My Ah Ha Moment Was About My Sis:
A couple of years ago our Book Club read “Wild” by Cheryl Strayed (back when we were actually reading books instead of discussing Life). If you haven’t read the book or seen the movie starring Reese Witherspoon, do so. Both are worthy of your time and your tears.
I was quite uncomfortable reading about the lifestyle and risks Cheryl Strayed took. At our meeting I emphatically stated, “It is totally unnecessary to personally experience the peaks and valleys someone else takes on their Hero’s Journey in order to learn the lessons. You can simply analyze another’s journey, compare it to your own and then make the changes that would incorporate that knowledge without the pain.” Emphasis on without the pain.
I still believe that argument, to a certain extent. Logically, life could not have kept moving forward if evolution hadn’t included moments of “Oh, don’t try to pet that saber tooth tiger like your dead friend did. Kill it before it kills you!” We humans are trainable.
My AHA moment came several days later during a therapeutic massage/somato emotional release when I connected my anger with Cheryl’s “Wild” life and my residual anger with one of my siblings. Sis #3 whose own Wild life came to an abrupt end in 2007 at the age of 42.
Despite her self destructive life choices, Cheryl Strayed changed her life as she took her Hero’s Journey walking 1,100 miles of the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) for 94 days. She learned her lessons, restarted her life, wrote her book and shared her hard won wisdom with millions of people. Cheryl continues writing books, touring the country and inspiring people to find their Truth.
My Sis didn’t walk the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT). She climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro. Sis white water rafted. Biked across the Midwest. Participated in triathlons. Catapulted up the corporate chain. She was the Queen of Charm and the Princess of Everything Else. Her highs were sooo high. Those of us who loved her thrilled at her adventures and tucked a tiny portion of her successes into our souls. We were filled with pride and admiration of her courage and tenacity.
Sis also walked the path that led Cheryl Strayed to the PCT. A path littered with abusive partners, addiction, deceit and desperation. Her lows were bottomless. Those of us who loved her worried and watched with concern during those dark years. After an intervention and some serious life work Sis, like Cheryl, came out on the other side. She made it through the woods. She completed her Hero’s Journey, learned her lessons, made many changes, found more peace than she had previously known–and then boom. Speeding down a hill on her bike, she did not brake nor see the truck.
My anger, I realized, was not at they way she used to live, but that she no longer lived. So many people loved her. She had fierce friends. Respected colleagues. Family that adored her. She lit up a room and lived her life full out. As a little girl she used to say, “Look at me!” And we all did. She did not burn both ends of a candle. Sis burned both ends of a huge Roman candle. The resulting fireworks display was memorable and magnificent! And in the end, deadly.
Eleven years later, I still miss her. Watching her life was like watching the solar eclipse. Thrilling up to the point when you have to look away or else be blinded. Sis did not blink. Ever. I am now at peace because I believe she accomplished all she came to Earth to experience and she has moved on to her next great adventure. One that us mere mortals cannot see.
AHA moments are filled with joy, wonder and tears.
And sometimes pain.
I am so grateful that my little sister
continues to teach me
how to live
with all the above.