Inexplicable Loss

loss

In a few days it will be the one year anniversary of the passing of a friend. Her exit from this world brought shock waves to so many since, in theory, she was a spiritual student and teacher. I had spoken to her several days before her death. She had agreed to come visit the mountains and have a retreat alone in our place. When news arrived of her suicide it hit me like a thousand bricks falling from a skyscraper. I had felt her destitution and exhaustion several times in conversations. And, here a year later the event is fresh in my mind. Loss is a reminder of our humanness that we enter alone and must exit alone as well.

Two months prior to her death she sent me a meditation book by Mark Nepo. I read it every day last year. Each time I picked it up I couldn’t help but think of her. I couldn’t help but understand the silence in her for months. I couldn’t help but accept that she was ready to go regardless of anyone fighting for her to stay here. That’s the thing about desolation: you can’t see light at the end of the dark tunnel. She was ready to go. She was determined to release the pain she was feeling here.

My mother passed eleven days before my fortieth birthday. When the day arrived I waited for her call as she was always the first one to greet me on holidays. I waited all morning. Suddenly there was this sense of grief as I looked out onto the lake behind the house. I would never get to hear her voice again. The realization had escaped me for days but there, numb and paralyzed to the core of my being, I accepted it standing in a puddle of tears. My mom was gone. Loss is like that: it shows up whenever it requires healing. It is one of those vital emotions that doesn’t go away completely but lingers until you cradle it, sit with it, and accept it. Then it makes its way out until the next time that the soul requires a lesson.

The loss of someone is not necessarily due to death. It can be the ending of a relationship, the end of a career, the loss of materialism, and even the death of a dear pet. Loss is loss and there is no degree to establish the pain of the emotions. We all handle it in so many ways. Some hide it through work, drugs, alcohol, sex or food. Some dwell on the loss and can’t continue living their lives. They hang on so tightly that instead of celebrating the memories of joy they dwell on the missing part. Missing sucks! I have no other word for it that won’t upset a few folks reading this. Missing churns inside, deliberately taking the heart and squeezing it tightly. But to have loved this deeply is to have experienced vulnerability and a selfless act of spiritual growth.

You don’t “get over” the hurt. There will always be a gap in between spaces of heart and memories. Sure, people will continue to enter your life. Of course you will have other relationships, but something happens to those gaps after a while: they become immortal in our minds. I remember when mail would continue to arrive for my mother. I would shake my head and for a second feel angry that someone out there didn’t know I lost my mother. After all she was MY mother and bills should stop arriving. The world should have stopped to mourn this loss. I felt the same with my uncles, aunts, father, grandparents and lover. A few years later as I was unpacking a box in my new home I found my mother’s license, insurance cards, and small notes on her next radiation appointment. Suddenly I was back by her side trying to get her to fight for her life. Loss is there. Just like with my sweet friend…loss will always return when I open up that meditation book. We are spiritual beings living, learning and loving through this journey. Loss is part of our lessons.

The reality of our illusions is that we have no control of anything…including loss. It opens us up, dissecting the core of our memories, and taking in new stories that dramatize those souls. Rumi channeled wisdom and shared with us his splendor: Sorrow prepares you for joy. It violently sweeps everything out of your house, so that new joy can find space to enter. It shakes the yellow leaves from the bough of your heart, so that fresh, green leaves can grow in their place. It pulls up the rotten roots, so that new roots hidden beneath have room to grow. Whatever sorrow shakes from your heart, far better things will take their place.”

Give yourself the permission to miss another. Allow tears to flow. Sit with the grief when it arrives. Don’t stop entertaining the memories. But, celebrate the joy of living, the privilege of having witnessed that love in your life, and the acceptance that we are eternal. The soul never dies…it just transfers into another form. Believe me, loved ones are never far from your side. They are waiting for those small memories and they smile from Heaven for your sweet love. Mucho love!

Seeing Through Love

The eye of the sea is one thing,

The eye of the foam another.

Leave the foam aside,

See with the eye of the sea.” – Rumi

About twelve years ago in a busy pre-Christmas mall trip with my six kids, I watched a man with his two daughters go into an electronic store. He was a tall blonde man. I overheard his beautiful Irish or English accent as he passed me. Half of my kids went into the store to see the latest gadgets while I remained outside the shop with the three youngest ones. In one particular moment the gentleman inside and I locked eyes. He walked the isles and I stood there looking through the glass, following his every move, something I had never done before. I was paralyzed. His gaze went right through me. There wasn’t anything particular about him. He wasn’t a Brad Pitt or Robert Redford extraordinary-standout of a man. It wasn’t anything ordinary in his looks, but his deep blue eyes brought (and took) me to place I had never been before.

My children came out and we continued onto the next stores. We moved through the busy mall stressed with the holiday craziness. About an hour later, as I was going down the escalator, we crossed paths as he was going up. Once again, his eyes never left mine, bashful smiles exuded both our faces, and all that was needed was the film score to go with this magical moment. All I know for certain was that looking into his eyes was like returning home from a place far away. I have never been able to explain that moment or the feeling of loss that I encountered thereafter. This is how and why I understand Rumi’s words when he writes that to look into someone’s eyes is to see the depth of the world and the depth of the ocean. Once in a while a stranger reaches into the depth of ourselves and forces us to seek beyond the everyday. It is in those moments we recognize the connection of our existence. We are all in this together!

Eyes are the windows to the soul. This is not only a cliché, it is a reality. Sometimes we see just the body. Sometimes we see the soul, the spirit, and divinity reflecting back to us. In one second the world can become a completely different habitat just by a glance. I take the presence of a stare, a look, and a gaze very clearly. The eyes are the unique place where our spirits transfer energy to one another without touch. There have been times, just like the one years ago, that have opened some secret compartment in me. It is difficult to hide our truths and our essence when we truly look into the soul of another.

I notice in our society people avoid eye contact. I hope that we can get over the fear of allowing another to look inside. I am learning to allow another to enter into my world. I pray we can escape the trauma of vulnerability and stare into one another and witness the movement of the sea. It’s beautiful there. No matter who you are. Those eyes…let them see and be the sea to another. Let yourself dive into the depth of a stranger and feel the rocky waters, explore the shallow tides, and bear witness of spirit wanting to be free. Watch the omnipotence smile through the reflection of you. It takes one moment to change how and what we see. Experience the vastness and endless place of the universe through the miracle of our little passages…of our beautiful eyes and finally be free. Only through the eyes of love can we find the Infinite!

Rigging of Life

rumi

“Live life as if everything is rigged in your favor.” – Rumi

The universe conspires in your favor.  Everything that happens is for your betterment whether for a life lesson or a conscious choice you made to enhance your spirit.  If you listen closely to your soul you will notice when you are making a mistake.  Is it your ego wanting this?  Is it your soul’s yearning to do that?  If you live your life, as Rumi expresses, what you accomplish is through love and joy.  It’s part of your journey.  It becomes a certainty in faith.  I know in my past that when I kept hitting walls, seeing signs or crashing against barricades that I should have stopped pushing myself to get those things my ego “needed.”  Looking back I know exactly what those things were but I didn’t care.  My tenacious character didn’t accept failure (even when it wasn’t failure but the Divine expressing the truth that it was not a situation for my betterment).  We tend to complicate our lives.  When we get out of the way and allow the Divine to lead us things are easier, smoother, lovelier and definitely in your favor.  Life is not made to be a constant struggle.  We create the struggles with what we think we need, desire, and manipulate. Sit long enough to feel God and allow the guidance.  Your path, your life, your destiny…is all rigged for YOU!  Have a blessed day!

Dancing Heart

dancing heart

The great Sufi poet Rumi said, “You dance inside my chest.”  I believe that’s one of the most beautiful descriptions of love.  When you feel love it is just like a dance with amazing melodies endlessly pounding inside.  Sometimes the dance is a sensual tango; now and then the exciting Cha-Cha; in rare moments a Waltz while other times it is a delicate choreographed ballet.  And, for every single dance in your chest there is an eternal space connecting with the universe.  There is no shortage or limited capacity to what and who can enter into this joyous festivity.  When your heart is opened to love everyone is welcomed.  Not all will stay but the majority will have bounced, rocked, moved, and made you skip a beat.

Sometimes when I am at a loss for words (believe it or not it happens) I open up a book on poetry or quotes or my favorite inspirational stories.  Each word, paragraph and page allows me to reach inside this party in my chest and turn on the music.  My children, friends, parents, family, strangers and lovers begin to dance in my chest.  Memories flow, not in a sad way, but in the acceptance of being present with all the ecstasy I’ve felt for each person.  Who doesn’t like a great party?  My heart has been broken just like every single person in the world.  But, with each healing the life force in me has expanded.  It has grown to allow a larger gala, celebration, and party.

On this 4th of July allow your heart to dance.  May it start a new shindig and join with an old one.  Allow the dance in your chest to carry you through any loneliness, sadness, mourning, lost, and Cha-Cha your way to the other side of grace, joy and love.  I will see you there…beating inside of mine through our connections with Spirit.

“Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it.” ~Rumi

The Guests

Lately, when talking with friends and family, I keep hearing the words “displaced, misplaced, misalignment, and disconnected.” It seems to be a universal theme among the tribe. But again, it could be just like when you buy a car and then realize everyone has it. You hadn’t noticed it before and now that you have it you are aware of its existence.

I noticed a giant shift towards the end of 2011. I have never bought into the 2012 cosmic changes with or without the Mayan calendar. I don’t believe the world will end on 12/21/12 at 11:11PM. I want to believe that these massive shifts in emotions are due to a necessary alignment of our spiritual connections. And, yes, lately there is a huge sense of displacement. At first it was just settling into the slowness of our business, the holidays, and prelude of winter. But now it seems to be something esoteric. I don’t know if there is a theory for it all. I have to admit that I don’t know what it is. I do know that others are feeling it as well. Some just don’t know what to name it. And, I hate to even put a label on the feelings. I can only speak for myself. These holidays just seem so different. I have to work extremely hard to feel grounded.

It’s always easy to talk about changes, whether or not they are profound shifts in our lives when we can see them. However, when those changes can’t be seen but felt with anxiety, I believe it is allowing fear to take over. We all want and crave for better things. Recently, I feel like I am waiting for a bus to arrive to take me elsewhere. I have no clue what the destination or route I am to take. It’s just a feeling of anticipation. No matter how many times I go hiking, walking, or remove myself from this unknown impatience it seems to come looking for me. Meditation, contemplation and prayer help for a little while. Keeping busy seems to stop the feeling but I need grounding and avoiding the feeling seems to put me in a worst twist. I am learning to be present with the carousel of emotions.

Fear is like that. I read somewhere that fear = false evidence appearing real. If that’s so then the anticipation is a form of an unknown psychosis of my creation. I don’t really know what I fear because I am not anxious about anything in particular. Whatever it is I need to just invite it in and honor it. I’ve come to the conclusion to just sit with the displacement when it arises. Like Rumi’s poem:

The Guest House

This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.

A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.

Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they’re a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still, treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.

The dark thought, the shame, the malice,
meet them at the door laughing,
and invite them in.

Be grateful for whoever comes,
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.

~ Rumi ~

I will sit with each incline, letting me momentarily feel its awareness. That’s all I can do when I can’t find anything else. Being grateful and allowing each visit from the emotions teaches me something. Perhaps in that space I can finally see that I have a lesson and not feel displaced. The beauty in our lives is that thoughts live in our perception. When we are conscious and mindful we can receive those feelings as guests: feed them, entertain them for a bit and then send them off on their merry way. Meantime, I have to remind myself that I am fine and that this, too, shall pass! Tomorrow is a new day.

Displacement

Lately, when talking with friends and family, I keep hearing the words “displaced, misplaced, and disconnected.”  It seems to be a universal theme.  But again, it could be just like when you buy a car and then realize everyone has it.  You hadn’t noticed it before and now that you have it you are aware of its existence.

I noticed a giant shift towards the end of 2011.  I don’t want to buy into the 2012 cosmic changes with or without the Mayan calendar.  I want to believe that this year will bring wonderful surprises into my life.  Yet, it has started out in a sense with much displacement.  At first it was just settling into the slowness of our business and the winter months.  Then it was the weather and my sinuses adjusting to the coldness.  But ultimately it seems to be something esoteric.  I don’t know.  I have to admit that I don’t know what it is.  I do know that others are feeling it as well.  Some just don’t know what to name it.  And, I hate to even put a label on the feelings.

It’s always easy to talk about changes, whether or not they are profound shifts in our lives when we can see them.  However, when those changes can’t be seen but felt with anxiety, I believe it is allowing fear to take over. We all want and crave for better things.  Recently, I feel like I am waiting for a bus to arrive to take me elsewhere.  I have no clue what the destination or route I am to take.  It’s just a feeling of anticipation.  And, no matter how many times I go hiking, walking, or remove myself from this unknown impatience it seems to come looking for me.  Meditation, contemplation and prayer help for a little while.  Keeping busy seems to stop the feeling but I need grounding and avoiding the feeling seems to put me in a worst twist.

Fear is like that.  I read somewhere that fear = false evidence appearing real.  If that’s so then the anticipation is a form of an unknown psychosis of my creation.  I don’t really know what I fear when I am not anxious about anything in particular.  Whatever it is I need to just invite it in.  I’ve come to the conclusion to just sit with the displacement when it arises.  Like Rumi’s poem:

The Guest House

This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.

A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.

Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they’re a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still, treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.

The dark thought, the shame, the malice,
meet them at the door laughing,
and invite them in.

Be grateful for whoever comes,
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.

~ Rumi ~

I will sit with each incline, letting me momentarily feel its awareness and then sending it off.  That’s all I can do when I can’t find anything else.  Be grateful and allow each visit from the emotions to teach me something.  Perhaps in that space I will finally see that I have a lesson and not feel displaced. Meantime, I have to remind myself that I am fine and that this, too, shall pass!