In my deepest season of grief, I was called to rise up and go shopping for a formal dress for my niece’s wedding. I hate shopping. In the past, my sister Mary would go with me and make me laugh as she fed dresses over the top of the dressing room door. This was our first wedding without her. We survived Thanksgiving and Christmas and her birthday, but weddings represent the deep love and glorious celebration she brought to the world. I shared my anxiety and grief with our sister Molly, telling her how much I wished Mary was here to go dress shopping with me. Molly leaned in, which she was accustomed to doing, and agreed to join me.
We met in Macy’s parking lot. As we traveled up the escalator, I had a vision of heaven opening and of Mary riding the escalator down to meet us. My heart expanded, and I felt the immeasurable joy of her presence. We went to the dress section, and I grabbed three dresses. The red floor-length dress fit like a glove. We were out of the store in the blink of an eye with minimal stress. Wearing that dress felt holy! I felt the presence of angels when I put it on.
It triggered a deep, unshakable knowing of my connection to the heavenly realm.
I remember the ease with which my sister’s spirit was ushered in to meet me in my anxiety and grief. What was it that day that made me open to receive the gift? How can I live my life in such a way that the escalator ascending to heaven is flowing effortlessly, as the angels and the healing light of heaven are descending to help in my moments of need? I have been reading a book about angels and praying every day to open up and receive the presence, power, and love of the heavenly realm. It takes practice to learn a new language or a fine art. Learning to commune with angels is like that. It starts with a willingness to begin and a desire to expand our awareness to what is unseen.
There is a part of our brain called the Reticular Activating System (RAS) that acts as a filter to protect us from being overwhelmed. It is programmed to take in what we already believe to be true. This is where trauma begets more trauma, and we find ourselves doing the things we don’t want to do and attracting the same sort of people and situations that hurt us when we were young. The best news is that our thoughts create our reality, and the RAS can be used to create the life of growth and freedom our hearts are longing for. Through meditation we have the power to unhook from the energy-draining and harmful thoughts that keep us bound to our trauma response and begin to create wide-open space to imagine the life we were made for. As we begin to imagine a future that is in alignment with love, our RAS works to bring forward the experiences that match that future vision.
Every time I miss my sister, I have the power to choose to sit in the pit of grief and gnash my teeth in my despair, or to unhook from the loneliness of what is missing and align with the love that remains. God’s word says that eternity is hidden in the hearts of those who believe. Today I imagine dancing in my long red dress in the heavenly realm as my sister descends to meet me. My heart expands into the mystery, and we are reunited in love. My mind imagines it, my heart feels the union of the kingdom of heaven on earth, and this makes all the difference. As we think, so we are. I think heaven is among us, and I will choose to whoop it up with the angels and celebrate this one wild and precious life while I am alive and supported by the beautiful gift of Spirit!
Jean Masukevich is a trauma sensitive yoga teacher and integrative coach with over 20 years of teaching experience. Her mission is to guide others to greater mind, body, Spirit integration and connection to their authentic self. She cultivates communities of care where individuals and groups heal and share their hearts and stories through movement, writing, meditation, integrative prayer, creativity, and the sacred art of listening. Jean holds an advanced certificate in grief and trauma from the Allender Center of the Seattle School of Theology and Psychology, and is a certified Spiritual Director through Sustainable Faith. Jean serves both children and adults and is available for in person and remote coaching. Contact her at Sowthatjean@gmail.com.