I Hid So Well, I Didn't Know I Was Hiding

I hide inside moments.

I literally hide there.

I am so afraid of change.

Whenever something new is on its way to me, I hide inside time.

Do you know why I created the Life Reentry work?

Because I needed it to get myself out of all the hiding I was doing.

I am the master hider.

The master waiting room resident.

It’s not even that I am stuck but I like to hide from life, from big things, from new things.

I still do.

But I realized lately that I can’t be so afraid anymore.
Hiding is a luxury I can no longer afford.
Fear is something I must start to reject. (Click to Tweet!)

I used to shake like a leaf when I would step on stage.

I hated myself for saying yes to such big responsibilities and dreams.

“What were you thinking?”

“You should have been hiding Christina.”

“I know, I know. I will hide better next time.”

Next time I hid so well, I didn’t even know I was hiding.

That is how I became masterful at it.

Oh you have no idea how deceiving is my own waiting room.

It has a whole life in it.

The life inside the waiting room has me living an overweight life, a life inside possibly 2 miles radius.

It is a life but not my life.

Not the life my destiny has chosen for me.

I am furious with myself for letting fear guide me inside of it all, even as I was climbing out.

I was being ushered back in.

Willingly. Yes.

I let my fears take the lead.

I didn’t try to stop them.

Well, no more.

I have learned that fear will occupy your brain like a drug addict.

I realized that hiding is not for the living. I was killing myself and didn’t know it.

I saw how easy it is to choose the wrong things.

It is almost automatic.

The wrong snack.

The silly use of time.

The lack of movement.

The stagnation.

At first it is a choice, but very quickly it becomes a default setting.

Getting out of that is almost impossible.

People have died there, inside the default.

The waiting room. The not living.

This letter is for you if you have been afraid, in hiding and in a default setting you don’t even remember choosing.

And do you know when it all starts?

When our heart has been so badly broken that hiding is a life savior.

We think it is.

And when we realize it never was, it is too late.

Yesterday it was Bjarne’s 47th birthday.

He only made it to his 35th.

He would have been furious with me if he knew that I chose moments with no life in them. That I chose to hide instead of flying.

No more.

“Come to the edge," he said.

"We can't, we're afraid!" they responded.

"Come to the edge," he said.

"We can't, We will fall!" they responded.

"Come to the edge," he said.

And so they came.

And he pushed them.

And they flew.” ― Guillaume Apollinaire

May we fly.

Christina,

PS. Today we close registration for our out of towners.  Come be with us.  Let's all conquer our life after loss together.  Arizona, June 1-2.
REGISTER HERE: https://lifereentry.com/the-life-reentry-weekend/ 


What Is Your Big Decision After Loss?

There is so much loss in making big decisions.

Most of them include saying goodbye to something you have done for a long time.

An experience your brain is used to having.

A way of life you have known.

An expression of self.

Making a big decision requires you to feel loss.

And this is why we keep postponing them.

We try to avoid more pain.

Change is full of grief, did you know?

One of the things that I have done for years in my classes was to teach my students how to trick the brain so they feel less grief and fear in making a big decision.

So we break the decision in to many pieces and start with just one piece.

By the end, you get to change your life in the least painful way.

I know you also have a big decision to make and you have been postponing it.

I don’t blame you.

But can we just talk about it a little?

Tell me your big decision.

You don’t have to do anything about it.

Get a piece of paper and write it down.

Write the thing you want to do but you haven’t told many people, maybe not even anyone.

You don’t even like to tell yourself about it because you think you can never make it happen.

Yes, that is what I want you to write down.

It may be that you want to sell your house and move away.

Or that you want to resign from your job.

Maybe even that you want to leave a relationship.

And something even more bold than all of the above put together.

It may even be something you will never dare to do.

Ha. I know.

Yes, write that down.

That you want to be an actress in your 50s.

Or move to Hawaii in your 60s.

Maybe even write a book or two.

Paint beautiful paintings.

Go back to school.

Maybe your big decision is too expensive and you can’t afford it, you better write that down also.

I want so many things for your life.

I want as much as I want for mine.

Sometimes I dream about walking through a Star Wars movie set and hearing them say ‘action.’

I dream about having my own beach house, or living next to a big red rock in Sedona.

I think about my decision to become a painter.

And all the big decisions I don’t dare say to anyone.

I write them down.

And leave them there for a while.

Sometimes I have left them there for years. It’s ok.

The road to a big decision sometimes is a long one.  (Click to Tweet!)

Let’s start today.

What is your big decision?

Write it down, take that piece of paper with you today, wherever you go.

It’s your first tiny step towards changing your life.

Just like that we exit the old life, and enter the new.

A piece of paper, some bold words and off we go.

 

With big decisions,

Christina

PS. THE LIFE REENTRY WEEKEND is nearly here. At the end of our two days together you will have made some big decisions about your new life. Which will start on June 3rd when you are back home. I hope you come be with us. This is my last Life Reentry class. REGISTER HERE: https://lifereentry.com/the-life-reentry-weekend/ 


The Good and the Bad of Life After Loss

After walking next to so many of you living life after loss, I witnessed some tough truths.

Here is what I learned from you and from my own journey.

You will feel lonely even when you are with others.

You will question your values, beliefs and all the things your parents taught you.

You will be angry longer than you will be sad.

The simple routine task of taking the trash out will break your heart, because they are not there to help you.

Small talk will drive you crazy.

Your family will have to get to know you all over again.

There is a high probability that you will sell and move out of your house within the first 2 years.

Your first date with someone new will be hard.

Your career will change.

You will feel like you don’t belong anywhere.

Your food intake will vary dramatically.

People will talk about you.

Your broken heart will influence your health.

Your sleep will never be the same.

Some of the silly noises your house makes at night, will feel scary even if you heard them for years.

You will want to go out and be with people but you will choose to stay in and cry.

You will feel like you are about to break in half but you are stronger than most people.

The regular things that people complain about will make you laugh.

You will have a renewed sense of humor.

You can do the impossible because you have been through the unthinkable.

You have a tremendous amount of compassion

You are likely to do things you thought were not for you.

You will travel a lot more.

You will offend people but you won’t care.

You will lose your faith and find it again.

People will try to stop you from moving on but you won’t be stopped.

You will be wise.

The conversations you do have are deep and life changing.

You don’t waste any time.

You will be able to hear the birds in the morning.

You will make sure to see the sun rise, often.

You will find wonder in the ordinary.

You will have gratitude for the small things.


You will help others because now you know their pain.


And above all, you will inspire the people around you because of the way you live your life. (Click to Tweet!)


You are my hero,

Christina

PS. Announcing two new guest speakers for the Life Reentry Weekend, Erin Matlock and Razi Berry. We have 20 seats left for this amazing two day event: REGISTER HERE: https://lifereentry.com/the-life-reentry-weekend/ 

 


We Need More Than Love

It is both simple and the most complex thing in the whole wide world.

The weakest and the strongest.

I am talking about how we have to be after loss.

We are asked to be vulnerable and at the same time stoic to get through our day to day.

Most people find their way to the duality of life after without anyone guiding them.

It is a requirement to be and do both and not for a week or two, but for a really long time.

How is it that we don’t get any guidance by anyone after loss?

Of course we receive love by the people closest to us.

And we receive support, by our church, our community and our professionals in schools and grief centers.

But unfortunately, it is not enough.

It helps for a while.

Maybe 6 months if we are lucky.

And not that the people who love us stop loving us.

And not that the people who support us in church and at work stop supporting us.

But we need more than love, more than just a support group.

We need to find our way back to a self that is whole, renewed and resilient.

We need to break the chains grief has added to our brain and change the locks so we can give birth to new thoughts.

New patterns. New beliefs about ourselves.

That is not something most of us can do with just love.

It requires science. Psychology. Education.

Because then, grief can be an evolutionary experience.

It can be a part of us without destruction.

How many times has grief made you say things you should have never said?

How many times did it make you take the wrong turn?

And how many times did it point you towards added obstacles. Added problems.

I think you also know, time is not to be wasted.

We don’t have an extra decade to take the wrong turns.

Every day and every moment counts after loss, because you and I have learned a really hard lesson. Life can be so short. So fleeting. (Click to Tweet!) Click To Tweet

For this week, I am going to ask you to do one of the steps of my Life Reentry work.

Just one of them. Get real. With yourself.

I call it the 360. I am going to give you just 5 questions to answer.

There are many more. But this is a good start.

-What did you used to do that you no longer do?

-When was the last time you laughed?

-Are you still trying to live the life you used to have?

-What have you done so far to start your life over?

-What is different about you now?

Answering these will give you a glimpse of the reality you are living in right now.

It removes the fog grief comes with.

Just for a little while.

Just enough for you to know where you are at and what you need to do to have different answers to these questions?

My favorite has always been...when was the last time you laughed?

It tells you so much about the pain and sorrow you have had to endure since your moment of impact.

 

With laugher and realness,

Christina

PS. Join me for two days in Scottsdale Arizona to walk with you towards your life reentry. FIND OUT MORE HERE: https://lifereentry.com/the-life-reentry-weekend/ 

 


The Treasure Chest

A friend asked me the other day.

Do I still feel grief when I write these letters to you.

And I said yes I feel it.

But not in the way most people think.

I feel loss deeply.

But not just for one person, experience, moment.

But many.

I write from this infinite place of loss every week.

It is a treasure chest.

A place where everything lives forever.

A place where I feel ageless.

Where nobody is gone and nothing is lost.

I go and remember there.

And by remembering them, I remember myself, how I was.

Who I was.

How it felt to be me, then.

I am turning 46 tomorrow.  

And as I look back I realize how lucky I have been.

To have had so much to lose.

I lost my health and found it again.

I lost friends.

I have had a couple of embarrassing moments this last year too.

Oh my let me tell you, those were tough.

But when you step on a big ladder some of the steps will be missing along the way,

and you will only find out as you are stepping on them.

I gained and lost weight. Over and over again.

I found myself and lost myself a few times.

This year I learned that I like to hide inside the space in between moments, and stay there hiding from the world for as long as I can.

I learned that writing is the only thing I have never hidden from.

And loss.

I have never hidden from it either.

I even made it into a treasure chest.

I go there when I need to choose the true things for my day ahead.

I go there to be inspired and to not be afraid of the ladder.

But most of all I go there to remember who I am.

Why I am here.

What I love. Who I love.

To get my perspective back.

To celebrate the many loves I have had.

To remember the ocean that was by my side when I was growing up.

The friends I made when I moved to a foreign country who saved my life.

My friends who saved my life after he died.

My family who loves me.

My girls who are my soulmates.

My two husbands. Up above. And down below.

And my very long and unforgettable 46 years of life.

One thing is for sure, nothing is permanent. Click To Tweet

Nothing is ever mine.

Even the people I have now, maybe I have them for a thousand more days.

Maybe more, maybe less.

But my treasure chest lasts forever.

And is a grounding force in my life.

I hope you visit yours often too.

Even daily.

Even when you are celebrating, loving new people and having new experiences.

The treasure chest of loss belongs to us more than any other thing.

It holds together all of our lives. It is meant to stay.

And visited. Until, forever.

 

With birthday candles and new things to love

Christina

PS. Please join me this June in Arizona for the Life Reentry Weekend.  It will be an amazing, full two days of life reentry and being surrounded in a comforting environment, where your peers have been through the unimaginable like you have.  Register here.

 


Take a Chance

“Trust me.

I heard the most faint whisper say.

“It’s going to be ok. Do it.”

“Do what?” I responded.

“Take a chance.” the whisper said. “On yourself.”

The whisper continued as if it knew my most private thoughts.

As if it lived inside my mind, in between the struggle. The doubts. The worry.

“But how would I know if it’s the right thing?” I said and shook my head.

“You won’t.”

And I waited for it to tell me more, make me feel better. Reassure me. Convince me.

I waited a whole minute.

Nothing. No more whispers. No reassurance. No steps in between me and trusting myself.

Deep down I knew what it was asking me to do.

The first time I listened to this voice was in 2010.

It said “quit your job.”

And I did. I cried about it.

It was that painful to trust myself.

It hurt like real pain does.

I knew self trust was not an easy thing but self trust after devastating loss was even harder.

The next time the whisper spoke to me, was not easier either.

“Speak your mind,” it said. It was the same year.

And it wasn’t just once.

But to speak my mind every day.

To take a chance on me every day.

Gut wrenching.

I did it.

I started writing this letter, you are reading.

At first, I could only trust myself with one paragraph.

And for months I only wrote that one paragraph.

But after a while something started to change.

And it wasn’t the pain. But a feeling.

I started to feel different about myself.

It was as if I was changing.

The more I trusted myself the more I changed.

That one paragraph became many, then a book. And a second one coming.

People always ask me how it all started. I listened to the faint whisper asking me to trust myself. The hardest thing I ever had to do. It still is to this day. Click To Tweet

The difference is that the whisper is not a whisper anymore.

It’s a loud voice as if it comes from a megaphone. And it won’t let me be until I say “Yes”

Yes I will take this chance too. And this one. And another.

It still hurts. And it still is the hardest thing I do.

But it is supposed to make your stomach a little nauseous.

Your hands trembling. Your chest pounding.

And I know you and I can do the pounding and the trembling.

Have you forgotten the levels of it we have endured?

We are the pros. The masters of it all.

Loss makes us almost superhuman, we can endure earthquakes and tremors most people can’t.

You can recover from the pounding the self trust will bring. I know you can.

So...what will you trust yourself with TODAY?

 

With pounding, trembling and self trust,

Christina

P.S. COME AWAY WITH ME: https://lifereentry.com/the-life-reentry-weekend/


The Visit

It is said that grief lasts forever.

In a way it does.

It lives inside of you for decades.

Silenced by life, awakened by memories.

The mind has the ability to bring someone back to life and make them timeless.

Immortal.

And so it is for me and my girls in our visit to Denmark this week, his home country.

And so it is, we brought him back to life, visiting his best friends, his parents, sisters.

The streets he grew up in.

The schools he attended.

The adventures he had.

The love of him from everyone. And us.

And here we are, in the midst of his existence.

We made grief come back. For a visit.

The girls felt sad, they said now they know how much more they lost.

In a way, it was as if they were meeting their dad for the first time through the stories of others.

Their memories were so few, after all they were only four and six when he died.

They knew him with their very young minds.

And now, well now a new way to think of him.

A new way to love him.

And so it goes.

Grief is a river. It travels inside of us waiting for us. To go for a swim, down the stream. However many years go by. It doesn’t matter. The river waits for you. Click To Tweet

We are inside the river this week.

My girls and I.

Swimming for a while. The girls getting to know their dad better.

Finding the missing parts of themselves.

I have been looking for signs while here.

And there is nothing.

Not even a nudge from him.

I think he is letting his family and friends do all the talking.

He is letting us be in the river.

Healing ourselves from all the things that were unsaid. Unlived. Unseen.

Unknown.

We will leave the river behind for another long stretch of life after this week.

Cleansed. Healed. Moved.

I learned something this week.

Maybe I had always known it.

We must attend to the river no matter how many years go by.

We must make time for memories.

And not be afraid of remembering.

To look back so we can have the strength to look ahead.

Allowing for the wisdom required to live consciously, knowing all that needs to be known.

The girls silently cried on our way home from his best friend’s house, in the dark highways of Denmark.
I let them have that moment, without trying to rescue them from it.

The river is tough but we must swim in it.

Swim until it is time to go back to life and run with the wind, giggle with the world, knowing how fleeting it all is. Savoring it.

After all, death makes life more beautiful.

The river makes its banks greener.

Our reentry bolder. Wiser. Grander.

 

With many rivers deep inside of me,

Christina
PS. SEE YOU IN JUNE, find our way in and out of the river: https://lifereentry.com/the-life-reentry-weekend/

 


Ridiculously Afraid

I didn’t know that I had to become courageous... forever... after loss.

I mistakenly believed that being courageous was only necessary for a couple of years.

Maybe three.

But every decision and new thought after loss demanded courage.

Everything had a dose of fear.

I patiently waited for that to change.

I thought to myself, the uncharted had to at some point become easier to navigate.

I craved feeling adventurous, instead of scared.

I wanted to be one of those people who lived free.

You know. Laugh at silly things.

Changing their minds in a moment’s notice.

Saying yes to adventure and not even a taste of fear while doing it.

I am sorry to break this news to you, but I never became that person.

I never saw life as a big wild adventure.

I never became fearless after loss.

Not even on a regular day.

Because on a regular day I anticipated the irregular ones.

Sooner or later, I knew I was never going to live life without fear.

I realized that if I wanted to create a life of meaning I had to accept it.

I had to choose it even.

And I was afraid of millions of things.

Ridiculously afraid.

From the outside I looked undisturbed, even poised as I made my decisions, and built a life I am proud of.

But from the inside it was a whole other story.

I have lived the last 11 years choosing to go on scary adventures.

Waking up every morning knowing that I have to talk myself out of staying the same.

But I had a secret weapon.

Dare I say that it was bigger than grief and bigger than fear?

I had this undying passion.

Passion for helping others mend their hearts after loss.

I felt anger when I realized how unhelpful the world was when it came to those who suffered due to losing the loves of their lives.

Their children. Their people.

How could it be? I thought.

How could it be that the world abandoned its own people.

So today inside a regular scary day, where you are struggling to find your own way I ask you this. What injustice makes you mad?

What wrong you want to make right?

And just like that, fear takes a back seat. Courage becomes your default. And we find our way to the biggest wildest adventure of saving others. In the midst of that, we save ourselves. Click To Tweet

You have all been my saving grace.

You were the reason I found the courage to walk through my fears.

It has always been for you.

Because if it was just for me I would have never left my house.

What is your reason?

 

With so much passion about life after loss,

 

Christina

 

P.S. I know it takes courage to say yes to the Life Reentry Weekend. I hope you join me and 100 other courageous souls in Scottsdale, Arizona on June 1st. REGISTER HERE: https://lifereentry.com/the-life-reentry-weekend/

 


Life, Call Me By Your Name

Oh life. You give.

You take. You teach.

You scold. You love.

You are harder than easier.

Tougher than gentler.

Stranger than logical.

Routine is just an illusion isn’t it?

There is no normal.

No certain. No guarantees.

Just gruesome harshness in between extraordinary beauty.

Dreams amongst nightmares.

Day and night. Love and loss.

I know you know. You have always known.

And you are here to teach me to not pity myself.

You are here to make me strong.

So I can see in the dark. Learn to live inside my losses.

Find all the strangeness in my day humorous.

And life, I have laughed a lot lately.

Thank you.

I am also calm in the storm.

Quiet inside the noise.

And less afraid of loss.

Oh yes, I am surprised of that.

I know.

You thought I couldn’t get there.

Yeah.

While you threw me inside the nightmares.

I got skilled in losing myself. And finding a new version of me every morning. Click To Tweet

I discovered so many ways to look at you, life.

I painted your storms into rainfalls.

I drew out the nightmares from every dream.

And changed your name and gave you mine.

I know that was a bit unexpected.

But you taught me well.

Here’s to the many versions of me and all the names of you.

 

With lots of life after loss,

Christina

P.S. BIG ANNOUNCEMENT: We have our very first Life Reentry Weekend. I can’t wait to meet you, be with you and help you reenter: We will also dance. Cry. Laugh. And make new friendships that will be a part of our next chapter. Our space is limited, so make sure to REGISTER HERE: https://lifereentry.com/the-life-reentry-weekend/


What's Your Song?

You have to be willing to break into a song while in your worst day.

That’s right.

Start singing while you are on the floor sobbing.  (Click to Tweet!)

It’s ugly looking. It feels messy.

It might even make you feel nauseous.

You may feel like you are out of control.

But something will happen in that moment.

The breaking into a song while you are sobbing is you taking the controls back.

That is you saying, I am going to show you who is in charge grief.

I am going to sing my heart out while you are breaking it.

You want a contest grief? You got it.

You make me cry. And I will make you hear my song.

See who makes it.

See who lasts longer.

See who comes back.

I bet you didn’t expect the singing.

I bet you thought a heart so broken can’t break into a song while breaking itself.

You thought wrong.

Here it is.

My song. Fight Song by Rachel Platten

What is yours?

 

With lots of singing,

Christina

P.S. REGISTRATION FOR THE LIFE REENTRY CLASS IS OPEN! You can sign up here.