During a visit to Cuba at the end of May, the unexpected happened: I found myself at the edge of life from a severe allergic reaction to shellfish. The allergy is not unknown to me, and I took every precaution necessary to be safe and enjoy my holiday. Then one night in the dining hall, I started to feel a familiar body reaction – I was going into shock. When this happens the clock starts ticking very rapidly. I immediately retrieved my travel documents and made it to a nearby medical clinic, which thankfully was only a few minutes away. In “severe allergic reaction time”, every minute counts.
Because these reactions are so “irrational” to me, it doesn’t dawn on me to use my epipen. I somehow think that my body will adjust, that perhaps I am overreacting, or that my symptoms may be a fragment of my imagination. By the time I reached the clinic, about 50 minutes had already elapsed and all I had taken were a couple of Benadryl, hoping it would be enough to calm the reaction. At this point I could barely think or talk, my breathing got very shallow and difficult, my heart rate was sky high, my face was swelling, and I was in full survival mode.
When the doctor saw me, he immediately reassured me that he had treated many of these conditions before. He said I needed an injection right away. For some reason I was still resisting treatment, not fully believing that I was in that bad of a state and that I couldn’t recover on my own. At this point the kind doctor became very still, grabbed me by both shoulders, looked deep into my eyes and straight into my soul. He simply said, “you need the injection”. His words were filled with love and they commanded my full attention. I finally relaxed and surrendered. He took my hand and led me to the hospital room. I remember lying down, and knew that all I could do was surrender. All my fears dissipated and I became deeply calm. I started to journey out of my body in a complete state of bliss. I surrendered. There was nothing I could do anymore for myself, my life was in other people’s hands, and I trusted them.
It is common for me to journey out of body so I did not think twice about the encounters I had in that liminal state between life and death. These territories are familiar to me, because ever since I was a child I have had the natural ability to visit in-between the worlds. So what made this time any different, I thought? It did not dawn on me until a few days later, when I finally allowed myself to remember the details of my journey, that I had indeed come at the edge of my life and at death’s doorway. I had been given a choice: to continue my journey beyond, or to go back to my body and my life on earth.
I did not feel any particular pull to go either way, to go on or to stay. Because of my state of surrender, and because of the information that was revealed to me about my soul’s contract for this life, I was given the opportunity to “leave” in peace, knowing that I had learned the major lessons that had been assigned to me. Then I found myself encircled by familiar people, the loving presences of my cherished friends on earth. Each one them (some of you are reading this right now) held me with such love it was beyond spectacular. The light generated by those who love me, and wanted me to stay, was as bright, warm, and welcoming as the light of the divine in the beyond.
I made my choice. I came back.
I heard someone say once that you know you’ve had a mystical experience because nothing is ever the same after. Even a tiny speck of the divine spirit, received with love and full surrender, is enough to change and transform the very matrix of your life. And that is exactly was happened to me. It’s not that I told myself I wanted to change this and that about my life, and started to plan out how I was going to do it. I came back and my life was changed. I simply could not enter back into the matrix that I knew and accepted as “my life”. It had vanished. I listened. And this is how it was decided for me that I needed a sabbatical, and to let go of some things that only a week before I would have never imagined I would ever walk away from.
I can still feel the power, love and lessons of this precious and ordained experience moving through me. It is taking its time to rearrange my life as it sees fit.
One thing is very clear to me: my life does not belong to me. In fact, it never has. It is only borrowed from a much greater flow of life that is best kept in the realm of Great Mystery. I am here to serve this Great Mystery, and to honour the love of those who have so graciously called me back. And so it is.
Munaymanta (with heart)