Heading down under… A candid look at life, death, and a trip into the unknown
In a little less than a month, I board the ridiculously long flight to the big down under. Today, I bought one of those airplane pillows and a very grown up but still cool carry on bag and thought, holy crap this is trip is real. It’s really happening. And by it I mean this:
My first time in New Zealand and Australia (a dream come true!), the southern hemisphere launch of my first just-me book, a straight up guide to navigating your pet’s final transition, a first for a brand new 2-day offering – Death Sucks – an essential workshop for animal lovers to cultivate the skills to move through this inevitable transition with their animals as gracefully as humanly possible, a first for a master class with One Spirit’s Laura Bird for animal professionals and practitioners to support those who midwife this powerful and challenging transition.
It all feels potent. And it feels right. And with the sheer numbers of animals (and people – RIP David Bowie) crossing the divide at this time in history, it feels necessary. We are being challenged and invited to cultivate more and more emotional bandwidth and integration capacity, a greater ability to let go, more connection to something greater and intangible, more comfort with our deep, seemingly endless grief and our feelings of loss. We are being called into a deep inner dive into the unknown.
In my upcoming book, Death Sucks (because it really does), I share a number of different understandings, but one core message is one that Brené Brown speaks to in her new book Rising Strong (which is a must read by the way!). She explains that you can’t skip the messy middle, that place where there is no going back and the way forward is still dark and murky, that this place, as uncomfortable as it is, is an essential part of the journey. So it is in life and in death – this messy middle is the place where what is is making way for what is meant to be, an excruciating pause before resolution. And the reality is that we never know quite how long it’s going to last and that most of us would prefer to fill this space with anything else but this terrifyingly messy, emotional and unpredictable experience. Our movement through the experience of losing a loved one contains this scary essential step – it is present in every transformative and challenging experience of our lives.
Several times I have pondered canceling my trip down under, just staying where it’s safe and predictable, where I know the outcome, where my animals and family are and my feet find their roots. You see, I hate flying – as a highly sensitive person who’s prone to motion sickness, I’m the green person stumbling off the plane and lurching towards the nearest washroom if I haven’t already utilized the air sick bag on the place. And I don’t actually like the heat – I would be the strange person all covered up with the big hat, my shoulders and arms covered in heat-related hives. So why on earth am I going there? Because it’s calling my soul, because it is a part of my path, a part of my healing and the healing of others: this trip is my messy middle. And so I gather my tools: my cozy pillow, my blanket, my journal, my audio books and my big-enough-for-all-this-stuff carry-on bag, my homeopathics, my Gravol, my breathing techniques, my BodyTalk sessions and my friends and guardian angels. And I bring them with me on this journey, a potent journey into the relative unknown, into the deep dark centre. Yep, I’m scared. And I’m also curious, fascinated and trusting the process (most of the time).
So many of my clients and friends are smack dab in the centre of their messy middle right now, navigating as best they can the place where there is no turning back, where the only way out is forward and through. Where sometimes all you can do is keep breathing and taking baby steps. Know that if you are there right now, you are not alone and that, someway, somehow, you will make your way out of the darkness, even if you can’t particularly work out how right at this moment. Here’s two things I know to be true: (1) you are much more capable than you give yourself credit for and (2) that the messy middle leads, eventually and inevitably, when you have the courage to just be with it without judgement, to the light.
The moral of this story? Come hell or highwater, on February 16th I’ll be boarding a plane to Auckland, by way of LA, embarking on an adventure of unrivaled proportions (which is all relative – but in my life, this trip is my longest and most epic ever!). On March 1st, I’ll be sharing my new book Death Sucks with the world (I’ll keep you all well in the loop!). And on March 5th, two days will begin that are destined to change my life and the lives of a group of animal lovers from around the world. And then from there, fingers crossed, I’ll make my way back across the world transformed and even more alive. Because that’s the beauty of the messy middle – it’s purpose is to bring us to life more and more, to enliven our experience and to deepen our gratitude for and understanding of the miracle of this precious life.
If you live in or around Perth, Australia and feel called to join in for Death Sucks: The Workshop with myself and One Spirit’s Laura Bird (one of the most amazing Animal Intuitives ever!), it’s happening March 5-6th (masterclass for professionals on March 7th) and all the details are right here. There’s also a book signing and talk on the evening of March 4th – we’ll be opening up the bubbly in celebration of my new book. I would love to see you there!
To your messy perfect fabulousness,
PS. Know someone who would love to hear more about my trip to Western Australia and what I’m offering down under? That’s awesome – here’s a spot where they can add their email addresses and I’ll be in touch with all the details of my trip.
Have you headed over to check out the Whole Horse Apprenticeship page yet? It explains this powerful 8-month immersion for horse lovers in much more depth – we start on March 15th!