Grief and Rebirth: Finding the Joy in Life | Suzanne Anderson | Transformation After Loss

 

The highly accomplished Suzanne Anderson is an author, a psychologist, an executive coach, an international speaker, and the Founder of the Mysterial Woman Initiative, a social enterprise that is dedicated to the awakening, development, and support of women as integral leaders shaping a positive future for all beings. She is co-author of the triple award-winning book The Way of the Mysterial Woman: Upgrading How You Live, Love, and Lead, and her new book, titled You Make Your Way by Walking: A Transformational Field Guide Through Trauma and Loss, takes the reader on Suzanne’s journey through trauma and grief after her beloved husband took his life, and with it her life as she knew it. Tune into this mesmerizing interview to find out how Suzanne faced her choice, to become broken down and defeated, or broken open and transformed.

 

IN THIS EPISODE, YOU’LL HEAR ABOUT THINGS LIKE:

●       How Suzanne’s husband David took his life right as her first book was completed.

●       The ways the earthquake of David’s sudden and brutal suicide set a tsunami in motion in Suzanne’s outer and inner world.

●       The next level of consciousness and leadership for women.

●       How Suzanne’s ”Mysterial Operating System” helped her transform chaos and dismantling during her “dark night of the soul.”

●       The spiritual practices that helped Suzanne navigate her grief, betrayal, and loss after her husband’s suicide.

 

 

SOME QUESTIONS IRENE ASKS SUZANNE:

●       How did your developmental years set the stage for later guiding women to awaken to their full feminine and masculine strengths?

●       What is the next level of consciousness and leadership for women?

●       What is a Mysterial woman, and can any woman become a Mysterial woman?

●       What shifts and transformations did you experience in your relationships during your healing journey?

●       How can our wounded places become opportunities for our healing and our gift to others?

 

Inspired by this conversation? Explore Suzanne’s insightful books for a deeper dive:

 

Opt-in to receive free chapters of Suzanne’s new book on navigating trauma and loss: https://mysterialwoman.com/you-make-your-path-by-walking-free-chapters

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Suzanne Anderson: Would She Be Broken Down And Defeated Or Broken Open And Transformed When Her Beloved Husband Took His Life?

 

 

 

 

I could not be more delighted to have the pleasure of interviewing the accomplished Suzanne Anderson, who is an author, a Psychologist, an Executive Coach, an international speaker, and the Founder of the Mysterial Woman Initiative, a social enterprise that is dedicated to the awakening, development, and support of women as integral leaders shaping a positive future for all beings.

Suzanne was born in Toronto, and she will be speaking to us from Vashon, Washington. She holds an MA in Clinical Psychology from Antioch University in Seattle. She also pursued a postgraduate diploma in Restoration Architecture at the University of Florence, Italy. She was the co-creator of a highly acclaimed worldwide women’s empowerment program in the 1990s. She founded an international consultancy and worked for over a decade with Fortune 500 companies, seven of those years based in Paris.

After decades of working as a senior leadership consultant, Suzanne recognized the absence of leadership programs designed to address women’s development. She has dedicated years to decoding an embodied, integral, and accelerated pathway to unlock women’s innate potential. Her multifaceted, deep approach to her work rests on a grounded spiritual path, a vital aspect of Suzanne’s life now.

Suzanne co-authored the triple award-winning book The Way of the Mysterial Woman, Upgrading How You Live, Love, and Lead. Her new book, titled You Make Your Path By Walking, A Transformational Field Guide Through Trauma and Loss, is part memoir and part guidebook, taking the reader on Suzanne’s journey through trauma and grief after her beloved husband took his life and with it her life as she knew it. Suzanne faced a choice. Would she be broken down and defeated, or broken open and transformed?

I’m looking forward to talking with Suzanne about how her developmental years set the stage for later guiding women to awaken to their full feminine and masculine strengths, the key spiritual practices that allowed her to navigate her grief, betrayal, and loss after her husband’s suicide. Also, the shifts and transformations in her relationships during her healing journey, the themes of awakening the deep feminine and healing unconscious wounds in the DNA in her new book, What is a Mysterial Woman and Mysterial Leadership, and more for what is surely going to be an enlightening and moving interview with a truly remarkable woman. Suzanne, a heartfelt welcome to the show.

 

Grief and Rebirth: Finding the Joy in Life | Suzanne Anderson | Transformation After Loss

 

Irene, that was beautiful, walking through so many aspects of my life. Thank you for that.

Family Dynamic And Childhood Experience

You’re welcome to lift it and use it in other places. It’ll be broadcast in many arenas a year through the show. You are amazing. As I was studying and preparing for the interview, I was like, “This is a remarkable woman.” I admire all your accomplishments. Let’s set the stage for this remarkable woman who came onto this planet. How did your developmental years set the stage for later guiding women to awaken to their full feminine and masculine strengths?

That’s an interesting question because I think I can say there’s a seed code probably that I came to see later, I certainly couldn’t say what I saw when I was little, in the family dynamic. I was lucky to grow up in a very middle-class family, and we had the things that we needed. A very loving mother and a very hard-driving father who was very accomplished, who I admired enormously.

There was a story that was told, I heard it much later in my life, that I was the second child. When I was born, my father was so disappointed after the daughter, who was the eldest, that I wasn’t a son, that for ten days or something after I was born, he wouldn’t talk to my mother. He was just saying, “She shouldn’t have had a girl.”

Talk about not being accountable for your responsibility and the sex of your child.

He was a scientist, so you’d think he would know that. Whether it was true or not, because it was told to me by my mother’s sister when my mother had passed away, there was something in the template of that I could now speak about my little being, happy to come into this incarnation and to be on the planet and excited to get into life, and then that feeling of, “No, you’re not enough.” You’re somehow not quite right. Interestingly, as my life unfolded, there were other moments like that where I watched my mother, who was a traditional mother of the ‘50s and ‘60s, at home, a very successful father out there working all the time. You probably went through that.

I was thinking the same thing. I had the same experience.

We had that experience. We had choices, of course, that our mothers didn’t have as we grew up, but I watched that dynamic and watched my father living this exciting life, traveling around the world, and doing all things. I said to myself, “I wanted that life. I do not want this life.” There were ways I actually would say now I understand I pushed away from some of the more nurturing, feminine aspects of my mother, and unfortunately, it wasn’t until much later when she passed away that I understood this. I couldn’t say to her, “There was so much I learned from you.” I would say those are some of the things that have set the stage for what would unfold in my life.

Significant Relationships, Tragic Loss, And Trauma

You were not only shattered many years later, but you felt betrayed by your husband, David. Before I even ask that, I want to ask you about your relationship with your husband David and describe how he took his life just as your first book, The Way of the Mysterial Woman, Upgrading How You Live, Love, and Lead, was completed. We’ll get to how your life was shattered by that.

I can make the connection to what we were talking about because, even though there’s a huge period between those developmental years and all the things that happened in my life before I met David and before he died. The two big loves of my life, I could say, were my mother, where I felt safe and seen and in a sense of belonging. It was there. I often didn’t feel I belonged and I felt I was very different, very strange.

I’m sure I’m not alone in that sense. Many of us grow up in the world the way it is, feeling like I see things a little differently than others. With David, he was married and in the process of a very difficult divorce when I met him, but in many ways, I did feel like, “Here’s the David.” I wrote about this in my second book. When I was younger, I just had this, I would say, a message come to me about David. I don’t know whether it was in a dream, but that was my partner.

It was a premonition, perhaps.

I think that now. I have that now. Anytime I was dating anybody, it would be like, “Is it a David? What’s your name?” My first husband, his father’s name was David. I thought, “That’s fine. That’s close enough.”, When II met David, I had this real premonition for sure, like something just clicked inside me. As I mentioned, he was going through a difficult divorce at the time. We weren’t immediately in a relationship, but as that did unfold over time, I just dropped into this incredible sense of having met my soulmate. I can’t even say soulmate. Some people talk about twin flames, some people talk about soulmates. I’ll just say we were cut from the same cloth.

I understand that. I felt that way about my husband, Saul. It was like a comfort level. It’s like you fit.

I relaxed into our relationship in a way I never had before. We had an amazing life. I was beginning my research around women and development, and David was running his business. That sets the stage for this very loving, very creative. He had a deep spiritual practice, and I also did. We shared that level of communion that there was something more in the world than just the material world.

You were living quite a 5D life, I think, before it was even chic to be doing that. He took his life, though, right as your first book was being completed. What a surprise and what a shock.

No, it was enormously shocking because, about three months earlier, he had started to get tinnitus, which is that ringing in the head that people have said can be crazy-making. It can take over. He was a very sensitive soul. We were starting to get a hold of that in terms of listening to sounds, and he was starting to do some things. He’d seen some medical people about it.

I thought that we had it under control, but there was this other part of him that he had no fear of death for sure. He had experiences with other dimensions of reality. There was a part of him in a half in other worlds. His business, which was this elaborate Indonesian antiques, spanned, and he had a store in Seattle.

By the way, that’s a fascinating part of your book. I have to give everyone an early plug because that was about your book. Just talking about David’s business and what he did was fascinating.

It was phenomenal on our property on the island here on Vashon, he brought antique temples and these incredible buildings from Java, transported them over in containers, and put them up. We created fields of Bali around the temple. He would go into another world. He had created another world. It turned out that that world and the world in Java where his workshop was, as they say, a castle in the air. We had very separate businesses. I was not aware of all of his financial issues. The financial collapse was coming.

This all collided on January 3, 2013, when he made his decision to leave this world. Two days before the wedding of his best friend’s daughter, who was running his company and had arrived from Indonesia, we were all ready for the wedding, which was hard to even conceive. You have to understand how completely unexpected this was for all of us, that he was suffering from tinnitus, but certainly not that he would choose to leave in the way that he did and the time that he did.

You could understand how that set of tsunami emotions wiped out so much of your life, and it wiped out the outer structures of your life because you had to deal with all of this with David and rearrange your inner world. Would you like to talk about that?

That’s exactly the metaphor I use, the tsunami, because in my book, the earthquake, you could say, was the event. That was hard enough. It was brutal. Would I go to the wedding? Would I not go to the wedding? I was supposed to launch the first program I had done in the work that I do with Women and Awakening five days later.

After I’d spent a year out working on the book, that was about to happen. I was ready to go like this. All of a sudden, there was a boom. What happened very swiftly was that I became aware of the financial cataclysm of his debt. Our incredible property was the only asset and a huge asset that all of this debt was woven around. That meant I had to sell it very quickly, and I had to sell it in a way that was not a fire sale to cover some of the debts. I canceled the program I was running just to lay the picture.

I want to say something. I can relate to how overwhelming and chaotic this was because, for me personally, when Saul died in that accident, I was left with all these business problems, also. It was scary and so devastating. I was in a terrible car accident, he died next to me, but here, look what happened to you. As I was reading your book, I could relate to how devastating this was. It was like throwing dominoes and the tray up in the air, and everything’s in a different place.

I can relate to this. When I heard your description on your website and your video, I thought, “She totally understands this.” Within six months, I had sold the house, my cat had died, my partner was gone, and my community. I left this island. I knew it was not the right thing to stay here. I moved to Seattle. I closed my business.

I use this analogy sometimes. Maybe you know of the Tibetan sand mandalas that are created with these painstaking monks blowing sand through a little fine sieve. At the end of it all, after they’ve created these elaborate complexes, they wipe it all off with a stick. It felt like someone just came into my life. This event did that. Here’s the interesting thing. The message was, “You will take everything that I was about to put out in the world in a book into your life. Can you live this?”

After ten years of research, we’d worked with hundreds of women in our university programs. We know some things about womens awakening consciousness and how to show up in the world in these complex times. It is like life said, “Let’s just see how you handle this.” “Can you live this way of the mysterial woman walking in the darkest night you could imagine?”

We can move through the difficult losses in our lives to awaken to our wholeness. Share on X

You were becoming a role model, but you had to live it first to be able to be it.

While I had a lot of, you could say, certainty from the research that I have done and from the experience that I’ve had with many women, I had a very deep faith in something. There was a path to follow. I was not certain that I would get through this. It’s important to distinguish that. As I told you, as you named a very long-time spiritual practice, I did have experiences beyond just the ego.

When you’re in the middle of having your world turned upside down and you’re dealing with the waves of grief that must have been pouring over you and everything else going on and all that, the same thing happened to me. I knew something was up, but on this earthbound plane, this was not easy. This was tough. Did you want to add something to that?

I think it’s important to make this distinction for those who are going through a dark night and may be reading this. There is a way you must surrender some of the certainty that shaped your life before, because that’s where so much of the suffering happens. If you’re trying to hold on to what was before, or you think you should know how it’s going to go, or you think you should be certain about what’s unfolding, that’s what I call suffering the suffering.

 

It’s hard enough, and I knew it was going to be hard enough. It was hard enough without layering that on top. This willingness to walk. That is the title of my second book, You Make Your Path By Walking. You have to walk into the mystery and trust that that is the way forward. The mind will say, “I got to figure this out.” I knew this from the work I was already doing, the work I do with women is around trauma. The mind and trauma can only see a very limited path forward. What your future will look like will not be the future you want to go to. Something much greater is possible, but you have to be willing to be with the mystery.

 

Grief and Rebirth: Finding the Joy in Life | Suzanne Anderson | Transformation After Loss

 

I think you’ll agree with me. For me, it’s about letting go of control because you no longer have control, and learning to go with the flow and letting go is a challenge all by itself. That’s a deep lesson that comes out of an experience like this.

It certainly can. That’s why we’re underlying here together. You could say that the reptilian brain is going to try to grab onto something familiar, “I got to stay here. I got to do this thing.” The faith or the trust that something like I could not have imagined the life I’m living now. I couldn’t have imagined it. Holding yourself exactly where you are. You only need to see the next lily pad that’s right there. That one you need to see. You need to know where to put your next foot, but not ten lily pads.

The Mysterial Woman

There are so many variables. I know you’ve got these two wonderful books. Now you’re up with your second one. In your award-winning book, The Way of the Mysterial Woman, you use a blend of cutting-edge transformational psychology, which I love, ancient mystery school secrets, and visionary evolutionary thinking to describe a woman who is awakening to the next level of consciousness and leadership. For everybody who’s on the edge of their seats now, what is this next level of consciousness and leadership? What is a mysterious woman? Can any woman become a mysterious woman?

You’re right in my zone. I want to say to the men who are reading that it’s true that the research that we did was with women, but I’ve had many men read my first book. My second book is for men and women, of course, in that sense, but would relate to the feminine and masculine distinctions that we identified.

It’s important to say the word mysterial was given to me. When my co-author Susan Cannon and I were working on the book and compiling what we had begun to see with women, we were looking for a way to describe this way of being, a way of being that we were witnessing of women who could be with uncertainty and ambiguity.

It’s women who could bring in information from all sorts of this diffuse awareness that’s needed so much in the world right now, being able to hold multiple streams of information and at the same time to call in information from other levels to use our intuition as well as our rational brain and so on. We were looking for a word to describe it, but we couldn’t find one.

One day, this word just came in, and I said, “They’re just mysterial.” The two of us looked at each other like we had given birth to something, like something with the potency of naming something. We did a ritual right after the name because it felt like we’ve just named something and it’s going to have a life of its own, and it does. Yes, anyone is in this process of being pushed and pulled by the evolutionary forces of these times to bring online a completely new interoperating system.

A talk I did one time at a leadership conference in Rome for women. I was speaking about this, and I had probably 100 young women come up to me afterward and say that they were so grateful to hear that there was a new model because they knew it. They were women in business who saw their mother’s dream, which was very often the toxic masculine. I was in that role myself. I understood that.

I lived very much in the masculine management consulting world and became one of the boys, you could say. They knew it wasn’t that. They knew it wasn’t going back to the goddesses. What is the future? That, I would say, has to do with this way of being that’s trying to come online now because of the complexity of these times.

We need this feminine presence in the world.

That’s what we spent ten years figuring out. What is feminine? It’s not just a glob of feminine. What is masculine? That was the research, and that is something we ended up calling the Mysterial Sequence, where we differentiated the feminine and masculine aspects so that we could begin to uproot the old codes that have shaped who we are as women. This is what ended up living after my tragedy with David. It was stepping into this way of being where I called on all of my feminine and masculine strengths, but they had to weave together in a way that allowed me to go through this to create the life that I have now.

Is that what you call the Mysterial Operating System? Tell us about that, and then follow that, please, by telling us about your new book, You Make Your Path by Walking, a Transformational Field Guide Through Trauma and Loss. I have a feeling they’re very connected.

They’re very connected because the weaving and the inner operating system of a mysterial are deep sense. There are some codes that we identified that connect to five masculine and feminine archetypes in a developmental pathway from when we’re babies up to when we’re in the crone years. It starts with the Mother archetype, moves to the Hero archetype, then to the Father archetype, to the Maiden, and ultimately to the Crone.

Each of those has a limiting code to them that is not just laid down in our own lives, but it’s transgenerational. It is the trauma of living inside a patriarchal paradigm for over 5,000 years. That’s a long time. That wasn’t wrong, by the way, in my view. That’s as evolution’s moved forward. As Einstein said, “The problems of today can’t be solved with the consciousness that created them yesterday.”

That is a wonderful quote for mankind.

It’s urging for any of us. I’m a Developmental Psychologist. It’s like saying, “Turn on the developmental tap.” So many of us feel like we’re developed. “I’m an adult, I can drive a car. I have a partner, I have children,” but no. This something else is trying to awaken and very often inside the trauma moments, these old codes, and I’m just going to tell them to you.

The first archetype with the Mother is “I’m not enough.” Your readers can see if they can relate to any of these. The second one with the Hero archetype of the masculine is, “I have to do to be of value.” The third one with the Father is, “I don’t belong,” and then with the Maiden, “It’s not safe to express myself fully.” The Crone, “I don’t have enough knowledge, influence, and connections.” Those codes are deep down in the DNA, and they are running us until we do the shadow work, which is the work I’ve figured out to do, this point of shadow work. Of course, I had my own time in the shadowlands, as we described. It’s almost like this birth wants to happen. These next-level capacities start to come online.

The mysterial operating system has to do with those capacities.

It’s like the operating system is a way of being. The way I see myself, I see others, and I see the world. That’s what we could talk about. It is the consciousness. Now, because I have that operating system, I can do a lot of things. I’ve used the computer metaphor. I have these new ways of showing up. I can put these new programs on. It doesn’t crash all the time. I can engage with this world that’s in so much uncertainty right now, dynamic change, and complexity. The capacities arise from this inner operating system.

Tell us a little bit about your book because it deals with trauma and loss, and it’s a guide. What would you like everyone to know about that?

The first thing I did after David died was, about a year later, I came back to the first book, which we hadn’t found a publisher yet. It hadn’t come out. That was the first thing to do. It never occurred to me I was going to write a book about my experience. About five years after he died, I just felt like I needed to go back over the trauma ground for myself. Many who have gone through their journeys of loss probably have experienced something similar. It’s like I need to write myself back together. I took myself away from writing retreats and started to do that, to just write myself through.

It must have been very cathartic and healing for you.

Enormously cathartic. I did it by myself, but my friends knew I was doing it, and I could call if I got overwhelmed. I was in a beautiful place in nature, and I took my time and went slowly to walk over the background of the trauma again. As I began to do that, the interesting thing was it hadn’t occurred to me until I was doing that.

In the very last chapter of the first book, we identified what we call eight meta-capacities that are needed right now to meet the world. Things like multi-dimensional knowing, embracing paradox, authentic presence, and tending the field. All these fun names we came up with, there are eight of them, that I’d been living that. Like, that’s what I’ve been doing.

There was a way that it started to integrate something in me. I don’t know maybe why I went through this, to hardwire this in myself, that these hold up, this way of being held up when the worst possible thing that could happen to me, in this case, happened. That became the second book, and then began to reveal itself. I didn’t even know it would be a book. I showed this to the editor of the first book I’d written, and she said, “You have to share this with others because it’s your memoir.” “It’s the honest story of what it was for you, the tools you used, and how you went through it in a way that I hope can be a guide as people make their path by walking.”

I think your book offers comfort, guidance, and inspiration. It helps people make meaning at a loss. I think it can be a very helpful book to people who are going through trauma and grief and all of that, truly. I also want to ask you about the spiritual practices that you use to help you navigate this grief, betrayal, and loss, which you speak about in the book. Could you share them with us, please?

The deepest one would probably be that I had an ongoing meditation practice. I had a spiritual awakening when I was young, about seventeen, a long time ago. They put me, I would say, on a path for the rest of my life, which the awakening just had to do with fear.

I just have to ask you this tongue-in-cheek. You were in this masculine world, but you had developed this spiritual sense of things. Did that help you as it took you through? It must have been a little bit of a dichotomy or whatever because, in this masculine world that you originally were in, you were still spiritual during that time.

I was part of a spiritual community at that time, but I would go undercover. I felt like I was an undercover agent. I felt like I had the skill and capacity to work with the C-suite of big international companies in a very powerful, professional way. I can awaken hearts and bring people into the experience of later, I would say, was the awakening of a more integrated leadership style.

At that time, I didn’t have the feminine and masculine principles so distinguished, but I always felt like I was an undercover agent. The spiritual practice, just to say, has always been a very deep part of my life. The fundamental part I want to bring in is the sense that I am part of a beautiful, unfolding, interconnected world and that it isn’t only this human journey.

Some have talked about it as a divinely human journey that we’re on, like how we are and who we are, which is what I would now call a waking down. I think because of some of the earlier practices I did have in spiritual paths I was on, I had the tendency to do what I would call the spiritual bypass. I think David did have connections at other levels.

Through meditations and making everything all right and it’s all good, and it’s all bliss. No, I was committed to this when David died. I will do this by staying connected to my emotional body, by staying connected to my physical body, to myself. I will not do it as a spiritual bypass. That meant that the practices I had were meditation, yes, but also being in my body, being in my heart, and opening my heart to others, staying connected to this rich, loving field of belonging.

That’s just living on the planet with your heart open as a spiritual practice in so many ways.

Especially during something like this, because there were lots of reasons to shut that down when you are involved in the suicide, as those will know.

People are coming after you for money and financial problems and all of that.

The shame of suicide is something that any of us who are suicide survivors have to navigate. I was committed to doing that, to not hiding away and not isolating because one of the most important things in my healing had to do with the community. It had to do with connecting to a heart field around me. I was shattered, but right away, I had this very strong community of women and family who came to be around me. I knew I needed this. It is like a tuning fork for my own chatter. I could tune myself to that love field, not the shame.

 

There was that love field, and there was not a lot of judgment. There was more acceptance for what had happened to you, and there was love for you, but you did have shifts and transformations in your relationships. Talk about the things that shatter you. Do you want to talk about that? Anyone going through trauma is saying, “My god, my relationship is changing.” This is going on and you need to, in some way, form a new community, form a new tribe. Would you like to speak to that?

Going through grief softened my judgment toward others. I recognized that everyone carries hidden burdens. Share on X

I wouldn’t say I had to form a new tribe. I’d say the tribe that I have came in around me. I left them. I had been in the work that I did. I was the transformational teacher and this would be the thing that would not happen to me. I honestly had the most magical and hard-to-believe life because here I was with my beloved on this extraordinary estate, doing the work I loved, and living in this beautiful community on an island.

This doesn’t happen to me. There was a way in which the shift for my community, for me to be the one receiving, to be the heroic me that could show up for anything, anywhere, and do anything to help other people and be there for everyone else, was shattered. It was like that heroic self, that part of my ego, which I didn’t even see was invisible to me. It was gone.

There was something so much, almost like the breaking open of my own heart, broke me into the world in a way that I was forever and was very changed by, almost like I could take you in, could take others in, could receive in ways I had never been able to before, could feel the suffering of others in ways I could never feel it before. Even though this is the work I did in the world, I felt I was a very compassionate person.

It transforms you in so many ways. How you transformed, by the way, in the middle of your despair, I just want to share this story because talks about opening your heart and how it changed. In your book, you talk about meta capacity, which is called Embracing Paradox. You encountered a young man named Sean who lived on the razor’s edge between despair and hope. That was such an amazing story. Talk about transformation. I loved how you dealt with the situation that happened. It was a very spiritual, I would say, evolved way. It wasn’t long into your suffering.

No, only a couple of months. I’ll tell the story briefly if you’d like.

Please do. I thought it was an amazing story.

The difference here would have been that maybe my heroic self would have wanted to do something like what I did. I don’t know. I did not have that self on board. This is what arose for me. I was setting the house up with a friend who had come over to help me begin to edit things for the house staging I would have to do to sell the house. One of the properties on our building was this amazing old antique Javanese house that we had as a guest house.

We went outside and we were looking at things. Also, I see smoke coming out of the fireplace of that house. This is a seventeen-acre estate. Nobody gets into the property. It was traumatizing just to see somebody. There must’ve been somebody in there. My friend and I go running into the building. We see this young boy and he’s freaked out that we’re coming in there, and I’m freaked out that he’s there. He’s got all of these things. Many of David’s things are out on the table and he’s been rifling through the guest house.

How old would you say he was?

Probably 13 or 14, like a teen. It’s hard to tell. Very skinny, scrawny guy. I think he rose in his, “I’ll fight,” but he’s also looking terrified. We went through this whole encounter, like, “What are you doing here?” The first words out of his mouth were, “I’m staying next door. My dad is building a pizza oven for Leah. I wanted to go and see the dead man’s house.”

He’d heard his parents or his father talking about this, so he’d come over. Even that was just an enormous violation. At the time, I was still very traumatized. We marched him back over to his father. As we’re heading out the door, he has this big bag stuffed with all of these things like David’s birth certificate, a whole bunch of stuff, plus this little amulet necklace with a little scarab beetle in resin that I’d got from my sister in China.

I said, “You’ll be leaving these here.” He put some down. We march over there and there’s this whole encounter that happens. People can read more about this in the book, so I won’t go into all the details, but it quickly became very clear to me the trouble he had with his father. His father was very mean to him. Understandably, he should have been strict about what had just happened. There was something that happened. I could see the defeat and the sense of, “I’m nothing. I’m hopeless,” that this little boy had.

We went back to the property, and then I went back into the house where I’d left him and I saw these big cooking knives on the counter that were out and that he’d taken out. This was something inside me that just felt like I could feel David. I could feel this boy, now that I’d seen him interact with his father and the way that he felt, he was such a failure and a piece of caca himself.

Which is probably what he was told all the time.

I’m sure he was told that all the time. That was his difficult circumvent, but I thought, “Did he come over here to kill himself? Would he have killed himself if I hadn’t found him?” Something just broke open in me. The correct paradox was that there were some boundaries to be set with him, but there was also the compassionate, loving extension. I saw this little scarab necklace on the table. The dung beetle lives by eating the difficult things of life. I asked my friend if he would take it to the little boy next door and tell him what I said, which was, “Difficult things that happen, but you can get through this and some other things.”

I loved the book because you said some very wonderful things, which is probably the first time in his life he had ever heard anything like that.

Maybe. I also did it for me because I feel like I was speaking to the younger David in some way. In some way, maybe the David I wish I could have talked to before he took his life. There was something in it like I needed to do that.

It was healing for you, also.

It was healing for me. I never, of course, expected anything, but then maybe a month later, I got this little letter all wrinkled up and carefully written by him with all the misspellings, and I wrote it in the book and it touches me just to remember it saying, “Thank you so much for the necklace. My dad and I can come over and do any projects you might need at the house if you ever need anything.”

I was clear I couldn’t do that. I wasn’t ready to look at that. I couldn’t go that step. I had wondered how he was. I even wonder now. I wonder if he’s alive still, or was that a moment? This is all those times where you can meet the things that come to you in lots of different ways. Do you change other lives by just the way you show up with kindness and compassion?

Transformational Work

Yes. I believe you can, but I believe that he might have grown up considering that a sign or holding on to that. I thought it was so wonderful. I also wanted to have you explain to everyone, in a nutshell, your holistic and transformative approach to leadership. I’d also like you to talk about the classes and workshops you hold and everything that you do because you’re so approachable and knowledgeable. I think a lot of people who are reading, probably both men and women reading this interview, would think about reaching out to you for a new paradigm, a new way of dealing with this new world we’re finding ourselves in as it’s transforming.

Being able to show up for the times the way they are because we aren’t going back to any certainty anytime soon. We are in a complex tipping point in time and in culture, as some people call it. What we do know from just futurists is that we don’t need the whole population to have a consciousness that shapes a positive outcome. We do need a small percentage of the population.

I would say that would be women and men on the edge of evolution, but if you’re on the edge of evolution, if you’re someone probably reading this, you’re someone who does want to grow, who is curious, who wants to show up differently. The work I do and have spent years doing is creating the, I would say, accelerated, even though it’s a commitment in time.

My main program for women is a fifteen-month program. It’s almost like I’ve had many women come into my work who’ve done many other change things and many other programs and had canned epiphanies but didn’t make the developmental move. I’m interested in it. It’s probably important to say I’m not interested in helping that self-help. There are lots of places you can go for that which are great. That’s just not what I do.

I’m interested in encouraging the next level of development of your unfolding, which means there’s going to be discomfort and you’re already feeling it. If you’re drawn to my work, there’s a way in which the way you’re showing up in the world isn’t in the way you want to be. You’re not in the right relationship, so you’re not doing what you love to do. You’re not making the contribution you want to make or you’re stuck in the birth canal in some way.

You’re in the middle of a transition. That’s the deep work I do in the Mysterial Leadership Emergence Program. The next one’s opening up in October 2024. We just finished the final in-person retreat. This is a global program. Women from all over the world participate, and then we come together for a final week. We just finished that. I’m fresh off of that incredible experience.

It must be so rewarding when you see the changes and transformations in people.

Absolutely, and when you meet in person, because we do this deep work of awakening the feminine and masculine essences in ourselves. We’ve worked together very intimately for a long time, and then we meet in person, which is amazing. That’s what I do in that program. We have the resourcing sanctuary, which is a way to come in and touch the work. That’s about the seven-week program where you’ll experience what it is to bring these next-level meta capacities online and then the mother capacities, the operating system level that we have to develop for that to happen.

You also have a coaching program.

We coach. There are a lot of coaches who do my work, who are psychologists, and coaches that I find it hard to find the containers they need for themselves. They’re caring for a lot of people, but they want a container that has the rigor of the research we’ve done and an understanding of psychological development.

Also, we use a lot of rituals and work with the imaginal and beauty and art, poetry and neuroscience that has all of that complexity. That’s available. We have a Mysterial Coach and Training Program that you can do after you’ve completed the actual program itself. We have this emerging, people can work one-on-one with me. I’ve just opened that up again, and with our Mysterial Coaches.

I imagine you do it all, some of it is in person, and some of it’s online. It’s a combination. Do you have a special offer for our followers?

What I’ve set up is the first few chapters of my new book, You Make Your Path by Walking, a Transformational Field Guide For Trauma and Loss, because I thought that would be a great way for someone to get in the taste like the transmission that you could say of the work I’m doing and my personal story.

Someone who is immersed in their practice and what they’re doing but feel like they need more is ready for the next step. I would imagine that your program would be terrific for them.

For sure. Even just getting connected to what we call the mysterious murmuration because those great flocks of birds that all fly together coming in, you can get on the mailing list, and I send out newsletters with things that I’m thinking about and that’s a way to connect. We’re on social media. You can find it. We have a Facebook group, Instagram, LinkedIn and so on. If you feel a resonance with me and what I’m sharing, reach out and connect to our movement.

The mission of this show has such passion for healing, tell me, please, Suzanne, how our wounded places can become opportunities for our healing and our gift to others.

 

Grief and Rebirth: Finding the Joy in Life | Suzanne Anderson | Transformation After Loss

 

Yes, that is the expression of the wounded healer, which is just saying the places in you that have been carved open by life circumstances, often not ones we wanted when we were younger or even transgenerational trauma, or events that happen, and traumas that happen. I’m describing my adult life. How you are with what happens once you’re broken open is everything, but there’s no question about what I can offer now.

I was already offering something of value and meaning in the programs we ran before David died, but I now have a place to meet people because of not just the trauma that I went through. You couldn’t go through trauma and not be changed, but because of how I went through that trauma, how I lived through that, and who I have become through that. That has its transmission. It’s not even like the healers necessarily talk about what they’ve done. I’m sure when people meet you, just who you are, I can feel it in our conversation because of what’s happened to you. You have a place to hold these deep conversations. That’s just who you are.

It’s true. It breaks you open. I like to say it changes your cells as they multiply when you have these kinds of experiences. Eventually, it’s a weird way, it’s a blessing because you can translate it to helping so many more people because you have a depth of understanding.

The main thing that I want to add is sometimes, when you’re in the middle of something, and I know I had to keep calling myself back, you’re going to say, “Let me just get through this thing. I’ll get through this. If I survive this, I’ll be of value to others. I’ll get out there.” Meanwhile, you’re missing the life that is. It’s almost like when and if you’re reading this now and you’re going through a dark night, this is your life. You don’t get this back. You don’t get this day back, you don’t get this moment in life. It is this right now, and you can learn to see in the dark. If I think of the union of feminine and masculine, in the yin-yang symbol, the feminine is the dark.

It’s learning to embrace the dark, not run away from it, but let it open you and be present for that. That is, in my experience, how I see what the next step is. The next step that might lead to, ultimately, some way, I am, at the other side, able to say, “I can receive this as a blessing.” Not because you do it as a spiritual bypass at the beginning, but because I certainly did not do that.

Finding Joy In Life

I get that. I’m enjoying this interview and with all this said, I would love to know the Suzanne Anderson tip for finding joy in life.

 

For me, it’s slowing me down, and maybe it just connects to what I was saying and savoring at that moment. I have a practice that I do every day where I take a walk after lunch. I have no pod, not listening to anything. I’m just walking. A simple walk. It’s not getting exercise. It’s just being in awe of life, of the moment, of the flower that’s there today and it wasn’t yesterday.

I was listening to a podcast about someone who was referencing the San Bushmen in the Kalahari Desert in South Africa. Sometimes they would just erupt in laughter when he was with them, but there wasn’t anything. They live in hard circumstances. It was like he was speaking to what I could relate to here, joy as a bedrock even amid the struggle. We don’t often find it if we’re going fast. You’ve got to slow yourself down and be present in the awe of life itself.

I must say, joy and all those other emotions can live together. I always tell people to let that joy in. That’s also part of your experience. Suzanne, in closing, I would like to share this very meaningful passage from your book, which is so illuminating. It’s You Make Your Path By Walking. I would like to share this passage from your book.

“The person I have become through the trauma and loss is also stronger, more resilient, more compassionate, kinder to herself, and more loving to others and there are also times when I feel the eight deep down in my bones for the love that I had with David, what was between us and what might have been. I recognize that this too, is just what it means to be fully in this human life, daring to love with all your heart and willing to lose what you think you cannot live without.”

Suzanne, thank you from my heart for inviting women to step into their power, embrace their wholeness, and contribute to a better world. Becoming lights in the world that others can look to in their time of need. I truly thank you from my heart for this enlightening and moving interview on the show.

Thank you, Irene. What a pleasure and privilege to be in this deep listening field with you. Thank you.

Make sure to follow us and like us on social at @IreneSWeinberg on Instagram, Facebook, or whenever you get your shows, including YouTube. As I like to say, to be continued. Thank you so much, Suzanne. Many blessings, everyone, and bye for now.

 

Guest’s Links:

 

Host’s Links:

 

“Irene Weinberg I’m so glad that I discovered you! YAY. I’ve been listening to your interviews while I weave. So so so informative. Love them!”

Terri Ray

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