its gift.
It’s been more than two years since Carley Anne walked this earth, but make no mistake about it…she walked through all of our hearts today. I heard those “hoot hoots” and I saw people surrendering to the silliness of the moment. I saw people helping people, hugging each other and enjoying themselves. I saw a community coming together, surrendering their hard earned money and their valuable time to honor Carley Anne’s memory and simultaneously support the building of the much needed Oakridges Hospice. Everywhere I looked, I saw surrender today.
I was once told that when someone you love becomes a memory, the memory then becomes a treasure. Carley, even from beyond, is still blessing us with treasures as we create new memories with her in our hearts. And I am just so overwhelmed by the beauty of that.
I would be remiss to say that today wouldn’t have happened without Steve, Cathy and Matt doing their own heart-work to surrender their grief so that they could step into the idea of making new memories with Carley in way that will help others. They have been bold. They have been brave. Grief isn’t something we ever “get through” or “get over”… when we lose someone we love, we will feel their loss forever. The pain gets less as life transforms to a new way of being and that leaves us space to live again, to breathe again, and to find purpose again. It takes courage to give ourselves permission to carry on with life without those that we love. Personally, I am so thankful that they did, and here’s why:
That moment, when I was holding Carley Anne’s hand and she invited the energy in, when she surrendered, was one of the most beautiful experiences of my life. And today while hooting for hospice, I felt the magnitude of the gift of that previous moment. I looked around and realized that she not only has shown us how to surrender, but she has also helped the hearts of those who love her to do the same through this event. I might have missed this lesson, this message, this confirmation of a message that was translated more than two years ago, if her family hadn’t surrendered their grief to make today happen. And I then wouldn’t be able to share it with you.
So, as I drift off to sleep tonight, I am doing so in gratitude for Carley Anne who is still teaching me that surrender is something we must do every day to get the most out of every moment. It is one simple action that yields a big, full, fantastic life.
Surrender to the moment.
Thank you Carley.