The Floorless Life

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

And you crumbled at the nothingness. 

And you stepped inside of it looking to find something, anything to hold on to. 

But there was nothing. 

Nowhere 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. 

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

With your eyes closed you leaned against the empty space, and kneeled without a floor. 

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. (Click to tweet!)

They call it grief because they can’t see what the thing that breaks your heart is. 

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 so much experience in the nothingness,

Christina

P.S. 4 Days left, class begins Tuesday evening. Register here: https://christinarasmussen.com/life-reentry-invisible-loss/ 


The Life Lifter

Sometimes I feel like I can see you in your home, in your life, in your pain.

And the last thing you need is someone to come and tell you what to do, inspire you to change your life. You are tired. Fed up. Hurt. 

You can’t even think about your day without anxiety. 

You want to close your eyes, block your ears and be transported to somewhere else. 

Another world. Maybe even start from scratch. From nothing. 

But there isn’t a life lifter anywhere near. 

Someone who can come pick you up from your house and take you to another world. 

Quiet. Peaceful. With gardens and flowers. 

With less expectations and responsibilities. 

With a community that cares about you. 

Where your inner world can be discussed and understood by others. 

Your first day there feels like heaven. 

When the life lifter drops you off he smiles at you knowing this is going to be a different life. One without the noise, the silliness, the burdens you are so used to carrying. 

But where is this place the life lifter took you? 

Are you dreaming? Are you imagining such a world? 

Did you really get transported to another place? 

Life lifters do exist, and they are real. 

And the place you were taken can be reached when someone helps you process your life.

The life lifter knows you carry many invisible burdens and he asks you this question first.

“What was hard this morning?” 

I know the first time you hear this question, you think to yourself well nothing happened today. What does the life lifter mean by that question. 

And you say “well I got up and made some coffee. 

Nothing much different from any other day.” 

And the life lifter says “Yes, but what felt hard today even if it was the same as all the other days.” And you look away and think, and for the first time you wonder whether you should tell someone about the heaviness in your chest. 

As if he knows what you are thinking he jumps in and says “I want to know about the feelings you feel without noticing them much anymore.” 

And you say “oh well, yes I am OK but if you really must know, I wake up feeling this dread. Just a slight dread. Before anything even begins. It is a left over dread, I think.” and you laugh nervously. “Left over from when?” the Life Lifter says. 

“Oh Gosh, I don’t remember exactly but it feels like it has always been there.” you say with a slight question mark in your voice. “Do you remember a time when it wasn’t there?” the Life Lifter asks knowing the answer. 

“I guess so. Maybe before I even had kids, you are taking me back now. All the way to my early 20s, when I was studying in college. I don’t remember having it then.” you say staring at the distance, out the window with a smile on your face. “I can tell you went somewhere else, where were you?” the Life Lifter says and looks at you straight in the eyes knowing what comes next. “I remember the days when everything seemed easy, and the whole world seemed kind. I guess my innocence was there too.” you say with a tear forming in your eyes. “Now can you recall the first time you felt that heaviness?” the life lifter asks the second question. 

“It was nothing big really, just a regular day but my mom forgot my birthday, and for some reason even though this was not the first time, it felt different. Heavier.” you say and you take deep breaths, deeper than you have in a while. 

“Did your mom forget your birthday often?” the Life Lifter said in a very quiet voice. 

“I guess you can say that, but it was other smaller things, she did. That nobody noticed but me.” you say and for some reason you get up from the chair and go towards that big window that is next to the kitchen. 

“You know what? I think I will go for a walk today. 

I haven’t felt like it for some time, but I feel like I do today. 

After all I can’t let that beautiful sunshine go to waste. 

And there are new neighbors that moved in weeks ago and I haven’t even welcomed them yet.” 

“It sounds good to me, and I will see you again another day.” the Life Lifter says and heads towards the door. 

You stare at him knowing that whatever he said, and whatever you said made everything lighter, less noisy and more purposeful. 

Maybe, you will call your friend and ask her about how she feels when she gets up in the morning too. 

After all, it feels rather good to talk about something that nobody ever knew and nobody ever saw. (Click to tweet!)

 

With life lifting abilities, 

Christina Rasmussen 

PS. REGISTER FOR THE LIFE REENTRY CLASS HERE: https://christinarasmussen.com/life-reentry-invisible-loss/

 


Your Pen Pal

It’s late Thursday night, writing this letter to you. 

If you live in the US you will get it first thing Friday morning. 

With your cup of coffee or tea. 

If you are in Australia or New Zealand, it will be late at night. 

And if you are in the UK or Europe mid afternoon, with a scone and a cup of tea. 

So many of you also read this letter in India, in the early evening. 

And let me not forget the South Africa readers too. 

We have come far, you and I. 

We have talked about our youth, nostalgia, tragedy, gardening, the quarantine, love, loss, boundaries, aging, invisible losses, old selves, the waiting room. 

Our inner worlds. The details of our days. 

The moments in between the noise. Memories. 

Our beloveds, here and the beyond. Crying. 

Traveling. Selling houses. Friendships. 

Oh my friend, we had quite a ride haven’t we? 

And if you are just joining, don’t worry I am going to keep sending these letters. 

Maybe forever. 

After all, you are my best friend. 

Sometimes I tell you things I don’t tell anyone else. 

I used to think I would stop writing this letter at some point. 

I don’t think that anymore. 

Did you know I always dreamed of having my own column, maybe the New York Times will call me.

Hey Christina, we heard about your Friday letters. 

Can you write one to our readers too? 

Haha. Right?

You see, dreams just speak to you out of the blue. 

They just jump in. 

I let them. I never shoosh them. However crazy they are. 

And you just never know, maybe one day you will be reading your favorite news platform, and something would sound familiar. 

You would recognize the writing I hope. 

The voice that told you so many times to live your life, your way. 

It told you to need nothing, and be free of everyone and everything. 

To not care about what other people think. 

To live with few attachments, and no expectations. 

To do what you love even if it brings you little money. 

And to talk about everything that feels heavy, and everything that matters. 

To live your life not owing the world anything, but being of service, to everyone. 

For love. (Click to tweet!)

And this is why this has always been a love letter. 

 

With many extraordinary pen pals,

Christina 

P.S. The Life Reentry Class is finally open for registration once again here.


The Mid Size Punch

Sometimes, things come and hit you from out of nowhere. 

It is like a punch in the dark. 

A spit even. 

Yes it feels like you are being spat on sometimes, doesn’t it? 

And you don’t know why.

You were not even in a battle. 

Not in the ring. 

Lights were out. 

You were not expecting a visitor. 

Nobody rang the bell. 

And boom, you get hit. 

Some unexpected news perhaps. 

Someone turning you down. 

Not getting the job you thought you would. 

Whatever it is, you didn’t see it coming. 

And now, what? 

What do you do?

I had one of those punches yesterday. 

I call it, the mid size punch. 

And it’s complicated. 

You don’t know how to deal with it. 

You feel like you can still work. 

Make dinner. Go about your daily routine. 

With the bruising still happening. The leftover pain. 

When I got that mid size punch it was on a Wednesday. 

I thought to myself, nooooo I need today to be Saturday. 

Then I would have a longer waiting room day. 

Feeling sorry for myself, day. 

I could write about it. Cleanse it. 

Have a pity party. 

Did you know I love having them? 

Yes. I do. They are such an important part of our healing. 

When you don’t take care of that mid size punch, the leftover pain becomes a low grade anxiety, that goes and finds your bigger anxieties and latches on. 

Imagine over the years all these punches we had to endure finding their way to the inner mothership of anxiety.

Because that was the only thing they could do since there was no other exit. 

And this is why...

Life is meant to be processed, cleansed, talked about and felt. 

Anything else is poison. (Click to tweet!)

So, here’s to cleansing our mid size punches and making sure to join our own pity parties whenever necessary. 

It’s our human right. 

It really is. 

The opposite never ends well. 

 

With many needed pity parties. 

Christina

P.S Oh and make sure you listen to this week’s solo Dear Life Podcast, on Dating. Shhhhhh. 

Listen right here


The Lost Art of Doodling

If you look at anyone deeply. 

Staring at their very being, you will see the little kid they used to be. 

Anyone. Try it. 

Even those you don’t like. 

Especially those. 

Just look at them. Behind their eyes a kid is looking at you. 

Just look at the way their food stumbles on them. 

It’s the kid eating. 

And the way they are dressed. 

Not their work clothes, but their silly bracelet. 

Or the peculiar clip on the hair. 

It’s the kid getting dressed. 

My favorite place to look is people’s notepads. 

Are they doodling little flowers and silly faces next to the words at a conference?

Are they playing games on their phones?

Do they giggle? Even once in a while.

Play silly pranks. And crack jokes. 

Those who have the weight of the world on their shoulders, have stopped having any kind of fun. Even the doodling kind. 

And do you know what is the biggest invisible loss of all? 

The loss of any proof that they too used to be a kid. 

Have compassion for those whose identity of being a respectable and dutiful adult has been the only identity they remember. 

For a lot of them, they were not allowed to be kids even when they were kids. 

They had to grow up fast, to take care of a family member, or a sibling. 

They played less than the other kids. 

For those, finding that kid means everything. 

That kid gave them their start. 

Find a moment, a playful word, a spark in your eyes to share with them. 

They won’t like it. But that doesn’t mean they don’t need it. 

And if it is you, that has hidden the kid you used to be. If you are an adult with doodless notepads. Tasteless food. And only news playing on your TV. 

Pause for a second, and remember your favorite candy.

The time you sneaked out of your class, or stole the ice cream from the fridge. 

Remember that kid? Well, that kid is still with you. (Click to tweet!)

They are just looking for that one small doodle on your pad, and that game that you always wanted to check out. 

We forgot how to have fun didn’t we? 

After all, without the playing, and the laughing, and the doodling, what’s the point of it all?

 

With many doodles,

Christina

P.S May you find time to breathe this week. And doodle.


The Weathered House

I realized that my aging is more physically evident lately. 

It is like a beautiful weathered house on the water. 

It looks different when it’s been there a lifetime vs when it's brand new. 

Even if the owners took care of it in every way, the many gatherings, celebrations, transitions and of course the ocean splashing all over it, has made it look different. 

I don’t think the word older is relevant to the house on the beach or to ourselves. 

A word such as transformed is closer to the meaning of who I am becoming. 

I looked at my face the other day and I saw so many new layers of living on it. 

My body also looked not just heavier but more at home, it was as if it was telling me I am not going back to being smaller. 

My body was changing along with me. 

Making sure I knew that we were a team. 

Body and mind. 

At first, you go to war with your body, trying to make it go back to the way it used to look, but it always wins. 

It has to match our inner growth and unfortunately our inner worlds carry with them a hard life. I have never met anyone without a hard life. 

Without the ocean falling on them every day. 

Without trespassers taking advantage of the living room, kitchen and deck every day. 

We have been explored, rejected, abandoned but also loved, and adored. 

And love leaves bigger marks. 

Because we will always lose love and that is the biggest wave the ocean hits the house with. Our so called aging comes from losing the loves of our lives, never getting a second chance at the same memory. 

Another round of kisses and conversations under the moon. 

If you are reading this in your 20s or 30s and think this doesn’t pertain to you, know you too have already lost so much. You have weathered storms, and crashing waves. 

If you are reading this and you are in your 80s, 70s, 60s, 50s and you are saying in your quiet voice, oh Christina you just wait until you get here how much older you will look. 

I hear you. I am in the beginning of a long aging process. 

But I deeply believe that even when the biggest wave of my life hits me, one that I cannot survive, I will close my eyes so fast and leave my body even faster than the wave can find me. 

On to the next life journey, somewhere else with the same friends but with different names. 

With the same witness but with another body to shape over the years. 

I just hope I have a knowing, a remembering not of the waves, but of my relentless perseverance to find the calm between them. (Click to tweet!) 

My passion for sitting on the wet deck under the rainbow, the sand drying out but sticky enough to build sand castles even for a day. For an evening. 

And my gearing up for the next day waiting to be transformed into whatever was next. 

Just like my eagerness for the next time I get the chance to ‘age’ and blanket my inner self with the world. 

 

With many waves and many lives, 

Christina 

P.S This week’s podcast was about everything that has to do with our life and loss. With Dr. Rick Hanson. He also had this deeply healing voice. I hope you take us for a walk this weekend. Listen HERE.


10 Years Later...

When I write to you, I feel closer to who I am.

I am the truest version of myself. 

And even though I write to many thousands of people at the same time, I feel like I am just writing to you. 

Imagine if all of our relationships were this way. 

Where we could be the truest versions of ourselves. 

If only, every relationship didn’t make us better, or worse but truer. 

Almost like a zap. An adjustment back to the core self. 

This is how it feels when I write to you. 

I even forget that the rest of the world can also read this letter. 

It is like being on stage sharing a moment with one person, forgetting that the audience is watching. 

You made me an artist. A writer. 

A lover of people. A creator of worlds. 

It was always for you, and because of you. 

Today is the 10 year anniversary since I started this journey.

I founded Second Firsts, on September 10th, 2010. 

And I had no idea what I was doing. 

Or how I was going to do it.

I just knew I wanted a better life for us.

For everyone who felt like an alien after the loss of someone they loved. 

We were lost and afraid, confused and alone and the world didn’t know what to do with us. 

They told us to get back to work, pay our bills and just wait it out. Until we were better. (Click to tweet!)

I just wanted to hold your hand. 

Make you feel less alone, less scared, less misunderstood. 

Because of you, I forgot my own fears. 

My own heartache. 

You healed me as much as I healed you. 

Because of this relationship, my life was worth fighting for. 

For every day I did better, I could inspire you to do better. 

For every day I loved myself more I could help you do the same. 

And for every time I did the impossible you could believe you could too. 

When I say I could not have done this without you, it could not be more true. 

Here’s to the next ten years, where we get to do things we can’t possibly imagine. 

 

With gratitude,

Christina 

P.S. This week’s interview is for anyone who wants to change jobs, careers, passions. 

Listen here. 


Waving At You From the House Across the Street

I wasn’t planning on it but I just spent a whole week truly being myself. 

I didn’t care about pleasing anyone. Not even one. 

I said whatever was on my mind. 

I was myself 100%. Full on. 

And then it hit me. 

I realized that when you show up fully, with no guilt, no shame, no worry about what anyone may be thinking about you. 

When you just rebel against the version of yourself that was slightly altered to fit in.

You recognize that it takes a lot out of you.

I went from slouching to sitting up straight. 

From driving 45 miles per hour to hitting the fifth gear.

The exhilaration of being yourself is actually hard work for the brain that is used to running on half of what made you, you. 

Oh my Lord. 

I was living with a lot of my windows closed. 

So I opened them all at the same time. 

Do you know what else I discovered? 

All the meaningless worries vanished. 

I was too busy expressing myself to worry about how my expressions were landing on others. 

I even forgot to judge myself. 

I went from one truth to another. 

From one open window to the next. I felt alive. Tired but alive. 

I spent my week, also shaking my head. 

How could I have squashed myself even a little?

How do we convince ourselves to mute our voice for the mother in law who doesn’t like us? 

For the stepdaughter who can’t care less if we are dead or alive. 

For the stranger who sits at the cubicle next to us at work. 

I know you have had some of your windows closed too. 

Now we move forward. Opening as many windows as possible. 

But anyone who is still looking for the half person you used to be, is not for you. 

Be ready to shed relationships. 

And don’t give your full version of yourself to anyone who doesn’t deserve you. 

Don’t waste your time. Pull back immediately if you feel anyone disapproves of your wholeness. Don’t even consider it. 

I am all about giving people second chances, but there are times when a second chance should not be an option. 

Bottom line is that the people who disapprove of your way of life, should not be in it. (Click to tweet!)

You cannot risk having to shut those windows again. 

Here’s to a week with bright light, and sun coming through your big gorgeous windows. 

Can you see me waving at you from the house across the street? 

 

With an honest life,

Christina

P.S. The Dear Life Podcast has been growing and growing, thank you for listening. If you haven’t yet started, one of my favorites is Jane Green’s episode. You will want to open all your windows afterwards for sure. LISTEN HERE.


You Have To Slow Down When You Are Sad

Why is it so darn hard to stop and tend to our sorrow during a hard season? 

And why does it feel so unnatural to be sad?

Why isn’t our society able to help us heal?

No wonder we find it difficult to take time off work, or let go of our responsibilities. 

It is like we are being dragged by a fast moving train and we won’t let go of the railing. Because if we did, what would people think of us? 

What would happen to all the things and all the people who are on that train? 

Who would fuel the train and keep it going if we had to take a break? 

Who would carry the load if we could not do it. 

Dare we even ask anyone? 

Dare we say I am sorry but I need to take time off? 

We even convince ourselves that we don’t need it. 

I sure did this week. 

We feel shame even asking for some time to be with ourselves, and hold our own hand during a tough transition. 

Whatever that may be. Empty nest. Divorce proceedings. 

Someone dying on us. A tough medical diagnosis. 

An argument with someone in our lives. 

A tough day at work. Whatever it is we are struggling with. 

We don’t let go of that train. 

So we get back to life with a limp. 

We get back on that horse while we are injured. 

Sure we make it work. 

But nothing heals the right way. 

And we wonder where anxiety comes from. Well, let’s look no further. 

Anxiety is the injury that didn’t have time to heal. 

It’s the echo of the silent crying. 

The voice that is never allowed to speak. 

I know, I know I sound dramatic.

But this world we live in, is no place for vulnerability. 

No wonder Brene Brown became so famous with her work. 

But even after all these years of her saying it, writing, speaking it we still live in a world that won’t let us off that train when we are broken hearted. 

Something tells me that a kinder, softer world may not be coming anytime soon. 

I am sorry.

But I can’t give us fake hope. 

What would be the point of telling you that one day we will all live in a world that sees grief as a sign of strength and intelligence? 

But I am going to say something else. 

And it is why I am still here fighting for us. 

Maybe the kind and compassionate world we seek can only be created in smaller groups. 

A tight knit community. 

Where we have a common goal, and similar beliefs. 

These days I keep myself in circles with people I feel comfortable with. 

With people who don’t believe in perfection, they have had tons of loss and are mostly as strange as I am. 

I hope this letter is reminding you of two things. 

Slow down when you are sad. 

And find people who will make you feel OK when you do. 

Sometimes it can be that simple. 

Here’s to a slow day if your heart is hurting. 

And to finding a group of people who know what that's like. (Click to tweet!)

 

With a much needed slower pace, 

Christina 

PS. I interviewed Neale Donald Walsch this week on the podcast. When you listen, it will feel like the whole world slowed down. Listen here: http://www.dearlifepodcast.com/episodes/ep68

PPS. Class registration closes this Sunday: www.thetempleeffect.com


A New Chapter Begins

Lately, I realized that I will never stop writing about longing and loss. 

I see everything from a transient perspective. 

I am in love with the moment, because it is so fleeting. 

I see everything from the end. 

When I witness people in the later stage of life, I see the goodbyes they had to say. 

The many selves they had to abandon. The many people they lost.  

The jobs. The hobbies. Their favorite chairs. Tables. 

A room they loved in a house they lived in.

It is almost as if I see the life that is not there, but was. 

This week I am saying goodbye to a big chapter of my life. 

A self I have occupied for many years. 

My youngest daughter left for college. 

And now, I have to say goodbye to the woman who raised two daughters without their dad.

Goodbye to all the choices she made through that identity.

To the woman she had to become so she could be both mother and father. 

I have to tend to every invisible loss she is experiencing. 

All of the many parts she had accumulated during the last 20 years, are being disassembled. They are on their way out the door. 

I have names for all the pieces that are leaving her. 

The biggest piece is called reliable. 

Another, fathering. 

I will miss the everyday togetherness I had with my daughters

Their daily presence, and laughter. 

Our daily drives to school. 

The movie nights, the kitchen hang outs. 

Who I was at home with them. 

Every time we end a chapter we mourn many invisible parts of ourselves. 

We have to see them all, name them, and acknowledge their role in our lives. 

It will take me weeks, maybe even a whole year to see all the parts of me that will be forever lost. So many pieces won’t make the next chapter. 

Maybe I will be completely gone. 

As I am writing this I realize what a big part of me was about raising the girls. 

Bigger than I ever thought. 

And as the pieces are flying out of the door, it feels quiet now. 

Empty of the toughness I had mastered to be a strong mother. 

The old life is fading away and with it, a new life is crawling in. 

I don’t know what it will be like. 

I have never been here before. 

What I do know is that I love being a beginner. 

Finding my way to a life for myself. 

It’s been a long time coming. (Click to tweet!)

 

With beginner’s luck,

Christina 

P.S. During the last two weeks I had two extraordinary podcast guests that know about beginnings and endings very well. Best selling novelist Jane Green will make you fall in love with her and her many books. And Tracey Harris, my favorite artist of all time. You can find both their interviews here.