Gratitude – the path to Spiritual Alchemy

spiritual alchemy

As the old year ends, I tend to reflect on the year that’s been with a mixture of gratitude for places travelled, fun times, great food, joyous occasions, or treasured family moments. As a lifelong practitioner and interpreter of Mother Gaia’s energies, I pull a few cards for myself and the collective and shine a guiding light on the infinite possibilities in the timelines stretching into the New Year.

For those who don’t know me, it’s possible my reflections may seem like fluffy, empty, shallow, well-worn platitudes. Others that do know me, know my gratitude is real. The words I write, ripple from a painful past, traumatic experiences, lost love, separation from family, disappointments – and let’s just say – times when life did not ‘align’ with what I had envisioned for myself.

For me, the cards are an extension of this – they help show the timelines possible in any given moment – the promise of a future … the opportunity to create a life you have always wanted by embracing or transmuting the energies around you.

Gratitude reminds me to actively see the good in each day, week, month or year we are gifted. It’s also worth noting for those more ‘scientific’ amongst you, practicing gratitude has been proven to rewire our brains!

This year, however, as I reflect my mind alights all too easily on the pain, grief and such sorrow. I know it’s been the same for many of you too. It’s difficult to find the ‘Gratitude’ in amongst the empty shells or the raw, real pain.

Loss in all her forms

My good friend Bernie passed away at the end of May and I was physically unable to move after surgery to be able to attend her funeral. But I had visited Bernie in hospital shortly before she passed. She wanted with her whole being to get out of hospital. To be amongst her own things and be surrounded by those she loved. She sat there in her rainbow-coloured dressing gown and pink hair saying, ‘this isn’t how I wanted it’.  Being the pair of witchy woo woos we were – we decided we needed to manifest some magic.

As things transpired COVID shut the ward down and she was sent home. I still smile at the memory of that message she sent me ‘You’ll never believe it, I’m being discharged – I’m out of here…’ We ‘woop-wooped’ with joy and our own self-belief in the magical art of manifestation. I messaged her to say – ‘well you got your wish beautiful. You’re going home’. 

Bernie and I were able to say our goodbyes in person. We held each other’s hands and we spoke with our eyes. We were able to say all the things we wanted to say, and we shared a magical connection that is still with me now. We were kindred spirits and yes, while I miss her sunny laughter, I can still hear her, and I can still see her face. But at least on some level, I was prepared for her to leave her physical body. And I find comfort in knowing Bernie at least got to go home – just the way she wanted. Yes, there is sadness and grief – but in amongst it, smiles and profound gratitude.

None of us were prepared for the utter shocking devastation of Eric’s passing. I will never forget that phone call from my daughter. It’s seared into my soul and, as I write this, I am back there in that moment. I will never forget these past 6 months … the past 9 years he was part of our lives… I will never forget – any of it.

As a mother, to witness my daughter suffer the insufferable – her sheer resilience through her pain has been nothing short of humbling. But she is processing it all and feeling – or not feeling – in any given moment, day or week. As many of you who are well versed in loss, grief is not linear. Five months on I can see my daughter navigating a life that was not of her choosing… every day she is having to experience a life that’s ‘not what she wanted’. When I tentatively talk about the future – she makes decisions based on ‘what sucks the least’. I have always loved her direct honesty and ability to cut through the fluff. She’s not pretending life is anything other than what it is at that moment.

We are living in a place that’s not of her choosing at this moment in time – it’s our in-between place until we decide where we all want to be …at this moment in time – this is not what she wants. She wants to be close to her old life – her friends – and her Eric. The person she was ‘before’. Or at least to fast forward another few months down the line. Just not here. For fellow empaths and Readers – this is her ‘Hanged Man’ moment.

Yet through it all, I am grateful for the operation I had earlier in the year, I ended up flat on my back for weeks, then dealing with all the work we had to sort the house out for sale (through various floods and various obstacles that kept popping up). I had a strong intuition we were actively being ‘slowed down’. We were being kept in that house longer than we had planned. I am so grateful for this – because otherwise, I may not have been there when my daughter needed me most – and I may not have had a home to bring her back to, to cocoon her for 4 months.

Amongst it all, I lost my much-adored chickens. I never mentioned it to anyone because of the scale of what was going on elsewhere in our lives –news of their demise may have seemed insensitive and insignificant. But their little feathery lives mattered to me. Earlier in the year, one was put down because of illness, then some months later, another fell ill with a completely different illness. We had tried vet visits and various medications, but the illness re-occurred. Her sister passed away soon after in grief and then our final chicken Maggie was adopted by one of our neighbours as I couldn’t have a lonely chicken. She too would have surely died too. I had to give her away to save her. I was so sad at the loss of my chickens and the dream and joy of keeping them. It was a notion of the life I wanted ‘ending’ albeit short term. Tending them was so therapeutic to me. A joy I really hadn’t anticipated. Yet, I was grateful to be able to give them love all through their lives –a peaceful ending – and to have a neighbour so ready and willing to step in to provide Maggie with a home and new sisters.

We sold beautiful Lorikeet Lane in November, and that has felt like a huge and symbolic loss – though this was of our choosing. Still – I do wish we could perhaps have stayed a little longer and perhaps waited another year to put our house on the market once we had all had a chance to regroup after the events of the year. Tread water if you will. But (resigned sigh) I have learned to trust the Universe and the timelines she unfolds before our eyes.

So we find ourselves here – the year’s end in Long Beach, North of Batemans Bay. It’s somewhere a bit random and not on our radar a few months before – but – there is something symbolic about being a few steps from the beach.

We lived a few steps from Bronte Beach when we first arrived in Australia 20 years ago. Though I had never really been a beach person – my fear of getting my face or head in water curtailed any swimming activities – I have always found the colour of the ocean in all its turquoises, greens and blues, deeply healing. So here we are again, the rage of moods conveyed by the waves and colours, a mirrored reflection of our own.

Breathing life back into ‘you’…

My girl is taking the hound dog for walks on the beach, she is making her bed, she is eating, she is caring for her cat, she is doing what she needs to do to ‘tread water’ until she embarks on the journey that sucks the least. The sea air is cleansing her energy fields, whether she feels it or not.

I share these moments because I know so many of you have also suffered loss. Devastating loss and you have been carrying the grief and silent pain as you go about your life.  It seems, this year, more than any other, I am reading of your losses. I know you have lost mothers, fathers, siblings and loved ones -and you’ve been reading about the losses of others through Covid, natural disasters or unprecedented weather events. I know some of you are worried about people in your lives. People you love and cherish, and you are willing them to go on.

I have discovered the nature of such loss, grief, worry, care and concern can be utterly exhausting and you no longer remember what life was like ‘before’. It’s easy to lose who you are in amongst those losses.

So, I urge you to remember to ‘take care of you’ and connect and sit with the ‘realness’ of your emotions as ugly or messy as you believe them to be.  It can be hard to see the gift in loss – though in the strange ‘up’ surges of grief and trauma – you may see those moments glitter like gold. While in other moments on that wave, you may crash to the shore, feeling with every fibre that life is hollow and pointless.

But if you can make decisions based on ‘what sucks the least’ rather than some disconnected, hard-to-reach notion of joy and happiness, you will be living authentically.

In time, you will be able to look at your day, your week, your month, your year, your life, and realise just how resilient you are. Even if at times you fear you’ll get tangled in the seaweed and you fear you are losing yourself, know that it’s ok just to float – to tread water.

Allow the waves to support you, until you know which direction you want to swim. In time, if you allow the ebb and flow, you may find yourself walking along the beach, exploring rock pools, discovering tiny fish, and the most beautiful shells – iridescent in all their hues … and for a split second you will ponder on the sheer beauty of something so seemingly simple in the shallows … From that moment, simple gratitude enters your life as a gentle, support of a lifelong friend. The friend who sits with you in the quiet moments of it all. The gratitude you experience in those smallest of moments, form under your feet and become your pathway to Spiritual alchemy.

I looked back on my Reading last year – it was all there. The loss, the ripping away of everything – the course reset. It occurred to me that yes – this year has indeed been a course reset. When all is lost, you begin again – you must – even when you don’t want to. But you are enriched for the love and experiences you now carry within. Those are not lost. Love is not lost. You carry it within you always.

I am normally one for such big traditions at Hogmanay (the old year’s end) but I think this year we will usher in the New Year gently – just as we did at Christmas. I’ll pull a few cards and I’ll make sure I tell all my loved ones how cherished they are. I’ll give thanks for what has moved through our lives and I will look to the future.

If you are not where you want to be right now – if you have lost someone or something dear to you this year, sit with it – look for the love that can be saved – taken – carried with you into the future. Let the love you have experienced help you build the foundations of a new life … and in time I promise gratitude will help carry you forward.

To all my friends and family who helped carry us through 2022, we will take your love into 2023. Thank You. So much gratitude for each and every one of you.  We are stronger because of you. And I hope you feel that love as you too turn to face 2023. Together we can take our pain of loss, sit with it, and then turn it into pearls of wisdom that might help others – that is the alchemy of gratitude.

Love and Light to you all.
Blessed Be in 2023

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