Ride The Waves with Ease

Maelstrom by Luke Shadbolt

This one’s for the lonely
The one’s that seek and find
This one’s for the torn down
Come on friends get up now
You’re not alone at all
It comes and goes in waves

Hello, friends! And happy-almost-April! Time flies when you are … well, riding the waves! If you have been flowing with The Empowered Empath, you know that we have been moving through back to back solar flares, CMEs and Mercury Retro. Whew! The latter wraps up today!

We are all moving out of a retrospective chapter into a new chapter of creativity, expansion, and planting seeds in fertile soil. And as we all know, with every chapter in life, there are endings and beginnings. But these don’t have to hurt.

Beginnings and endings can be quite beautiful.

That’s why I am sharing with you today. We are currently revisiting a tough chapter in our family’s life. In the healing process, we are welcoming new beginnings by seeing events in a new light. I say, “we” because although I am the one processing the emotions of this event, our animal companions are fully aware of this; pets process what we are moving through.

We are One.

Speaking of connection, let’s get to the topic at heart …. Goodbyes.
One of the most difficult challenges in life is saying goodbye to a beloved. I’ve done this countless times; few I care to recall. But there is one goodbye that’s reverberating like a bell. Tomorrow will be the two-year anniversary of when our beloved King Albert the Grey left this world for a new one.

Hocus & Albert having a moment during their last days together

Although it’s been two years, Albert’s physical presence is still deeply missed. He was the epicenter of our tribe. A beloved king like this is surely to be missed. But through many hills and valleys, we know he is still a huge part of our lives.

This post serves to highlight the positive aspects of what I refer to as, “Times of Transition”, by sharing how we can move through the many stages of life with our love ones. From assisting our aging animal companions to age with grace and ease, to how we can honor their spirit when their body is laid aside, and into the next chapter of how to keep the connection alive.

A Sudden Sad Surprise

A couple of weeks ago, one of those facebook memory things popped up and I saw my King Bear’s beloved’s face again. I was sad for a moment, then remembered what he’s taught me since he left his body for a new world in spirit. I let the feelings come. Then smiled as I spoke to him. I felt him all around me and remembered that Who He IS cannot die. I felt the familiar Unconditional Love, and remembered that Love cannot die. I remembered that a soul bond cannot be broken.

But the tears and sadness still came.

I couldn’t stop crying. It felt like a tidal wave of sadness and grief that would consume me. Gasping for breaths, I prayed it would pass. It did not. So, I succumbed. I let the sadness come in waves.

As I allowed the emotions to crash all around me, there were no thoughts. Only the overwhelming sense of grief and sadness. It was as if I had a broken heart again. Sobbing on my knees, I couldn’t believe I was back to square one with this sadness!

But then I noticed something about the sadness.

I noticed the emotion I was experiencing was very specific; acute yet overwhelming. Yet, I was not thinking anything specific to lead me to this emotional response (as this post explains). When I thought about Albert just prior to the surprise-now-you’re-sad-breakdown, I simply thought, “I miss my friend.” And I did. Deeply. But what I was experiencing and feeling was a thousand times more powerful than that thought alone.

Noticing this was was helpful.

That’s when the ah-ha occurred: These weren’t just my emotions; they were part of the collective coming through. As an Empath, I Am (finally) fully aware that when I am processing such incredibly powerful, overwhelming, and acute emotions, it may not be mine alone. It’s taken me years to understand and accept this. (This post will not dive into it in detail, but if you think you might be an Empath, read this post later.)

Many empaths process “stuff” in the collective unknowingly. The word empathy comes from the Greek—“en” meaning “within,” and “pathos” meaning “feeling.” So empathy is the ability to feel the feelings of another within ourselves.

Empaths are shadow magnets; we unconsciously draw to us that which has temporarily forgotten that it is Divine in order to return it to the fold. –Sweigh Emily Spilkin, MA, CHT, PhD

So, here it was. In my face. I could choose to suffocate on the sadness or release it. That day, I chose to accept it, process and transmute it for the collective, release it with unconditional love, and move on.

There’s too much to dive into the depths of those waters now, so I will share more on that process in a later post. The point is not whether you are an Empath or not. This statement is true for us All: Feel every bit of the sadness and grief. Resist the urge to shove it down, ignore it, or smother it with food, sex, drugs, and alcohol. -Been there; done that! I’m advising against those techniques 🙂 We don’t wanna end up like Homer when he eventually turns into the Incredible Hulk because of dismissing his anger issues 😉

The Connections Between Physical Pain & Grief

We we say we are hurting, we are on more than one level. Science has shown that “social pain” registers in the brain the same way physical pain registers in the brain. “Separation distress” activates the dorsal anterior cingulate cortex, as does physical pain. Drugs that alleviate physical pain also work on social pain (feeling lonely or rejected). The opposite of social pain–social support, reduces the perception of physical pain. The connections are extensive; the more we learn, we discover physical and social pain are more alike than they are different.

I see my light come shining
From the west unto the east
Any day now, any day now
I shall be released

Jeff Buckley – I Shall Be Released

At the center of the layers of grief is an open heart.

It Comes and Goes in Waves.

Grief. The onion of life. Once we think we’re done with it, we find another hidden layer lying dormant, waiting to be discovered at the least expected times. I laugh now, thinking about how much I loathe onions in anything; let alone the annoying onion of grief in my life. Grief is sneaky and sticky if we don’t fully process it.

Feel your grief and move on.

Someone very wise actually told me that advice right after Albert’s soul left his body at home. I was in a heap of tears looking at his lifeless body. –Somewhat in shock that he was really gone. I knew that if I let the sadness consume me, it would be like the dark days I lived in before.

Initially, I didn’t understand what he meant when he said, “Feel your grief and move on.” And honestly, it sounded curt. But when I asked him for clarity, he explained that I need not hold onto the grief like I had in the past. What he meant was to feel it all, let the grief move through me like a wave, and then allow life’s next chapter to unfold. In this case, it was for me to fully accept what had just occurred with Albert leaving this world for another.

Feel it all. Then move along.

This is not a post about how to properly move through grief. That is a sacred process that is different for everyone. Some look to the heavens, some look to nature. Others go within.

All I know is what helped me to heal, and what has helped our tribe. I can tell you that when you let the sadness overtake you, it will suffocate you. But if you are willing to surrender to the process, it gets easier. Sadness, sorrow, and grief are not our friends. They are strangers passing through. They are not something we want to hold onto.

We want to hold onto the Love that held us together as a soul team.

Let the grief move through you. Don’t hold onto it. Don’t be afraid to feel it all. You will eventually get through to the other side of grief and sadness.

And on the other side is more than you could possibly imagine.

A broken heart is a beautiful, vulnerable heart. When our heart breaks because of grief, we are fully open at that point. Being open beautiful. If we stand strong, keep our heart fully open, choose courage, and are willing to feel it all, it will flow through us and be transformed.

When the layers of grief are eventually exposed, and released with love, we find there is unconditional love at the center. – An open heart that’s ready to receive again. But if we are afraid to go all the way and feel it all, we block the healing. We block ourselves from being open to beautiful beginnings.

Be strong of heart like a warrior and softness of Spirit will guide you. -Touches The Water

Chicory, another beloved who left this world for another 10 years ago yesterday.

One of my soul sisters shared that warrior/softness quote with me during a day when we thought it would be King Albert’s last. It wasn’t his last day, but how was I to know that? My role as his guardian was to trust the process. My role was to give him a Life worth Living in his Golden Years. My role as his devoted person was to trust that Albert would let me know when it was time to lay his body aside, and begin a new life.

I let go of trying to control. I trusted.

He led the way. Our last days together were beyond beautiful. I gave him what he wanted. I honored his every wish. I held space for the healing that would come. I let love lead. And to this day, I know Albert is grateful for this.

Living a Life That’s Golden

Do you share life with an aging animal companion?
How would you describe their Love for Life?
What makes their heart sing?
What makes their soul soar?
Who were they in their younger years?
Who, what and where did they enjoy most?

Do you have images of them from back then? Find them. The pics will help you to SEE their vibrant, young spirit that is alive within them now. Ask your beloved what they want. How would they want to spend their last days, weeks, months, or years? What would their Golden Years become if they could choose? What would they want to have, be, see, or do if you would allow it? Can you see their vibrant soul within their aging body??

It’s still there.

This is some of what King Albert taught me when his body began to fail. Recognizing his vibrant youth within a geriatric body was one of the greatest gifts I could give him every moment of our days together. Recognizing his needs, acknowledging his heart’s desires, and honoring how much he LOVED life was what I needed to see, feel, and know during his last days with us on Earth. Once I set aside my sadness and fears of the inevitable, I was able to recognize these; I was able to give him what he needed.

I gave him a life that was golden.

All of the adventures and escapades he had in his youth had never left him; he still wanted to have those even as he aged and as the illness set in. He still wanted to try new things. He wanted to live bravely and fiercely, even at 17+ years of age. Albert wanted to be able to relish everything that life had to offer him. The scents on the breeze; The grass, soil, and sand between his paw pads; The Earth’s healing energy under his body; The warm sun on his face; The wind in his whiskers. These were some of his favorite things. These are what Albert wanted every day of his life.

This is what I gave to him during his last days on Earth.

Carrying King Albert to his favorite Beach Spot so he could watch his world. This was taken just days before he transitioned. He’s focused and ready to get the adventure started! Albert was quite serious and fearless.

Below is a video of what I mean about honoring who Albert was and what he wanted every day, even when his physical vessel was failing. Who he was never gave up, never gave in, never felt sorry for the state he was in. King Albert lived life to the fullest. He lived life fearlessly up to the very end of this life chapter. You can view it on Vimeo here.

“ I’ve learned to heed the call of the heart.  I’ve learned that the safest path is not always the best path. I’ve learned that the voice of fear is not always to be trusted.” ― Steve Goodier

King Albert (Bear) exploring fearlessly during his last weeks

The Choice Is Ours.

If you, or someone you know is struggling with an aging animal companion, take heart. Do not forget for one moment that you and your beloved are connected in heart and mind. When we are faced with the certain (or uncertain) fate of our beloved animal companion we have two choices: We can choose to fall into fear, or we can choose to lift ourselves and our beloveds in Love.

In every moment, we have a choice.

No one else can make this choice for us. It is ours and ours alone. We can cry over the circumstances or we can embrace them fearlessly. We can choose to stay angry and resentful about what’s in front of us or we can choose to celebrate their last days on Earth with them.

King Albert, near the end – unable to walk for long on his own, but he still wanted to sit by the sea and watch his world for a while.

We can find creative solutions, or we can give up. We can choose to accept defeat, or we can choose to proceed ahead together with an open heart of acceptance. We can sink into the swamps of sadness that steal our joy, or we can stand tall, walk with our beloved joyfully, and celebrate every breath together.

These two contrasting images symbolize how we can choose to view the circumstances. We can choose to stare into the face of their declining mental and physical health and become burdened with despair, or we can keep searching for solutions. We can choose to see sickness and death, or we can choose to see beyond their body; we can see, feel, sense, and know their vibrant soul within. We can give up or we can give them a life that’s Golden.

We get to choose.

When we choose to let go of fear (anger, sadness, control, etc.) we let them (and fearless Love) lead. When we find peace, we give them permission to live their last days in peace. When we see beyond their body we are giving them the greatest gift; we are recognizing and remembering who they really are. When we learn to listen to their needs, their requests, and their wishes, we are honoring them and respecting them. When we honor and love ourselves through these challenges we are also honoring them, for We Are One.

Ea Nigada Qusdi Idadadvhn
(Cherokee for “All my relations in creation”)

Mount Kilimanjaro

At Their Summit in Spirit

Imagine the top of a mountain. Picture the peak. Now think of your pet at their peak in life. Ok, hold that thought.

In topography, a summit is a point on a surface that is higher in elevation than all points immediately adjacent to it. A summit, mathematically, is a maximum in elevation. The topographic terms “acme”, “apex”, “peak”, and “zenith” are synonyms.

Our pets are at their peak in spirit.

Read that again and let it sink in. It’s true. For all beings. I promise you.

Our animal companions, even at their peak in their physical life, are only scratching the surface of who they are in spirit. The world they enter when they lay their body aside and the world they leave behind are incomparable. Behind the Veil our beloveds no longer know fear, scarcity, pain, or suffering. They are thriving. They are experiencing their zenith.

They are at peace. And they want this peace for us, too.

King Albert The Grey (“Bear”) at his peak in this physical life

There are many levels of life which we cannot see and know, yet which certainly exist. There is a larger world, vast enough to include immortality … Our spiritual natures belong to this larger world … If death is apparently an outward fact, immortality is an inner certainty. – M. Hall

Call On Your Beloved.

Our beloveds beyond the veil are not “gone”. They are worlds apart, but not far apart from us. Our Cherokee heritage teaches there is no death; only a door to another realm. A new beginning. A new chapter. A new world.

So, when you miss them or when you are hurting, call on them. They are not “far away”. They are waiting in the wind, ready to answer your heart’s call.  Where they are, may be outside of our experience of time and space, but they can hear your heart. That is your connection.

Remember the last two posts about questioning beliefs and questioning every thought?  Well, here’s a whopper of a truth that will set you free:  The belief in separation is a belief to be undone.

There is no separation in spirit.

Our beloveds may not be physically in front of us, but that does not mean we are separated forever. In fact, our roles often are reversed. While they lived their physical existence, we were their guardians. When they are living their spirit existence, they become our guardians.

Their lives do not end when the time comes for them to lay their earthly vessel aside. Do you really think Who They Are can be contained in a body??? Who they are cannot die. Their spirit lives on. And they still walk with us.

King Bear, the Badass

Our Beloveds at Their Best

What are your most favorite characteristics of your animal companions? Think of those traits, characteristics, and unique personalities carefully. Are they gentle, goofy, or generous? Are they playful or snuggly? Are they serious or silly? Think about what you admire about them most. What is it/was it about them that made your heart swoon, made you giggle, or made you admire them?

This is their incredible energy that you can call upon.

King Albert was in a word, a Badass. He was fearless almost to a fault. He was unapologetic about everything. He set firm boundaries. Albert was not known for being goofy and playful. Anyone who knew him viewed him more like a military general, a mini grey panther, or a wee grey grizzly bear. Albert was fierce. But he was also fiercely devoted and unconditionally loving to those he trusts. He never snuggled, but he loved hard and true. He was choosy about companions, but if he allowed you into his inner circle it was for life. He was amazing.

And he still is.

Crossing that bridge with lessons I’ve learned
Playing with fire and not getting burned
I may not know what you’re going through
But time is the space between me and you
Life carries on, ooh
It goes on

Prayer For The Dying, by Seal

I have called on Albert’s energy in many circumstances since he left his body. Every time, he answers the call. I feel him, hear him, and know when he is around us. He still works with Hocus and Mr. Beaux. And whether I am nervous about giving a presentation about PCSing with pets to our Marines, or I am meeting with a new client in challenging circumstances, I know I can call on King Albert to bring his incredibly powerful and grounded energy to assist me.

You can do this, too.

Take some time to consider the questions above. Recognize their strengths and what they bring to the table to share. When it’s time for your beloved to lay their body aside, you can call on them for support. You will always have a direct line to your loved one. Their love and energy never dies. They are merely a thought away.

Hocus & Albert together during his last days with us on Earth

King Albert, like every animal companion, was more than a “cat.” Wise, strong, confident, and true, he was incredible in countless ways. And he was one of my very best friends. And we miss him every day.

Stiyu, Instead of Goodbye.

One of the most difficult challenges in life is saying goodbye to a beloved. But in our Cherokee language there is no actual word for “goodbye”; this word is too final. We say “Stiyu”, which means “Be strong”. Now, instead of saying goodbye, we honor their stages of life, while standing strong. Now we know their body’s death is an ending to one chapter of life and the beginning of another.

Say no goodbyes to those we love,
Though they have passed from view.
Our mortal eyes seem not to see
The truth that our hearts do.
Love is of the spirit.
It exists beyond these shores.
And love still flows between us,
Now and forever more.

Art from Ashes

I am really excited. This weekend, on the anniversary of his transition into spirit, I will honor our King Albert by creating something I have been called to bring forth. This is in gratitude for what I’ve learned over the years from loved ones in spirit. I will be starting a new endeavor in his honor, with the hopes of sharing this creative process with other people who have said goodbye to their beloved. After it’s complete (and if I don’t burn down the house!) I will share it with you here.

This weekend I will be incorporating some of Albert’s ashes and fur to create Art in honor of Albert.

Ride the Waves with Ease.

Wherever you are in the sacred process of releasing grief, missing your loved one, or processing the pain of it all, know that you are never alone. Reach out. Lean on your tribe. Trust your team. Call on your loved one. Ride the waves as they come. You won’t be crushed. Feel it all. Then let it go. But above all, keep your heart open. An open heart is the window to the world where your loved ones are now.

Australian photographer Warren Keelan

This one’s for the lonely
The one’s that seek and find
Only to be let down
Time after time
This one’s for the torn down
The experts at the fall
Come on friends get up now
You’re not alone at all
It comes and goes in waves

–Greg Laswell


One thought on “Ride The Waves with Ease

  1. Pingback: In Remembrance: The Rainbow Bridge – Conscious Companion

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