“Embrace the glorious mess that you are.” Elizabeth Gilbert
“We cannot cure the world of sorrows but we can choose to live in joy.” –Joseph Campbell
Sarah Stokes is real and people love her for it. As a beloved former news anchor in the town of Eau Claire, Wisconsin she is a bit of a local celebrity and kind of a big deal in these parts. However, it is her approachability and authentic ability to laugh at herself that helps her connect with others. These days she is a wife and mommy to two young children. She and her husband Chris are busy tending two businesses and starting a third. On most days, she is a bit sleep deprived, wears her heart on her sleeve and recalls her mantra: “lead with love”.
I met Sarah about a year ago while she was in the process of transitioning careers and dealing with all the stress and uncertainty that entails. She was also healing from the loss of her only brother. I have watched her come into her own and blossom and I am so grateful she is sharing her glimpse with the world!
Hi Sarah! Can you share how your spiritual life has changed over the past year?
Well, I feel I am currently in the midst of my own spiritual story and have been for the past year! I have always had a relationship with God and a strong faith. The past year has just helped me to feel like that my connection to my spirit is coming alive in a new way. Thru out my life, I actively participated in my faith life- teaching Sunday school, going to church and helping at bible camp. However, I opened myself to some new experiences this year like Reiki and the idea that angels and guides truly do participate in our lives. As a result of those experiences, I have found a new and exciting relationship with my spirituality- one that feels more personal and more alive than ever before.
These days, I listen more when God is talking to me- I am definitely talking less and doing more listening. My intuition has also started on fire in a new way. I always knew God was in my life and he blessed me all the time but now I feel more plugged in. My heart is swelling even as I talk about this. I am in awe now of all of the ways our worlds connect and intersect. When we are aware, we notice our paths coming together in synchronous and wonderful ways. We sense the connections. I am grateful for this new connection to my spiritual self. I am excited to see how it has already helped me to be a better mom, wife, friend, daughter and human.
Your positivity and your heart shine thru these words Sarah. What about when life gets tough, when someone is hurting or perhaps when these magical connections you speak of, feel few and far between? What would you say to someone going thru a tough time?
Connecting deeply with your spirit can mean the world to someone who is hurting. I know this to be true. I lost my only brother really young and out of nowhere. Tanner was 27 when he killed himself. I have never told many people about how he died because the moment you tell someone that, they become a label. The way he died was not at all the way he lived. It takes a lot of courage for me to talk about this. He was so special to me and I am so protective of his memory.
He wasn’t in trouble. He wasn’t on drugs. He knew how to have fun and dance. He would give the last quarter in his pocket to you if you needed it. He was just the most loving, giving soul. Where do you begin to heal from that?
After his death I felt so alone. I missed him so much and also felt this “suicide shame”. I had been sitting in the darkness not knowing what to do with the societal shame associated with suicide. There has also been the guilt around not being ready to wave the flag of suicide awareness. I just knew I wasn’t ready.
Over the past year, I have learned that I am not alone. Reiki and working with a visionary have helped me to build a bridge with Tanner. During these sessions, I was able to communicate with my brother. I have a knowing now that he is ok and that is priceless.
This bridge has also helped me to love my parents thru some really hard times. To learn about the angels and God at work in my life in such a beautiful way is such a comfort. We are not sent here alone. We have been given tools we can use to tap into ourselves and connect with those living and beyond. I don’t feel alone anymore. I have felt Tanner’s presence in my life in a very tangible way.
How has your spiritual shift over the past year affected your everyday life?
I feel and acknowledge the presence of the Divine in the form of angels, guides and my brother surrounding us and at play in our lives on almost a daily basis now. I have always felt relieved to have grown up in a faith that supported direct prayer to God. These days, I am in more of an ongoing conversation through out the day- one of both talking and listening. Finally, I find myself giving gratitude almost constantly. So much so that my dear husband sometimes rolls his eyes- bless his heart.
What advice do you have to others who may be hurting, or feeling alone or simply overwhelmed as they read this glimpse?
Follow where your heart is leading you- even the whispers. Do not self-sensor. Take a risk and open yourself to something new. There is light all around you. Had I not taken my own advice and opened my heart to try Reiki, the cascade of blessings would not have followed as effortlessly as they did. I went from really stressed out and fearful to fairly blissed out and grateful- all because I trusted the whispers and followed where they led me. Your whispers may lead you in a totally different direction and that is perfectly ok. The important point is to listen and act on the guidance. You are not alone.
Do not get me wrong! Life is crazy most days but I wake happy everyday and feel surrounded by positivity and love now. That is a huge shift. Believe me-I have spent plenty of time in the negative bubble. I want to stay in this light filled positive one for as long as I can!