I Killed My Brother
By Marlyse Carroll (alias Gabrielle)
(Author of ‘Am I Going Mad? The Unsettling Phenomena of Spiritual Evolution’ – www.amigoingmad.com.au)
As a meditation teacher and workshop facilitator, I’m always in awe of the power of spontaneous spiritual experiences to heal traumatic past events. This is such a story. It’s a true story. However, to protect the identity of the people involved, some details have been altered.
“Do you remember my experience with my brother Daniel? The brother I killed on his motorbike.” Jo said.
Gabrielle was talking on the phone with one of her students, a young woman she had first met six weeks earlier. She smiled, happy to notice Jo’s steady, vibrant voice. “Wow, something big is still unfolding,” she thought.
“I’ve now grown so close to him in spirit, it’s amazing…” Jo continued. “Instead of having nightmares nearly every night, as I used to, I now feel his love around me. All the time. It’s wonderful. Well, quite incredible really, because my leg is so much better too, I’m no longer limping. And I’m not in pain either. Can you believe it? The pain is gone, as he said it would. Cool, hey?”
Gabrielle felt shivers of delight tingling up her spine, as she often did when Spirit made itself known.
Jo was still excitedly chatting away. “Gabrielle, I really got out of my hole at the retreat last month. Just like that. From one session to the next, do you remember?. That wild dance with blindfolds is what started it, you know.”
Yes, Gabrielle remembered the event – how could she ever forget such a magic moment!
She also recalled their initial encounter on the opening day of the week-long retreat that Jo had attended. The young woman had slowly walked into the conference centre, limping quite severely.
She seemed to carry the weight of the world on her shoulders and looked exhausted. It was hard to believe she was only 22 years old. Contrary to the other participants who chatted excitedly amongst themselves, she didn’t mingle and rarely smiled. And even when she did, her smile never reached her eyes.
After putting the phone down, Gabrielle felt as exhilarated as if she had been the one experiencing the spontaneous healing. She felt like jumping up and down and telling the whole world. She wished everyone knew that such shifts were possible.
Shifts from the deepest despair to joy. From guilt to pure love. And even from physical misery to health and vitality.
“Yes,” Gabrielle mused silently, “ecstasy can be just a heartbeat away from the darkest night of the soul. And when it happens, the result is always the same: self-love and inner peace, leading to healing of body and mind.”
In Jo’s case, the deep spiritual experience leading to her healing had taken place on the 5th day of the workshop. Right from the beginning, Jo had participated in all activities with a grim determination. Gabrielle and the other facilitators admired her courage, because she obviously was in pain most of the time, even though she never complained.
On that morning, the first activity of the day had been a soul dance followed by surrender meditation. For nearly an hour, participants and facilitators had danced their heart out. Wild African tribal music. Sexy South American rhythms. Soulful blues.
The carefully chosen pieces of music took them on a profound inner journey. Blindfolded, alone in their world and yet together, they explored experiences all humans share: life, love, lust, emptiness, happiness, sadness, joy, the fear of living fully, death…
At some stage, the music stopped and participants were told to surrender. To just lie down, on the spot, to ‘let go and let God’. Facilitators gently covered each person with a blanket, and the inner journey continued in silence.
That’s when it happened for Jo. A spiritual experience that, in an instant, blew away the infinite pain she had carried for 14 months. Later on that morning, she chose to share her story with the whole group.
“Before I tell you what happened today,” she started tentatively in a croaky voice, “I need to tell you what happened last year. I had an older brother. Daniel. He was 5 years older than me. I just adored him. Ever since I was a little kid he had been my hero.”
She paused for a while.
“He was pretty wild too. He loved freedom and adventures. From the time he was 18 he started travelling around Australia. For weeks, sometimes months on end we wouldn’t hear from him. And then we would receive a postcard, or a phone call, from anywhere. Queensland, Northern Territory, the Pilbaras, Tassie.
He loved nature and had decided to spend some time in all the national parks of Australia. That was his dream, he told me when he was 12.
Mum and dad always pleaded with him to get a mobile phone. But he wouldn’t. They even gave him one at some stage, but he didn’t want it.
Two or three times a year, he would suddenly arrive back home, without warning. Looking hungry and a bit feral. And he would stay for a few weeks, eat like you wouldn’t believe – which always made mum happy – find a temporary job, and save every cent he earned.
I loved being around him. He had so many stories to tell. He was so alive, so vibrant.
Anyway, after three or four months, as soon as he had enough money to keep going, he would be on his way again. On his big motorbike – the love of his life, it seems to me.”
Jo choked on her last words, stopped and reached out for the box of tissues next to her. Obviously, Daniel’s motorbike was an emotionally charged subject. She took a deep breath and continued.
“About two years ago, I decided to have a motorbike too. I was hoping that maybe at some stage I could go with him. So I took lessons, got my license and bought a second-hand 250cc. The biggest one I could get with my first license.
Mum was absolutely mad. She hardly talked to me for days when I told her. I think Dad was proud of me, but he never said anything. And the next time Daniel came back, I had this big surprise in store for him. His little sister could also ride. He was very impressed. As for me, I was ecstatic.
We went for some rides together, which was great fun. But it wasn’t enough for me. I kept pestering him to let me try his big 1000cc. Although we both knew that I wasn’t allowed to drive it, he let me take it around the block a few times. It was just amazing. Such a powerful machine. I loved it.
Anyway, on that day – the day of the accident – he had been home for about 3 weeks. It was a Sunday, Mum and dad were at some birthday party. And I managed to convince Daniel to come for a bigger ride with me. On his machine, of course… with me driving it, and him on the backseat.
So we took off and I headed straight for the country. It didn’t take us long to be out of town and on highways where I could really push the speed. I started driving faster and faster and faster. I don’t know what took over me. Yes, I do know. I wanted to impress him. To show him that I was as good as ‘one of the boys’.
At some stage, I looked at the speedo and the needle was on 180. Incredible. I felt like some sort of god, a super human riding some magic beast… Daniel was holding on to my waist and I felt him tapping my stomach with a sense of urgency. I knew what he meant “Slow down, Sis, slow down.”
But I didn’t take any notice and kept going, 185, 190, 200. “He’s frightened and I’m not.” That’s the last thing I remember, that thought.
I don’t remember anything else. I woke up 9 days later in intensive care. Daniel was dead. He died on impact they told me.”
Tears were now running down Jo’s face. Some of the listeners cried too, Gabrielle included. A long silence followed. They all knew that Jo’s story wasn’t finished.
Eventually she continued.
“This happened 14 months ago. He was 26. It took me a long time to walk again. In that time I had 5 operations, 3 of them on my left leg.
But the worse of it was that I couldn’t live with the guilt. I had dreadful nightmares and sleepless nights. I felt sick in the stomach most of the time. I couldn’t look mum and dad in the eyes, even though they did their best to not lay guilt trips on me. But I knew how much they suffered too.
And I cried, and cried and cried. I took antidepressants for a while but then I stopped. Because they made me feel terrible and I always thought that there’s a better way to handle life. Even the bad times.
I saw so many doctors, counsellors, psychologists, psychiatrists. I was told I had depression and post traumatic stress disorder. I knew that. And they all got mad at me for not taking their scripts. They thought psychotropic drugs were the only thing that could help me.
At some stage it got so bad that I thought of suicide. But I knew I couldn’t do that to mum and dad after what they went through.
Anyway, someone told me about this retreat a few weeks ago, and I decided to give it a go. This is why I’m here today, and boy, am I glad I came!”
Jo’s voice now sounded much stronger. A bright smile lit up her face. A smile that, for the first time, included her eyes too.
“I just love dancing. Always have. Daniel and I used to dance together when we were kids. We had so much fun, with the same type of music we had this morning. Especially the African drumming. So dancing blind-folded took me right back to that time. But then something strange happened, you might think that I’m a bit crazy.”
Jo hesitated for a while before continuing.
“Yes, something very strange happened. Suddenly, Daniel was really here, dancing with me. Not as a kid, not in my imagination, but just as he looked when he died. And he was as real to me as any one of you. He was really – REALLY – dancing with me. I could touch him. I could feel his skin. I could smell him. I could hear his laughter.
It’s as if there was no one else in the room. Just him and me dancing together with this fabulous music. I wished it would go on forever… I didn’t feel any pain in my leg either. And I could move in ways that I haven’t been able to move since the accident. It was as if I had turned the clock back, or stopped time, or jumped into another dimension, or something.
And when we were told to lie down, we both floated to the ground and lay there together. He then took my hand and looked in my eyes with so much love… We stayed like that for ages. And then he talked to me. He told me that he had no regrets and that I shouldn’t have any either. That he had lived more fully in his 26 years than most people ever do in 80. That his death was as perfect as his life had been.
I understood what he meant. He didn’t mean perfect as in ‘humanly perfect’. It was much bigger than that, much more powerful.
He also told me that I would be OK, and to keep riding because I enjoy it so much. To keep living. To laugh again. To love again. To dance again. He told me my leg would be fine as soon as I ‘moved on’. These were his words.
And then he hugged me, got up and walked to the door. He opened it – just as you or I would. He turned around, blew me a kiss, winked and walked out.
After that, I just lay there in bliss. So much love. I’ve never known so much love, indescribable.”
Jo slowly stretched her whole body and looked up, her face now radiant.
“Well, what else can I say?” she concluded. “I only wish I understood these things better. You know – what’s real and what isn’t, but it doesn’t really matter, does it?”
You are free to copy this story provided you reproduce it in full, acknowledging the author and source (www.amigoingmad.com.au).