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Dying to My Old Self….

Updated: Jun 17

How my journey of awakening began

They say a spiritual awakening can happen spontaneously or it can happen after a life-altering trauma. My awakening contains both of these aspects.


Have you experienced a moment in your life where there was a small but mighty shift that left you feeling changed in a way you really couldn’t name?


One of those moments for me was my 1st yoga class in September of 2014.

At the end of class, I found myself crying. At the time I wasn't even sure why. But somewhere between the inhale and exhale of that last breath in Savasana I had tears streaming down my face.

There was a subtle shift that happened on my mat and I knew I wanted more, although I wasn't entirely sure what "more" was.


And so began my soul's awakening. Yoga woke a part of my soul that had long been dormant, bringing it back into my field of remembrance.

It stirred an echo of longing in me, again, for what I was not sure.

All I knew is that I wanted to know who I was and my truth, as my true authentic self.


At the end of 2015, I fell IN LOVE with my person, Lou Perez. We had known each other for over a decade, even dating multiple times in 2005-2006.

However, I was never ready for commitment so we just remained friends until we reconnected at the tail end of 2015.


Then the stars aligned, as well as our hearts, and it was MAGICAL.

I kept up with my yoga practice but my focus wasn’t as dedicated to spiritual enlightenment/growth when Lou came into my life.


I just focused on being present to the love we shared in every moment of each day.


In January of 2018, we boarded a plane that would take us to Paris to celebrate my 50th birthday.

(I know, you're probably thinking 50?! NO WAY!!☺️)

It was my birthday present from Lou and my first trip to Europe.

I don't think saying I was excited truly captured the depth of my elation.


On our very last night in Paris, Lou went into cardiac arrest and died right in front of me.

As I witnessed his very last breath, I felt a rip in the seam of my universe.

My world was shattered.

And, as a result, I was spiritually and emotionally CRACKED WIDE OPEN.


I know that sounds really weird to say, right? But it is the truth.

When he died, so did part of me. And it opened me up to the scary unknown of a new reality.


His death set forth a chain reaction of such massive change and shift that it all seems like something I dreamt versus lived.

What I do remember about the night of his death:

*Having to finally cave and wash my hair in the world's tiniest bathroom and use a French hairdryer before our last dinner. (Random detail that has stuck in my mind since January of 2018.)

*Food, so much food. Love. Laughter. Connection. Romance. Wine.

So much Wine (mostly for me)

*Singing Slick Rick at the dinner table and laughing so hard when we realized everyone was staring at those "silly Americans".

*I remember trying so hard to get Lou to stay out late so we could have one more GRANDE TRES BIEN night in Paris. He was adamant about going back to our hotel to get a good night's sleep before our flight, so we did.

I also remember our Hotel, Hotel Gaston, was well over a mile away from the restaurant we ate our last meal at, yet we walked back in the blustery January weather holding hands.


In hindsight, had I been truly present I think I would have realized he wasn't feeling well.

That he was struggling. There were so many signs.

But perhaps we will unpack that another time.

.

When he died, after the French paramedics tried to resuscitate him for what seemed like hours, I was granted permission to say goodbye to him privately in our now-empty hotel room. (all the furniture had been removed and placed in the hallway)


I sat and held his hand. That was all I could do.

I don't think I was even crying I was in such shock. I remember having this out-of-body experience where I could feel myself looking down on the both of us as I held his hand

(Later, much later, I learned I had disassociated and left my body because the trauma was too much for me to handle)


Despite being in shock, I made him a promise right there in that cold tiny room, that I would live my best life in his memory.

I would make changes in my life to find my joy.

I told him I would make him proud of me.

Up until the moment he died, we spoke about all of the changes we were going to make in our lives when we got back to Baltimore to cultivate more joy and balance.

We were already planning our next trip, now that we had conquered international travel together.


I really do not know where those words came from or the conviction that overcame me.

I was in shock, completely dissociated from my emotional/mental bodies, yet I had the fortitude to PROMISE him I would do these things.


(Did I dream that part too? Perhaps...But it grounded me enough to get me home and through those next few days, weeks, months, and years.)


I was still in Paris coordinating the return of his body when the synchronicities started happening/I started paying attention.

At first, there was seeing the number 17 everywhere.

(My birthday is January 17th and the reason we were in Paris)


The hotel where he died (in the 17th Arrondissement) offered me a free room for the remainder of my stay but I declined.

Not having any of my wits about me, I accidentally booked a room in their famed

Red-Light District located right next to the Moulin Rouge.

It was kind of funny in hindsight.

Especially when my mom arrived to be with me a day later.


When I arrived at the hotel, dragging all of our luggage with me, I remember pausing at the door and thinking WOW.

My room number was 17. (this was at least the 3rd or 4th time this number popped up in my awareness in the hours after Lou passed)

I had no clue what it meant, nor did I think it was a coincidence.


That night in the hotel I tried to sleep for the first time in over 24 hours.

I feel like I fell into more of a lucid state versus fully asleep (again, my memory of this time is very hazy).

My mind could not process what happened to me to let me rest.


At some point, I felt and saw two orbs of light hovering over me on the bed. I instinctively knew one was Lou. It was a brief visit.

I was so out of it that I think I finally did sleep after that happened.

I know I was never scared, just dazed.

I was so out of it and in shock I didn’t really process it in the actual moment it happened.

I do remember waking up “knowing" I had a visit from him and someone else. Perhaps my father?


The next day I had to call around to find a funeral home that spoke English to help expedite his body back to the USA.

With some help, I found a woman who was British and who owned a funeral parlor nearby.

She was located right next to a beautiful church named Saint-Augustin in the 8th Arrondissement.

I knew Lou was guiding me then because his middle name is Augustin.

I think I finally cried when that occurred to me.


Fast forward a few days later, my mother and I boarded a plane back to Baltimore.

Flight 117 (my birthday). I was seriously mind-blown at this point, having awareness around these synchronicities, and starting to realize that Lou was guiding me home.


My mom and I didn't have seats next to each other on the way home.


She ended up next to a woman on the return flight who had been on my original flight to Paris. (I didn't know this until after we landed)

Backstory, our original flight to Paris actually got delayed for 24 hours in Iceland (see pic above).

While there we connected and hung out with a small group of other people who were on the flight with us, this woman being one of those people.


I forget now what my mom said to me after the flight. I don't know if they talked or became friendly. I just remember thinking "thank you Lou" for putting this woman next to my mom. Thank you Lou for allowing me to feel your presence.


It's been four years since Lou passed and I have died to my old self to be reborn so many times that I have lost count.

There have been so many, MANY, MANY synchronicities over the years, ones that made me clearly know that there was something beyond the realms of what can be explained.


And many more visits from Lou.

Our relationship, after he passed, just grew in ways I never imagined.

We are still very connected in the afterlife.


And I had NO CLUE how dramatically my life would shift once I started "remembering" that I had all of these "gifts" of intuition and healing.

I mean no clue. None. Zero. Zip.


Nor did I expect to become a Yoga Teacher, Reiki Master, and Spiritual Mentor/Guide.

It feels like another lifetime ago that I started this journey, not four short years ago.


With each healing session I receive and with each healing session I co-create on behalf of a client, I am reborn again and again, having died to my old self each time.


It’s a beautiful and healing experience to learn to see the older vestiges of yourself as a gift, through the lens of compassion and unconditional love.


Each and every experience I have had leading up to this moment, even as I type this, has set me forth on this journey of knowing myself. Knowing my truth.


And each day that truth is shaped and co-created to reflect the girl who I once was and for the woman I Am becoming.


I AM grateful every day for the love Lou and I shared and how his death inspired me to turn my pain into my passion and AWAKEN to my heart’s truth.


I Am here to serve, as an instrument of the Divine, an instrument of PEACE, and for our Earth Mother. I Am here as #SoulSupport.


And as I continue to heal, grow, and transform, dying to my old self, I will also continue to share my tools and experiences so that we can all heal together, in unity and community.


Now is the time dear one. Are you ready?


Much love and many blessings. Thank you for reading this.


Colleen









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