Death and Dying: Relinquishment on the Spiritual Path

I’ve spent most of today in awe of a 1998 journal I kept when I could not read what I was writing. During the early months of my brain injury, I somehow sensed the magnitude of this time period, and recorded it for later, even though migraines prevented me from re-reading what I wrote. I’ve found some real gems in there, jewels of synchronicity that memory had distorted from their original brilliant gleam. I’ve also discovered that despite my “loss of a rational side,” some strangely relevant insights continue to unearth themselves, even twelve years later.

So many people seem to be leaving parts of themselves behind these days that I decided to share this partial entry from 10/28/98. For the sake of privacy and brevity, I’m extracting parts that do not reference specific people or situations, but I hope you will find this sharing helpful during Fall 2010’s shifts and opportunities to let the old die so that we can allow the new to announce and birth itself. Happy Diwali — a celebration of Peace, Light and Love — and Namaste:


“Space” is a strange, but important concept for me, I have been miserable at times without it. I have occasionally found friends whose space enraptures me or comforts me, but until recently, I felt a continual longing for my own space. …I knew I had a major hang-up and that I would have to work through it on my own. The only way to get the fear out of my system was to prove to myself that I could support myself and create my own beautiful space in which to heal. (I speak here not of my concussion but of my various psychological wounds.)

As soon as I tasted the freedom of living alone, I became fiercely protective of my independence. I knew I had to go through this phase, and I did not want a disruption of the process. I believe that the apartment is the last thing I feel so fiercely for. Prior to this concussion I felt that way about school, about men, about money, time and autonomy. The concussion has been, I believe, a necessary lesson in relinquishment. Having attained some long, sometimes lifelong goals, I have been asked, forced, to relinquish everything I thought I needed to be happy.

In the cases in which I have given away control, accepted my own insignficance, and learned to take what life gives me, I have grown. It unnerves me and threatens me a little to think of relinquishing all I’ve worked so hard towards. It’s difficult to loosen the last reins you feel you’ll ever hold. I know that the illusion of control misguides me here. I must come to a point at which I truly feel that [if I lose this space] … another door will open for me somewhere else.

I’m on the verge of relinquishing this space spiritually. It does not really belong to me anyway. It was a gift, just like good friends, or an injury that lets me heal my hang-ups. Perhaps Chopin’s Marche Funèbre will help again. I mistakenly assumed I was done dying for awhile. I begin to understand, the glimpse the idea that maybe the only time we finish dying comes with Death itself. “All of life is but a laughter and a forgetting.” Something like that. Wordsworth, I believe.

Can I laugh and forget it all? The big lesson, a big lesson anyway, will say that since I have stripped away all my supposed necessities for happiness and fulfillment and given that I have remained relatively happy and carefree throughout this experience, it follows that I do not need those elements to be happy after all. I am free of my carerr, my bank account, and my apartment. I can move anywhere and do anything, as long as I continue truly to be myself.

I love my family and my friends. I may one day love a husband. I may have a career, or not. I may choose situations, and I may have them handed to me. In the end it’s all the same. In the end I will have lived and died and DIED.

“Because I could not stop for Death,
He kindly stopped for me;
The carriage held but just ourselves
And Immortality.
We slowly drove, he knew no haste,
And I had put away
My labor, and my leisure too,
For his civility.

We passed the school, where children strove
At recess, in the ring;
We passed the fields of gazing grain,
We passed the setting sun.

Or rather, he passed us;
The dews grew quivering and chill,
For only gossamer my gown,
My tippet only tulle.

We paused before a house that seemed
A swelling of the ground;
The roof was scarcely visible,
The cornice but a mound.

Since then ’tis centuries, and yet each
Feels shorter than the day
I first surmised the horses’ heads
Were toward eternity.”

(Emily Dickinson)

“The Brain, within its Groove
Runs evenly — and true —
But let a Splinter swerve —
‘Twere easier for You —

To put a Current back —
When Floods have slit the Hills —
And scooped a Turnpike for Themselves —
And trodden out the Mills –”

(Emily Dickinson)

… and later that week, from Isak Dinesen’s Out of Africa:

“We navigated differently. Perhaps he knew as I did not that the earth was made round so we do not see too far down the road.”

“It’s not what I thought would happen to me now.”

“I still have your compass.”
“Why don’t you keep it. You’ve earned it. Besides, I don’t always want to know where I’m going anyway.”

“When the gods want to punish you, they answer your prayers.”

“Let it go. Let it go. This water lives in Mombaza anyway.”

[Reading this twelve years, dozens of relocations, a full recovery, and many, many coaching and intuitive clients later, fills me with profound gratitude and a sense of Divinity moving through my life like water. It reminds me of the Taoist concept of “Wu Wei” or “effortless action.” Water is the gentlest force, and yet it digs riverbeds and carves stone. If you feel yourself struggling on the path, consider relinquishing the struggle and allowing Grace to carry you. I’m so glad I did!]

Deepest Blessings and Much Love,

16 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Giacinta on November 6, 2010 at 7:28 pm

    Wow, Laura! This is so so beautiful. It has a wonderful, gentle and profound haunting energy – one that brings forth hope and inspiration, calm, peace and such a sense of fluidity and ultimate truth. Thank you so SO much for sharing this. I feel awed, touched, moved and very very blessed. 🙂 XO ❤



  2. Absolutely beautiful, Laura! Thank you, thank you!!

    Love! ❤



  3. Posted by pammiwunder on November 6, 2010 at 10:16 pm

    You have helped me to put something I tend to worry about into perspective today. Thank you so very much for sharing this. You are a wise, lovely young woman and I send you love and intent for healing light and energy to be ever present in your life. You are a gift to us all, sweet intuitive Angel ♥ ♥ ♥



  4. Posted by Carel Stichweh on November 9, 2010 at 3:41 am

    Thank you Laura for your sharing. This is my first comment on any blog, I am touched, in awe and inspired and in a personal and private way, drawn and interconnected; if that makes any sense. I too have lose my “rational side”, was very assertive before the TBI. Family, friends and some doctors knew me as a Type A (alpha male) type, but that has changed, partly I feel by a energy touch of Divinty or a quick kick to my behind by a divine goddess of life to a different path. “blah-blah-blah” sorry! Anyway I just felt so moved and that is why I sent you a FB message to be friends. I feel very blessed with that and you.



    • Posted by laurabruno on November 9, 2010 at 5:47 am

      Thanks so much for leaving a comment and for friending me, Carol. I’m so glad you’re able to see the touch of the Divine in your journey! Many blessings and much love, Laura



  5. soul-hugging, lovely essay, L’s

    your moon: in the painting in the link……




  6. Posted by Marge Binder on December 9, 2010 at 11:39 am

    Laura, I just read this this morning and was so moved by it….i can’t think of more words to describe what i feel, but i felt so touched by it I just wanted to let you know……Marge



  7. Reblogged this on Laura Bruno's Blog and commented:

    Whoa, this post just came up in a multi-layered mega whammy of synchronicities today. I first posted this on November 5, 2010, and it shares some written pondering from a journal twelve years prior — when I was still too brain injured to read. I would write, but I could not reread my writing. I just sensed that I needed to record some of my journey. The intricacies of today’s synchronicities, and the fact I’ve had November 5 on the brain, urged me to repost. Maybe there’s something in here for others — or maybe some reminder to myself.

    Liked by 1 person


  8. This is such a truly beautiful post by Laura. It hugs and comforts, as it prepares a stripping away of what all has ever been known. There is a rhythm to it and relinquishing resistance allows that ebb and flow to move more effortlessly. To bring into your awareness and existence more options that you would ever consider. It’s up to us individually to choose.

    Much love and thanks Laura

    Liked by 1 person


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: