Aging & Death

The rains finally came today.  A solid 20 minutes of genuine downpour…a “get naked and dance in the rain” downpour.

I am so grateful to the Elementals.  They settled their differences today and found balance.  And so, too, may I find balance.

I’m 68.  I have been moving consciously through layers of armor and patterns of conditioned-response to stress for decades.  But at this moment, what seems significant, is the last decade.

I reverse my timeline and look backwards from July 12, 2018.  

I officially opened the Mountain Valley Retreat in 2014.

Sidebar:  “This is 2018, my fifth year in my new business.  I’m sorting out the bugs and it’s working.  My working edge is clarity about what I want.  I am a Renaissance Woman.  Staying focused on one project at a time isn’t as fun  (read challenging) as juggling several projects at once  Some interests are more lefty, artsy-fartsy and some more righty, rational-mathematical.  I seem to go for the balance.”

  In 2010 my marriage of thirty-seven years ended in divorce.

 

Sidebar:  “We hooked up for the first time in 1968.  I was an 18-year-old freshman at DU and Jim was a 20-year-old junior on a 4-year NCAA basketball scholarship majoring in Economics.  When Jim graduated he moved to Chicago to play at being a banker in the big leagues… riding on the lapping tongues of the jock-sniffing Execs at the First National Bank of Chicago in the loop.  His entry-level position was as a Jr. Trust Officer.  Jim did the leg-work for his boss, Manny, from Kenilworth, Sr. Trust Officer. I transferred to NIU and majored in Education and Psychology.  We got married in 1973.”

In 2007 I left Jim and the farm we had lived on since 1975, 32 years.  I maintained my business, Be Well Now, in Godfrey/Alton.  I moved into a tiny log cabin 10 miles from my farm isolated in an oak forest on a little lake owned by a young couple going through a divorce.  My landlady, Kristy, was getting the house with 100 acres and rented the cabin to me and my cat, Lemur,  for two years.

The story of the preceding fifty-seven years is a blog (read book) for another day.

So, this somehow brings me to my topic, Death & Aging…or Aging & Death.

What, you are asking, is the connection between Aging & Death and the past decade of my life?  I’m aging and so is everyone around me and we all die.  The longer I live, the more Aging and Death become a “thing” for me.  As friends and family die, I’m left wondering the great unanswerable question, “What’s it all about?”

Within my ‘wonderings’ I came upon a thought.  As I age, time appears to be collapsing in on itself.  The clock may say it is six hours later than what feels like a moment ago.  It appears that my mind is staying more and more present.  Without thoughts about the past or the future time is losing its relativity.  Without anything to relate to,  there are no relatives for time?   Without relativity, there is no time!  Only now.

What does this have to do with Aging and Death?  Everything!

Aging depends upon the passage of time.  No time…no aging.

Death is the absence of time…it is timeless.  Therefore, if I am in a timeless space, I am already dead, by definition.  If I am dead, what separates me from life? Just the appearance of this body.

Savasana,  The little death, the chance to die before you die.  This is what my yoga is all for.  For 50 years I’ve known of yoga, practiced yoga, studied yoga, taught yoga…and now?  Perhaps, I am yoga.

Aging and Death?  Nothing but concepts of the mind.  Paper Tigers.  Bring it on!

Agelessness and Life Eternal.  Word!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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A Letter to my Soul Mates

etheric meditationI wrote a letter this morning and I share some of it here because it speaks to all of my new and old heart connections…
I have often felt awe at the connections I have with you and others in my life that are beyond my ordinary understanding. I can only imagine that we are interrelated throughout many lives as I recall a book I once read called Return of the Revolutionaries. Dr. Epstein explains about “Soul Groups.”
Soul Groups are individuals who make a pact on a soul level to move through lifetimes together; changing roles, changing gender, race, ethnicity and interrelationships. A friend in one lifetime may have been a wife, child, parent, or someone else in a previous lifetime. The group has a common thread running through all their lives and relationships. I think he called it the Soul Group Mission. It is a large-scale mission, shifting the global thought field. The group Dr. Epstein tracked in his book was revolutionaries in the American Revolution and continue to walk the cutting edge of revolutionary thought regardless of their occupations in this life. (Oprah Winfrey is an incarnation of one of the souls he tracked.)
When I read the book, it rang true for me. I have noticed that in the past 20 years, and especially in the past 6 years, the friends that I have deep heart-felt connections with, practice healing methods that are outside the mainstream view of medicine. They include art therapists, organic farmers, teachers, writers, actors, sound healers, energy workers, yogis, bodyworkers, psychologists, movement therapists, physicists, shamans, and non-traditional nurses and doctors.
I think that our “soul group” chose the mission of changing the worldview regarding healing.
I have no doubt that you and I are partners in this soul group and that we are affecting the global field with our beliefs and actions regarding the way healing happens.
Interestingly, it is a return to indigenous ways supported by modern science. Quantum physics has now proven what the ancient mystics intuitively knew: every thought-form put into the field affects the field.
All fields entrain themselves toward the strongest, most organized field. Our thoughts draw to our awareness from the unlimited Universal field of all-potential the experience we are having.
The most intriguing and thrilling aspect of my life is the repeated experiences I have that support this belief. When I meet someone from my Soul Group, we both experience a feeling of remembering and reconnecting on a soul level. The level of comfort and communication is deep and immediate. I am smiling as I think about what the future is holding for us, just waiting for us to think the thought!

 

Love is the Lesson

Desert SunsetI missed writing yesterday. I am surprised to find that I am not concerned about it. Somehow, it no longer seems important. After one-hundred-sixty-five pages, my fear, that missing one day will end my writing, is no longer an issue.

I was sitting here, ready to write yesterday morning, when my friend arrived to help me with a project. We finished laying the pavers on my 1000 sq. ft. patio! Together we put down almost 300 in a few hours. We rocked!

She left around noon and I continued to work outside. Tackling another gritty project, I dug out from underneath the irrigation system where the main meets six legs that go out into the yard. I slid old pavers underneath the pipes and fashioned a cover from one of the paver pallets. I get great satisfaction from using recycled products. I had a really good time!

When G got home from flying around 5:00, I was dirt from head to toe. Working hard, getting dirty and making headway on the retreat felt great…and I was so tired last night I fell into bed and conked out early without ever laying my fingers on the keyboard. Oh, well…

Sharon Streamer

This morning is Sharon’s Walk. Her sister, Maya, has organized a prayer walk for Sharon and her family. My friend, Christine, will be picking me up in a couple of hours and we will drive up the now familiar road to the res. The walkers are gathering at the Los Coyotes Campground. I expect a large turnout from this small community. Sharon has lived here all her adult life and her family is loved and well respected.

As I worked yesterday, I thought of the potential an event like this has. If two-hundred souls show up in support of Sharon and we walk two-miles in silent prayer, she will be the recipient of a significant amount of loving energy. Love is the only thing that heals.

Love is the Lesson
Love is the only true healer.
Love heals all.
In this life we have been given
Love is The Lesson

It means little to love
When loving is easy.
The provocative question:
Can I love the unlovable?

Can I love the man who raped me?
Can I love the politician who lies?
Can I love the earth polluters?
Can I love the hatemongers?

Can I love my imperfections?
Can I love my defeats?
Can I love my weaknesses?
Can I love my body?

Can I let go of my judgment?
Can I stop holding expectations?
Can I accept what is
With true forgiveness and loving kindness?

No matter what this moment brings
No matter how I feel affected
Can I meet the path’s bumps and turns
Without resistance?

When I am able
To Love All That Is
With equanimity,
I will be healed.

Reflections on the Journey

Dakini statueMy life is a journey that leads me down unique and uncommon paths. None has been dead ends…though some took me to closed doors that required inner transformation before they would open. I am a student of paradox. I revel in the duality of nature all the while it vexes and drives me toward madness. As the decades shift me past the midpoint of my personal timeline, experiences around death and dying increase. This seems natural and I am drawn to seeking the support of those who have traveled this path before me.

I recently discovered the poetry of Jennifer Paine Welwood. She self-published a book of her poetry called Poems for the Path. Reading her words impacts me. With fresh eyes, I am seeing the connection. Death of the body is a metaphor for the true death of the ego. I have spent hundreds of hours lying in Savasana , practicing death, in the way of a yogi. In Savasana I surrender again and again to the feeling of death, posing the question, ”what would it feel like if I could lose the sense of my personal self?” What would it feel like to “die before I die?”

A Dakini may refer to the enlightened female principle of non-duality which transcends gender. It may also be translated as a female yogi, an enlightened teacher, who teaches the secrets of the Tibetan Tantric wisdom schools. My gratitude to Jennifer for the following poem, The Dakini Speaks.
My friends, let’s grow up.
Let’s stop pretending we don’t know the deal here.
Or if we truly haven’t noticed, let’s wake up and notice.
Look: Everything that can be lost, will be lost.
It’s simple—how could we have missed it for so long?
Let’s grieve our losses fully, like ripe human beings,
But please, let’s not be so shocked by them.
Let’s not act so betrayed,
As though life had broken her secret promise to us.
Impermanence is life’s only promise to us,
And she keeps it with ruthless impeccability.
To a child she seems cruel, but she is only wild,
And her compassion exquisitely precise:
Brilliantly penetrating, luminous with truth,
She strips away the unreal to show us the real.
This is the true ride—let’s give ourselves to it!
Let’s stop making deals for safe passage:
There isn’t one anyway, and the cost is too high.
We are not children anymore.
The true human adult gives everything for what cannot be lost.
Let’s dance the wild dance of no hope!

As I let myself fall into Jennifer’s world, I feel an inner shift. The gripping loosens. I feel an expansion in my cells as they open to the limitlessness of death. The need to fully surrender grows strong. I feel passionate joyfulness in my gratitude for this life I’ve been given. I laugh long and loud as I dance the wild dance of no hope!
Dakini

Let it Come to Me

moon on waterI rest back in the solitude
I feel the support of my spine
My unseen support is here holding me
Letting me know that I am not alone
No matter what my mind may say
About the complications
About the difficulties
That lie on the path ahead
I know that the truth is
This moment is all there is
In this moment I have nothing to fear
In this moment I am safe and warm and loved
In this moment all is well

There is so much magnificence
In this morning
I gaze out my window and see the clear blue of the sky
bird in fountainThe trees sway in the gentle breeze
The birds splash in the fountain and enjoy the safety of our habitat
The kittens play hide and seek in their box
I sip my tea and listen to the moving strains of heartfelt music.

 

What right does my mind have to try and disturb my reverie?
What cause can be so pressing that I should leave my stillness?
What if I stop leaving and simply stay here?
What if I rest back in my body, keeping all my energy tucked in
And wait for the world to come to me?
What if when the world comes knocking
I greet it with a knowing smile.
What if I say to the world,
“I am here for you
…But only on my terms.
You cannot take from me my serenity
For it is my birthright.
You cannot steal my peace of mind.
You cannot seize my joy.
You cannot have one precious moment
For this is the life I’ve been given!”

I am a safe, loved and loving child of the Universe
This life is mine!
Every thought I embrace is mine to think
Every word I speak is mine to say
Every action I take is mine to make
I am a Free Spirit
Who chooses to inhabit this body
And live out this life.

So today I remember
To surrender to the Universe that is holding me
There is no where for me to go
There is no thing for me to do
There is no thing for me to think about
I am safe and it is alright to relax completely.
Innocent and vulnerable, I surrender to what is.
I trust that the Universe is planning for me
The film is in the can.
So I can simply rest back and
Breath
Ground
Integrate
Surrender and
Smile.yoga 2

Musings

women's lodge

I am considering the fact that this is page 138 of my Daily Morning Pages, over one-third of the journey to 365 days of daily free-writing is on the page. When I began, the goal was simply to show up and write something every morning. That remains my goal. However, in the course of my writing something unexpected happened…I accumulated some readers! Each day emails arrive in my inbox with comments about what I have written and I realize that someone is listening. It was never my intention that anyone would actually read what I was writing…I was writing for myself. I was writing as an act of self-discipline. I was writing for clarity around issues that are important to me. I was writing for inspiration for my day. I feel as if I am still writing to myself, and someone else is in the room.

When a post about NaPoWriMo (National Poetry Writing Month) appeared on my FaceBook page I thought, “Pleasant diversion, this!” With twelve months of a daily free-write, I could devote one to free-writing poetry. And it was a surprising and entertaining excursion.

I haven’t read through the collection of what I have written. I sometimes only read the daily writing once or twice. My partner has been a patient and willing listener to be read aloud the page that has come forth each morning. Occasionally I write something that catches my attention and I read it several times, not as an editor, but as a curious listener attempting to grasp the meaning within the words. Prior to the moment my fingers lie on the keyboard, I don’t know what is going to be written. Sometimes a word, an image, an emotion precede my writing during the meditation I practice just before I sit to write. Other days, like today, I am clueless to what will appear on the page.

This process is quite fascinating to me. I have other experiences that mirror my free-writing. Painting and cooking come to mind. I approach a silk with the same lack of planning, usually only a vague idea of what I will paint, and I freely draw images and choose colors of dye to create fabrics for wearing or framing. I create recipes from the foods I have on hand, throwing together dishes with an intuitive sense of what will work well together.

Aha, “intuitive sense of what will work well together.” I hear that line ringing in my ears.
I am grasping an understanding that when I rest back without a plan and allow my intuition to take over my “driver’s seat,” trusting that whatever happens next is acceptable, something akin to magic happens. Of course! On a larger scale that is how this retreat is being created. Before the calendar, appointments, plans, schedules and lists, was a vision. The “left brain” organization is the masculine energy manifesting the vision that came from the “right brain” creative intuitive feminine energy.

Balance is the key. If I take the time to sit in silence, resting in the “women’s lodge”, my intuitive guidance, my Muse, comes forth with a vision. A single spark of brilliance ignites the masculine to action. The vision is taken by forces of creation and the left brain implements the plan for execution. Supported by Universal Mind, synchronicity comes into play. It feels as if a friendly force precedes me and opens the gates before I reach them, making the manifestation process appear effortless.

For me, it is a slippery slope into the imbalance of too much execution and not enough inspiration. I must be diligent to pause frequently and drop back into the “women’s lodge.” It is here, in the cavern of deep stillness, that the non-essential falls away and the clarity of purpose arises. It is here, that the Muse can be heard, and the vision of her wisdom can be seen.

meditation pose

Pascal-LongEars2Chile

PascalJimmy and DaisyA man and two donkeys walked through my gate
He has chosen a path home to himself
It takes him to far corners of the earth
Into the harsh elements of nature

Some might call his expedition insane
Failing to grasp the depth of his searching
I see his dedication as valor
I am inspired by his devotion

He is a man on of mission of deep inner exploration
Each day a challenge to meet who he is
Alone with Mind and two donkey’s
To share his experiences with.

He has met the challenge of Ocean
Crossing in a sailboat from Panama to Tahiti
5000 miles of nothing but water and weather
Followed by months of living with the people of the islands.

Crossed Canada in a 400 lb. four-man canoe
Testing his strength and resolve
Nature again providing her challenges
Cold, snow, mud, wind, rough lake waters…all.

And now this journey of 15000 miles, LongEars2Chile,
Walking from Mexico to Oregon on the PCT
East on the Oregon Trail to the Continental Divide
South down the divide to Chile, SA.

Pascal, this fine French man who graced our table
Has claimed a new way of life,
Not merely an adventure.
A lifelong journey of self-discovery.

Meeting the challenges of each new day
With patience, gratitude and a smile
He slowly but surely
Is finding his way home.