Death, Loss and Endings

The bottom line
This life and the apparent creation everywhere cannot be possessed. ‘You’ are not separate from anything that appears in manifestation. Energy expresses as every single possibility and it is constantly changing. Energy is a shapeshifter, a dancer. So everything you love, everything you want to keep, everyone you want to hold to your hear, will disappear, sooner or later, will end, in the appearance ‘you’ are experiencing. The conditioned self contracts at this, but there is nothing to fear because you are that dance too, so life cannot be lost.
‘You’ are energy, ‘you’ are life itself, endlessly changing form. The realisation of this is the end of a personal life and also pure joy. Life evolves in a process of integration for the human. Then disintegration happens. We also taste this in deep sleep, where there is only pure being, no content. This is deeply refreshing and revitalising, as is death in the big picture of existence. Much of this life of being Joy has been spent in jungles. Visit one and you will be surrounded by deep decay and surging explosive vitality all at once. Life and death are essence-ial to each other. When that body dies, your energy will transform. In death, it is only the physical body that dies. Consciousness does not. Energy does not. If you have ever witnessed death, you will have felt its peace and its unconditionality. The unconditional life that you feel separate from, and that you believe you are ‘in relationship to’, IS you. Your limits are simply not real. Life is endlessly creative. Infinite possibilities. Myriad colours. So is death. And death is the most obvious way we learn that everything in a world can change. So isn’t it worth focusing on what never changes? 
The core polarity in human beingness
Human beings are complex, complicated – because we are all that is! Underneath all the myriad ways a personality expresses itself, there is a very simple yet compelling polarity. We have a huge YES to being alive. To life itself. And an equally strong NO. a yes to not being, to disappearing. It is common to identify with only one of these poles, with yes or with no. Stories and identities become constructed around these natural energies.If the yes and the no are met as equal friends, the yes to existence, to being, grows. Our culture glorifies life and denies death. It glorifies getting and rejects losing! These deep and generally unconscious biases diminish aliveness.
Why our culture needs to get real about death
Once the mis-seeing that the body mind is who you are is released, death and loss does not terrorise. And then death and loss is seen every day as a natural aspect of living. It is counter-intuitive that death brings power and freedom and more availability to love others. Even devastating loss or abject failure is an opportunity. An opportunity to see what is left, to let go into that which never dies, and an opportunity for the heart to grow big enough to embrace the horrors and find a yes to them. When we truly accept the fragility of life and the inevitability of the body’s death, then  our present – day capacity for tenderness and care is so much greater. Most schools do not educate children about death, we learn about it perhaps by chance or at a distance. Yet death is one of the most profound facts of life and of being human. it is the great teacher too. When real loss of someone we love dearly occurs, we have our own fears of mortality and our grief to be with and also the clumsy and uncertain responses of others who are equally inexperienced. Or perhaps the experience is tangled in one’s own or others’ unexamined religious beliefs that generally do little to help us embrace the actuality of endings, death and dying. It might also be that the buried feelings about past losses and disappointments that have remained unresolved, also pour out at a time of tragic loss. This can feel so overwhelming that the way people survive is to try to ‘get back to normal’ as soon as they can. Surviving experiences is not life enhancing, embracing them open heartedly is. When we learn to embrace and accept all the feelings that the big goodbyes of our lives constellate, then awareness, wisdom, and love expand too. Ideally, we are guided in bereavement or divorce or betrayal in a way that helps us to develop wisdom and deep acceptance and a healthy relationship with loss and death.I have had many losses in my life and have experienced tragedy. I have had several near death experiences too. I know what these things can be and I can honestly say that I am complete with them. They do not and never did define this freedom that is. So it’s a pleasure to just share with you in the very particular way I do in Return to Source. Return to Source is vastly different every time I lead it. Each circle is a unique mix of the men and women in it and their life stories and responses.
The work of healing back to wholeness
Death and loss happen, heartache and heartbreak happen and for the human being, and there is a way through the pain of that. Do you know how to return to wholeness and be fully of the present anyway? Because hopelessness is sneaky, it can creep up, loss and betrayal is sneaky, heartbreak is sneaky. These can, unaddressed, affect everything going forward.  There is a way to traverse that so you don’t recreate, you don’t keep resonating to that hopelessness and pain, so you are living your life present day. And yes, its work and sometimes it’s faster than at other times to get over loss but if you know what to do to help yourself then it helps a good deal to have a good quality life. But it is also paradoxical because I am also saying meet the death head on every moment. Let yourself lie on the earth and give up. Life does come back, the more fully you are able to die while you are alive.A few years ago I met a man who had lived through a harrowing loss many years before our meeting. Some chink of light came in and allowed him to make a move that proved to be healing and life-enhancing. Yet even more tragically, he had lived many years since in a contracted sadness and resistance to moving forward to rebuild his life. It is understandable and yet this is the kind of tragedy we can avoid. His first workshop was Return to Source. The circumstances of his story could only be described as tragic. I so would have loved this man to experience Secret Garden earlier in his life, but he did find it eventually, and he began to blossom. He began to feel. To acknowledge. In circles, this brave man was able to relax his resistance amongst friends, he couldn’t isolate, he couldn’t do his usual number around this. The same gifts have been received by men and women whose marriages have been ending, those who have discovered a partner’s infidelity – a death of an old image or projection – too. A family who were grieving the shocking murder of the husband and father and in danger of splintering apart, completely healed and moved forward in their lives together. Those who have faced terrible loss of hope through abortions or miscarriages can also heal completely.
Follow nature
It is courageous and wise to know at the time we are invited by life to know, that at what seems like the most unacceptable, impossible time, the richness is in death, grieving, accepting loss or betrayal. That it is perfect timing, because it is what is.How do you know what riches are coming at the very point when life seems darkest? Don’t try to anticipate riches or force the change. Don’t try to skip over the challenging stuff. Life can be utterly devastating – I have lived this too, more than once – and there is no prettying that up.You can learn to truly understand and accept that death and hopelessness are life, and giving up is life. You can learn to follow the body’s need to give up and collapse. The man I have referred to earlier gave himself the luxury of really landing where he was and letting himself receive – when we give up we receive The more we fear and resist those things, the less alive we feel because so much repression, pushing down of unwanted feelings, has to happen and this takes energy, causes contraction in the body. Life can’t bring us anything when we are fighting. Sometimes we are stuck for a bit and that’s okay too.It is inevitable that we will all experience loss, death, even tragedy. Perhaps through the death of a loved one, friend, souse, pet, parent, child. Or through a broken heart when somebody who you were certain loved you, loved you not as much as you thought. or an accident. Life is joy and beauty and also sorrow. Many seek distraction so that they can avoid or deny this pain. That fantasy or numbing or withdrawal from life doesn’t work. In the midst of pain, dying might feel more attractive than living fully.It is a courageous, even heroic thing to face pain fully. To accept the harsher facts of life and not defend against them, allows a going beyond them. Even if the heart breaks over and over again, embracing this allows the heart to expand and love to grow. This is a very life affirming thing to do. It is so tender, how human beings let themselves love and this is loving because loss is inevitable.In order to fully accept, embrace loss, or even the prospect of loss or abandonment, we must be able to embrace death and our own mortality.
The animal survival instinct
There can be a fierce reflex instinct to protect oneself. This is not the same as carrying fear of death. One day, we were about to hike up Helvellyn, a mountain in the Lake District, and I’ve walked this mountain four times and it’s never been a problem at all. We parked near the information centre and went in for a quick chat about the weather conditions. The woman at the desk said ‘Well, it’s always unpredictable. You know nine people have died up there this year’. And apparently nine people or so do die every year up there, often in perfect weather conditions.We had a fantastic walk in beautiful landscape, and then I realised I was following Tim and what I realised was that he’d led me up a path where there was was a very, very tricky ascent and I was getting out of my depth. So, I said to him ‘think I can’t go on this path’ and then I began to look around. What I realised was the only way back was even trickier and the way forward looked impossible. It was a wonderful, wonderful reminder of life’s fragility, but also of the massive instinct to survive.What also complicated things was that vertigo happened for the first time in this life and so, I couldn’t look down. If I tried to look down to get footholds, I went completely dizzy- spinning, spinning, spinning. And so, there I was on this sharp ridge of rock- we were basically rock climbing. Tim, of course, has legs twice as long as me and so he was able to do it, with some difficulty.I couldn’t do walk forward and I couldn’t look down. I had a confrontation, beautifully timed as always -as it was two weeks before I was to facilitate a Return to Source weekend – with Death. It was a very serious situation. And it was, as always, a dream and yet the will, the will to find footholds. To not fall to death, was strong and simple- it was animal. There was also knowing that I could’ve just fallen, as in the scene in the amazing film ‘Last of the Mohicans’ where the woman chooses to fall- it’s one of the most beautiful scenes of integrity I’ve ever seen.Anyway, this wasn’t about choice, life is choiceless here, it was about living the extraordinary power of this will to live that we all carry. Trauma, of course, dims this instinct and wanting control dims it, too. It’s simple and creates a crystal focus and it is there in every living creature.I wouldn’t want to repeat this experience and I wouldn’t want anyone to go through it. It took about 45 minutes to probably move about 6 inches and all the time the ground spinning if I looked down. There would have been no chance of surviving the drop. In the end, Tim just had to pull my legs from above me and lodge them in tiny indents in the rock face, and I as animal moved inch by inch. It was a gift, that experience, before that Return to Source circle.So, know your will to live, know your instinct, know your creature that’ll cling to life above all. There was gratitude for that, in those challenging moments on the mountain. Know the hopelessness that makes you want to let that go. This is just an invitation to see everything that we are. It’s all love. This Helvellyn experience was a totally loving experience and a very intense one.
How the Instinct to Survive and preserve becomes a Trap 
However, when the survival instinct is misplaced, we can live life a whole life run endlessly and perhaps unconsciously by an instinct to protect against possible tragedy and sorrow and preserve the status quo. Instead we can wake up and simply open into love – which is always the not knowing – regardless of any future pain this may cause.In embracing life with totality, Love is discovered to be boundless, giving selfhood back to life.You are reading this because you have already made that choiceless choice. Yet death will still come to you. Yes, you.
Paradise Lost
During the awakening journey, we can lose paradise, lose that taste of pure beingness, til we don’t ever again. This loss too can be a mourning, a deep loss too while awakening and contracting keeps happening. It’s work until it isn’t, cleaning up what’s in the way of the pristine space of being.
Tender facts in being human
It’s a tender fact of human existence is that life is completely unpredictable. Right now we are lucky not to live in an earthquake or hurricane zone but there are other threats, there will always be. The more we can embrace the threat and the horror of life,  the less it runs us.It is a fact that our loved ones are irreplaceable to us. That’s the tender fact of it, if your spouse dies, they, the one they uniquely are, will never be replaced. No one will touch you in all the particular ways they touch you. Some never fully love because they defend against the pain of the deepest losses. If the fear of loss is running you right now, it’s good you are recognizing that. Keep embracing that fear in love. It will lose its hold. Love will grow.A woman in one Return to Source circle was terrified of dying and leaving her daughter without her mother. My response to her was ‘I hope you can come into friendship with that this weekend. To gift your daughter with her own sense of oneness. I guess she picks up on your fear of life. It seems to me you are terrified of life and you try to control it all the time – except now which is beautiful – and I guess your daughter picks that up. There is no answer, or solution to what you have presented, because you could die, she could be left alone, other than to come into right relationship with your fears and LOVINGLY see them for what they are. Terror and fear are just feelings and they don’t need to run you.’

Every life ‘choice’ we make in the story is a death as well as a life -choosing has a deathliness  too because it narrows options. Physical death and losing people as a result of it is so massive because it is so out of control. I remember literally screaming in the night after my father died, he died very suddenly and that was just the response. It was just an animal response, the shock and the lack of choice and the horror of him not being there any more. What do you experience?

To remember death is to embrace this most tender aspects of being human: we become attached to places, animals, people, circumstances that we love and enjoy – and even to what is unpleasant – an unhappy childhood or the end of a great love can feel it is part of the fabric of us. It isn’t. Often, people are bound emotionally to past experiences, with no consciousness that they are holding them and being held by them. Thus they recreate experiences of smallness and pain. We can learn more easily than you might think, to let go of past sorrows!

The greatest goodbye is our own death. It is the final, massive letting go. When we sit and listen wholly to death, we learn how to let go and to truly say goodbye, We learn how to lose everything that can be identified with, so that we can be happy living this present life.

The deepest invitation of life, loss, betrayal and death

We have no choice about what life is, what reality presents. Yet life’s and death’s deepest lesson is to allow reality to be as it is. Natural freedom is simply and naturally revealed as we consciously let dissolve what has anyway already dissolved. Secret Garden supports you in learning to open to EVERYTHING. The dance of every-thing and no-thing becomes a beautiful one as the ugliness of resistance, argument and blame recedes. And everything appears and equally disappears within that natural and beautiful openness. The dance of every-thing and no-thing becomes a beautiful one as the ugliness of resistance, argument and blame recedes. Then Life itself, what is, is the treasure. And when there are no ‘no go’ areas, the journey into full embodiment of natural oneness becomes so much easier and simpler and less confronting.

The end of conditioned self is death, and this is the thing the mind will resist because it is what it most fears – it is the end of the mind’s tyranny. You may rage against death or loss, or betrayal, and yet it cannot be avoided. In the Return to Source exploration, you are invited into whatever particular transition and disintegration and letting go may be arising in your life at the time, so that the living freedom of being might be revealed – that freedom that simply is, anyway, underneath any distraction or fight. This is death in life, and the true life in the end of things as you thought you knew them.

The upcoming Being ongoing group invites you to make friends with parts of yourself you have confined hidden corners of your psyche. And to make friends with all in your opposite that you may have resisted, stayed distant from, avoided or blamed them for. While sometimes challenging, certainly transformative whatever your desired outcomes, this training will be laughter & life-filled, & insight provoking & will encourage you to show up for life, yourself & others in your life more & more!

Joy is putting finishing touches to this wholly new training she has gestated for several years & would love to hear from you

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