Season 1: Episode #6
What makes a hero?
According to Philosopher and Scholar Joseph Campbell, a hero is an archetypal figure who takes a journey from his or her ordinary world, goes out on an adventure, through a decisive crisis wins a victory, then returns home transformed with gained wisdom to offer others. This podcast explores real people, real stories and the pivotal moments that changed the course of their lives forever.
I think the Grace is available to everybody. I don't think it requires a huge trauma. I do think that the big traumas break up an identity and allow you to be more open and allow you to expand the realm of what is possible and what is tolerable. And with that tolerance is an opening and I feel like when you're open, that's when you know your own internal divine nature.
Sarah Tueting experienced a huge trauma. Something that most of us will never experience in our lifetime. While some might collapse as a victim, she chose to expand and transcend. Listen to this remarkable hero as she shares her journey from unimaginable horror to healing, forgiveness, and Grace. I’m Belinda Lams and this is The Moment When…
Sarah Tueting is a two-time Olympic medalist in ice hockey, a graduate with multiple honors from Dartmouth College and Stanford Business School, a mom, a wife, a friend, an author, a cellist, and a yogi. She has a wide array of interests and accomplishments that range from neuroscience to riding her horse Woody. Sarah enjoys a beautiful life in Park City, Utah with her husband Dan and her twins Kalvin and Grace.
So first of all how do we know each other?
I keep calling you guys the Love Gypsies but I guess it's from Susie and Geno and Dorsey when they came and Carrie too. When they came to our house, you guys came and so we met you here in Park City.
Yeah so we had this band Love Gypsies and we would go and perform at your home during Valentine's Day and that was also corresponding to Dorsey's art show. I remember meeting you and your husband and your little beautiful children and your beautiful home and surroundings and we realized that we had certain things in common and we shared our hearts and our journeys and…
Yeah, you guys just come in. That whole crew. You guys come in and just kind of shower everybody with energy and good vibes and love and yes it's around Valentine's Day, so that seems to be the theme and then obviously the music. It’s just beautiful.
Okay, so Sarah what was your ordinary world like before your adventure?
So, our life was I dare say perfect. So the babies had just been born, they were two months old. We had struggled with infertility for quite some time about three years and we’d had multiple miscarriages, we'd seen five doctors in five different states. A friend had offered to be a surrogate and we had transferred embryos to her and then I found out later that she had an issue, which was preventing her from getting pregnant. And after this long process which was a journey within itself which included amazing moments in the process, we met a woman who became our gestational surrogate and so the babies were born in December of 2011 and so we had these perfect little beings and it was Christmas time and it's just that bliss, you know of new life and especially after such a struggle. That's what our ordinary life was like then. I was doing some life coaching, doing a little bit of writing and hanging with the babies and kind of adjusting to life with two more little souls in the house.
Sarah received her call to adventure through the concerning cry of her baby boy.
So, I guess it probably started on a Sunday and Kalvin was really fussy. He had just been crying off and on all day and he couldn't seem to get comfortable. We did everything, we completely undressed him and we gave him a bath and we looked to see if there were zippers or anything that could be bothering him but he was just really fussy until he fell asleep like exhausted on Sunday night. He slept most of Monday and then Tuesday he was really fussy again and while we were changing him we noticed that his pain seemed a lot worse. He started screaming. I mean all babies cry, he was eight weeks old. We also noticed that his left foot was a little bit swollen.
And so we took both babies into the doctor's office and we showed the doctor Kalvin's leg and she thought it may have been osteomyelitis or she wasn't sure she thought it might be a good idea for us to take him down to Children's and have an x-ray done.
And while we were there, I showed her a picture of a bruise that had appeared on Gracie's face overnight a couple of weeks prior and the look on her face was one of those moments that don't leave unfortunately, cuz it was just this look of total horror. So, she went and got our regular pediatrician who's also a close friend and Laina said the same thing. She’s like you have to take them both down to Children's, I will call ahead, let them know you're coming but you need to go down there now.
Sarah’s husband Dan was out of state, so with the help of her babysitter Micah, she loaded up the babies and rushed down the mountain to Children’s Hospital.
They took Kalvin and they x-rayed his leg and they came back and this doctor said he has a break in his leg and by the type of fracture that it is at the tibia metaphyseal fracture. It doesn't happen by accident.
So they wanted to do CT scans and x-rays of both babies and when I say x-rays I mean full-body x-rays. And so, I went with them while the kids were strapped down in you know in the CT machine and they're crying and screaming and then they take them over into side by side x-ray rooms and -- makes me want to throw up even now. Um but watching the kids kind of be manhandled and manipulated on these cold metal tables, they're just babies you know. They were two months old and they're screaming and crying and looking for comfort while these nurses are like stretching out their bodies and manipulating them and it was awful, it was truly awful.
I know where I was sitting, I remember holding Kalvin and he was just looking up the lights and it was before the CT scan had come back and we didn't know right I mean all you hear is shaken baby syndrome and it kids end up with horrible brain injuries or they can't see because somebody shook them so hard and we didn’t, I didn't know what was going on.
And some time later the doctor came in and he led with, “I've got great news. Their brains are fine but Kalvin's other leg is also broken.
I think that's when my whole world kind of stopped then because there was no way that two broken legs were an accident.
So, I kept asking him, well how can it happen, how can it happen? Finally, he stopped and he said the only way that we've seen these fractures before is when somebody intentionally breaks a leg to correct a clubfoot. It's an intentional pull and twist with enough force to break a leg.
The scenario quickly shifted from a disease diagnosis to a an abuse case. The first suspects on the list? The parents. The police arrived and interviewed Sarah in one room and Micah the babysitter in another. In the meantime, Dan was scrambling to get a flight home.
I remember this detective looking at me and saying we want to keep the babies here overnight, we know they’ll be safe. And it was the cruelest thing that anybody I think has ever said to me and I was tired, it was 2:00 in the morning and I said there's no fucking way, I'm leaving my babies here overnight after what they've been through, I'm going home and I'm taking them with me and if you want to follow me up the mountain and you want to come to the house and sleep in the house you're more than welcome to do that, but I'm taking the babies home.
And so that's what he did. He followed us up the mountain and I put the babies to bed in their own crib and they poked around and they were taking pictures and asking questions. At some point, another sergeant had shown up—
So at 3:00 in the morning suddenly they said they had to go and so they asked if I would come by the station at some point in the next couple of days and take a polygraph. And I said yes, and they left and so obviously I didn't sleep at all that night. Sitting there in abject terror but like feeling the need to protect my kids but not knowing who I was protecting them from, what I was protecting them from and then the police saying that they are trying to protect the kids by taking them away from me, I just…that was just too much.
Sarah put on her detective hat and began eliminating suspects. It wasn’t her self. It wasn’t Dan. It wasn’t Micah the babysitter. That left one other possibility.
She looks totally normal.
“She” is Aubrey, the 31 year-old night nurse they hired to come in a couple nights a week. And she was the only person who had been alone with the babies.
We talked to eight references, she'd been a nurse at Children's for 10 years although she'd forged all of her documents and she looked like somebody I would be friends with you know. And there were a couple of warning signs but, you use the experiences that you have to try to explain the behavior, you can't do anything else. And clearly, people thought that I had done it. Right? They're treating the parent as the criminal and so it's just a lot, it was a lot to process in that moment.
The next day, the detective called. It turns out that he had left at 3 in the morning to interview Aubrey. His voice sounded totally different than the night before.
He said, all I can tell you is it was very interesting and he said but we do want the babies to go to the doctor's office, we want to take blood and hair samples from them um to see if they had been drugged, if their injuries had been masked.
So, at this point Dan had gotten home. It was the afternoon of the next day and we took them to the doctor's office and like once again, watched as your babies like held down and poked and prodded and it was screaming and then we took them home.
And the hospital called and said that they thought that Kalvin may have had broken ribs in addition to his two legs and they wanted to do a nucleo scan to confirm it and Dan and I talked about it and at that point we couldn't put him through it again. It wasn't going to change anything, maybe it would add additional charges when there were criminal charges brought but we couldn't justify putting him through that at that point. So we said no.
And at some point, Dan and I did go in for this polygraph. I mean, it's funny and I write about it in a book that I wrote about this experience but all I remember is just enormous like fat man named Roy and I mean, I only say that because he was so disgusting to me and not because of how he looked but because of what he did. You know, in trying to like raise my anxiety level and saying if you even think about lying, all the alarms and bells and whistles are going to go off and you know strapping me into this thing to measure my heart rate and then asking me if I hurt my babies and asking me if I'd ever hurt anybody in my entire life as if our anxiety level wasn't high enough, it was awful.
Although Aubrey had checked out squeaky clean in two National background checks, Dan and Sarah now learned that there was an Interpol warrant out on her in Belgium where she was wanted for questioning in a child abuse case. Branding herself as an Infant Twin Specialist, Aubrey had been hired to care for new-born twins, Luisa and Archibald.
When the babies were 6 days old the mom noticed that one of the babies arms—they called it flabby in the translation—but it sounds like she just wasn't moving it very much so they took her the doctor but they didn't take x-rays. They brought her home. And at 13 days more injuries appeared and then at 16 days, Aubrey woke up the parents in the middle of the night and said that she had tripped carrying Luisa and that her arm was visibly broken, the humerus so the upper part of the arm was visibly broken. And so the parents took her to the hospital, took both kids to the hospital and while they were at the hospital, Aubrey fled the country and came back to the United States. She's an American citizen, she came back to Utah and then came to work for us six months later. What it would turn out was those babies in Belgium, they had ten broken bones between them and they were two weeks old.
But wait. There’s more. During the investigation, a third family with twins turned up in West Virginia. They had also hired Aubrey. Those parents called the police to have Aubrey physically removed from their home, citing fear for their infant twins. Since they didn’t press charges, it never showed up on the National background checks.
Despite all this information that the detectives had, she was still working and she was still working at Children’s. So, for four months even though they could have arrested her the very next day, for four months we knew she was out there free, walking around, doing whatever she was doing, having total exposure to kids. She was a nurse in the PICU having an exposure to super sick kids, so who knows.
I’m Belinda Lams and this is The Moment When…Today we’re talking with Sarah Tueting about the horrifying discovery that her infant twins had been physically abused by a night nurse, and the twisted injustice of being wrongfully suspected … Her story continues.
For four months that basically felt like we were being treated as suspects when they knew exactly who had done it and that person was out walking around free. And there also to me felt like a lot of other motives going on that we weren't privy to. Right? So, there's detectives or county attorney's careers are at stake and if they do bring a trial and it's a high-profile trial which it would be and they somehow lose it because it's a high bar, you know… There was just all this stuff going on that felt like not as clear as it should have been in that this woman has a history of abusing infants, the most innocent and vulnerable members of our society and you're not doing anything about it.
Dan and I went in and it was the county attorneys and the sheriff and our victim’s advocate. And the county attorney was still saying like well, we still have four suspects and he was just saying ridiculous things and I said that's fine, I'm going to take this story public. I still have a hockey agent, I've been on The Today Show however many times, I'm sure it's a story that they would love and the sheriff was equally upset with the whole thing and he's a dad and he turned to me at one point in this meeting he said I promise you, she'll be arrested.
The detectives despised her so much at this point that when they arrested her, see there is funny parts of this, when they arrested her, they wouldn't let her go in and change. So she's grinning in her mug shot for one which makes people crazy but she's wearing silk pajamas they wouldn't let her go in and change her shoes.
So, Aubrey went to jail barefoot. The judge set an extremely high bail of a million dollars cash. In the meantime, more evidence was being collected.
People did not like this woman and so she spent the next year in jail while, we thought everybody was preparing for trial, we had to get child abuse experts in to describe the mechanism of action of the injuries of both the babies in Belgium and the babies and our kids which were exactly the same, she started with bruises on the cheeks and then she moved on to the more serious injuries. The babies there had they all of their ankles were broken in the same way that Kalvin's was broken and then they had broken arms in addition. And the parents over there, they had agreed to come over and testify in our trial. And so, that's kind of how things were moving along at that point.
The trial was finally scheduled for May, 16 months after the injuries were inflicted. Dan and Sarah were called into a meeting with the County Attorneys and the police captain. They assumed it was about the upcoming trial, but instead were presented with a surprise: Aubrey was offered a plea, she had accepted, and it wasn’t going to trial. 2 second-degree felony charges, 2 misdemeanors, and time served. That’s it.
I do remember the county attorney saying, look at the Casey Anthony case. Right? Everybody knows that she's guilty but she went free and how would you feel if Aubrey was free without a mark on her to like go out and hurt other kids? You know, with this plea, at least she’ll be a convicted felon and it'll always be on her record. And so Dan and I went before the judge and we asked him that if he was going to accept the plea to please include some stipulation that she couldn't be alone with kids, which he did. He really didn't care for her either and that was it.
So, you went to the court and you saw her? So how was that?
She wouldn't look at me. I mean, hate is a strong word and I don't care for the word but it's how I felt at the time. (pause) I think it was the detective who said that if Aubrey got hit by the train, the only thing that would make him sad was that somebody had to clean it up. So, it was over but it was still there for me.
The effects of this traumatic chapter continued to reverberate. Questions began flooding Sarah’s conscious and unconscious mind. How could this have happened? Why would someone do this?
I would have these dreams where I would shoot her and I would feel only relief while they were handcuffing me and taking me to jail because my babies were safe. Or I had another dream where she was standing on a cliff and she was holding Grace and she looked at me and she threw Grace into like the white frothy water and I was jumping and I was trying to save her.
So I mean, there's all this anxiety and anger. And the questions of why, like why would you do that? Our babies weren't colicky, they're innocent. Why would you intentionally hurt them? What would have been understandable is if she'd shaken them because that's where people get-- I mean, it's not okay but that's anger, that's frustration. This baby who won't stop crying, I'm so frustrated. You know, So, even though that's more human and understandable and would have led to longer-term injury, oh I'm so grateful that didn't happen. This was something different, this was her just hurting to hurt.
Sarah was dealing with an emotional cauldron of anger, confusion, guilt, and a spiritual crisis. She had always believed that there was a piece of Gd in everyone. That belief was now obliterated. It didn’t account for the soul-less evil she encountered in Aubrey.
I was kind of exploring these different aspects of the existence of evil in the world or you know was it that she had been abused, and at the same time this overwhelming guilt that I should have known. (pause) Looking back, I had these pangs of intuition but I used my rational brain to address them. And you know like she wasn't as close to the kids as I thought she probably should be like well, Wow if I was going to come in and be with brand-new babies for three months and then leave, I wouldn't want to get too attached either. (pause) But I had an extreme. I mean, I was dealing with just crushing guilt because every species on the planet knows how to protect their young and I failed. And if I can't trust myself to know the most basic of instincts which is how to take care of my babies, how can I trust myself with anything?
I stopped coaching, I stopped writing, I stopped seeing friends. I didn't want to leave them alone with anybody that we didn't know and my family wasn't nearby at the time so it was kind of me and Dan and Micah who was the babysitter that was around. And it was it was a pretty intense time. But at the same time, the babies were okay. You know, and I would wake up in the middle of the night, I think are they okay and I'd go in and I'd look at their cribs and they’d be, they were perfectly fine.
So even in the middle of all this, probably within two weeks Kalvin's legs were healed and very early on, I lived in immense gratitude that they were okay, that we had evil touch our lives and basically came out unscathed.
The Moment When can come in many ways. For Sarah, it came in the form of a crystal clear resolve. Though evil had certainly hurt the bodies of her babies, she would not allow it to disfigure their souls.
The biggest impact that it could have on them is how Dan and I reacted to it. So if we became people who were less trusting, if we became people who really did believe in evil and taught them that they had to watch out for that in the world or we became more closed like that is how Kalvin and Grace would be impacted long-term. So, I knew that the healing that needed to be done had to be done to prevent longer-term issues.
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Today we’re exploring how evil can lose its power through the courageous choice to heal with my guest Sarah Tueting.
As Sarah began the road back to her ordinary world, she committed to facing the truth. There was only one place that she didn’t want to confront and that was the attempt to understand Aubrey. She didn’t want to crawl into the twisted mind of a Hannibal Lector type character. Yet she knew that this was her next step to healing.
2 books were recommended for her reading: People of the Lie. And A Sociopath Next Door. Reluctantly, she picked up the Sociopath book and ended up poring over it for 5 hours.
Every word was Aubrey. The entire thing was this is how sociopaths work, this is how they operate, this is why they do what they do. Here's the underlining brain mechanism of how they don't feel what we feel like they feel the same way about dropping a knife on the floor as they feel about dropping a baby. There's something broken. And the FBI had also done a profile and said based on her jail phone calls that she was a narcisisstic sociopath. And so, that actually was a huge step for me in the healing process which I didn't want to take but was kind of prodded to do was to understand the mindset of somebody who would do that.
There was still no interest in forgiveness and she also wasn't asking for forgiveness, she was still saying oh it was all set up, that somehow we placed an ad and lured her to work for us and then somehow talked to the family who six months prior had broken their own twins leg. It was just so crazy, the explanation that somehow we had conspired with the family in Belgium to break our own children's legs in the exact same way in order to frame her. This was the leg that she was standing on so she wasn't asking for forgiveness.
At one point like I forget for which hearing it was, it was like Friends of Aubrey and so they all wore purple ribbons, these friends of her family came in to proclaim her innocence and it was like you know the bar in Star Wars with all the funky looking aliens? That's what it was like. Where did these people come from and are they for real and these are supposed to be the people that are proclaiming your innocence? And you as an upstanding member of society, I mean it was just like going down a terribly dark rabbit hole and ending up in some world that I never wanted any part of.I didn't want my babies to be injured, I didn't want evil to touch our lives, I didn't want to be a victim in the system, I didn't want to know evil, I didn't want to feel guilt, I didn't want to not trust, I mean I didn't want any of it. And yet here we were.
While evil had certainly touched their lives with malevolence and carnage, it wasn’t the final story. Healing came and touched their lives too, bearing gifts of insight and restoration. One healing gift came through writing. Sarah wrote a book during the year after the injuries occurred; weaving together the stories of the abuse incidents, the trial, and her own internal journey.
Another gift came through an angel disguised as a horse named Woody who offered profound lessons as she learned how to ride.
There was something very healing about Woody trusting me. I mean, Woody is a Reiner, he was trained as Reiner, he could pretty much do anything. I don't know what the hell I'm doing on the back of the horse. I'm telling him to go straight and go backwards and turn left at the same time and he's like, you know what, that's okay. I know what you mean and I've got this. And so, he trusted me right? and so if he could trust me and forgive me for being human, that was the beginning of the healing process. I'm only human like I made a mistake and I didn't know and no matter how anybody else says you could have known, you couldn't have known. How could you possibly have seen it like that wasn't healing, that wasn't getting me anywhere. It was I'm gonna have to live with this guilt for the rest of my life and so I can build myself up stronger around it and my life can be deeper and more textured but it's here and it's not going anywhere. And I think when I finally accepted that, like that's okay. And I can live with that. I can hold it.
I know I'm gonna always be brokenhearted that I lost my child. I will always feel sad and I can conjure up that pain and it's part of who I am and it's okay.
Yeah, and it's not trying to get rid of it. Instead of constantly trying to push it away and rationalize and justify and anger and vengeance and retribution and it was suddenly like oh okay, this is part of me now. My heart is big enough and strong enough and soft enough for it to live there with everything else that lives there.
This is my story and instead of trying to change the story which I'm a really big proponent of like write our own story, you know it’s not what happens to you it’s how you react to it I love all of that and I live all of that like this is a story I couldn't change. My babies were hurt. If it was just me, maybe I could change it but it affected them too and so the story was yeah, mama messed up. I didn't know, I'm sorry. Now, they're old enough to hear me say that and it’s there, it lives there along with so much appreciation and so much gratitude.
For a long time I didn't want to learn. Anytime a major trauma happens, at the part of the healing process, for me has always been okay, what was the lesson, what can I learn from this, how can I grow? And that helps you move forward. With this, I didn't want to learn, I didn't want to grow, I didn't feel like I deserved it. And that was really holding me back because I didn't feel like I deserved to learn or grow or in any way benefit from my children's pain. And again with this learning to forgive myself for being human, suddenly I could learn and I could grow from it and I have a different perspective on life that I love. It's very hard fought or hard earned but we didn't really take time with them for granted before but I know that they could just as easily be dead. This woman doesn't care, she doesn't care. The only reason she wouldn't have killed them was because she did want to get caught.
I know any mom that hears you that's not a sociopath will be just, how can she survive? Right? How can she survive and you've done much more than survive. You've built a beautiful life.
Yeah, I think self-forgiveness was a really a big part of it and kind of accepting that I'm human and that comes with the good in the bad and you know with the kids I tell them we have this good wolf and the bad wolf inside. And not that I have the bad wolf necessarily in this process but like just that we're human and so we contain all of it.
The kids had no conscious memory of the abuse and Sarah hadn’t told them. When they were a little older, the family made a trip to the courthouse to visit their Victim’s Advocate Marsha. On the drive, she explained to the kids that Marsha helps people who have been hurt by bad people. Kalvin became curious.
He's so intuitive. He immediately picked up and he’s three years old and he says, “Mom, have I ever been hurt by a bad person?” Some of the reading that I had done about child trauma was to answer questions when they're asked, to not bring it up but to not avoid and I didn't know if that counted for your three-year-old but I had no guidebook on terms of how to address this. We'd always been really open with them, so like they knew before they could even know anything else that they were born via just a gestational surrogate, they know LeAnn, they call her baby mama like she was part of all of our birthday celebrations. Like, I'm a very open person when it comes to the kids, I don't ever want to lie to them. And so, when Kalvin asked, have I been hurt by a bad person I said, yes. And he said, well what happened? And I said well, we had a babysitter and she hurt your leg. And he said well, what did she do? And I said well, she pulled and twisted your leg and hurt your leg. And he had other questions like how did she get in the house and how come Timber the dog didn't bite her because Timber is very protective and I said, we because we told Timber that you were okay and we didn't know that she was hurting you.
And then he asked, so smart son asked well has Grace ever been hurt by a bad person, did she hurt Grace? And I said, yeah because Grace is sitting in the back seat too- and yeah she pinched Grace on the face and Grace put her hand up to her face and just started laughing. She thought, it was like the funniest thing that she'd ever heard and that was kind of it. Then, like kids do, they move on to the next topic and it never really stuck with Grace. With Kalvin, it comes back from time to time and when they were a little bit older, they made up this song because whenever something bad, I said we don't bite, we can't kick or we don't kick, we don’t call people bad names and somehow in their head, Aubrey, mean Aubrey is what they started calling her. It became a stand in for bad people in the world and so they would say, “Well, but we could bite mean Aubrey.” I was still in a phase of like hey, if that’s healing to you, like yep will tip over buildings on Aubrey, we'll do whatever, I mean we'll flush her down the toilet. So, it was kind of like we don't bite but we can bite mean Aubrey, yep you could bite mean Aubrey. That’s fine with me.
In the Hero’s Journey, a mentor often appears to help guide the Hero through the rocky terrain. Sarah’s beloved grandmother was one of those mentors. She had navigated her own struggle with guilt at age 35 when her husband committed suicide, leaving her to raise 3 little kids alone.
My grandmother was a social worker and she always felt like she should have seen the signs, she should have been able to prevent it. If she hadn't have said what she said that very day when she was walking down the stairs and he stayed upstairs and killed himself, if she had done something different then he would still be alive and her kids would still have a dad. She kind of lived with this guilt of I shouldhave known too and but she was 60 years older than I was and so I had this incredible role model for how to put together a life after that. And she was amazing.
She had this incredible life that I mean, I have her picture on my bedside table and I look at her and I think like if she can do it, I can do it.
Sarah received more healing and mentorship through the teachings of Michael Singer, known as Mickey. Years back, his book The Untethered Soul had become her Bible of sorts. She was privileged to connect to Mickey and bring her questions about the existence of evil and perhaps help her understand Aubrey.
I started this journey believing that people are inherently good, that there’s inherently a piece of God within all of us. You know, it's the human part that gets out of whack. Then, I decided that no there actually was no human part in Aubrey and then kind of through Mickey's teachings, I came back to oh no like there is. It's just that her human was so messed up that the only way she could feel joy was to hurt babies. You know, and other people, they could only feel joy if they weigh 125 pounds and they'll do crazy things to themselves to get there. It's not completely out of the realm of understanding. And that was really huge for me.
The other thing was, was embracing all that life is-- it’s part of life and saying, I want this part of life but not that part is saying no to a big piece of life. And it's like saying to somebody that you love, I love most of you but not that part of you. I love my life but I don't like the painful part. That's not a very spiritual path to take.
And so, I was in this process of having a much broader perspective and embrace on life and if I love life then I love the Aubrey part of it too. I was playing with these really big ideas and big perspective and big embracing of my own humanness and the mistakes that I have made and the joy that I feel and the quote evil in the world and the beauty because there's also poetry and music and love and incredible self-sacrifice. Humans are both, you know, they're really beautiful and so saying yes to life was saying yes to embracing all of that.
The next healing gift came in the form of back-to-back spiritual experiences. Here’s the first one.
I was walking on a road in Arizona and for whatever reason I just wanted to sit down. And I sat down and closed my eyes. I sort of started rocking back and forth, I don't know why until I said what is that rocking and I heard, I felt—they were words but it was more that I felt it rather than I actually heard a voice. It was like I'm just playing with you. And that was my initial for real for real contact with something that wasn't me. And, I didn't know, it was two hours until I stood up and looked at my watch. But I would have these questions and the answers would come so clear and a lot of it was laughter like hey, lighten up, don’t take yourself so seriously, you know. And I kept on saying, I don't want to leave because I knew I was sitting on the side of the road in the Arizona desert by myself. At some point, I was going to have to stand up and walk back to where people were waiting for me and I was like I don't want to leave this, I don't want to leave this feeling of absolute joy that I'm having right now and this voice would laugh and be like, how could you ever leave me? Like, I'm everywhere, I'm everything, I've always have been like you couldn't get away from me if you tried. It was such this lightness and it was so real, it was just real.
The next spiritual experience came when Sarah was in her kitchen listening to one of Mickey’s talks on YouTube.
He said, as you sit back in the seat of self, if you sit back away from your mind and the chatty part of your-- I call it my human. Sit back and more watch the human, and you're sitting in the seat of self, you're sitting in the soul. And in this talk he says, you know as you sit there for a while, you'll start to realize that your soul has a nature too. I was like, what? What did you just say? I was cutting scallions and I came over and I rewound it a little bit and then suddenly, everything went still, everything went quiet. I knew I was crying but I was so filled with love and joy and ecstasy and stillness and expanding silence and I was a drip of darkness in this huge expanding universe that was also all dark but also alive and I ended up having a conversation and why do I have to go back and it was because all the souls are us and they're also our children. It was just, it was just this huge experience that changed everything permanently. I call that my birthday because my life is demarcated into a before and after.
The Hero’s Journey isn’t complete until the Hero brings home the elixir to offer others.Those 10 minutes in the kitchen added the final ingredients.
This weird by product of that is I had forgiven Aubrey. It wasn't that I forgave her, it was I was forgiveness. It's not it's not like I love my children, I am love and so therefore everything has its nature and if I am forgiveness then forgiveness only knows how to forgive. People who are who are angry or are anger, they only know how to be angry. Suddenly, I only knew how to love, I only knew forgiveness and my brain was not okay with any of this by the way. My brain was like, what? We did not agree to this. No, she's evil and forgiveness applies to some things but it doesn't apply to the Hitler's of the world. But I did have this sense of no, of that there’s evil and that doesn't deserve forgiving, there's the human spectrum and that does deserve forgiving. All of that was just obliterated and it has stayed that way.
Teaching the kids now forgiveness has been a really interesting process and because that wasn't what mom was saying. So now I kind of have to backtrack and teach them we don't actually tip over buildings on people, we're going to forgive them. It's beautiful, you know it’s beautiful to see how interested they are and how curious and how open.
For me, that was the gift. My life before and after is a different life, I'm living a different life it's a different lifestyle and that comes with a huge transition. So, there's different friends and I look different and I my hobbies are different and my vocation is different, my interests are different. I was a neuroscience undergrad MBA, finance medical devices strategy and now I'm like, oh I think I'll paint and write poetry and look and see beauty in the world. I have no skill set here, I was really good at those other things, I have Olympic medals and MBAs from fancy institutions to prove that I am really good at these things and this other area, I have no skill set and my drawings look like Grace’s drawings at six. That's perfectly okay because my life doesn't belong to me anymore. It's not my life like this is part of the new life, is it's a total surrendering to what I call Shakti, other people can call source or God or creation or whatever. Whatever this thing is that we are doing here and are a part of, it's so much bigger than my little human. I love my human, we've lived through some beautiful times together but we're not driving the bus anymore. And so, I've surrendered.
I think the Grace is available to everybody. I don't think it requires a huge trauma. I do think that the big traumas break up an identity and allow you to be more open and allow you to expand the realm of what is possible and what is tolerable. And with that tolerance is an opening and I feel like when you're open, that's when you know your own internal divine nature. And so, I don't think that it's unique to the Aubrey situation, I think that it came about because I let go, because I had to let go. It wasn't working. My belief system and how I thought the world was supposed to act and how life was supposed to go was shattered.
You can either try to pick up all the pieces and, fit them all back together or you can surrender too and I think when you surrender that that's the flow that flows through you.
I shared a few thoughts with this beautiful enlightened soul.
Shen I think of you going through what you've been through and then being where you are today, instead of constricting and protecting, you keep unfolding and relaxing into life as it's coming to you as you're engaging it and you're allowing it to flow in and through in between all the atoms. You keep allowing it to shape you in whatever way. I can see it and I honor that in your life. I appreciate it and it makes me feel hopeful and excited for my own life and for whoever's listening to this show. So, thank you for your vulnerability and I can't imagine it was easy to go back into those memories and you did it beautifully. So, thank you.
Thank you. That's beautiful actually that imagery is going to stick. I'm going to use that because it resonates, so thank you. It is a pretty beautiful life we get to live. Isn’t it?
I know. I know.
To learn more about Sarah and read her books, visit sarahtueting.com Check the show notes for more details.
THE MOMENT WHEN IS PRODUCED BY SOUL ORGANIZER. MUSIC IS COMPOSED BY JEFF LAMS
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