The Five Stages of Grief and A Meditation to Stop Cosmic Distrubance

My daughter and I decided we had enough evacu-cation for one life and went back to our home in the still beautiful but charred hills of Ojai. It was early to go back. Many people are still scattered in all directions, but so many of us were itching to be home. To sleep in our own beds. To cry in our own pillows. To help out. To pretend life was back to normal.

At church

It's not back to normal. We have got the smoke smell out of the house but it is raining ash outside and we have to wear masks when we go out. It looks like snow on the mountains. Lots of stores are open but there are also a lot closed. There are some back fires burning on the hillsides and in the canyons (controlled) but it's fairly safe to be here.

We had so many miracles that saved our town. But the fires are still burning north of us now. And every thing is not the same. It's better in some ways. My neighbor came over to give me a hug yesterday and told me about all the miracles he saw this week. I didn't know he was a spiritual guy. The fire literally burned down to our neighbors property lines all around us. Some burned right up to their back steps and then stopped. And the greatest miracle was no life lost. 

I felt so happy and relieved when I first got home, but the next day I had a little melt down. It's the signs that get me. Every time I drive through town and see all the signs that say "Thank You Firefighters" or "Thank you for saving our town." I burst into tears. I am not sure why. Probably because I feel the same gratitude and I am touched by the humility of the signs. But it is sort of traumatic for me too because it reminds me of 9/11, which was a rough time for all of us, and it triggered a depression that lasted 2 years. Of course, I have a lot more tools now, but the mind is a funny thing. 
This is the smoke from a controlled back fire. 
I cried most of yesterday and I had one freak out where I expressed some anger at a woman in my ward for not texting me back. It was silly but basically I was crying for help. When I realized this I called a few people. When you call up a friend and say "I'm no ok," it's an act of bravery and vulnerability. Wahe guru. People want to help. They don't always know how, and not all of them have the bandwidth to help, especially if they themselves are freaking out. But here is what one friend said and what I recommend doing if anyone ever needs help from you. 

Immediately she asked me what remedies I had in the house. That's super smart. Take an inventory. We all have a ton of recourses but stress narrows our ability to see and remember them. I had millions of options in my cupboards. But here's what I highly recommend having on hand in case of an emergency: Some flower essences like Rescue Remedy-- because it works fast and it is safe to dose yourself every 15 minutes till you feel normal again. I didn't have Rescue Remedy but I had Star of Bethlehem. It's a Bach flower essence that lessens the impact of shock, grief or fright. Then I put my feet in water and grounded myself.

Once I was out of the acute stress, I was able to see clearly and pull it together. Today I feel pretty good again, though I haven't been out or seen any signs yet. 

I was reminded by another friend last night about the 5 stages of grief. I had forgotten those in the moment too. If you don't know them, they are: denial (shock) bargaining, anger, depression, acceptance. They don't necessarily cycle in that order and they can cycle through many times--not just once. Keep this in mind. Just because someone was okay yesterday doesn't mean they will be today. Check on people when you feel good. Dig deeper. If your heart tells you to go give someone a hug, do it. Also, if someone expresses anger toward you, it could be that they are in a stage of grief. Hold space for the anger but don't get sucked in or amplify it. 

Meditate. In times of emergency don't let your practice fall off. Keep up. Even the bare minimum, but don't let it drop. You are going to need stamina. 

And now it's time to stop these fires. Here is a meditation that Yogi Bhajan taught in 1978 that I think everyone needs to know in these times. They call it the Meditation for Atomic Radiation, but it does  more than that. Here are some of Yogi Bhajan's comments: 

This is actually the offering to God, and it's a most beautiful offering of prana. This mantra can stop the cosmic disturbance. In very, very old times when typhoons used to come, when destruction used to come from the heavens, people used to practice this mantra. When they would think there was no escape, they would sit down together, meditate and chant. Somehow the miracle of God, the hand of God would save them. This is the basic mantra. 

The instructions and a free MP3 download are here. I'm inviting you to do it today.  


  1. Thank you for sharing this update. We pray for you and all the others affected everyday. I will do this meditation tonight. Love your courage and light in dark, scary times.

  2. Dear friend, I love your resilience. That would be devastating for me. I am glad you had someone to remind you of your "emotional recovery kit." I'll have to inventory that for myself. Love you!


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