Since I arrived in Colorado, I have had this enormous sense of meaninglessness. I don’t question that coming back to Colorado was the right thing to do. Sitting in my recliner and looking at Crestone Peak, Challenger and the other Fourteeners, watching the sunrise over the mountains at 6:30 every morning and lately watching the monsoon winds and rain come through the desert with frequently resulting rainbows is where I want to be. I just don’t understand the sense of meaninglessness.

Not long ago , I would often touch at least twenty people’s lives during one day and I didn’t question that I was making a difference. I even compulsively took care of my caregivers emotionally, and their lives and their familys’ lives improved. Now it feels like a rare occurrence to make a difference in someone’s life. Who am I if I am not impacting lives in a big way? Perhaps this is similar to how a mother feels after the last child leaves home. Is it merely an identity crisis? If so, I can do this. I have survived an “empty nest” before. I remember the years of soul-searching and preparation. However, this time I feel totally unprepared.

What I know about transformation is that you have to fall into the place where there is NO HOPE and only by letting go into that state can the new way of being become manifested. This knowing is merely mental at this point. Viscerally and spiritually, I am in the place directly before the abyss, where one’s greatest sense of suffering can occur. From experience, I do know that this state is transitional.

During my first impending “empty nest” experience, I used certain technology to cope. I got a Great Dane puppy, I moved to a horse farm, remarried and developed a whole horse community. I forgot about my son’s needs at a time when he was not yet finished with high school. This has been a source of his greatest disappointment and resentment toward me. I didn’t handle the empty nest transition very well.

In all fairness I should mention that it was around this time that I received the MS diagnosis. How this fits in I am not sure, but I’m sure it does.

When I was working with Stan Grof, M.D., at breathwork training, I worked on the deepest level of my life. Dr. Grof is a psychiatrist and a prolific researcher and writer in the area of transpersonal psychology. He and his trainers travel all over the world to produce transpersonal workshops and trainings, where I have witnessed people’s deepest healing imaginable. For three years, I traveled around the United States while in this transpersonal training program. During one particular training module, I awoke from a nightmare at 4:30 AM. I was crying hysterically and totally inconsolable. It was the kind of dream that felt completely real–not a dream at all. The dream was set in Nazi Germany during the 1940s. Jordan was my son, and somehow I knew that the SS soldiers were coming for us. I put Jordan in the closet and ran for safety. I suddenly realized that if I were to return to get him, I would surely be killed. If I ran forward I had a slight chance of survival. The weight of the decision was devastatingly heavy. I made the choice to go forward, and simultaneously I realized the enormity of my decision to live a life that would end up being marginal.

After the hysteria began to subside and I got myself reasonably together, I went to speak with Stan and recounted my dream. He felt that it was clearly a past life memory surfacing to be cleared. For people who have never had such an experience, it is important to understand the context of the training. The mere presence of Dr. Grof and his most experienced trainers created a setting for the deepest healing imaginable. For the less experienced in this work, these controversial themes could be considered to be a symbolic story. Whether this experience was a true memory or a symbolic story doesn’t really matter. Even if it were a symbolic story, there was a reason for this particular story to emerge.

As a brief digression, I want to mention a very interesting book on this subject. It is called BEYOND THE ASHES, and it was written by a Rabbi who started doing research into situations where people had seemingly irrational memories of the Holocaust. He found that some memories and other happenings were able to be validated by research. He posited that people were being born at this time to clear the trauma of that period in history. I should note that he was originally a cynic, and when he began to validate information and present it, he became flooded with people who had had these experiences and couldn’t understand them. I should also note that a small percentage of the people with memories were in the role of a Nazi soldier.

Ever since returning to Colorado, I have been almost obsessed with watching movies with Holocaust themes. Is there a connection between the sense of meaninglessness and the imprinting of abandonment? Did I “leave” my child before I got “left,” therefore handling the “empty nest” unconsciously? With the level of reaction on Jordan’s part, I clearly mishandled one of the most sensitive times in his life. When considering regrets in parenting, this is probably top on my list. Most parents have something they have done that they regret, perhaps to the extent where SHAME is involved. Once shame is involved, it takes a lot of maturity in the personality to clear the pattern.

And if I were to attribute validity to the dream at my training module, one could say that if there is an extreme infraction of that magnitude, the imprint of abandonment might recur in a significant way in my life in order for the pattern to be cleared emotionally. Where the multiple sclerosis diagnosis fits in I am not sure. Whether this pattern informed the illness or the illness exacerbated the pattern isn’t clear. What I am sure about at this time is that healing is happening on a level that is beyond where my mind can go at this point. And as always, forgiveness becomes a central part of the healing process, both with other and with self.