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Let me explain . . .

dark nightAround the time I was 35 years old, after a devastating period in my life of prolonged sorrow, I had a profound experience of rebirth. I know it is cliché to say it is always darkest before the dawn, but for me it truly was.

It was a very black night, in the midst of a painful divorce and a life in complete upheaval and pain. I believed all choices in front of me led to even more pain for myself and everyone around me. I was at a point where choosing not to live felt like a very real solution to my problems. The thought of having no future became more comforting to me than any future I could foresee.  I cried myself to sleep next to all the untouched pharmaceutical bottles I had gathered on the nightstand next to me.

I will never know if I would have gone through with ending my life that night, or if it was just a step I was taking in testing this option . . . moving closer to it to see if it still felt like the answer. I will never know because I have never felt that way again.

DSCF8210The moment I fell asleep, I saw myself sleeping on my bed from the viewpoint of the ceiling. I felt completely awake as I was hovering above myself. I was there for just  a moment before being transported to a place where I was walking, trudging really, slowly up a hill carrying something heavy on my back. It was a rough, burlap type pack anchored by a strap across my forehead. I couldn’t look up, or sideways, just down at the gravel path due to the weight I was carrying. I suddenly saw two sandaled feet facing me.

As my gaze moved upward past flowing fabric, I glimpsed a radiant face gazing down at me. It was a woman who  looked at me with the purest love I have ever felt. Her eyes held complete adoration for me, even as I realized she knew every hidden thing about me.  She asked me “My darling, what is this heavy burden you carry?” I eagerly set down my pack and untied it, the contents spilling out on the road. I explained the importance of every ‘trouble’ I carried, each one represented by a heavy leaded glass object, each one catching the sunlight, looking deceptively beautiful. Many were broken, and I cried as I explained the guilt  I felt for having broken these things that others had entrusted to me, so I carried the shards with me too, the weight and the sharp pain of them a reminder of my shame.

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As she listened to my explanations and confessions her face never changed. There was no judgement, no questioning, just crystalline love flowing from her and through me. When I finished speaking, kneeling on the road, surrounded by my burdens, she finally spoke to me. She asked, “My beloved, is there anything here that is truly yours to carry anymore?”

What followed is hardest to convey because there is no earthly experience to liken it to. It was as if she was pouring a ‘knowing’ into me. A view of these burdens and this earthly life from a broad perspective of spirit, from my soul. And this view was not just coming from the perspective of this lifetime, but over many. I could see reality had more to do with how I perceived my life than what was physically happening! But the knowledge flowing into me held so much more than that, more than my meager words here can convey. I could see that I was a part of a love so much larger than myself, a love that contained everyone and everything, including me. That it always had, and it always will.

301129_1550977269730_1694081601_772515_1680172703_nWhen the woman on the path saw that I could see this truth, she simply smiled and faded away.  I stiffly stood up from kneeling to look for her. I felt my back straighten and stretch. I could see all around me now, a view that had not been available to me when I was wearing the pack. It was an exquisitely beautiful place, vibrant with color, blue skies and rolling green hills. Where I thought there had only been one path, the one I was on, there were actually hundreds, maybe thousands. And instead of being alone, as I thought I was, I could see there were others, all of them traveling with me. I had so many choices, so many destinations to choose. Suddenly, I could see. And then, I woke up.

I ‘woke up’ literally to a new way of seeing. Not one thing about my situation had changed that night, save for me, but  life felt infinitely better!

It has been a long journey since that day, one in which I have instituted a daily practice. I exercise by flexing my ‘intention’ muscle every day. I live with the intention to see life through the same lens of expansive love as I did from that path in my vision. And in practicing this, I now have an inner knowing that no matter what is happening to me or around me, I am both the architect and artist of my life. I hold an unfailing ability to see love, joy, beauty and grace in the world. You do too. Once you have seen this truth, it cannot be unseen.

“There will come a time when you believe everything is finished; that will be the beginning. ” Louis L’Amour

With my Mammaste business, my photographs and my writing it is my hope to show others this truth. That even in dark times, and there still are dark times, I know there is goodness in this world. It is always there waiting. And when we are ready, when we look with our full attention and intention, it reveals itself to us. The divinity in the everyday. Every day.

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19 Comments Post a comment
  1. sheryl #

    how generous of you to share, thank you.. enjoy the day. oxoxo.s

    December 15, 2013
    • Thank you Sheryl, and I did enjoy my day! ❤

      December 15, 2013
  2. What an amazing experience Lori! Thank you for sharing your journey, then and now. I am blessed to know you as my friend. LOVE

    December 15, 2013
    • The feeling is mutual Cindy. Love coming right back at you!

      December 15, 2013
      • Sorry I didn’t make it over yesterday, it snowed all day here and I’m trying to nip a sore throat in the bud. Hope the day was a successful endeavor. xox

        December 15, 2013
      • No worries!

        December 15, 2013
  3. billandcindy #

    What an amazing experience Lori! Thank you for sharing your journey, then and now. The world is better with you on this side of the curtain for now. LOVE

    December 15, 2013
  4. Lori, I am absolutely stunned at your willingness to share, your vulnerability. This helps in more ways than I can possibly share right now. Maybe someday I will be able to write my story too. You have inspired me. Namaste

    December 15, 2013
    • There came a point when I just feared less and began to live more and more in the comfort of the truth of my experiences. Thank you for your kind words here, Dena. They are a gift.

      December 15, 2013
  5. Debbie #

    This is exquisite, Lori. The unfiltered recognition of your own pain and despair, your courage in sharing it here, and your strength to rise above the fear which shackles us all at one time or another, and learn to infuse everything …. with love! ❤

    December 15, 2013
    • It was an experience that informed the rest of my life and how I lived it from that experience on. It is such a big part of who I became, who I am. It is a truth I have lived with joyfully, and it has served me so very well in living this good life. Thank you for your beautiful comment.

      December 16, 2013
  6. Jim Fisher #

    Count me in with Dena … traveling with you, Lori Anne. One day, I too, will find the courage to share. I sit in awe of your strength to be so publicly vulnerable … and filled with grace … and love.

    December 15, 2013
    • It happened so long ago, yet I kept it mostly to myself only because I felt it was such a precious experience and it took me several years to live into it fully. I have written about it before, but not with as much clarity at this. It is not always necessary to share our stories, as they are of so much value to us, and must withstand the interpretation and scrutiny of others when we decide to write them. It just seems so ordinary to me now, all these years later, such a part of who I am. It happened. It changed me. It was a gift. I so love that it moved you to write. Your comment warms my heart.

      December 16, 2013
      • Jim Fisher #

        Yup. It happened. It changed me. It was a gift. God intervened and pulled my ass out of depression and made it very clear that my life was not going to end here … not like this. And 40 some odd years later I am still trying to figure out why. Why me, Lord? What do You want me to do with this incredible, I-don’t-deserve-a-moment-of-it, gift of Life?

        I will carve the experience into the shape of a few paragraphs soon. Thank for you inspiring me to go back to work on it.

        December 16, 2013
  7. Lori Anne, I was so inspired by reading your post yesterday for a couple of reasons. I was inspired that hope would come to you in your darkest hour to show you the way. What a wonderful message to lay down your guilt and the things that appeared so broken around you. She could see through it all and showed you the way to what you now share and show by your example.
    I was inspired by the telling of this inspiration and insight that had come from a dream and so thankful you shared it and had it. It made me realize what a gift these dreams of guidance are and what hope they can give to others and the importance of sharing them. Although they are specific to us they are universal at the same time. I am inspired by your telling and I, too, will share some of mine instead of keeping them to myself.
    I appreciate the story and what you have become because of it.

    December 16, 2013
    • That is the heart of if, Marie, isn’t it? The experience was personal, but the message is universal. It is possible that nothing about our external life need change in order for our lives to change dramatically. When we shift our perspective from the inside out, everything around us is viewed through a new lens. It is how we see our reality that largely shapes it. We truly are the sole (or soul) architect and artist of our lives. And we truly are never alone. If I have experienced something, chances are I am not the only one! Thank you for writing. I love how you see.

      December 16, 2013
  8. elizabethpaulson #

    There’s my heart-friend- Lori A. O. V. Yang. I certainly do love her.

    December 17, 2013

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