2019 has begun. The Year is new.


What in me is beginning? What in me is new?


The operative word is IN.  In my soul, what is beginning? In my soul, what is new?


What lives in the soul of a 71 year old woman that can begin? That is new?


Inner beginnings are about new questions, new perceptions, new understanding and new appreciation in my thinking and my feeling that opens me up to new choices and behaviors. What germinates is new consciousness, new relationships and new intentions. But before beginnings are endings and we need to grieve our endings.


(I began this blog over a week ago. I have kept returning to it as what I was writing about needs to be clear for me and for you. I was talking with a dear young friend a few days ago about the work of self-imagining. I said to her, “All you have to do is know yourself, but that is not easy. It is heavy-lifting.”  This post has been heavy-lifting for me. It will be heavy-lifting for you, too. My hope is that my heavy-lifting will inspire your heavy-lifting! Heavy soul-lifting!)


I am beginning to lift my understanding of grief. I am distinguishing narrative grief and karmic grief. Both set us free. One is the grief of our stories. The other is the grief that is a source of resolution, wisdom and understanding.


Grief is a response to loss of self.  Our sense of self is built and our loss of self occurs in seven main realms: contribution, relationship, well-being, inner development, home, finances, and dreams. Losses occur at every stage of life: childhood, adolescence, college, young adulthood, midlife, and so forth – basically the seven year periods of life unfolding. Grieving is a necessary and sacred process to express our emotional suffering in our narrative and to arrive at an understanding of our karma. Grief ignored, denied or stuck cripples our soul and sickens our body. We are not encouraged to grieve. We are not taught about the value of grief.  Grief is not protected and nurtured. This paragraph is a very brief overview. What follows is what I have been distinguishing about grief through my own experience. At the bottom of this post is a link to a webinar I will be giving to expand on the seven realms of self and loss and the inner freedom of grief.


Grief as Inner Freedom


During the Holy Nights, I was inspired to write about the freedom of grief. Of the 12 Inner Freedoms, grief was a surprise and an awakening. I had never thought of grief as a source of inner freedom and it made me uncomfortable.  Grief was my astounding epiphany. I realized that I had great freedom of karmic grief and little freedom of narrative grief.  A manifold gift of the Holy Nights. Let me share…


There are two kinds of grief: narrative grief and karmic grief. The first, narrative grief, is about the emotions of loss and develops an inner freedom of our emotional lifestory. The second, karmic grief, is about the purpose of loss and the freedom of wisdom.


Why have I had so much difficulty with grieving my stories, and so little challenge with grieving my karma?  This is what I am beginning to explore in this post and will continue throughout 2019. 


What is it to resolve karma? Do you believe in karma? Believe there is purpose in the difficulties in your life that connects you to past and future lifetimes? Is karma more than a punishing consequence of a distant life and a stain for future ones? Resolving karma goes beyond the victim/perpetrator drama. When you resolve karma you find the purpose, the gift, the wisdom in the suffering of self.


Resolve goes deeper than our narrative dramas but telling the story is the first step to going deeper. I’ve told my stories so many times. It seems my angel was whispering in my ear “Tell it again. Tell it till you come to a new understanding.”


Narrative grief floods the body and soul with emotional darkness. Karmic grief slowly moves through insightful feelings that illuminate meaningful purpose. The painful emotions are the dark bottomless waters that flow toward karmic seas reflecting cosmic light.  I remember a wonderful therapist remarking that I leapt from mountain top to mountain top and never went down into the valleys. From that mountain tops you can see the rivers and the seas but they are so far away.  I was so afraid of the pools of emotions lying in the deep valleys of my soul. 2019 will be a year when I visit the storied valleys of my soul and swim in the rivers and rapids of my emotional grief.


I have not grieved my narrative. I’ve pitied my stories. I faced my stories. I’ve accepted my stories. I’ve discovered the gifts in my stories. But I have not emotionally grieved my stories. I do not have a story of my sadness and anger.  Now I will begin to grieve the crazy ways parts of my self, my story and my soul were lost, crippled and killed. Rudolf Steiner said “You can only sacrifice that which you have fully possessed.” You can only heal what you have fully possessed. Without active grief and the emotional fullness of my stories, I cannot fully possess and heal my emotional self, my narrative self.


I’ve told my stories and seen my listeners start to cry. They weep for me when I could not or would not weep for myself. They reach for my hand to give comfort. Their speechlessness attempts to recognize that the story really doesn’t tell the whole experience. I told the stories but left my emotions out!


In all the many sacred conversations I have had with my healers, teachers and good friends, no one ever asked me why wasn’t I grieving. My stories were dramatic in the telling and I was always so “wise” about them that the absence of deep emotion was overlooked.


For other listeners, I appear not as a victim, but as a hero, a bold, creative survivor. They feel safe with me because I don’t fall into my emotions. I model going deep without slogging through the mud.  I demonstrate turning the sow’s ear of suffering into the silk purse of wisdom. My karmic grief serves others beautifully, but I still keep  my emotional self in exile.


Here as I dive into 2019 at age 71, I want to grieve with wild emotions. I want to finally grieve my narrative and free my emotional life.  I want my sadness and my anger. I need to touch and release the emotions of my childhood, of my brokenness, of my failures. I need to find the depths of beauty in my soul…the beauty carved and colored by loss.


I want to tell my sad stories again. But tell them to myself, alone in the night, to get to all the  pain and sadness, rage and horror. I want to feel them as deeply as possible till they dissolve into the rivers of the past, the streams of tears, the ocean of karma. Then I will let the stories go with love and gratitude and resolution. I will know the inner freedom of grief.


And I will give myself caregiving, comforting, and loving.  I will wrap myself in the warm blanket woven of my stories and my karma.


Karmic grieving! Narrative grieving! Why has it taken me so long to get here? We have a culture that doesn’t like grief of either kind. Narrative grief is the sad ending of a story and our lives are a series of stories in each of the seven realms. When life story meets loss, abuse and tragedy, we need to grieve, even when we are 3 or 10 or 17 or 42.


We need to remember memories but true memories ask us to remember unbearable grief. There was no place for the unbearable grief in my childhood narrative. No childhood caregiver could hold me and help me handle my grief when it surfaced. I was told to calm down. That everything would be all right!


I developed an awareness of the stories of my caregivers and others and could understand their karma. This was good as I could serve others on their inner development. I could be the compassionate caregiver I didn’t have, but it kept me and my inner development in a state of crippled and unexpressed emotions. I skipped over narrative grief. I skipped over my emotional truth.


Karmic grief frees the soul. It is not just remembering the pain of the past, it is resolving it.  With right narrative and karmic grieving, the karmic past loosens, so our destiny can unfold freely, untethered and strong.  I need to experience the avoided narrative grief then weave my emotions into moral feeling.  Karmic grieving incarnates the wholeness of my I. Narrative grieving brings the balm of wholeness to my life story.


Karmic grief resolves in the privacy of your inner life, but ironically, gives your grief an expanding outer context. When you grieve karmically more and more elements come into consciousness. The impact of the losses of your innocence, your innate truth, your innate beauty, your innate gifts of goodness, begin to have their place and roles in all your relationships, all your deeds. all your days and all your nights.  You begin to stand upright and creatively balance between your past and your future, between your body and your emotional narrative and your spirit and the destiny of this incarnation.


Making the distinction between narrative grief and karmic grief is new. I am beginning to understand. I am now so clear that I have had the destiny as a writer, teacher, and a spiritual guide to build my work on my understanding of karmic grief. The cost has been my avoidance of my narrative grief.


2019 begins my narrative grieving. What newness will it bring to my soul, my relationships, my work? I’ll be sharing more about my process.


What are your thoughts and your questions about your narrative grief and your karmic grief? How can I help you perceive and penetrate both so you can find your wholeness?



A Great Read on Memoirs


I love it when the gods bless us with seeming coincidence. As I was writing my thoughts on the freedom of grief, I found this piece on memoirs. A good memoir seeks to tell both griefs: the narrative and the karmic. The conversation between Dani Shapiro and Jane Ciabattari is filled with light and warmth. Read it!


Upcoming Imagine Self Webinar


A Webinar on the Inner Freedom of Grief in the Seven Realms of Self


On February 2 at 1PM Eastern I will be giving a free live webinar on going deeply into understanding and developing Inner Freedom focusing on Grief and the Seven Realms of Self.  This webinar is a gift for you. Learn more and sign up for it here.

At the end of the webinar, I will describe an in-depth program on Inner Freedom l that I will be offering this year. Do you want to develop your inner freedom? Let’s inspire each other. This program will give us the opportunity to help each other with this essential inner work. Become a freer you!

The Inner Christmas/Holy Nights inspirations on 12 Inner Freedoms powerfully provided material for beginning and being new. Here is a list of the 12 Inner Freedoms.


The Four Inner Freedoms TO:

  • The inner freedom TO Expand
  • The inner freedom TO Contract
  • The inner freedom TO Center
  • The inner freedom TO Flow

The Four Inner Freedoms FROM:

  • The inner freedom FROM Ideals
  • The inner freedom FROM Oughts
  • The inner freedom FROM Fear
  • The inner freedom FROM Doubt

The Four Inner Freedoms OF:

  • The inner freedom OF Surprise
  • The inner freedom OF Grief
  • The inner freedom OF Love
  • The inner freedom OF Question


If you did not subscribe to the Inner Christmas Messages 2018, you can subscribe here and have access to all the Holy Nights posts on each of the Inner Freedoms, all the inspiring comments shared by participants, and a beautifully designed pdf of the compiled Messages. The mood and the power of the Holy Nights live in each message and can inspire you every day of your life.


The 12 Inner Freedoms Messages offer so much possibility.  I want to go into these freedoms more deeply. Do you?