I remember the first time I tasted Death. I was bitter, it was crude, it was fucking painful, and yet so magnificent.
It happened, ironically enough, on Halloween of 2008. I was in my motherland, Poland, visiting my parents for the first time since I moved to Vancouver, Canada. It was a beautiful sunny morning, a day like any other day. It was 10am when I heard a phone ring. I picked up the phone and heard my husband’s s voice. He felt different, he sounded solemn, deep, and strangely calm.
“I had a close call today and almost died. A truck showed up out of nowhere to my left, and somehow the car suddenly swerved to the right and landed on the sidewalk. It wasn’t me. I don’t know what happened. I saw my whole life flash in front of me, from the moment I was born till today. I saw all the mistakes I’ve made and all the lessons I was to learn from them. I’m calling because I got a message. I will die in a car accident within a week, and I need to make peace. I have a series of requests for you, will you help me fulfill them?”
I heard what he said. I felt how real that was for him. I sensed the conviction behind every word. Some part of me knew he was telling me the truth and, yet, I resisted. I wanted there to be some semblance of safety and comfort. I wasn’t ready. I closed my mind and heart to the possibility of that ever happening. I told myself he was simply afraid and still in shock.
He kept listing his requests. Most of them were about calling particular family members and friends in Poland, apologizing for being disconnected from them and to send them his love. He wanted me to call them right after our call. Other requests were more trivial, like making sure I will know how to get a Can drivers license and social security number. Then he made me promise that I would come back to Canada to attend his funeral. “No matter what it takes. Ok?” he kept saying. I didn’t understand why he was asking me for these things, but I sensed how extremely important they were to him, so I accepted and declared “I will.”
And then he asked: “Is there anything I should know about before I die? Is there anything that you haven’t told me about? About John? You can tell me the truth, I won’t be angry. I just want to know. Please tell me. Did you love him? Did you ever have sex with him?” I shriveled and got scared. I already told myself that it was not going to happen, I wasn’t going to open pandora’s box, I wasn’t going to admit it. The painful truth was that I did love his brother. We kissed, several times. He fingered me, once, at their cousin’s wedding. I took a deep breath in, I swallowed guilt, and twisted my own knife into my own heart a little deeper: “No baby. There is nothing. I never loved him. Don’t believe him, please. There was only that one time I told you about. Nothing else. Baby, don’t believe him. You know how many times he lied to you before..Are you going to believe him now?” Everything quiet, my breath pacing, my shameful heart waiting for the verdict. And then he speaks: “Ok then, baby. Thank you. I can go with peace now. I love you so much. Thank you for being such a gift to me.” We ended the call and I exhaled with relief. I was a murdered escaping the scene of the crime, unscathed, untouched, unmovable. I then called his Dad, then our friends, and one by one delivered the message, as promised. Little did I know what was about to unfold next.
Each transformation is going to be painful because the old has to be left for the new. It is painful, but don’t avoid it. If you avoid it you have avoided the greatest opportunity to grow. Go into it, suffer love, because through the suffering comes great ecstasy. Yes, there is agony, but out of the agony, ecstasy is born.
Few hours later, while sitting on a big comfy brown leather chair at my mom’s work, something very strange begun to unravel. First, the edges of objects as seen by my very eyes begun to dissolve. My mom’s lips emitted the strangest of sounds, none of which my mind could grasp or understand. My body was being flooded with previously unknown landscapes of emotions. I loosing its grip on reality, on the brink of a break-down. The atmosphere turned gloomy, dark, and surreal. “What is happening here?” a voice spoke in my mind. Confused, perplexed, and messed up I followed my parents into the car. As I walked I could hear them arguing in a distance, for who knows what reason this time. I sat at the back seat exhausted while they continued battling in the front. Tears of gratitude fell on my cheeks as I remembered that I was going to be in Poland only for another 3 weeks. Only three weeks left and I will be with Albert again. Only three weeks left and I will be home again. Being with my husband again was the one and only thing that was bringing me solace.
As I opened the door to my parent’s house, a memory flashed through my system. A memory of this exact moment and moments after. A deja vu. A sudden knowing pierced the tar bubble surrounding my very being. Goose bumps. A flood of truth from within. “I’ve seen this before!”. I saw myself opening the door, walking through the hall, hearing the phone ring, and picking up the phone. I heard Albert’s dad’s voice on the other side. He said..wait a minute. He said that Albert had died in a car accident! I was now waking up. I was waking up from a very deep long sleep. I was now waking up to the realization that everything had already happened, that no such a thing as time exists, and I’m simply watching a movie, a dream of sorts, and I’m watching it scene by scene, one moment at a time. Even writing this now fills me with chills.
I opened the door, walked through the hall, heard the phone ring, picked up the phone, and heard Albert’s dad’s voice on the other side. “Albert died in a car accident over an hour ago, and there was someone else in the car with him. They also died. We don’t know who it was just yet.”
I fell to my knees and wailed like a wild animal. I already knew it was Koyo, his best friend. As I cried another flash of memory came to my awareness. I now remembered when Albert, Koyo, and myself drove in the same car, and had a similar close call experience, when a truck showed up from out of nowhere, and we ended up on the sidewalk, without a scratch. I recalled the somber silence of that moment, and the quiet prophetic voice inside. That voice, that wasn’t my own, told me: “They didn’t die in the car today, because you are here and you are meant to live. It will happen the third time.” It all fit in together like a puzzle. It did happen the 3rd time around, and they did die.
I lost my mind and entered the most painful, most insane, most intense realm of agony. The memories kept flashing of all these small signals along the way preparing me for this moment. I remembered Albert saying that he had always sensed he was going to die at the age of 27. I just didn’t want to listen. I remembered him saying that had he had the choice he would prefer dying in a car accident, as it is the shortest and least painful way to go. I remembered his nickname ASH. I remembered all the quiet moments when I caught myself arguing with him and thinking that he could die any day, and yet still not choosing love.
It was too much. The agony reached its peak. It felt like The Universe was playing a prank on me, but I wasn’t laughing. There was some greater power that orchestrated all of this, and I was right in the middle of it, being played. I’ve had my share deal of pain but this hurt more than hell itself. The Universe was giving me signs all along but I chose to ignore it. The Universe was warning me, but didn’t want to see it. Now, it was too late. Me, my life, my dreams, my truth, my reality as I knew it, all of it was dying.
The reality of entering into the Unknown hit me so deeply. There was nowhere to hide.
Go into the womb of the dark night of your soul, and you will reach into the beautiful sunrise of the morning Sun. Disappear as the due drop and become the ocean. When you’re used to identifying yourself as the drop and You’re becoming the ocean- it hurts, you feel you’re dying. Your illusion is dying, and that hurts.
So many people are stuck in their minds until the heart, emotions, or body finally brings them to their knees and brings them back to Love. It is Nature’s way of releasing the death grip of the mind, in surrender to a greater power.
~ Baba Dez Nichols
The next few weeks I kept sitting in pain, shame, and grief indescribable in words. There was also this immense sense of awe of the synchronistic events out of our last phone conversation. His requests were beginning to make sense. It was as if he exactly knew what was going to happen after he’s gone. I had no reason to go back to Canada. My husband, my everything, was gone, and with him our best friend Koyo. At that point I realized I had no life of my own, no friends, no money, no job, nothing to return to. All I had was immense guilt and shame for what I had done, the secrets I held in, and this heavy feeling that somehow I brought it all on myself. It was time to pay my dues. It would have been so easy to stay in Poland, and be with my parents, in a safety of the family cocoon. And yet I couldn’t- I promised him I would go back and that promise was the only thing that kept me alive. That was the only clue left to pursue. All I needed to do next was to fly back, and be at his funeral.
Being back at our home was a torture. All the things that seemed so important and valuable before lost their meaning. I couldn’t care less about having a big house, a fat bank account, a white fence, a hot tub, beautiful furniture, or a wardrobe full of clothes. Everything seemed so trivial, so empty, and so useless. Being with his family was the greatest torture of all- I had to face my husband’s brother & his wife and my in-laws, knowing what I had done. As it turned out they all knew it all along, and that truth was disgustingly hard to swallow. Brilliantly enough, there was nowhere to go, nowhere to hide. I had to face My Self.
Up until that point I had not spoken to God for about 9 years. In fact, I lost all faith in anything sacred or divine. My life was a perfect testament to this truth. Now, sitting in agony the only place that was bringing me any sense of release was gut wrenching sorrowful asking, begging, and screaming to God. I would smell Albert’s clothes, caress his photos, and beg this higher power to bring him back. I kept saying “Please, I will change, I will be good, just bring him back. I will do whatever you want, just bring him back, please!” No grand voice appearing from the sky descended to save me. Only Silence.
This is when I entered the furnace.
In the state you have attained, you have become gold;
now you must transform even more of yourself into gold;
you have to come to a time when you will enter the furnace, begin to boil,
and offer yourself up for hammering on the anvil of mortification by the blows of the Coiner,
so you can become a ring worthy of Solomon or an earring that could adorn an Emperor.
Most of the seekers you see are just imitators;
they will become authentic when they dare to enter the hearth of love,
and when they endure on the anvil of patience the blows of misery and suffer impossible situations;
then, after many ordeals, they will find purity, and become the mirror of God.
The hammering began. The days and nights kept rolling on and I was finally getting in touch with the actual pain, the actual hurt, that which I’ve been hiding underneath my whole life. My consciousness travelled from memory to memory, visiting all the moments where I chose to separate through lies, pretenses, stealing, hating, hurting others or myself. As I kept watching and feeling the movie of my own life I became present to tremendous regret, shame, guilt, and sadness. I finally faced myself and it was not a pretty picture. As I became aware of the perfect mosaic of my choices that led me to this very moment, it made perfect sense that I would find myself alone in this dark room, in a foreign country, without family or friends, and with no resources to go on, and no purpose to live by. The house of cards crumbled, and there was not even a tinge of denial left in me. What was present was deep gut wrenching discomfort and heart contorting pain of my ego’s ending. Something had to die.
Fall back into the fire and let it take you. Use it to burn away your resistance, your identity, your stories. What’s left will be the Real You: infinite abundant radiant love.
~ David Cates
I woke up suddenly. It was 3:23 am, I knew right away that this was going to be yet another sleepless night of purging and hammering. This time, for whatever reason, I felt more afraid. I sensed that something big was about to happen and I didn’t know whether I was going to come out the other end. My mind begun rolling, my feeling body travelled with it, and here it was- the final moment. The reality of me lying to Albert when he was alive and on the day he died has finally caught up with me. Knowing that he now knew and saw the whole truth, was too painful to bare. He saw how much I loved his brother. He saw how much I longed for him. He saw how I sneaked out of family dinner that one time to lovingly and passionately make out with him. He saw all the love letters and all the photos I sent to him. He saw that he has now become the only glimmer of hope for me, as he was the only real remnant I had left of Albert. The only reflection tasting of wholeness.
My heart swelled up and contracted with sharp pain. I gasped for air, but couldn’t breathe. The pain was so strong that I couldn’t even move or make a sound. It hit me right there and then- I was getting a heart attack and I was about to die. I was going to transition out of this Earthy plane, but my next destination was not going to be heaven. I knew inside of me that I was going to go to a lower realm, a nightmarish realm of separation and loss. It was too late to change it. “No! I’m not ready. No, I can’t accept this. I can’t accept that these are the consequences! I can’t accept this death!”- my mind kept screaming. I was getting closer and closer. I wasn’t breathing for at least a minute, panicking, gasping, in pain. I suddenly felt drawn to look to the right of the room, and noticed a dark figure in the room. It seemed to have been wearing a cloak and it was made up of a deep, steady, primordial vibration. “This is death coming for me! This is really happening! I don’t want to die! No! Please! Please! I cannot accept that this is really happening to me!”- my ego kept fighting. The figure was coming closer and closer, I kept noticing my fear and my grasping for oxygen, while the reality was finally sinking in. I had no choice- I could die screaming and fighting or I could surrender into ease and acceptance. The essence of what this life was for, of what I ‘ve learned, and of what I would do differently washed all over me. I was ready to go. “I accept. I surrender to this dark unknown, and I accept this consequence fully. Thank you. I can die now.” My head fell down onto the pillow, body dropped on the bed, no part in resistance. I released the ego’s grip and surrendered to what was coming next.
This Love is deeper than the ocean. This Love is higher than the stars. This love is wider than the Universe for me. I will never be let go.
~ Chad Wilkins
Out of nowhere, I notice a light body on the ceiling- a human body, but made up of glowing golden orange light. I looked at it’s face and realized that it was Albert! He had the same eyes, same eye brows, the same beard.. He looked exactly the same, but made up of light!
“Oh my God, you still exist! You didn’t die!”- I wailed out in my mind. “Yes. And there is nothing that you can do to not deserve my love”- he quietly and sweetly replied inside of me. Everything became mushy, wet, and warm. My bed, the sheets, the entire room. I began sobbing and as I sobbed my body begun to unlock. I opened my arms and my heart.. Mercy flooded me completely. “I’m still loved, I am still good, I am forgiven even though I cheated and lied to him” I kept wailing. And then I noticed an emanation of beautiful, glowing golden and pink lights cascading down from his heart into my chest. The Aurora Borealis entered the density of the pain in my heart, melting it, and then filling my entire body with wet warmth of liquid light and loving. This one moment changed everything, it awoke the real me, the love that moves the stars and everything in it, it awoke the truth.
With Albert’s arms embracing me, I dissolved.
The morning after was the first day of the rest of my life. The soil was now ripe for the new. I was free, I was peaceful, and for the first time in a really long time I was connected to something larger than myself. Even though my husband was still physically gone, I understood and knew he was still with me. I felt him, I spoke to him, I heard his guidance- he was trying to help me reveal the bigger picture, the Grand Unknown. The following weeks were filled with deep inquiry into what this life is really all about, what is important, and why I was here. Slowly and steadily I was beginning to discover that my husband is a part of a larger Presence. The voice and feeling of my husband began shifting into something deeper, grander, more majestic. My nights were still sleepless, but this time they were filled with teachings. I was speaking with God. Any question I had was being revealed through a myriad of snapshots of memories, words, feelings, and symbols that I experienced once before, but this time they formed a moving collage revealing the very Mystery itself.
What unravelled for me from this rich and beautiful time with the Mystery was that I am here for one thing only:
I AM HERE TO EXPERIENCE WHAT IS, BE AND FEEL LOVE, AND SPEAK AND LIVE FOR TRUTH.
What I’ve also come to realize is that Agony and Death are my greatest allies.
It is in this Furnace, in this Death that I experience healing and transformation.
Death opens the gateway to the next step, to my next journey. Symbolic and literal.
Today, 6 years later, I am married once again. I have learned my lesson. As I look into Dave’s eyes I already know that he will die. I already know that our journey will end, I simply do not know when and I do not know how. He could die in a car accident, get sick, divorce me, or meet someone else. As I look into my husband’s eyes I see Albert’s eyes. You see, Albert was the first one that touched the Real Me inside- abundant radiant Love. Whenever I am in touch with this Loving Presence I see Albert’s eyes. Because these are the eyes of Love, my own Eyes.
The gift of this truth allows me to be grateful for this present moment, in the here and now.
The gift of this truth allows me to feel more and be more as love, to hold nothing back.
The gift of this truth allows me to be open, completely transparent, honest, and speak my truth even if it hurts.
And when Agony shows up again, I welcome it with open arms as I know it will clean me out for some new arrival.
Shine inside and out!