Grieving woman with hands over her face.


Note: I wrote this final post in my “Breaking Up” trilogy several weeks ago, when the pain was fresh. Lots of healing has happened in the meantime—thanks in large part, dear readers, to you. Your wise, compassionate comments have brought me back to my senses and the remembrance that while I may not have Kripalu in my camp, I have myself—and you, a burgeoning community of conscious seekers who have got my (and each others’) backs. Though it’s quickly becoming history, I’ll finish the sorry saga I started, so we can bury it and move on. Here we go:

I woke up much too early this morning to find myself grieving two related losses: the long-ago, lingering connection with my former spiritual home and, with it, the death of a dream I’ve apparently harbored—that I might some day, somehow, feel I could be actively part of it again.

In my last post, I asked what Bapuji would do if he’d been completely ignored as I was. I decided he’d have dealt with it by letting go and letting God. I suggested he’d have expeditiously and gracefully returned himself to the more essential, less worldly business of self-realization.

That’s what I am doing as I grieve. Bapuji meditated, chanted and danced his way to full surrender and the reclaiming of Supreme Self that spiritual surrender delivers. I’ve done a wee bit of that in my day, too. But today what I have done is allow myself to fall apart. Yes, I am letting myself finally feel the pain of what I must relinquish—because it has relinquished me.

Since it hit me full-force yesterday that this love affair I thought I had with Kripalu is really, really over, I’ve been weeping, grappling with self-doubt and revisiting my old companion shame. All these years after departing Kripalu’s walls, I’m unexpectedly having a hell of a time putting Kripalu to rest. But as I work toward it, I feel myself grow stronger, clearer and freer, the more I let the painful feelings surface and be met with the light of my awareness.

As I put aside memories (the past) and dreams (the future), I’m making room in my body-being for what is present. I allow more of who I am in this moment to arise and be recognized, first and foremost by me. My falling apart process may not have much in common with the surrender and Self-realization of a master like Bapuji, but , boy, is it a step in the right direction for me!

What I’ve sensed about me and Kripalu, and even wrote in my book, has painfully crystallized. By having hoped, however furtively, to one day be remembered and re-embraced by my former colleagues—especially the ones who remain deeply connected there—I was giving away my precious power, my spiritual and personal authority. I was letting other people define me.

By continuing to hope they would welcome me back into their protective fold, I was abnegating my responsibility to welcome myself into the fold of my own heart. I was giving up my right to have me, myself and I alone be enough, firm in my chosen path, without any stamp of approval.

The love and light of Bapuji are alive in me because I say so, with or without Kripalu (or anyone else’s) say so. I feel terrifyingly alone in saying that. Who do you think you are? insists the old demon of doubt. If I am not considered good enough for the Kripalu that Bapuji inspired, how good can I be? (I share the words that came, although as I prepare weeks later to post them, that dramatic sense of unworthiness is thankfully reduced to a shadow.)

This is as real as soul-wrestling gets are the words that come to me next. It’s pitch dark this early Nova Scotia fall morning, and I’ve had to turn on the light to write. My words have been coming through me with the same urgency that’s called me four times to the bathroom, as I move to release—every way I can—what is in the way of me embracing me.

Big Suzie (the mature woman I am) needs to embrace little Suzie (the frightened girl child hiding out and seeking recognition inside). And I must call forth the same unconditional love we touted at Kripalu. But Kripalu, it ironically turns out, has been in the way of my doing that. The dream—the fantasy—I kept alive, of being welcomed back triumphant, and vindicated for my choice to carve out a path of my own, has been in the way of learning to love myself as I am.

Of course I couldn’t fully see and appreciate myself when I was tied up in knots hoping Kripalu would do it for me! Another 18 years have passed since the 18 years I spent within Kripalu’s walls, and the time has come to say goodbye. For whatever reasons (my own soul’s growth must be one), there is no room for me at their inn. The inn where I must make room for me is within.

It still feels almost unbearably hard and sad to let Kripalu go. But it is happening, one cry and sigh, one bathroom trip and written word at a time. I am working both Kripalu and my need for recognition out of my system. And bless you all for holding the space for me to do that.

Meanwhile, our journey to selfhood marches on. One letting go leads to another. Next time I may find myself in the midst of still greater surrender to the universal will. Why? Because what my own willful mind wants me to do feels less and less like what my heart and gut are prompting me to. So it’s probably time to figure out if I need a gentler Plan B, or whether I may be ready for no plans at all! Though I’ve little idea what that life might look like, it’s an idea as liberating as it is terrifying. Please stay tuned. And speak up, for all our sakes, especially your own.

About the Author: Suzanne Grenager

A seasoned writer and mentor with a gift for helping people see and be their most authentic, empowered Self.


  1. Angelpricer November 28, 2012 at 1:32 pm - Reply

    Hurray Suzanne!!!! You’ve wrestled your way through one of the darkest passages of initiation we “spiritual people” face ~ living our own spiritualized form without need of recognition or approval from any tribe or fellow seeker. I rejoice with you!!!

    PS…seems to me that’s what Bapuji (and Jesus~my own personal love exemplar) were able to do too. Just because they HAD followers doesn’t mean they REQUIRED them.

    BIG HUG!!

    • Suzanne Grenager November 29, 2012 at 2:20 pm - Reply

      Ummm, dear Angel (and you ARE an angel to me). I am savoring your hurrays and your hug — right along with your insight about the great masters *having* followers but not *needing* them. Beautifully said!
      To be as transparent as possible, I want you to know that, while I may have wrestled my way through this round of the match, I do not feel entirely free of the need for recognition. That may be the work of a lifetime. But for now I am very grateful for my growing sense of non-attachment and sweet self-trust. I thank you for so firmly holding my hand, as I hope you know I hold yours.

  2. Sheila M. Kelly November 28, 2012 at 2:43 pm - Reply

    It is soooooooooo interesting, Suzanne. I picked up your book this morning because a friend is planning a retreat at the Kripalu center. In your book, I read these words, “I feel very lucky to have come and gone from Kripalu, and to have embraced and released the pricelss guru experience exactly when I did.” I’m not sure if I can articulate this, but it’s something around the old adage, “You can’t go home again.” In this case, it seems that you closed the door somewhere in the mid-90’s and once closed, perhaps to try to open it again is … well, it just can’t happen. Energetically and metaphorically, that door was sealed, closed, with the key never more to be found. Perhaps this experience was the final phase of your mourning. Whatever it is and was, I wrap my arms around you in celebration and delight for your willingness to always show up for us bare naked.

    “The first time you do the impossible, it takes a little longer.”

    Bless you, dear Suzanne.

    • Suzanne Grenager November 30, 2012 at 2:35 pm - Reply

      Sheila, that *is* interesting. Thank you for reminding me that, in the wisdom of my journal writing, I knew the timing of my going from Kripalu was perfect. And I am especially grateful for your eloquent  observation that “energetically” the door was sealed and I can’t go home again.
      I feel the truth of your words in my bones. Kripalu is no longer for me, or I for it. So it is and I am making peace with that. Your arms wrapped around me make the dead certainty of this ending easier to bare. Your appreciation of my nakedness means a lot to me. Bless you!

      • Sheila M. Kelly December 3, 2012 at 1:57 pm - Reply

         Thank you, once more, dear sister friend, for so graciously accepting my “message.” It felt a wee bit risky to post but I took courage from your willingness to be bare naked. Love and a huge hug.

  3. Mmetner November 28, 2012 at 6:30 pm - Reply

    Ahh Suze… Such a lovely sharing about grieving from a healthy person and a healthy perspective. By sharing your grief and your process, you have taught with compassion, that we humans cannot escape grief and that throughout our lives it cycles round again in different forms, each time giving us gifts of insight if we choose to look it in the eye. Your traveling into the cave of the heart to confront the beast is a reminder that the word courage comes from the word for heart – couer.

    • Suzanne Grenager November 30, 2012 at 2:44 pm - Reply

      “Into the cave of the heart to confront the beast.” What a marvelously APT description of the grief experience, dear Marian! It’s one I am sure arises from your own deep contemplation of grief’s powers, wise and seasoned woman that you are.

      I am honored by your acknowledgment that I have taught with compassion. Praise be to the gods and goddesses for what you call the “gift of insight,” which we are privileged to receive and share.

  4. Karen November 29, 2012 at 3:31 am - Reply

    Dear Suzanne,

    I hear the anguish you went through in this process, and I’m happy to hear that you have actually moved beyond where you were when you wrote this.  You’re now ready to “bury it and move on.”  Yay!! 

    Key phrases I love:
    “I was giving away my precious power, my spiritual and personal authority. I was letting other people define me.”
    “firm in my chosen path, without any stamp of approval.”
    “I may be ready for no plans at all! …. it’s an idea as liberating as it is terrifying.”

    My sense is that you are ready to be liberated from all those plans and stand in your power, in your own path, with your own self-love as a stamp of approval.  And we are here holding that space for you.  It’s safe and warm.  Just dive in!


    • Suzanne Grenager December 3, 2012 at 4:06 pm - Reply

      Yes, yes, YES! And thank you for this beautiful offering, dear Karen. I am dying to “be liberated from plans…and stand in (my) power!” I adore what you said next, about my “own self-love” being my “stamp of approval.” I can feel and almost taste that self-love and power growing in me lately, elusive as it can still sometimes be.

      That so many of you are here compassionately holding a safe, warm space for me — and for all of us — to “dive in” is almost more than I can bear. I am nearly in tears again as I reread your profoundly comforting words. I want nothing more than for us to provide each other with uncondiitionally loving open arms. Who else is ready to dive with me into the love? 

  5. Ron December 1, 2012 at 11:20 am - Reply

    Such a rich, complex set of experiences, my friend. You express them courageously and well. I think that there is still something to be gleaned by a deeper dive into the question of why your Kripalu friends remain silent but perhaps that path is best left for another time. 

    • Suzanne Grenager December 3, 2012 at 10:15 pm - Reply

      Thanks, Ron, for acknowledging my courage. I’d be happy to hear your take on the Kripalu silence any time you’re moved to share it. To be clear, though, the problem was not so much with my Kripalu “friends” as it was with the current staff, mostly people I don’t know. Some friends from my Kripalu days have been enthusiastic about the book, though surprisingly few have taken action to help me get my Bapuji-inspired message out. And so it is. Or, as I like to say, Thy will be done, O Universe, not mine. Whew!

  6. Talkingelmo December 4, 2012 at 3:04 pm - Reply

    WOW! This is powerful stuff and gut wrenching too.   Yes, the way out is the way through, especially with grief.  We have to go into it and sit there for a while.  I forget this so often.  I can identify with your journey and feelings, almost to the point of wondering if this is “everywoman.”  Thank you for putting this out there and reminding us all.  
    Kripalu has clearly moved on in another direction and I must wonder if they are not that loving place anymore where you felt so safe.  They too may be looking for the same thing or just trying to get by meeting the financial needs of the organization.   OR, you have moved on big-time to a fully self-realised person and do not need them any more.  I tend the think the latter…

    Move forward, gentle soul, to whatever comes next, and as you say, perhaps just let it happen.  Love and blessings, Mary

    • Suzanne Grenager December 11, 2012 at 3:51 pm - Reply

      You are most welcome, dear Mary, for what this post affirms for you about the grief process. I thank *you* so much for letting me know you can relate to my struggles and that I am not alone. Thanks to you readers, I have a growing sense of why Kripalu has had to drop so far off my radar screen. And I know now that while I am still grieving the loss of that support, it is my ego rather than the more realized part of me that’s taking the punches. I have moved on where it matters most, and you are probably right that, even if I sometimes still want them, I don’t “need” them. But until I am fully realized, I may not fully realize that! 🙂

  7. Lovecozymassage January 17, 2013 at 4:33 pm - Reply

    Hey Suzanne!
    Love the posts and totally relate.  I broke up with KY in the 90’s.  And then a funny thing happened.  I was walking another spiritual path and I was brought full circle back to Bapuji.  So I started meditating on him every day and I was pointed back to Amrit.  I’ve had a few discussions with Bapuji about that since I didn’t even do yoga for over a decade I was so not wanting anything to do with KY.
    Fast forward to the past year.  I reconnected with Amrit and it has been fine, better than that even. I just keep Bapuji in my heart and don’t worry about the rest.  I have heard from old residents who lived there when I did with that KY in Lenox is radically different – the heart (Bapuji) was cut out – and now it’s just a business. 
    Following my own path has been quite interesting and at times scary, but ultimately fulfilling.  Welcome to the new pathless path!

    • Suzanne Grenager January 21, 2013 at 4:13 pm - Reply

      Thank you, dear sister, for your welcome to the scary “pathless path,” a term I too often use for my recent journey. I especially appreciate your perspective as a former Kripalu ashram resident. Sorry as I am about it, it’s helpful to hear that Kripalu may no longer be a place where my Bhakti — Bapuji-inspired, heart-centered — approach is openly valued or at least much in evidence. (Another friend was just there and tried to buy a picture of Bapuji, but there were none to be had in the shop!) 

      Ironically, though, just as we are having *this* conversation, there is another one going on — online and at Kripalu — about reinstalling Bapuji’s picture in a prominent location at the Center. So perhaps a subtle shift back to our spiritual roots may now be underway. I dearly hope so, since it seems to me there could be no better focus for Kripalu than the unconditional love embodied by the great Swami Kripalvanand!

      Thank you for speaking up here and I ‘m glad you have re-established your own connection with the saint who brought us together.  

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