Viktor Frankl, who experienced and witnessed the worst of humanity during the Holocaust, rose to become a great teacher, doctor, and author. He spoke these words: “When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves.”
During the last ten days, I have had the opportunity to practice this statement by Dr. Frankl. Although, I have not survived a holocaust, I have been confronted and challenged with the loss of three important people in my life within a short period of time. Many will say, “Well, you are older; this is what happens…,” or “you are a minister…what do you expect? It’s part of your profession.” They are not meaning to be callous; they are just trying to make sense of that which sometimes makes no sense. When people die abruptly or suffer agonizing deaths, we look for meaning.
True, I have chosen a vocation that puts me in the midst of crisis everyday, but still I am a human being with emotions, feelings, and my love for my friends and those who have touched my life. Yet, because of what I have to do, I must move on and function in the world at my highest capacity. I find this both challenging and rewarding. It forces me to go deep.
What have I done with myself these past ten days? How have I moved through these experiences? Perhaps, it sounds cliché, but it is my Faith born from my practice of the Science of Mind and Spirit. It is not called New Thought because it is a new philosophy. It is because in every moment, I can change my experience by having a new thought and by having a new thought, as Viktor Frankl said, I can change myself and how I look upon every experience. I search for new thoughts about everything. Viktor Frankl also wrote, “Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms—to choose …” He said this when, every last thing was taken from him – the people he held most dear and every earthly possession. He rose. If he could do that in that experience, what of me? Can I rise? Yes, I can.
This is what the human spirit does because it is Divine. It is resilient and it will rise. We come from a Divine spark that can never be extinguished no matter how dim it gets. If we care to dive more deeply into ourselves at times of crisis, it is here waiting for us, to take hold of us and pull us through. I believe that all these losses I have felt in this short period of time have afforded me a choice: to rise or to fall. It would have been easy to sink into morbidity and despair and get lost in it. I went there for a moment, but, then, I chose to feel my feelings and find deeper meaning within myself and the experience.
In regards to the latest loss for all of us here on Kaua`i of Karen Liberman, she was a great teacher. I can say these things because she shared them with me and many of us. She was suffering from cancer and it was evident that it would take her life. So, she began to change herself. She began to get herself ready to leave this life. She expressed gratitude for her amazing life and shared that gratitude with many of us. She expressed her wishes and desires for the afterlife without fear. She literally became what Dr. Joe Dispenza would call a “new self.” It was as a new, changed self that she was able to take her next step. She kept telling me she couldn’t wait to fly from here. Her last words, according to those close to her at that time were “I’m flying! I’m flying! I’m flying!”
But, we are left with the missing of those we love. We are left with the regrets perhaps and the things we wished we had said or done. I hear that a lot. What do we do about that? We take care of it, and now the only place we can do that is within ourselves. We have the ability to choose how we think about everything in our life. We have the ability to continue to beat ourselves up or to let go and say, we did the best we could at the time with the information that we had. I do not believe that those who have left this earthly existence stand in judgment of what we think we should have done for them? In fact, we have witness from those that have had NDE’s and returned that it’s not about that at all. It’s about love. Isn’t it interesting how the death of another does become about us. I’ve felt it. I’ve witnessed it.
As I sit here, not quite feeling all of my feelings yet, I ask, what will happen when I do. When the loss really settles into my bones. I know what will happen. I will cry. I will be sad. I will mourn in just the right way for me. I will read and study and look for comfort and understanding wherever I find it. I trust it will show up for me because that is what life does. It shows up for us when we require it. There is a Science of Mind quote by the good Dr. Ernest Holmes that says “When the Universe makes a demand on itself, it meets that demand.” It’s called “emergent evolution.” When we needed to grow fingers, we grew them. When we need to have more understanding, it comes. The Universe is for us, not against us. Life is always good and life giving. There is always a gift. There is always sunshine behind the clouds. I trust this more now than ever.
Love and Aloha,