Friday, November 12, 2010

When Our Loved Ones Cross Over

Today, a dear old friend made her crossing to the other side of the veil. She was with us for a long time, and turned a life of challenges into one of love for others. As I light a candle, I honor her inner light and the journey she is now making. Then I light candles for loved ones that made their journey last year, at this same time.

Winter is beginning now. It is the great inward season when we reflect upon what is most important to us in our lives in this moment. Some of us will make an effort to reach out to family and friends as the holidays remind us that this is the time to be with those we love. Some of us will engage in spiritual practices that call us into an evaluation about how we choose to live and express our love. As the New Year turns around once again, some of us will consider our purpose and what goals are significant for being the full expression of our true selves. Some of us will end relationships that no longer serve us well and create new ones that are more in alignment with our current development and desires. Still others of us will hear a calling from the other side, and leave this world for a more limitless experience of Divine love.

Many of our loved ones leave us in the winter, often near or during the holidays when we are gathering to be with family and friends. Winter is the inward season that calls us to hibernate a bit, and reflect upon our journey. It seems a natural and fitting time to decide to just keep going inward until we finally release ourselves from our bodies and into the arms of Divine awareness. And while this final capitulation is powerful and rewarding for those that choose to cross over, it can be quite difficult for those of us that are left behind.

We want our memories for the holidays to be joyful, warm and full of love. And they can be, even when our loved ones cross over during this time. I am not suggesting that you pretend everything is okay, when you are aching inside, but I am suggesting that even through the pain of your own loss, you can be happy for the one that has left. For those that choose to leave, there is often quite a process they go through in which they must finally trust that you will be all right if they go. This assurance gives them freedom to go on to their joy with the Divine. You can make that journey easier for them.

As I have held space for people to cross over and then held space for their family in their grieving, I have learned that there are some things you can consider doing to ease the transition of someone you love, and in the process, ease your own sense of loss. Here are some suggestions.

1) Whether you tell them in the physical world while they are still here, or you tell their spirits through your thoughts and prayers, thank them for the gifts they have given you through their lives.

2) Find it in your heart to be in compassion with anything they have done that has caused you pain, so that the lesson can be completed, and you can both be free from the past.

3) Find it in your heart to be in compassion with anything you did that caused them pain, understanding that life on earth is a journey of lessons for everyone that comes together. Most of the time, you and others are doing your best given your personal challenges, history and woundedness; however perfect or imperfect choices might have been.

4) Look for the ways in which the Divine is letting you know you will be all right. Then convey this to the one that has crossed over. Literally talk to them because they can hear you. Often, even if they have gone to the light, a part of their spirit remains to make sure you will be okay. As you can, bit by bit, let go of them, so that they can fully enter into the freedom and joy that is theirs on the other side. In other words, love them enough to let go of your need for them.

5) Create a special place in your house, perhaps for the next year, where you honor their life and memory. Focus on gratitude for the ways in which they made your life special, and the lessons you learned; however difficult or easy those lessons might have been. If you truly grasp the lessons, you are not likely going to need to repeat them again. So receive the full gift of their presence in your life.

6) Open to your loved one in the dream-time. Many loved ones will return to visit you, especially during the year after their crossing, as you bring closure to your earthly journey together. Once closure is complete, some loved ones become guides and helpers on the other side, while others continue on to new adventures.

7) During the year after their transition, begin giving away the things that belonged to them. If you do this with a gracious heart, by giving family and friends special treasures filled with memories of your loved one, you honor your loved one, honor those who loved them, and slowly let go so that you can open to your own new journey without them.

8) When the first anniversary of their crossing occurs, do something to commemorate their life and your acceptance of their new journey. Plant a tree or flower in their honor, hold a ritual and meal with family and friends, volunteer some time in service for their favorite charity, make a donation in their name, rent their favorite movies and watch them, or listen to their favorite songs. Let it be a day of fond remembrance.

9) Incorporate the best of the lessons you learned from your loved one into your life, so that the greatest meaning of their existence can live on inside of you.

In the end, death creates a great portal through which we can feel and experience more Divine love in our lives. The crossing of our loved ones can offer great gifts to us, if we are willing to receive. It takes great courage, but the gifts are worth it. Remember, as you light a candle for your loved one, light a candle for yourself as well, and receive the love that is there to carry you through.