A New Life Begins
“If there IS a God, you’d better show up really quickly because I am extremely f*cking angry and don’t want to live this way anymore!”
I cried this out one day while hanging clothes on the line, fist up in the air. At that time, for some reason I thought that the God-thing was up in the sky! I was feeling even more frustrated because I didn’t believe in the God-thing anyway, so why the hell was I even talking to Him/It?
Up until my daughter’s death, life had passed seamlessly by without paying too much attention to questioning what life is all about. My view of the world at that time was based around family, marriage, and parenting, with little focus on life, politics or religion. It’s interesting how, without any religious upbringing other than a bit of school scripture, I was programmed to believe in the “God up and out there” concept.
After her death, the local church ministers visited me with words of comfort and salvation that only added to my frustration. They said that my baby was “safe” in Gods arms.
My answer was, “Well, he can’t have her and he should give her back. How cruel he is to take her from me and put me through this pain! I hate your God! Leave me alone. If you can’t find a better answer than that about your almighty God then don’t ever come back and feed me again with such nonsense!” Their story seemed insane and brought no comfort. They could not tell me why, and that’s what I wanted to know. Why did she die? Where is she now? In fact, why do we exist at all?
Up until then I had never really questioned death seriously because I had not experienced any losses other than that of childhood pets that I seemed to grieve over for only a short time. Those childhood experiences of death were softened with stories by placating adults of a place called heaven, with angels to take care of my pets with a guarantee of us seeing each other again someday. Experts have acknowledged that in order to bypass the reality of death anxiety, parents will soothe children’s anxiety with the death-denying tales of resurrection, eternal life, heaven, and reunion. My worldview on life never prepared me for the impact of what I was going through now: an existential crisis.
Despite my rebelling against and rejecting the platitudes of the visiting ministers, I still found myself repeating to my daughters exactly what I was told about the death of my pets—the heaven, angels, and biggest star in the sky story. This was a sad attempt to continue to hide the denial of death that had been handed down through many generations of my family. No one was able to tell me a sensible truth because no one knew a sensible truth for themselves.
Over a year had passed and one day I was watching the Oprah Winfrey Show, which had a guest speaker by the name of Betty J. Eadie on stage talking about her near-death experience. Betty had clinically died and came back to tell her story about what it was like crossing over to the other side. Clarity! At last! For the first time in my life, I thought finally someone made some sense! Up until then not a person in the world had a convincing enough story. Even though my baby died from critical bronchial pneumonia, I knew her death was more than a physical, medical experience. I had accepted the medical reason for her death, but the mystery about life was never answered. Not even the churches or ministers who came to visit could help. Their stories never made sense as to why.
Hearing Betty speak about life and death was the first time I felt hope that I could finally be freed me from my emotional and mental torture, and existential crisis, bringing much peace and healing to my life. So much so that I thought this was something definitely worth investigating further. It was here that my larger journey of spiritual seeking began.
At that time there weren’t any internet services and I lived in a remote country town in New South Wales. The only source of spiritual teachings was with the local Christian community. I ordered Betty’s book called Embraced by the Light and read it in three days. This was my first introduction to spiritualism. The hope and peace this message gave to me removed tons of emotional and mental weight from confusion and unanswered questions about why my baby died and where she might be. This also gave me the emotional strength to do what I needed to do to bring hope into my life. So I decided to have my tubes reconnected and, with the faith of a mustard seed, to invite a new soul into our family.
“….the words ‘Spiritual Awakening’ flashed before me like a neon sign…”
Hearing the message of life after death also gave clarity to a feeling that I was experiencing on another level of reality. From the time Taylor died, I always had a sense that although her body had gone, her spirit and presence was always with me. I could feel her in my heart and seemed to sense her in every cell of my body. I just knew she was still around and I would talk to her, always asking her to show me the way to understanding what it was that she had come here to teach me. In all of the pain, sorrow, and senselessness, the love that remained was indescribable and so palpable that I could never doubt that there was so much more occurring on a spiritual level that I had ever understood before. It wasn’t until this phenomenon was explained to me that I understood why so many people turn to the world of spirit when a loved one dies. In this moment of release and freedom from the contracting and limited perception that my mind had been conditioned to believe in, the words “Spiritual Awakening” flashed before me like a neon sign, and in that moment I knew that the channel for communication with Taylor was open and alive.
Release through Reiki
The discovery of spiritualism opened a new world of understanding that began the journey to heal my loss and provide me with much-needed answers to the many questions that I had been asking. I then began researching in magazines about spiritual awakening and healing and I was soon drawn to an advertisement, which was to be my next step of growth through the teachings of Reiki and later on its traditions in the lineage of Tibetan Buddhism.
A few weeks later, I had a dream that I was walking down a dirt road through an old village. A stranger walked up to me and handed me a black-and-white photo of an Asian man I didn’t know. They told me that I would find him soon and that this will show me that I am on the correct path. At that point in time, I paid very little attention to such unusual dreams and just forgot about it and went on with life.
Soon after I found an advertisement for a Reiki class. I booked to attend a weekend Seichem Reiki workshop, where I was greeted by the teacher and other participants. As I sat down, I was taken aback at finding directly in front of me on an altar, with candles and flowers, the exact picture that had been handed to me in the dream. I asked the teacher who the Asian gentleman was. “That is Dr. Mikao Usui, the Japanese founder of Reiki.” When I explained my dream to the teacher, he was very happy and explained that dreams and similar experiences are a very normal part of the spiritual journey and advised I stay open and enjoy the messages that will probably continue to come even stronger after completing my Reiki training.
My spiritual journey began to take first place in life and I was open to receiving as much guidance as possible to heal my grief and loss. The pain started easing with my newfound discovery and I continued on the workshops and long-term courses with teachers such as Mal McKissock (Australia’s leading and highly respected bereavement counselor and educator) as well as with the NSW Lifeline national charity organization that assists Australians in crisis support and suicide prevention services.
I further pursued a connection with Tibetan Buddhism and the practice of the Tibetan Usui Reiki method, which slightly differed from the traditional Japanese tradition in that it offered a much deeper education in the energy fields of the body, meditation, the phenomena of sacred geometry and symbology, and the spirit field that is unbroken and collective throughout the entire existence of creation. I studied with a Tibetan sannyasin monk whose name was Russell. Russell was a slender, peaceful, and wise gentleman who carried a sense of grace with him no matter where he was. Being in his presence was enough to feel inner calm and peace. His quiet mannerisms presented clearly a man who sincerely walked his talk as an enlightened being.
Russell was from Melbourne and had originally come from a Christian seminary, committing his life to the church and his God. His father and grandfather were also in Christian ministry and so, as a child, he decided to follow in his father’s footsteps. At twenty-eight he discovered he had cancer. The doctors gave him a very short time to live—up to six months—and he was told to make plans for the end of his life. Although he was at peace with his own mortality, his sister was less willing to accept the doctors’ diagnosis and insisted that he go to a Reiki healer to have some Reiki, as an alternative to medication. He agreed and went along to appease his sister’s wishes.Ten months later Russell was still alive.
On returning to his doctor, he was given a medical examination that gave him a medical all-clear. He was one hundred percent free of the cancer that had been eating away at him and was now in remission. To his amazement, he was given a second chance in life. He left the Christian ministry and continued his theosophical studies in Tibetan Buddhism from which his own Reiki teacher originated. By the time I had met Russell, he had been in remission for twenty years, worked in palliative care, and was an ordained Buddhist teacher.
I trained with Russell for four years. During that time, I found the transference of Reiki energy was an amazing and beautiful experience, just like many other energy healing techniques. It helped me to understand the subtle states of the life force energy that is within all of existence and how our thoughts and emotions affect the physical state of our body and its causes of disease. It taught me about the presence of spirit and the importance of understanding how life as a whole, connected system was relevant to our health, wellness, and happiness.
The Reiki philosophy was something very different to the philosophy of Western medicine as it not only focused on the body itself but on life’s universal system as a whole. What I realized, after years of training, was that it wasn’t actually just the technique that worked so well for myself and others, but the commitment and desire to know and live the Truth, no matter what it took.
In the years spent with Russell, I organized and assisted in workshops as part of my Reiki Masters training and spent long hours of discussions over the phone about his view and philosophy about life and death. This helped with my questioning and enticed me to want to understand more.
I felt that this was the next place Taylor had guided me to, to begin to teach me how to understand our experience together. Rather than just thinking of the fairytale concept that she was an angel, I needed to understand about energy in order to understand spirit and soul.
After many years of qualitative study, I found that the Reiki healing transmission was not just in the touch, the symbols or the messages, but more so in the silent space in which the practice was taking place. This realization would gently guide me to my next level of learning.
“I found that the healing transmission was not just in the touch, the symbols, or the messages, but … in the silent space in which the practice was taking place.”
But first, my mental, emotional, and physical body was healing from the trauma and grief through my newfound spiritual understanding and energy medicine, to the point where I was able to find an inner peace and confidence to commit to having the tubal reconstruction operation in the hope of having another baby. And I did.
In 1993, not long after the reconstructed tubal ligation, we were blessed with another baby girl named Madison. Madison’s arrival into the world allowed the physical and emotional burden of grief to be lightened; once again I began to feel alive. She gave us another strong healing and brought back a sense of purpose for us all. She brought back the dream that had been ripped away so suddenly from beneath us two years earlier. Danielle and Brodie could experience once again the little baby sister who they once held and kissed, and my husband and I felt the completion of family again.
At no time was Madison ever seen as a replacement for Taylor as she was as unique and special as any child born on the planet. Taylor always remains alive in our hearts as the daughter and sister who was third born. Even today, Madison senses the presence of three sisters in her life. My three beautiful daughters have grown up to be very different to what they would have had they not been through this journey with me. They are highly intuitive and trusting of the spirit world where their sister Angel Taylor lives on eternally. They all have an inherent knowing, as well as their unique spiritual gifts, that Taylor introduced into their lives, which they will hand down to their own children. It’s so nice to know that my future generations will have a story about the journey of the soul, rather than a story borne of outdated religious dogma. Throughout the entire journey, Taylor continues to give the gift of love, hope, and a trust to all of us in mysterious and wondrous ways.
Although much emotional healing occurred with the arrival of Madison, the questions about life and death still remained vivid and important aspects of how my life was to continue to unfold.
In the four years I trained with Russell, he gave me a great introduction and insight into understanding another culture’s beliefs relating to human existence and spirituality. So it was only natural that I would continue to study. Although I couldn’t live life as a Buddhist student or nun per se, I studied the philosophy of Tibetan Buddhism through the teachings of Sogyal Rinpoche, teacher and author of the highly acclaimed book, The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying, on his visits to Canberra. I continued my commitment, practice, and research into Reiki and energy medicine where I finally completed my initiations and training in Levels 1, 2, Masters, and Grand Masters Teacher. Russell explained to me that since I was committing to the Tibetan Lineage of Reiki as a master, I was to expect a massive life transition as soon as I began the dedication to teach. He was so right. In hindsight I didn’t fully realize how profound and powerful the effects he spoke of were going to be.
Because the Tibetan lineage had not long been taught in Australia, there was a great deal of interest amongst the spiritual community, as well as those who had already practiced the Traditional Japanese Usui Method. In less than twelve months, I trained nearly 200 people in the Tibetan lineage, which had a profound effect on those lives touched. Within five years, I trained and initiated 2,000 students throughout the east coast of Australia into Levels 1, 2, Masters, and Grand Masters Teachers.
Russell left his body in 1999. I didn’t know his cancer had returned as I had moved away. He continued to be in service until the day he died. In my last conversation with him on the phone I said to him that I was a bit sad that we now lived so far apart and his answer was, “Don’t be silly, Rob. We are never apart. Nobody, no distance nor time can ever separate our love.”
As word travelled around the state of the availability of the Tibetan Reiki teachings, curiosity arose amongst the community elders and healers. At the end of 1999, I was called by an anonymous yet very friendly and loving caller, inviting me to attend a sacred ceremony that was only for advanced senior healers, counselors, and psychotherapists in the area. She explained that they had heard of my teaching and were very impressed with what they were hearing and the level of consciousness from which I was teaching. I accepted the invitation and went along to what was the next step of my journey’s unfolding. I was asked to wear white clothes and that I would have everything explained to me when I arrived. I turned up dressed in white, with some reservations about what might be involved.
When I arrived there was a circle of about twelve people, also dressed in white, and my concerns heightened. I was worried that I may be getting caught up in some New Age cult. But it turned out the people were all well-known, respected local healers and teachers and the white clothing was just to keep the energy light for initiation and pleasant participation. White represented purity. The people were quite normal and very soon we all joined in a lovely space of friendship and respect.
The teacher, Tony, was a wonderful, wise, and fun gentleman who was an educator and co-manager at a Queensland art school. Tony was a very grounded Australian with a passionate commitment to spiritual awakening who undertook his Kriya Yoga teacher training with J. Donald Walters (Swami Kriyananda). The teaching, ceremony, and initiation into which I was privately invited were that of Kriya Yoga by the renowned Hindu saint Paramahansa Yogananda. It was one of those synchronistic experiences where, only the week before, I had just finished reading Yogananda’s book, Autobiography of a Yogi.
“…the miracle in Kriya Yoga was … in the silent and empty void that it pointed to.”
Once again the miracle in Kriya Yoga was not in the yoga poses nor the Sanskrit mantras nor even the breath. It was in the silent and empty void that it pointed to. I continued to attend the Kriya training initiations and practices.