The Life After Loss Kidnapper

She resides inside new love. 

She makes her home within a new memory. 

She keeps you up at night after a first date. 

And she whispers words of utter destruction. 

Especially after laughter. 

After fun. 

Her name is guilt. 

And she ain’t going anywhere anytime soon. 

Or so she thinks. 

Her hands have hooks inside your ear drums. 

When music starts to play, she turns the volume down. 

When life walks in, she kicks her out. 

A hurricane of metal rain. 

A storm without rainbows after. 

Guilt, the most heartbreaking of thieves. 

The cherry eliminator. 

The frosting stealer. 

The life after loss kidnapper. 

But guilt is a fake impersonator. 

A bad actress inside a good movie. 

Hiding behind good lines. 

Exceptional script. 

Don’t forget, this is your life. 

Your lines. Your new chapter. 

She broke in when you were crying. 

She stole the lines when you were lost. 

But now that you are feeling a little better. 

She yells out louder to get your full attention. 

Afraid of what you might do with someone like her. 

She is now seen for what she really is. 

A liar. 

A performer without her own stage.

A wannabee. 

Can’t you see? 

Guilt doesn’t belong in your story. 

Unless you are directing a parody. 

A soap opera. 

Guilt should be kicked out of your ears, and punched out of your new found moments of happiness. 

Because if you let her stay, you might as well let the thief sleep in your bed. 

Make you coffee and feed you breakfast. 

Let’s not do that. 

Let’s not even say her name. 

Or even write a letter about her. 

Never let anyone rob you from your hard earned joy after loss. 

You deserve way better. 

With no guilt whatsoever,

Christina

P.S. I hope you are listening to our incredible podcast guests: http://www.dearlifepodcast.com/episodes

PPS. See you in March at 1440 Multiversity in California. Register for class, room and board here: https://www.1440.org/programs/faculty-led-programs/personal-growth/self-discovery/temple-journey


The Long Way Home

It has taken me over 13 years to feel a longer lasting sense of happiness. 

You might want to yell out but Christina, that’s too long of a journey. 

And I will say that is the good side of life after loss. 

Not many of us ever make it back to a happy life. 

You see, after a traumatic loss when we feel happiness again, it comes in short bursts. 

You may have a minute of feeling good.

And then back to feeling sad. 

As time goes by, you may experience feeling good for a whole day. 

A few years in, you could have a good week. 

What I noticed from my own life was that I never really felt good for a long period of time. 

Longer than a few hours. Longer than a day. 

I was being chased by so many demons born by trauma. 

And they were complex demons.

Demons nobody mentioned.  

No support groups. No friends. No books. 

Nobody really talked about the unspoken way of living after loss. 

It was almost as if I could never catch my breath. 

Or fully exhale. 

I kept trying different ways to live life. 

Build new homes. New relationships. 

New skills. New identities. And they were all needed. 

They were a part of learning how to live again. 

As long as I was not going to give up. 

Or stop hoping for a full exhale. 

I would finally get here. 

And I did a few weeks ago. 

I started to notice that the heavy weight I was carrying inside my chest especially in the mornings was lessened. 

I felt lighter. 

Things that felt difficult before, were not so difficult anymore. 

I had less panic attacks. 

Less heart palpitations. 

And less emotional eating. 

And yes I noticed. Something had indeed changed. 

Finally this last reentry brought with it a sense of peace. 

I wish I could tell you I got here earlier. 

That I found a shortcut.

But, it is better late than never. 

Many people never find long lasting happiness after loss.  

For those who make it, you just witnessed a miracle. (Click to tweet!)

If you are still carrying the burden in your chest just like I was for so long, keep going. 

Keep rebuilding. 

Changing things up. 

Until you notice happiness staying longer and longer. 

Until everyday life is not so hard anymore. 

When you go to bed at night and you can’t wait for tomorrow morning to come. 

When you want to go out and have fun instead of staying in, alone. 

It may have taken me a long time to get here, but I am grateful to make it here after all. 

With a longer lasting happiness,

Christina

P.S. Registration for my Temple Journey weekend at 1440 Multiversity this March is now open. 

You will spend a weekend with me learning how to connect with your loved one. 

You will leave with new memories, new understanding of life and death and last but not least, you will learn how to co create a new life with your loved one and the cosmos. 

Register here: https://www.1440.org/programs/faculty-led-programs/personal-growth/self-discovery/temple-journey

You can call 1440 Multiversity with any questions about rooms here: +1-888-727-1440 

The Temple journey process is inside my book Where Did You Go?


I Wish Time Never Ran Out

I wish I could play music. 

Sing like an Opera singer. 

Write as if I have lived many lives. 

I wish doors opened for me.

I wish I was lucky.

And much younger when I got my act together. 

Smarter. 

Good at math. 

And I could live long enough to see earth from space. 

I wish time never ran out. 

Not for me, not for anyone. 

I wish I could time travel to the past and experience some of my favorite things, twice. (Click to tweet!)

Sit with my grandparents and just listen to them. 

Then, travel to the future to meet my great grandchildren. 

Look at them from afar and see me and him, in them. 

Find out how books are read in the year 2100. 

How space travel is a thing everyone does. 

I wish I could meet an alien. 

And see worlds beyond this one. 

I always wanted to tell Bjarne about facebook. 

How the ipod became the phone. 

He died before all of that came about. 

Show him pictures of the girls. 

I wish I knew the year I would die. 

And slow that year down. 

And even though I might never make it to 2100, and sing like an opera singer, I know one thing for sure. 

During my time here, I was able to slow down my thoughts so I could write you these letters.

I made meaning out of my pain. 

I somehow found a way to mend hearts scattered around earth without a rocket ship. 

Or time travel abilities. 

I found a way to speak to you without a phone, or ever meeting you in person. 

I didn’t need math, or luck or even doors to open for me, so I could get to you. 

Maybe after all, I was good with words. 

And that was enough. 

With the whole universe by my side,

Christina

P.S. You can see this letter on the blog here.

PPS. If you have a friend who has gone through a loss and would like to receive this letter every Friday send them to this page so they can sign up.


Without Roller Skates

Life is prickly. 

That is where all the stories we tell ourselves come from. 

The prickly things. 

We tell ourselves so many things after we feel pain. 

I caught myself doing that, last night. 

It was about someone who wasn’t getting pricked as much as me.  

And I noticed my inner story start. 

“Some people have it easy. 

They don’t work as hard as you and they get ahead, regardless.” 

The story went on to say why do they get away with less pain and struggle. 

In that moment I realized how that sounded. 

Would it be better if everyone hurt the same? 

As often. As much? 

Would it make my own heart hurt less? 

It sure wouldn’t. 

So why was I mad about this woman who was getting away with less pain? 

It hit me then. 

I have always felt that others had it easier. 

While OTHERS were on roller skates. My lane always had obstacles. 

But if I had the choice, would I choose the skates over the hurdles?

Would I? And who is the I? 

You see the human Christina is jealous of the skaters. 

But the soul Christina knows she is on a hero’s journey. 

And has been from when she was very young. 

Joseph Campbell always said it well. 

“You enter the forest at the darkest point, 

where there is no path. 

Where there is a way or path, 

it is someone else's path. 

You are not on your own path.

If you follow someone else's way, 

you are not going to realize your potential.” 

And as I looked back at this woman’s easier journey, I saw something that I hadn’t seen before. 

She used someone else’s light to enter the forest at the darkest point. 

Joseph Campbell said, 

“The goal of life is to make your heartbeat match the beat of the universe, 

to match your nature with Nature.” 

If you enter the dark forest, your heart has to match the darkness. 

And that is how we know that we are living our potential, 

that we are on the right path. 

I know if you have subscribed to this letter, you have gone through something really difficult. 

Next time you see your friends on their skates please remember that when they see you overcoming your hurdles they also notice your hero’s cape. 

With an assortment of capes,

Christina

P.S. I hope you are reading my book Where Did You Go?

and journeying to connect with your loved ones often. 

PPS. And if you are enjoying the podcast please leave a review here: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/dear-life-with-christina-rasmussen/id1465291728

PPPS. Also my good friend Kristine Carlson has written an amazing book that combines grief and the hero’s journey. 


You Find Yourself Standing In Front Of A Crossroad

After a loss, you find yourself standing in front of a crossroad.

You can’t decide whether to go left or right. 

It feels like your feet can’t move. 

You second guess yourself. 

You ask everyone who is walking by which way they think you should go

Some, tell you go left. 

Others tell you go right. 

And some tell you to stay put. 

Wait. 

Maybe make a decision a year from now. 

Or even two. 

Just stand in front of the crossroad until then. 

And because you doubt yourself you listen to the waiting crowd. 

Thinking it’s for the best right now. 

But is it?

You standing there for so long

Unmovable. Unchangeable. 

Waiting to live. Afraid of choices. 

You are a human being.

You are here to change, move, act, step out. 

You are not here to sit and wait. 

You are here to live out loud. (Click to tweet!)

Especially because you now know how quickly the crossroad can be taken from you. 

How quickly you won’t have a choice to make. 

The crossroad is a big honor. 

The honor of being alive. 

Should you move to a new town?

Should you change your job?

Should you cut your hair?

Should you turn down a dinner invitation?

The questions in front of the crossroad are infinite but they must always be answered. 

You must always make a choice. 

My husband used to have a favorite book called The dice man

“Anybody can be anybody.” the dice man said.

When you can’t choose, throw the dice. 

Chance is better than waiting. 

Learning to step on the crossroad is a challenge. 

But a challenge we must accept. 

Now, what is the question you have been asking in front of the crossroad?

Answer it. 

Will you? 

With dice,

Christina

P.S. JOIN ME FOR THE TEMPLE JOURNEY: A LIFE AFTER DEATH. REGISTER HERE: https://www.1440.org/programs/faculty-led-programs/personal-growth/self-discovery/temple-journey


When Nobody Was Watching

The most heartbreaking moments of our lives happen when nobody is watching. 

Nobody sees us, then. 

These moments are parts of the larger heartbreak. 

The whispers of the loud pain. 

The experiences we have because of a bigger tragedy. 

I want to take you to one of mine. 

So then you can take others inside one of yours. 

It took place the first few weeks after my husband died. 

Late at night just as I was putting my girls to bed.

One of my daughters would ask me to go and get her dad, otherwise she refused to sleep. 

She kept saying I want my daddy, I want my daddy. 

Go get him. Bring him back. 

And of course I couldn’t get him back. 

A six year old finds it hard to understand how permanent death is. 

So she would fall asleep with a framed picture of him in her arms. 

Slowly I would remove it from her embrace so the glass would not break in the middle of the night. 

Somehow the loss of her dad was harder on her just before she would go to bed, when there was no more playing. 

No more life to live for the day. 

Just sleep waiting for her. 

That is when I would see her grief. 

And it was grief without tears. The worst kind. 

The torturing kind of grief. When you can’t cry. 

When grief feels like nails. Nails that can’t come out. 

These moments for her were hard. 

But she doesn’t remember them unless I tell her about them. 

The agony of that moment has always stayed with me. 

Not being able to give her back her dad was so deeply heartbreaking. 

But I have just opened the door to that moment in my life and let you in. 

I am no longer alone in that moment. 

I gave that Christina thousands of friends helping her remove that picture frame from her daughter’s arms.

You see that moment is not in the past. 

It is happening outside of time and space. 

I know you too have many of your own invisible and heartbreaking moments.

When nobody was there to hold your hand. 

I hope you do share them with someone in your life. 

You see, pain that is not seen can never be healed. 

Don’t let time stop you from sharing it. 

It is never too late.  (Click to tweet!)

With shared heartbreak,

Christina

P.S. JOIN ME FOR THE TEMPLE JOURNEY: A LIFE AFTER DEATH. REGISTER HERE: https://www.1440.org/programs/faculty-led-programs/personal-growth/self-discovery/temple-journey

PPS. New coffee episode drops this Saturday. Listen here: http://www.dearlifepodcast.com/coffee


Looking For Daisies

How do you find a way to live life on your terms? 

How do you shed the armor of pretences? 

The manners you have been taught since you can remember. 

How do you find your way inside your own dreams vs the ones you have been shown? 

The ones that played on television. 

The wants your neighbors expressed with their perfect green lawns. 

The one dimensional view of life coming from just one part of the world. 

How do you see inside the blindness? 

How do you hear the whispers of a far away land? 

And yet when you do start to see inside the blind spots, and hear the whispers as loud voices, They tell you, you must be having a mid-life crisis. 

And I want to cry for us. 

We are prisoners with invisible bars. 

When we start to see them they tell us we are losing our minds. 

We are going through something. 

We are grieving. We are aging. 

We are not ourselves. 

Oh dear friend. 

I wonder who are they? 

The ones who have done this to us. 

When did it start? 

The training of the pretence. 

The correctness. The hypnosis. 

It was done by those we trusted. It was done early. 

And it was done to them by those before them, and before them. 

So they didn’t know what they were doing to us. 

That they were building prison bars around our lives. 

When we found ourselves questioning our entire existence. 

When we asked what is this all for? 

When we stopped trying to impress everyone. 

When we saw that the things we were driven to create were not our dreams.

We exploded. We isolated.

We gained weight. We got sick. We got depressed. 

If only we were told that the so called mid-life crisis was the part of us that was hidden because it was untamed. Unruled. 

There would have been no green lawns. 

No accolades. No hierarchy. Just a real life. (Click To Tweet!)

I realized this when I was in the midst of my own perfect green lawn. 

Right there, I started digging the ground with my foot. 

And I couldn’t stop. I got tired of the upkeep. The water bill. 

The perfect color of green. I wanted to see daisies. 

I cried in the midst of all this greeness, confused as to why I no longer saw its beauty. 

You see, I was just waking up not knowing I had been asleep. 

But waking up alone. 

All of my neighbors still watering their lawns. 

I yelled. I called out their names. 

I jumped up and down waving at them. 

And when they saw me they said, she is having a midlife crisis.

Look at all the holes her lawn has.  

And here it is, the most crucial part of waking up. 

You have to know who is the one really sleeping. 

Is it the person watering their lawn or the person digging their feet in the ground looking for daisies?

With a dozen daisies,

Christina

P.S. The first coffee date episode on the Dear Life with Christina Rasmussen podcast drops tomorrow. I answer your question about the afterlife.

Make sure you are subscribed on itunes. 

Or go to listen here on Saturday morning: www.dearlifepodcast.com/coffee


Once Upon A Time, A Day Came That Took Everything From You

Once upon a time, a day came that took everything from you. 

And you crumbled at the nothingness. 

You stepped inside of it looking to find something to hold on to. 

But there was nothing. 

Nothing to even put your knees on, so you could kneel and pray. 

You searched where you thought the floor should be, but even that was taken from you. 

You did the only thing you knew how to do, you closed your eyes and prayed inside the nothingness. 

And with your eyes closed you leaned against the empty space, and kneeled without a floor. And you were consoled by an invisible presence. 

Comforted by a voice without words. 

Waltzing inside your tears. 

Casting a spell of hope. 

Healing within the walls of nothing. 

You tried to assemble yourself. Learning to live there. 

Training your body to find something in the emptiness of it all. 

The hardest class you ever had to take. 

The word grief was useless. 

It didn’t even come close to the floorless life. 

The prickling presence of the darkness. 

It had nothing to tell you when you couldn’t even get up from your prayer. 

You were being hunted by a feeling that had no name

You were being snatched by the hole of loss where there were no saviors. 

Nobody could come and find you inside your heart. 

Where you were being destroyed by the knowing of what had been taken from you. 

And the worst of it was, that nobody could see your pain. 

Nobody could feel it. 

Glimpse at your nothingness. At your destroyer. 

That’s the thing with pain, it’s invisible. 

It’s not their fault. 

They call it grief because they can’t see what the thing that breaks your heart is. (Click to tweet!)

But tell them. 

Tell them. 

There will come a time when you will survive the chaos that can never be seen unless it belongs to others too. 

Unless you too are inside the nothingness, you can never know it. 

And then, because you learned to spot it in others you get to waltz inside their floorless life. Speak to them when they are kneeling on nothing. 

Didn’t you know? 

The comforting voice by the invisible presence was YOURS. 

It has always been yours. 

With nothingness that can see inside yours,

Christina

P.S. JOIN ME FOR THE TEMPLE JOURNEY: A LIFE AFTER DEATH. REGISTER HERE: https://www.1440.org/programs/faculty-led-programs/personal-growth/self-discovery/temple-journey


This Is Not About A Friday Night Drink With A Complete Stranger

I haven’t written much about dating after loss. 

Not because I don’t have a lot to say, but because my conversation with you has always been deeper. 

More about the complexity of our thoughts and our new identities. 

But maybe, we can have a deep conversation about dating also. 

And maybe, it’s necessary that dating after loss be a deeper experience than it is.

No wonder dating apps don’t align very well with broken hearts. 

It becomes a barrier rather than a tool. 

An additional obstacle to overcome. 

I also think the word dating doesn’t really connect with someone who is grieving.   

I mean you might as well be asked to walk out naked. 

In the cold. 

With everyone watching you. 

Not easy to do. 

Not easy to experience for the duration. 

And not easy to process after you come back home.

The next day is even worse. Shame. Guilt. Remorse. Confusion. Additional grief

So I am going to put all of this aside for this letter. For this conversation. 

Just pushed aside. 

Clothes back on. 

Shame out the window. 

Dating not relevant here. 

So let’s start from the beginning. 

You want to be seen again. 

Have someone to call in the evenings when you come home from work. 

Someone to watch a movie with. 

A person who cares about your day. 

To travel with. 

In other words, at first you are looking for a friend. 

A good person you can slowly trust with your everyday life, who you also find attractive physically. 

Ok I had to put that in. 😊

I know I am asking for a lot. 

But am I really? 

It is much easier to look for a friend than a boyfriend, soul mate, husband, wife, second chapter. Lover. 

Look for a friend. No other expectations. 

No labels. 

No dressing up to go out. 

Just your jeans. Your sweater. 

Your favorite coffee place. A hike. 

A walk around the block. A drink. 

A movie. A call. 

This has nothing to do with dating and everything to do with not feeling alone. 

Loneliness is the biggest shadow of loss. 

Bigger than grief. And bigger than fear. 

It is also the one that stays the longest. 

This is why going out on a superficial date, with a complete stranger hurts you so much. (Click to tweet!)

It doesn’t provide anywhere near what you need when you are grieving the love of your life. 

It makes things worse. 

It makes you more lonely. 

Start with a conversation on email, in a support group. Even on a dating app. 

Stay with the conversation for a while. If that feels good. 

Go for a cup of coffee. 

I want to leave you with this. 

You are going to make the wrong judgment calls at first. 

Prepare yourself for those. It’s ok. 

Forgive yourself fast. 

Next time you will know better. 

I made mistakes in the beginning too. 

But who I was after the loss of my husband was so empty, so lost and so derailed that I had no sight of my behavior. 

Once I got some of my sight back, I moved so fast from those mistakes you would think I was a rocket going into space

Trust that your sight will come back. 

Trust that you will be able to right your wrongs. 

You my friend are alone, empty, lost and you are seeking to find a person that you can rest with, for a while. 

Take it easy on yourself. 

This is about your deeper need for companionship. 

Not about a Friday night drink with a stranger.

With many lessons learned from many mistakes made,

Christina

P.S. JOIN ME FOR THE TEMPLE JOURNEY: A LIFE AFTER DEATH. REGISTER HERE: https://www.1440.org/programs/faculty-led-programs/personal-growth/self-discovery/temple-journey

PPS. I hope you are listening in: www.dearlifepodcast.com


All The Things That Were Meant To Be

I have a very specific vision of myself.

Quietly residing inside my mind. 

Comparing itself with the current reality I live in, every day. 

It narrates all day long.

And it keeps pointing me in her direction. 

It used to sound like a broken record. 

I would ignore it, until recently. 

I realized it was my destiny. 

You know what I mean. 

The voice inside of you that tells you, it’s meant to be different may be trying to get your attention.

It is possible that the version of you it is offering, is meant to be. 

I am talking about everything that you don’t have in your life, but you think you should. 

All the places you are supposed to visit, but you haven’t just yet. 

The way your hair should fall on your face. 

And the work you know you can create. 

The things you know about yourself and others fail to recognize. 

The books you haven’t written, but always wanted. 

The recognition you deserve from your family but never gotten. 

The connection you are supposed to have with friends. 

All the things that you felt were meant to be. 

Are really meant to be. (Click to tweet!)

And yes, of course, we can’t bring back the people we lost. 

And we can’t age backwards. 

But the other things. You know the ones I am talking about. 

Don’t ignore the voice that tells you you should have them. 

Don’t be mad at it. 

It’s working hard so you don’t forget all that you deserve. 

Don’t question it because it is hard to imagine yourself with so much goodness. 

It is all yours for the taking. 

Tomorrow morning, when you wake up, listen to it. 

And marvel at all your beautiful deservings.  

With my destiny calling,

Christina

P.S. JOIN ME FOR THE TEMPLE JOURNEY: A LIFE AFTER DEATH. REGISTER HERE: https://www.1440.org/programs/faculty-led-programs/personal-growth/self-discovery/temple-journey