THE ACCRESCENT™ PODCAST EPISODE 132
Suzanne Anderson – Navigating Grief, Betrayal, & Upheaval After Husband’s Suicide
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Listen to the full interview above or watch the interview on Youtube by clicking here. Host, Leigh Ann, is joined by Suzanne Anderson to discuss her new book, You Make Your Path by Walking. The two discuss the importance of community in the midst of immense loss, the nuance of emotions that can come with loss and particularly suicide, what forgiveness looks like for Suzanne, and more.
Leigh Ann Lindsey: Well, it’s so nice to meet you, Suzanne. I’m really eager for this conversation. I’m so excited.
To kick us off today, we’re talking about your new book, which is
Suzanne Anderson: Of course. Yeah. And I’m here.
Leigh Ann Lindsey: You make your path by walking.
as we were already saying, there’s so many little tidbits that I can’t wait to get into a bit more there’s so much there, that can be helpful for many of us walking through, whether it’s grief or loss or trauma that I really wanna highlight and I couldn’t help it as I was reading. One of the things though I was thinking about is you talked about how you were in this leadership world, you were leading women’s retreats, leading women through their own trauma and healing and up-leveling.
And you had started to piece together some of these archetypes and these different capacities. But as you were going through your own trauma, which we’re gonna get into, you weren’t consciously pulling those in. They just kind of naturally came in. But I just couldn’t help but going, the work she was doing was the universe preparing her to be able to survive this moment.
Suzanne Anderson: Right. Well, yes and yes. Okay. I think you could say,
Leigh Ann Lindsey: and so much else. Right. Of course. There’s so many other purpose to the work you did,
Suzanne Anderson: maybe we could say it was the, what happened, the trauma that we’re going to get to was an opportunity for me to deeply embody or land in everything I already knew and not just to get through, but actually to grow to the next level of my own wholeness or to awaken more fully.
I mean, your beautiful name of your podcast speaks to that, this ongoing development that really is natural. But unfortunately, once we get to be adults, you know, there’s just often this thought that we were all grown up and that’s it, development’s over. But in fact, our research and my research would say, That we are at an really critical evolutionary point right now that is very much about growing into the next level of ourselves as a human species, let’s just say.
And so it’s true that everything I had studied and learned both academically and through years of research and working with hundreds of women helped me. But then also the experience itself took me to a whole other level that I, I don’t know if I would’ve gotten to
Leigh Ann Lindsey: Right.
Suzanne Anderson: that.
Leigh Ann Lindsey: Right, right. It was such, there’s so many different words. You know, if this word doesn’t resonate, use the one that resonates with you. But like a rock bottom in every sense, every single part of your life
came crashing down. The foundation of everything was taken away, and I just can’t help. But when I see those moments go, the universe had to do that because there’s a new rebuilding that it’s preparing for.
And so it, I get so excited about. Yeah. What, and I think now with reading the book, we can see the rebuilding and the upleveling that came from those experiences, but how also your daily practices, your groundedness allowed you to get through that. I think with maybe more grace and a little bit of a sense of tethering, although I’m sure as we’ll get into just what a, what a.
Wild time, but, so let’s start to piece some of this together and I’ll let you kind of share the overarching story and then I have some really specific parts. I’d love to hear you speak to a bit more.
Suzanne Anderson: Yeah I love what you’re saying about the universal, I would call it like the friendly universe unfolding, and I will acknowledge that deep not belief even, but experience was foundational for me in moving through this. And because I really lost absolutely everything in the outer world and this kind of deep inner connection to the web of connect interconnection, the web of life was always present for me. So let’s go to the moment that it, this all came apart, you know, where the challenge really happened, which was I was getting ready to launch, I just finished 10 years of research in my university programs, figuring out this developmental pathway you were referencing for women. How can women, how can we encourage women in this awakening time?
Which is how I see what’s going on for so many wo you know, so many, it’s actually for men and women right now. But the, my research was specifically with women. And we’d figured some things out. We’d figured out, oh, okay, these are the new capacities that are trying to come in now that are a match for the complexity of these times.
This is the way we can help women open these feminine and masculine strengths. And now we’re ready to bring this research out to the world in a book. So we, my co-author and I, Dr. Susan Cannon and I had written a book and it was completed in the end of 2012. So that’s this is the momentum I’m getting ready to fly about to run a program that I hadn’t been doing programs while we were working on the book.
And on January 3rd, 2013, I came home to discover my husband had died, was dead. But on top of that, that he had taken his own life. And so clearly, you know, that moment was. What I call it the dark awakening. I’ve had a light awakening at other times, but this was very much like the invitation from the dark in a way that I could never have imagined. And there really was no warning for this. So he was not a depressed man. He’d had a tinnitus this screeching sound in his head that was literally driving him kind of crazy. And as it does for many people who have that ailment because there’s no known cure for it, and you guys have to live with this enormous sound in your head, which you can learn to do.
That was one thing that was happening. And then he, as I would soon discover his business, which was independent from mine, mine was women’s leadership work, and his was an antique Indonesian furniture business. And it was about to all come tumbling down. So it all did come tumbling down. And it came tumbling down on me.
And it was my job to make my way through it, but all of my own assets were tied up in our our largest state, this incredible property that we had on an island Pacific Northwest with the antique buildings on it. I mean, it was quite an magical kingdom, really. And so I did, I lose absolutely everything.
There was more debt in this collapse than there was asset. So that was the pivotal event.
Leigh Ann Lindsey: Yes. The book is so beautifully detailing how you rode the different waves of that storm and the different levels of that. And so I think one of the first things I just wanna start with is the impact and the importance of community and trauma. And I think the way that you walked through that was such a beautiful model for how it could be and how I think it’s not for a lot of us, and I’ll use my own experience of having an uncle Pass about two years ago now, two, three years ago, and it was so jarring because he passed very suddenly unexpectedly, and the family came together that night.
That was beautiful. We spent time maybe throughout the week here and there, and then we had the memorial and then it was like it was done. It was so jarring to like be in this grieving process and this grieving energy. And then something about the memorial just kind of signaled like, okay, you’re all on your own now.
And I remember I wrote just like a little mini essay for myself on it, just saying it felt like initially that community was, we’ve all been submerged in this dark tunnel and we’re each other’s lights, we’re guiding each other through this. We’re holding each other. And after that memorial service, it felt like, oh shit.
Like I’m in this tunnel alone now and it’s dark and I’ve gotta just wade my way through this and just hope at some point I’m gonna see the light.
Suzanne Anderson: Right.
Leigh Ann Lindsey: I’d love to hear you speak to that a little bit more,
Suzanne Anderson: Yeah. And well, thank you for your own, your personal story there, because that does sound. Brutal actually, and this is absolute for me. One of the blessings of the very early blessings for me in the horror was that my community came around to me very quickly. So I already, I was the, I was a trans, I still am a transformational teacher, working with a community of amazing women.
And they came in very close. So this circle of friends came in around me very close. And then my family, also, my family was located all over the world and they took turns, which was really quite incredible. Every week they had a whole schedule worked out that I didn’t know about till later, where they decided who would fly in from Shanghai, who was coming from east coast of Canada and what someone coming from, you know, different places.
So that I would always have, for the first month, I had a family person staying with me. And then I had this close in connection of women, my, my dear sisters. And and then there were other webs, you know, David’s family also. His sister was amazing. And I will say that this idea, in fact, I just wrote a newsletter that I went out this morning on my mailing list about it, about the essential nature right now of this feminine wave as I view it that’s rising.
This is feminine in men and women that is inviting us to come into deeper kinds of intimacy together in community that we cannot be in the kinds of situations we have in the world, our own personal lives. But then just what’s happening globally without connection. And yet we live like that. And there’s this week in the New York Times, it was an article by. Our surgeon General, you may be read it by Dr. Viv Murti, and he speaks about, he’s actually very vocal about the epidemic of loneliness and how that’s happening for and the literally, he calls it an epidemic in terms of, the way in which it affects our health.
what’s the alternative to that epidemic of loneliness? It is deeper connection and community. And when you’re going through something like this sort of trauma that I went through, the resonant fields you are in are everything. And that resonant field, and we know this from you, if you put a tuning fork next to a couple of other tuning forks and you hit one tuning fork, the other ones start to resonate with it.
We know this about ourselves. You go into a room where there are a bunch of angry people, you can feel that in your body. So having people, for me, having people around me who were not going into the dark like I was, who were not shattered in the same way I was, who were loving and present and holding was everything for me.
Cuz I could rest into that. And so even, you know, not everybody will have all the community that I have, but even one friend. So maybe you found that even with your uncle, I mean who you could call on to say, I need to be held right now. I need to be able to talk with you about what I’m really feeling.
Or I don’t even want to talk, I just wanna be held. I just want you to go for a walk with me and the park. And let me cry, but have connection while I do it. I think it’s essential. And I’ll just add one other thing, Leanne, because I think during a suicide, one of the elements that you have to work with is shame.
But there’s the shame usually that is a part of taking people out with suicide. And certainly in David’s case, my husband’s case, that is true. He had a lot of shame around what was about to happen. But it’s sometimes I call it like this big, like a boat goes down and then there’s this big vortex that wants to take everything down.
And often there’s a feeling of, I have to isolate myself. It’s so horrible what happened? I don’t even want to talk about it. I don’t want people to see me. And I was very clear this was not my suicide.
And I did not make this choice that David made this choice. I believe he has a right. I think we have free will to come into this world and go out of this world.
But I did not do that. And while I regret, like anybody who survives a suicide you think about what could I have said? What could I have done? Is there something that could have changed the outcome that I might have seen or done? You know, I have to live with that or think about that. But I do not feel like I was responsible for his death or his choice.
And that took something for me. And that wasn’t very much about community, like really staying in relationship with the people that were going through this. Yeah.
Leigh Ann Lindsey: Yeah. Well, and shame is just the ultimate silencer and that and the ultimate isolator. And so absolutely, especially with suicide, I, it’s just beautiful. And again, such a great model for anyone reading to go look what she experienced, look at how she had the clarity, the foresight, whatever word we want to use there to go.
I sense the shame in this, and I’m not taking that on. I can’t take that on. That’s not mine to bear. And I just think that’s so, so, so important.
Suzanne Anderson: Well, that’s, of course, that’s the work. I mean, I’m, I was in that space as a psychologist. It’s, it was the work I was doing with women just in general, the whole shame pattern that can rise and, you know, this was an opportunity I could never have imagined. And this was actually one of the things that took.
Me something was to, to land. And I land in the reality that this was happening to me. And I knew, and this is very much also something I teach in the work I do. I connect this to something I call the mother archetype, but the ability to really be with what is right here now is so critical. It’s very hard to do.
And especially during a trauma like this, you’re in shock. So the system can only take on so much. You know, you can’t, you just can’t. Thankfully we have this mechanism. Denial is very helpful at the beginning, but to have denial ongoing wasn’t going to be helpful because I needed to get the feet on the ground of what was actually here and let myself be the one in the center of this story.
And that was really an important piece for me. It was just that landing in. This is my life now as opposed to, for example, I’ve gotta get through this somehow. I’ve gotta survive this somehow. Of course I am asking myself those questions, but I was also very clear that this actually is my life.
Whatever does come in the future, and this has to do with the title of the book. You Make Your Path by Walking, it will come by how I am in the present. And this is, I don’t get this day back, I don’t get this moment back, you know, this is my life right now. And so the more that I could drop in and be in my life, the more available I was to make the difficult decisions I had to make, to be with the various motions that were rising for me to be able to make my path to find out
Leigh Ann Lindsey: Yeah. Yeah, and I think that’s, it’s difficult for many of us. First of all, I think most of us didn’t have, as we already said, emotional modeling. As a child, here’s what it looks like to sit with our emotions. Here’s what it looks like to be present. And so with that, there can be a whole host of limiting beliefs associated with emotions.
In general, emotions are weak. If I sit with these emotions, they’ll overcome me. I’m not strong enough to face emotions, all of these things. So definitely important, and I have so much empathy for myself and others, but also important to understand what is trauma. It’s in the moment we were too overwhelmed to fully process and integrate.
What was happening. And at some point that needs to happen. Even if we can’t fully do that in the moment, even if we can only sit with something 50% at some point, we’ve gotta let our mind, body, spirit complete that kind of processing, feeling, releasing experience to fully be able to move on. And the more we can sit with those things in the present, the less things will fester in the future.
Suzanne Anderson: Yeah. Very well said. And that’s exactly right. And I think the this is where knowing the work I already did and do was about how to be, and in fact, I have a practice at the back of the book that people can use, also have, in my first book, the Way of the Mysterial Woman, we go into more of these practices but how to really turn toward the feelings and.
And as you say, be with them like waves. And the waves if you can, when you learn to really be with your emotions without all of the mental chatter that goes with it they aren’t that long-lived, that they’re waves that rise and fall, but it’s can be very scary. And I was in a, you know, the dissent I took that the place I was pulled to was deeper, darker than I’d ever been before.
And so I had no certainty does this same practice work here with the, this level of grief, this level of anger, this level of terror?
And yes it, it does, it is a, it is like being able to say, this is what’s here right now. And when I could move with the feeling in the moment, which could just be sobbing and sometimes, as I already mentioned it meant I, I knew it was a big wave and I would need a friend to sit with me,
And hold me. Or sometimes when it was the waves of anger would rise. I knew to, I needed to let those happen and not make this just, oh, you know, as I called it, a spiritual bypass of everything is fine and I’m fine and David’s in a better place or whatever I might have come up with to be with the impact on me.
Like the, these, the emotions of course rise in the body unsolicited. So, so when it’s there, there’s usually some information, right? But that’s trying to be conveyed or trying to move through, and certainly anger had that fear. All of these emotions had something to offer me.
Leigh Ann Lindsey: Yes. I remember so vividly one of the days, it was maybe four or five days after his passing and his was also a suicide. So I’ll get more into that to come. But we were with my just immediate family, we were walking through this park and that was beautiful. I do think movement can be so meditative.
So we just got out of the house. We were walking through this park and I think it was my mom started talking about, cause we had just been having light banter. She started talking about my uncle passing and I literally blacked out. Like I, I was passing out as we were walking. And so it was my body just saying, we can’t take any more of this.
I need a breather. And so bringing it back to our point of sitting with the emotions. As long as we can. And maybe that’s 10 minutes, maybe that’s five minutes. Maybe that’s a day. Whatever it is. And then when you need a breather, take a breather. I actually wrote this down and I thought we might get to it later on, but I’ll bring it up now.
This, yes. This idea of spiritual bypass to escape the feelings rather than spirituality and meditation and groundedness to provide us the respite and the renewal to be able to then go back and sit with the feelings.
Suzanne Anderson: Absolutely. Yeah. And I would say the bypass I think in some ways David did a spiritual bypass. So he was, he had a very long time spiritual practice, spent many hours every day in meditation in these very high states, let’s say, in connections with other dimensions and all of these things. But he did not have the capacity to be with his own emotional body.
He literally didn’t have the capacity to be in his body to go through this as. An opportunity to wake down, we could say down and into this human body that we’re here to be living our deep soul lives with. And so for me, that my spiritual thread, my, my understanding of I would say my very alive spiritual life held me for sure.
And I also, because it’s, it wasn’t a bypass, was going to make sure that I that the spiritual resting into something larger than my ego was a very important for me. My meditation practice at it’s decades old helped me to recognize thoughts that were useful and thoughts that were not useful to ob observe, to notice my emotions when they rose, to be able to not just be subject to everything that was happening in my system to be with it.
and yeah. And I’ll just say to your experience I didn’t realize now I do, that your uncle took his life as well. That your experience of the blackout and course because you know what, you know, gave you that bit of awareness, even gave you the capacity to say, okay, that’s enough for now.
And I would have the same thing happen where I would, it might even just be music that was wrong. Music. Like I knew that music is gonna take me to a place where I can’t, I’m gonna be over my threshold of being able to work with the emotion or even a lot of people speaking, you know, especially in early in trauma.
Your nervous system is just so sensitive and really respecting that rather than, I just gotta tough this out and be here for this thing or for that person, or, I was very deliberate at discerning all the way along. What could I do and what could I not do? You know, what did I really have the capacity to do?
And that was really important because, you know, that was a piece of a huge thing that happened for me, which was the shattering of an identity I had of who I was. And part of that was very heroic. I’m here to help lots of people. I did help lots of people. I was overextended in many ways. That was gone.
And I felt more like I would, if I could be there, I would be there. I would show up for something, I would, but it wasn’t overriding my own humanity
Leigh Ann Lindsey: Mm-hmm. Yeah. And to the point it’s. It’s spirituality or whatever the practice is, emotional work, meditation, spirituality, maybe. Maybe we have specific beliefs, but it’s using those tools and those resources and those practices, not necessarily to just escape, although sometimes it can be great to just put a pause on things, but it’s to be able to renew and then integrate what I got from this, the renewal I got from this, now I can go and make things better.
I can go and take that next step forward rather than kind of just like, oh, I’ve done this. Now I’ve gotta go back to this horrible situation and just kind of sit stagnant in that place. Yeah. The other piece I wanted to talk about, something that was so poignant for me is kind of twofold.
You talked about the nuance of emotions that came up with that experience. I mean, really just the whole gambit. Grief, despair, anger, confusion, any number of things. And this kind of ties into the second point that I want to get to as well, that you shared a beautiful depiction of a time you had with some friends.
You gathered in your, I think, your great hall, your living room. And it was a time for everyone to get to come up and say some words, but it was a very sacred space. It wasn’t like a typical memorial where everything’s rosy and we’re only sharing the positives. I, it was a beautiful space for everyone to share those nuanced emotions.
And I wanna highlight both of those. One talking about letting our, just within ourselves acknowledge and validate and feel the nuance and maybe even the conflicting emotions that we might have in certain traumas like this. And at the same time, Can you speak to why it might be important to allow ourselves in a community to express the full spectrum of those emotions?
Because again, I’ll speak to my experience of he passed, it’s a suicide. There’s confusion, there’s anger, there’s misunderstanding, and unfortunately in our case, there wasn’t room for that. You know, there was really only room to talk about the positive, and I think there was something lost in that.
Suzanne Anderson: Absolutely. Yeah I’m completely there with you. What’s lost is at this point, you know, with the people that are left it’s the integration and coherence for all of you in the trauma field
and for where, how you go forward and even how you can hold him, you know, how in that rupture, how he doesn’t just get totally thrown under the bus for doing that also.
So what I’ll say for myself is, This was something that we did very quickly. I did about two weeks after David died, the memorial was, in fact, many months later, six months later. It took me a long time to be ready to do a memorial, which was a very different kind of energy. But this was a, because I knew that first of all, we were, many people loved David.
He was he, we were very well known in our commu our island community. He, his business in Seattle was very well known, and he was a very remarkable, special being. And a lot of people felt him to be their kind of, you know, center, grounded center. Someone who’d really learned to live a spiritual life as a lay person.
Create this amazing magic and share it with the world. And they had certain they projected a lot onto him. So it was very shattering for the, for a lot of people and his family and for me, of course, in my circle. So what I knew was we needed something to help create a little more resonance in this cacophony.
And so I asked a friend to help me do this, who does this kind of work, Michael Mead, who does rituals and works with people of an author himself and worked in this space with Vietnam VAs and his suicide victims and so on. So he helped to hold the space and basically only 30, about 30 people came.
It was by invitation. People didn’t have to come if they didn’t want to. And the practice that we did was we came into this, into my home. And the very first thing I did, which I write about in the book is Hi. One of my dear friends and someone who was with me when we found David was also a Sherman practitioner, she was rattling with all the rattles going in.
I was standing in front of the fireplace in my house. Stone fireplace. Stone hearth. And then I had a very ancient, several hundred year old Chinese pottery bowl and with a slight chip out of it, actually. David collected all of these things and at a certain point when the pitch, the sort of the peak moment of the rattling, I took the bowl and I just smashed it on the hearth. And I still can feel that actually the vibration of all of that, it was the whole room. Just went, it was as though the congruence in the body was for me, and I think for many was there would be no putting back together of this life again. But there would be only the walking forward into some new life and how that would look. that would take, I didn’t know, but it wasn’t going to go back together. This wasn’t a little something that we could glue all these pieces together. That was the beginning and then those that felt moved could stand up and. Speak into the space. Sometimes it was just to sob. And then they would, after they would complete what they, whatever was moving through them, they would take a cedar bile that was by the fireplace and place it on the fire and offer a little blessing to themselves, to David, to just of release.
And the same thing for people that were feeling anger, they could actually come up and just scream, like that’s really what they were feeling, you know, and the, all the mix of it that you people could really be congruent. And in many ways, not everybody spoke, but it felt like the whole panoply of emotions was in the room.
That, because we were all feeling many of these things
At the same time, and when someone else could express them, we could give ourselves permission also to express them. It was a very cathartic and healing experience. Not just for me actually, but for those close in. I feel it was one of the things that we did.
Ritual can do this cuz the ritual speaks to the conscious and the unconscious, which is what is so powerful about it. But it’s one of the things that we really did, I did for I knew that I needed and the community needed to try to find some order in the chaos.
Leigh Ann Lindsey: Yeah, and I think there’s probably something, maybe evolutionary going on here where binary thinking is just easier. It’s so much easier to go. He was all good or he was all bad. That was a bad thing that happened. That was a good thing that happened. So it does take more. Intentionality, more just straight up energy to be able to sit with that nuance.
But I think it’s so important because coming back to what gets repressed, when we have all these emotions and we go, you know what they’ve passed on. Now let’s only speak about the good things. Let’s only speak about the positive. It’s only harming you. Not that we need to, I take, I, I take such an approach of holding empathy, always coming at it from a place of empathy and understanding really any decisions people made. It’s a result of their past trauma. It’s a result of their
unresolved experiences and being able to see that, but then allowing ourselves to hold both of those, and I’ll share. A really recent kind of personal example for myself, and I’m sure that this is gonna bring up some emotion for me, but about almost a little over a year ago now, I had some memories surface of being sexually abused by my father, and so I’ve spent this whole year releasing that, uncovering that. But something that rocked me so deeply to my core was holding the nuance of the terror and the hurt and the betrayal, but then also so much grief for him that some horrible things that happened in his life that would lead him to do something like that.
I feel safe crying cuz I know that you can carry it. I don’t think that the emotion would’ve come up if I didn’t feel safe in this environment. And that was a very, it was confusing for me, and at the same time, I’m so grateful that I had the wherewithal to let that emotion come up because absolutely there was, and there is so grief for me.
But if I didn’t recognize that actually a big part of this grief is for him, that’s a piece of grief that I might never be able to let go of.
Suzanne Anderson: I am right. Oh, absolutely. And thank you for offering your own experience into the space here, because that you’re just so poignantly describing what I personally know also, that it takes something to hold, I call it embracing paradox actually as a capacity, but to really hold your own suffering and the reality of that, and not bypassing that to just get to, you know, the grief of your father, but that compassion.
For him is also a growth move for you because it, it is almost like, I’ll say for myself the identity that was present when David died and did this event that changed my life completely was not the identity that could fully forgive yet. And if I’d tried to do that or pretend he was all good I would’ve had to bear, I would’ve been with sitting with emotions in my body.
The anger the sense of betrayal, all of the terror, all of these things, they’d still be in my body.
But because I could be with my own direct experience as you have been, I then. Could be the person down the road with the identity that was large enough to actually hold forgiveness for him and compassionate for his suffering for what that must have been for him.
So I, I think this is really beautiful. It’s like you’re totally describing how you make your path by walking that, because you could do that. Your consciousness is actually expanding, you are cultivating more compassion
Yourself, him, the world. It’s so beautiful.
Leigh Ann Lindsey: I didn’t even have this on my list to get to, but you brought up forgiveness. And this is definitely something, and I’ve been sitting with it a bit more the last few months as I’ve gotten through some of the different waves of the emotions of this. But what does forgiveness mean? And I’m at a place right now where I don’t.
I couldn’t even tell you what I think it means anymore. And I think part of that is because I grew up in, you know, very Christian religious household and forgiveness. The sentiment that was communicated with it really, and how it was being portrayed is forgiveness, is it’s a pardon of everything. And then really it’s just permission to continue to let someone treat you poorly.
And so I know that is definitely not what it would mean for me now, but what, yeah, if not, then what is forgiveness? Can you speak to that a little bit?
Suzanne Anderson: Yeah. Well, I love that you know that you don’t know yet because it’s only a year where you’ve, this has come into your awareness and you’re actually. Working your way toward that, what that would mean, and this is so important because I think not getting there too soon and eclipsing the journey that needs to happen, but in you, in the we space with him, whether if he’s still present in your energetic, even if not in your subtle space with him.
I would say, you know, it was many years. It was several years out where I got to a really grounded forgiveness. And one place I wanted to get to, and this was maybe a year and a bit out that I, and I did this with somebody and I write about it in the book who is, works in the space of psychodynamic kind of coaching like I do.
I wanted to get to the place if I could. When I did my own shadow work, it was like, okay, I’m so broken open right now.
What do I wanna be able to see in myself that I may not never be like this again? And I don’t want a circumstance like this to be required to
Leigh Ann Lindsey: Yes.
Suzanne Anderson: you know, so what can I see that I haven’t been able to see before?
And then can I stand at the place right before I found David and actually choose that path? Like say in a way, I accept this path that is ahead for me and I don’t know if I’ll survive it, if I’ll get through, but I will accept it. Like there was something, and I did that in a visualization with her, where I could really see myself in the pouring rain that was in a field right before I found him. And actually feel the part of me, this, the, I would say my soul, destiny say, I accept this probability path, this path. And it’s like there were many probability paths. I believe in the life. I don’t think this was destined that David would take his life. It was one of the options, let’s say for his soul.
It was the one that he took. And when he took that, you know, this would be my path, you
Leigh Ann Lindsey: Mm-hmm.
Suzanne Anderson: a path I was on. And to really stand there and say, I, I accept this. Like, it was empowering for me to be able to say, this is the path I’ll step on and I will wake up through, be more loving, more present in the world, more whole, more of service, more a blessing
and. Without the certainty that I would even get through it at a practical level but with a sort of turning toward his choice with my choice. And that was a very p important piece for me in the road toward forgiveness.
Leigh Ann Lindsey: Yeah. And so when you, like in your mind, body, spirit, when you say I forgive him, what are the underlying sentiments there? What is that communicating? Is that I understand why you did what you did. Now, is it, I no longer hold anger and resentment towards you?
Suzanne Anderson: Yes
Leigh Ann Lindsey: to understand.
Suzanne Anderson: I would say it is. I no longer hold anger that primary emotion in my body, I’ve pretty much worked. I mean, I can still feel, because the, it wasn’t just that he did this, he didn’t prepare anything for me. He did leave me a letter, which was helpful, but there really wasn’t anything he did to make it, you know, if he was going to go to make sure that I was taking care of in.
Anyway. So the betrayal was enormous. I mean, we were really, he was my person, my beloved, and I was his, and we, you know, our whole lives were out ahead of us. I was about to launch a book, you know, it was like there were so many things that were going to be coming. I thought that life, that probability path, and it was just gone.
So for me it meant the forgiveness meant I worked my way through the waves of anger that I needed to really get myself here. Like, that was not okay. It
is. There was a lot of harm caused by what he did, and that was, in my view, not okay. But I also could get to the place where I do, and I did understand why he chose this.
It really, it was his only option. It was the, as he would say it and I heard through a psychic, and it feels right to me that there was an opening, you know, every, all the shit was going to happen. You know, in his business there was an energetic opening. He didn’t wanna deal with what was here in the manifest world and he left. And, you know, that’s, that was his soul’s choice and
he’ll have his own karmic ramifications with that. And that’s not for me to do so in, in
a way, yeah,
in a way it was like, I carry that what I have to carry and you have to carry is this happened. It was done in a sense, to me was not my choice. And yet I’m now responsible for how I say that.
Put me on a path that you know, I’m on this path now. It’s a deeper than it’s ever been in terms of my desire to awaken the conscious feminine on the planet. You know, I would say it deepened my embodiment of everything. I already knew it. I’d like to imagine that I could have this consciousness now, and he and his business would’ve come down.
I would’ve walked with them through it. It would’ve walked, woken us both up. You know
I don’t know if that would happen, but, and for you, you’re still in the raw early stage, I’d say. I think a year is early of, and because of what you do in the world, you’re going to do it with integrity and with honesty and move your way.
You know, you kind of have a, you can hold it as I did. I held it as a stepping stone out there. If I could get to the consciousness that would be wide and deep enough to forgive, I wanted to get there. But you can want to get there, you know, you can want that for yourself and then you’ll walk
Leigh Ann Lindsey: I think what I’d like to ask about, so one question, and this kind of relates so deeply to what I do with my work, but I couldn’t help but thinking, going through that experience, we know the majority of our subconscious beliefs are created in childhood. However, when we have really severe, intense experiences in adulthood, those can also create new subconscious beliefs and it got me thinking from that experience.
I wonder if for you, there were some new beliefs that popped up or threatened to pop up, but because you were aware, you could kind of see them and identify them and not let them take root. You know, for me, I was going through that and thinking I could so easily see how when someone has this experience, these beliefs might come up of.
My, there’s a cognitive dissonance. My brain is going, I could, he’s not the kind of person who could have done that, and yet he did. So now all of a sudden, do I have a distrust for all people or do I start to question, well, if he could do that, anyone could do that at any time. And now I’m walking around in this perpetual fear that at any time someone might do the same thing. Does any of that resonate were or other subconscious beliefs that maybe arose or threatened to arise and ingrain themselves from that?
Suzanne Anderson: That’s a great question. And I’d say because of the work I do, and I work in this territory of
Making, whatever is unconscious conscious. I was pretty aware when things were coming up, you know, beliefs that would not be useful, that I would question. Is that really true? Is that really true?
Is that really true? I would say, and I write about some of the shadows that I did clarify in myself and one of those, I’d say well, relative to, like you’re saying, how do I approach people now, given that someone I loved so much who loved me so much could. Could be somebody who would do that,
Would, and right before a big wedding.
Let’s just throw that in as you’ll read about in the book which is like the ti. Everything about it made no sense at all. You know, how could that be? How could this
person have, how could that have actually happened? So when it came time to start to move out in the world again, maybe three, four years later, I’d moved into Seattle, I’d started my life.
The idea of dating somebody was just not even on my radar because I was, I sort of had the feeling that I had one really good love in my life. And I, maybe that was it. Maybe that would be it. But I also knew that I did not want my heart to not be open. To loving again, I did not want to carry that wound into how I lived in the world.
And when I did meet somebody and we began to explore our relationship, which I write a bit about in the book, the belief that came up, that I wasn’t even the, this one of that, it was so interesting. It was like almost like somebody I couldn’t have, I couldn’t have really touched it until coming into relationship because of the things I do.
I’m pretty conscious of the beliefs. So sometimes people, you know, it’ll come when you’re back in your life and you’ll start to see yourself in a situation and it’ll, all of a sudden that old belief will get hit. And this one was I won’t be welcome or I won’t be chosen.
I won’t be cherished, I won’t be. So there would be little things he would do. Just a small thing, even if the door was locked, when I went, came to his house, my whole body would go into a like, not a panic attack, but a kind of rush of feeling of anger and fear kind of together. And was like, what the heck is that going on? And this the idea of the door being blocked.
And I realized that there was this with David when he left. It’s like I couldn’t get to the other side. It was like this door and I could not get through. And I wanted to get through and I wanted to talk to him, and I wanted to go. And the thing was shut. And I wasn’t chosen to go on the other side. And I wasn’t picked and I wasn’t cherished and loved.
And he chose to go on his own and the door was shut. Whoa. And I will say, you know, that first of all, that all of a sudden I saw that, like all of a sudden it took a while. At first it was. Richard’s fault for leaving the door locked, you and then I was able to, and he’s very good now, for example, at leaving it unlocked, but I’m also much better now, many years later, if the door is locked, I can manage my somatic response.
So I was able
Leigh Ann Lindsey: And you know the story that’s being
told in my subconscious, and you can start to
Suzanne Anderson: That’s it.
Leigh Ann Lindsey: the new one. The real one? Yeah.
Suzanne Anderson: That’s right. I can tell myself the new one. I have to, it’s a very much a a parenting process for the part of me that was wounded. And of course, the other factor is, as you know, in your work, and I know in mine any of these traumas touch on an earlier, you know, the earlier trauma.
So the big T trauma of my situation was hitting earlier traumas, and maybe I would call this a big T trauma in that when I was born my I was a second child. My, my mother had, we had a girl. My mother was pregnant with me and out I pop. And my father wanted a boy and was committed to having a boy.
And apparently when I was born, he didn’t talk to my mother for 10 days. He was so angry that I wasn’t a boy. So you could say that initial welcome. Which is a, which for a young being is big. It is. I, that’s why I would call it a
Leigh Ann Lindsey: Mm-hmm.
Suzanne Anderson: I remember once saying to my therapist talking about it and saying, well, it’s not like a real, you know, a real trauma, sexual abuse later or anything like that.
And she said, no, it’s actually even worse because you have no words for this. You have only the turning away and the rejection in your body. So I dunno whether it’s better or worse, but I do know I’ve now, I’ve certainly accepted that is a trauma. So I could see how, you know, David turning away and leaving also hit that earlier very young part of me.
Leigh Ann Lindsey: Yeah. Well I remember reading that part and then in earlier on in the book you also mentioned that I kind of had this lifelong thing of feeling like I don’t belong or being abandoned. And when you told that part of your, just really the way you came into the world, it was kind of twofold. I was like, well, you were abandoned and you weren’t treated as if you belonged in this family.
So boom. Like instant trauma that we’re coming in with. And then I also was like, and I wonder how much of that is also her mom’s trauma of feeling abandoned, of feeling like she didn’t
Suzanne Anderson: A hundred percent.
Absolutely. Both are going on because you are so attuned to the caregiver and both caregivers, right? They were both round and one is, and there’s all the good research done Now, we all, we know what happens to little babies when the mothers turn away,
when the fathers turn away.
You know, that, but that can be recovered. And of course it was recovered in my life and I very strong attachment with my mother. And ultimately, you know, the, I had a pretty fiery relationship with my father, but there was a lot of love there at the same time.
It also is interesting because it started me, you know, I could say there was an energetic.
Launching into the work I do in the world, which is about the awakening of the feminine. It’s like, I belong, women belong,
Leigh Ann Lindsey: Yes. Yes.
Suzanne Anderson: was many years later that actually came to me because I, you know, that, that connection I hadn’t made before. And it was an in a circle. I did at a wedding in the family.
I did a woman’s circle, which I was already doing my work with women. And I had, my mother’s sister was there, I was the younger sister, and her daughters were in this circle for another cousin. And so it was just a sort of, you know, fairly safe little circle I was hosting because it was obviously, you know, my aunt and there were older women and so on.
In the middle of this circle I was hosting. One of my cousins, my aunt’s daughters said, it’s so amazing you’re doing this work given what you experienced at birth. And
I was like, what are you talking about? I didn’t what are you talking about? And then she didn’t say anything more in the circle and afterwards I cornered her and said, what are you talking about?
What happened at birth? Well, her mother had told her the story that apparently my mother had told her, you know, her sister about what had happened when she was born. So it was actually many years I was already well into this work with the awakening of women and the feminine before I understood that sort of early origin story.
Leigh Ann Lindsey: Yeah. Yeah. Well, this has been truly such a deep pleasure. Your book, you Make Your Path by Walking out June 13th.
Suzanne Anderson: Yes.
Leigh Ann Lindsey: Is that a special date or is that just kind of how the cards fell.
Suzanne Anderson: Well, this is gonna be a special day now, but it’s just, you know, your, my publisher gave me that date and I arranged I am sure because I work very closely with the astrological factors just in general and the moon, that it is a special day and I haven’t tracked it all down yet as to why, but I am gonna do an in-person celebratory launch party event because I do feel it’s a bit like the return, you know, the return from the dark with the pearl of great price, you know, like that, the book coming out in the world.
This is it in my hands here.
That it really is a significant step in my own journey. It’s, and I’m going to honor it with a ritual
Leigh Ann Lindsey: Yeah.
I love it. I love it. I’m so glad. And just, I’ll link everything in the show notes as well, but if you could just share where anyone who’s interested in more can find you.
Suzanne Anderson: Yeah. Mysterial woman.com. M Y S T E R I A L woman.com. And that’s the work that I do in the world. Mysterial is a word that actually we invented because we didn’t have one to describe this new consciousness and capacity that was emerging in women. So that’s the website Mr. A Woman on Instagram, LinkedIn and Facebook and yeah.
Leigh Ann Lindsey: And you have what looks like a phenomenal retreat. It’s coming up pretty quickly here, so it might be too late for people to join it, but that looks wonderful. I know you have many programs you’re running throughout the year too, so lots and lots of
Suzanne Anderson: Yeah.
Leigh Ann Lindsey: on your
Suzanne Anderson: Lots of resources and just come to the website. There are lots of blogs I’ve written about things. This book is just coming out, so I haven’t, I’ve done a lot of podcasts that are already up and you can listen to more, and then there’ll be programs that align with this book coming out in the fall.
So get on our mailing list and get connected. Yeah. Yeah.
Leigh Ann Lindsey: Yes. Yes. Well, Suzanne, thank you so much. From the bottom of my heart, this was such an uplifting, expansive conversation. I’m so grateful for.
Suzanne Anderson: I enjoyed it very much. Yeah.