Five years ago, on April 11, 2013, my Mama transitioned out of this human life, and her death catalyzed a major transformation for me.
My relationship with my mother wasn’t always easy (are any Mother-Daughter relationships ever easy?), and the last few years of her life were especially difficult. With her declining health and her increasing dementia, and my role as her Medical Power of Attorney entrusted with making life-altering decisions for Mama, we completely switched roles.
All of this happened in my late forties, during a time when decades of negative patterns were coming to an explosive head. The tipping point didn’t come for another five months but it was set in motion in the weeks just before, and just after, her death.
On the morning after her funeral, I encountered my first eagle.
I was walking on my favorite trail along the river with my dog, Maverick, thinking about my grief, my anger, and the devastation of my life. We were about halfway back when I happened to look up, and there on a tree branch right next to the trail sat a huge eagle, looking out over the river. As Mav and I approached, it swiveled it’s head to look down at us briefly, then resumed it’s study of the river. Cautiously, I crept closer, until we were barely ten feet from the tree. Every so often, the eagle would swivel it’s head and look down at us again, then turn back to the river. We stood there for close to half an hour when finally, the eagle looked down at us once more, then rose into the air on a great flap of wings and soared out over the water and away.
At the time, I didn’t give the experience any special spiritual significance, yet I did make a strong emotional connection between it and my mother. Over the next few months, though, eagles showed up everywhere, especially when I was the most distraught, or when I had a major decision to make (and there were lots of them around that time).
One particularly memorable day, I was driving down a local road, crying as I listened to Carrie Underwood singing See You Again on the radio. I had left the house to escape yet another distressing conversation with my then-husband, and right that moment, I just wanted my Mama. And there they were: a pair of eagles soared over the trees and followed the roadway in front of my car for probably half a mile before they veered off and away again.
Another time, more than two years later, I had just made a difficult decision about a new relationship and I was out walking. And there they were again, soaring over the trees and following along the roadway for a while before heading off.
There are dozens of stories like these, and they continue to this day. There are other ways eagles have shown up, too: finding an eagle key chain in a purse given to me by someone else (they didn’t know it was there); having eagles prominently feature in a Reiki session and an Akashic Records reading; and often drawing the Eagle animal spirit card at decision-making times.
The eagle symbolizes Divine connection, and it symbolizes freedom, healing, and strength. For quite a while, I didn’t really get it; I just knew that when an eagle showed up, I felt comforted and reassured.
As I mentioned, the tipping point didn’t come for another five months. In between, my predominant emotion was anger. Intense, raging, furious anger. They say that anger is a common part of the grieving process, but the level I experienced went above and beyond classic grief: it was utter fury.
Some of it was directed at other people (not literally, but in my own thoughts): my father, my exes, and others. After all, when we’re able to blame others for what they did to us, we don’t have to accept responsibility for what we created.
In truth, though, most of it was directed at myself. And that was a key emotional shift for me.
I’d spent many decades seeing myself as a victim ~ as powerless and worthless.
While it’s true that some other people did some pretty awful things to me through the years, I allowed it because I didn’t believe I had any other choice. Even when I’d find the resolve to change something, I’d recreate the same pattern over and over again because I didn’t value myself, and I believed I deserved what I got.
When the tipping point came ~ after I found out my dog had terminal kidney cancer ~ I spiraled down into self-pity. I went from furiously angry to deep emptiness in a matter of days.
Up to that time, of necessity, I had been dealing with the aftermath of my mother’s death, the end of my marriage, moving, and lots of other things, so I hadn’t yet truly grieved all my losses…and I’d been too steeped in anger to get quiet enough to do it.
That emptiness felt a lot like depression, and perhaps that was a component of it. Yet, it was much more than that. It felt as if all the anger had been a months-long tantrum, discharging decades of negative energy.
Even though I had symptoms that are attributed to depression ~ I was exhausted, lethargic, had no joy in anything, didn’t do much beyond going through the motions of my day ~ I was also strangely calm.
Part of me didn’t want to do the work it would take to pull myself back up one more time; I’d done it a lot over the course of my life already. Another part of me was intrigued by the idea of what might fill that emptiness.
And, I was even more intrigued by the idea that maybe I could proactively empty out even more old stuff, that perhaps I had power over the situation.
I hadn’t yet made the leap from there to the idea that I could actively create what I wanted, but it was a short jump from one to the other soon after.
I began to purposefully look back at everything and intentionally choose to release it, simply deciding I was done with that particular pattern. I purged things in droves, both energetically and physically. The more I cleared, the more I wanted to clear.
The more I wanted to clear, the more I started to see the possibilities for what could be.
The more I could see the possibilities, the more I started to believe I had a choice.
The more I believed I had a choice, the more I began to actively set intentions.
The more I actively set intentions, the more the synchronicities happened.
By the first anniversary of my mother’s transition ~ and, ironically, the day my divorce became final ~ I was already living in a new location, planning a new business venture, and (unknown to me at the time) on the threshold of a completely different kind of relationship later in the year.
In those months, I made conscientious choices about what I wanted to carry forward into my new life and what I needed to release, literally and figuratively. Then, I intentionally cultivated what I wanted to create, physically and spiritually, and looked for the ways to harmonize the two into something new.
It’s easy when we’re suffering to want to throw everything away, yet we always have something of value to carry forward with us and carefully merge with the new to create a divine alchemy.
And that’s what it really takes to create marked transformation.
Those eagles showed up again and again to help me remember that we’re all Divine energy incarnated in human form, and that we have power over what we create. It all begins with emotional energy and beliefs.
I believe the Divine seeks to bring every one of us to our own tipping point ~ the point where we remember our divinity. I believe the circumstances that catalyze transformation can be small and large; when we miss the lesson in the small situations, they get bigger, until something finally gets our attention.
My mother’s death catalyzed things for me ~ in part because I realized what a restricted life she lived, and I want more for me, for my daughters, for my granddaughters, and for all women. At first it made me angry, for her and for myself, and then I understood that I have the opportunity to make things different, first for me, then for others.
If you’ve read this far, something has already catalyzed your own awakening to the possibility that things can be different; what’s your story?
Love & Blessings,