When the World shifts on its Axis
There are moments in life which will shape us in unexpected ways - where our world will never be quite the same. This day came for me on December 5th, 2016.
I had just taken a break from working on my computer, and was catching an episode of Gilmore Girls. Just as I was in the middle of watching a dialogue between the mom and her daughter, I was interrupted by my phone ringing.
I glanced down to see who it might be, and since I knew that my friend of 10 years, Casandra, was in New York that weekend with her mother-in-law, I was surprised when the phone showed her face as the caller since I did not expect to hear from her.
The last time I had seen her was just 9 days prior when we had celebrated a joint birthday party for her and my son Daniel at my house. At the end of the evening, before she walked out the door, I had hugged her one additional time, and I remember her saying, “You just hugged me, why are you hugging me, again?” and I had responded by saying that it just felt like I needed to. She had walked out my door a few minutes later, and driven away.
So, when I answered the phone thinking maybe she was calling to tell me how the trip was going, I was surprised to find Marc, Casandra's husband, on the other end. Within two minutes, my world shifted on its axis as I found out that my dear friend, and the person who was the closest thing to a sister that I had ever had, had just passed away.
Casandra’s spirit exited this stage, and subsequently her body, in a hotel room in the middle of Times Square at 46 years old.
This vibrant, seemingly healthy, beautiful woman went from sitting on her bed in the hotel room, then standing up to get ready to go out to lunch, to collapsing on the floor. Though she was rushed to the hospital, there was nothing that could be done. In just a moment, she was gone.
Stunned from the news, I sat with the telephone in my hand after hanging up; my thoughts traveling to her beautiful family. She had left behind her husband and her 2 young boys. How would they move on when such a big part of their world revolved around her?
And then I thought about my own loss of this truly special friend, and so many memories came flowing in.
A woman who shined her light brightly
Casandra and I had met through homeschooling. She had home-birthed and home-schooled her children, and we were the moderators for our homeschool group for many years. As a co-moderator, she contributed so much as a great organizer, but what really brought joy in our relationship was getting together by ourselves, or with friends, to celebrate life through cooking meals, going for walks, drinking a glass of wine together, and sometimes just watching a show or movie.
One of my favorite memories is how she had introduced me to American Idol and how we would enjoy comparing notes and sharing our impressions of the contestants. We even developed a ritual of watching the finale together while enjoying a big feast. It became an annual thing; and one year, having made a vow early in our friendship to make each other’s birthdays special, she surprised me with tickets to an American Idol show in Nashville.
Another special memory is the time we had looked at a $100 bottle of champagne while we were shopping at Costco together. She said to me with such conviction, “We will share this bottle one day when you reach your milestone” because she knew of the hard work I was putting in to something I really wanted to achieve. She was that kind of cheerleader not only to me, but to many people.
And now, as I sat there, the reality began to hit me - all this was done. Such beautiful experiences would never again exist in that form with her.
In the following days, as well as in many moments since, I would feel her spirit, and connected with her on a different level. Even though this provided a certain amount of comfort, I had to acknowledge that her departure had most definitely left a huge void.
Some of my joy had left with her, as it had always been our combined energies that had created a joy-piece that we shared together through our resonance.
As I sought for some sort of inner reconciliation, all I could think was, “How can one justify something like this? How can we say that this was meant to be, that Karma was involved?”
My own inner drive
Once more as it had happened before with other life situations that I wanted to reconcile, I was pushed outside of my boundaries of understanding, and realized that I would have to ‘let go’ of being able to conjure up an answer for this. I reflected deeply in the days ahead as I worked through my grief as well as my internal search for meaning about this loss.
My past experiences throughout my personal journey as a healer and spiritual teacher had many times shaped and rearranged my original ideas of how this world works, and this was no exception. Once again I would have to rely on my approach to facing the challenges of life which was to apply the understandings I had gained through my years of study and inner guidance. This had always served me well, yet this was certainly one of those moments where the world would never be quite the same again, no matter which angle I would choose to take.
From my practice as a hypnotherapist, I had learned within the realm of past life regression that many times events are set in motion through the thoughts and actions of the individual involved. I had come to understand that destiny is not always at play, and whatever a person or soul decides in that moment will shape his/her life and the lives of the people around them.
I considered this as a possible scenario in Casandra’s sudden departure, but soon realized that no matter which viewpoint I took, as physical beings we simply do not have all the answers even if we try to justify this through explanations. . .we just don't know.
So, there I was, my world deeply affected by the departure of Casandra, with no explanation to soften the experience.
What it did impress upon me more profoundly than anything else is how unpredictable life can be, and that we can not waste this gift of being here - we must recognize the opportunity we have during our lifetime for meeting and fulfilling our purpose.
Prior to getting that phone call, I can say that I had done and accomplished many things in my life including growing spiritually and starting my energy healing practice and teaching classes. But throughout those experiences, an inner voice kept telling me that I still have a greater purpose to fulfill; that there is no time to waste; I have all the tools, and it is time for me to step up in order to serve others.
With Casandra’s sudden passing, this feeling had become intensified, and I shifted into a clarity that it was time for me to be available for those whose journey of personal evolution I am meant to be a part of.
The unfolding path
From this place of deep knowing about my future unfolding path, I have since chosen to be more present, show up more fully, and create the best life I can every day to meet my life purpose. And while this has meant that I have really had to stretch myself, it feels good to be finding room within myself for expansion so that I can fulfill a little more of my purpose each new day.
It has been through this experience of consciously choosing growth that I have been reassured more than ever about certain things.
I know that as we all face life’s many challenges as well as triumphs, there is guidance and a flow through them all; not just in this current experience, but woven through the fabric of many lifetimes. We are part of a Divine Spark which guides us, and which flows and experiences THROUGH us.
As such beings, both physically limited yet energetically unlimited, we come here to experience!
We are here to love, learn, expand, and stretch our limitations beyond what we thought was possible. We also exercise control over many aspects of life through our thoughts and actions which are then reflected back to us in physical form. We are capable, therefore, of shifting these thoughts and actions at any given moment; and in shifting our pivotal point, reality around us moves and aligns accordingly.
In this process of active consciousness, we are meant to enjoy ourselves and to be co-creators with others of magic and miracles in our lives, every day.
We have the power to make the conscious decision each morning to get up and not just live, but truly experience, co-create, and THRIVE. This is what makes the difference in our experience of life!
Inner Clarity inspires the outer direction
For me, to live this truth more fully, I have been dedicating myself to serving others - to helping them look at every morning as a new opportunity to re-create their lives in the most beautiful and magical ways.
What this now represents in my practice is that I am serving in my full capacity through my healing work and spiritual classes and retreats (in-person and online). In addition, I have developed and launched my private online membership, Beauty Flourishing since the beginning of 2018. I designed this online community to be a place for women to be connected and nurtured, to thrive and grow spiritually, align with their Soul Purpose, and for them to discover new creative aspects in themselves for their lasting Happiness and Inner Peace.
This conscious intention to fully embody my purpose is my way of honoring the gift of life, as well as my way of using the life I’ve been given as fully as I can. It is my tribute to my friend, Casandra.
When I reflect on the last two years since Casandra’s passing, I have felt her guidance many times, and experienced situations that are beyond this time-space continuum with her; and while I know that my story is not unique and many of us have lost dear ones, I share with you this very personal glance into my life in the hopes that it will assist you in your own challenges.
Pursue your purpose courageously
Don’t ever believe that you are alone. We are all here to encourage and uplift each other, and you have that gift as well as many more to share with others.
Give yourself permission each day to shine your light brightly, and remember that it is a conscious choice to live fully! Honor the gifts you’ve been given by using them because there is already an outlet and a purpose for them that is meant to bless those around you.
After Casandra’s passing, I reached out to all her friends to send me photos of them with her, and created this little video to honor her.
And here is my final tribute I wrote to her on her Facebook page back then:
10 years ago Casandra and I became instant friends and administrators of our homeschool group, when help was desperately needed to hold the group together.
She stepped in with her organizational skills and became the lifeblood not only for this group but in so many other aspects of her life.
The definition of lifeblood is:
The indispensable factor of influence that gives something its strength and vitality.
And this is the essence of my friend and yours, your sister, daughter, aunt, wife, and mother with her unshakable dedication to her family, to home birthing and homeschooling her boys, and her love for Marc.
She spoke fluent Spanish and, of course English, and adorable German.
She loved being Jordan and Lola’s Aunt, spoke wonderful words about so many of you, and made everyone around her feel special.
For her to no longer be a physical presence here on earth seems unreal.
She created a large community of neighbors, friends and family which, I know, will support Marc and the boys.
Casandra, your beautiful bright essence touched so many around you and all our lives will be forever enriched through your presence.
I will miss your fantastic laugh, your generosity and kindness, and yes, maybe even your bossy-ness, which by the way had its root in you caring so profoundly about others.
I so loved our celebrations of life in small and big ways, our walks, movie nights, dinners and wine together and our deep and profound friendship!
In gratitude for the times we had together,
On a final note, I want to thank my dear friend Heidi, who experienced this same loss of our common friend, and helped me edit and refine this post to honor Casandra’s memory in the best way possible. Thank you Heidi, I love you!