Nov 23rd of this year was an anniversary for me – it was the one year mark since my car accident. And, the one year mark since deeper embodiment of my incarnate life and personal/ancestral destiny. What do I mean by this?
One of the gateways of grief that has followed me through my life is the spiritual grief for having become incarnate; for having to leave source and come into embodiment; for the pain of separation and suffering that is an inevitable product of becoming incarnate. It took me many years to be able to name this deep current of sorrow. It flowed through the bedrock of my experiences, bubbling to the surface as longings for belonging, for a sense of home, for wanting to shake the confines of my corporeal limits.
Although this grief was an opening to a rich and relational spiritual life since a young child, it came at a cost - it meant that I spent many years not fully committed to being here, and not fully in my body. It was a silent struggle, one that meandered through being suicidal and depressed in my late teens/early twenties, one that led me to overwork myself with perfectionism as a way to cope, and one that sank me into abandonment stories.
The other gateways of significant grief in my life, namely developmental trauma, ecological grief and inherited ancestral grief exacerbated my spiritual grief expressions. These gateways are not separate. The necessary work of healing in all these sacred grief areas has allowed me to live closer to a life of embodiment, presence, open-heartedness, fierce compassion and service. And, joy.
Yet, just after 4:00pm on November 23rd, 2017, unbeknownst to me at the time, I became more aligned and committed to my embodied life than I ever could have imagined, despite all the healing work I had already done.
When my car started hydroplaning at 115km/hr and I slid across both lanes of the road several times before sailing off the road, and down the steep embankment into the trees below, I thought I was going to die. What I haven’t shared widely about this experience, is that all of my ancestors had joined me in my car for the 5 minutes leading up to that accident.
This confused me - why were they all so present suddenly? I could feel a sense of significance of something about to happen that I could not change. And, although I knew I was going too fast, I also didn’t slow down. It was a very odd somatic experience that I still have a hard time articulating. And, when I lost all control of my car and I was headed off the road, I was surprisingly calm – important people in my life flashed before my eyes, and I “let go” into dying. I lifted out of my body, easily, effortlessly.
The moment of emotional and spiritual opening however, was not the letting go into Spirit. It was when my car came to a stop lodged into a tree trunk and I landed back in my body, miraculously unharmed.
At the time of course, my nervous system kicked in, I went into shock and survival mode, and events unfolded to get me back into safety. However, as this experience has continued to work through me over this past year, alongside the support of my ancestors and a beautiful community of healers who tended to me afterwards, it is always this point of re-entering my embodiment that eclipses all of the other memories from this event.
The profound felt sense of the exquisiteness of life, of my life, still brings me to sobbing tears as I write this. It cracks me open anytime I re-tell this experience to others. The complete embodiment of my life is the outcome of this somatic near-death experience.
My ancestors are thrilled to say the least, for it is with an earned maturity from years of healing work that I now can embrace my incarnate life on their behalf, on Spirit’s behalf, to live out my/our gifts and destiny to be of service, to contribute to the healing so needed in these times, and to step into my birthright as a lover of life. And, this past year hasn’t been a walk in the park – it has been a full tilt sprint! My life is changing at a quickened pace as re-alignment takes place on many levels ushered in by this pivot point of complete embodiment and from the continued blessings of ancestral support.
In fact, I know that had I not embarked on ancestral healing work and relational tending with my people in this way, that the outcome of this accident would have been different in a not-so-positive way. Their support has been vital, and continues to be. Both their presence at the time of the accident, and also their guidance as I continuously am worked over by the experience and glean what is meant for me from it.
And, I have been shown something important about my particular path at this time. The way I was relating to my spiritual grief, although very much real and painful, was immature. Not in a judgmental way, but in a developmental way that my ancestors are lovingly showing me. It was, and is, a necessary experience for me to grieve the sacred longing for home, however not in a way that allows it to impede my ability to be here, fully incarnate. This grief needs to be continually composted to feed the ground from which new seeds of growth and spiritual maturation arise.
What I have accepted is that I don't need to feel 100% at home here in order to be fully committed to being incarnate for this life experience. And, I can allow the longing for home to fuel my time here in beneficial ways that encourage my presence and rootedness, because home for me is in many places, of which this earthly incarnate plane is just one small aspect.
In the context of my ancestors, and within the dire times we live in, my incarnate life is needed. It was granted for a purpose; like us all. We are all needed. Embodying my soul’s destiny and ancestral gifts contributes to the wider field of life around me and embraces the incarnate expression of Spirit moving through me in service of life.
Thank you for being witness to this unfurling.
Shauna Janz, MA is a teacher, mentor, and facilitator at the crossroads of grief, trauma, ritual and ancestral healing. She is the founder of Sacred Grief offering immersive online programs for folks interested in deepening their skills in these areas.
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