Writing has not been easy lately. Or rather, writing anything to be posted publicly has not been easy. My handwritten journal is filled with non-sense and musings and drawings and doodles and questions without answers and answers without questions. A bit of chaotic art maybe. A place to pour the grief and the laughter and the tears and the anger. And yes, the joy too.
Some of my readers know that for the past year I have spent nearly every day with my sister Tanza. I left Oregon to meet her in France about this time last year. Our journey included a clinic in Denmark, a trip back to Argenton Les Vallees in France, and some time after arriving back in the US a crazy cross country drive from Florida to Washington State. It has been a journey of epic proportions.
Some of the story can be found in earlier posts on my personal blog, and just an edge of the story is here. This blog, I started in January as an adjunct to my personal blog: an accounting of my daily yoga practice. It’s funny, really, that when you begin a thing you have no idea the impact it will eventually have on your life, and how you live it. My excursions into yoga have been that way. Yoga has been a daily companion, quite often a saving grace. I have not always kept up my asana practice, but yoga – as right action, as breath, as meditation, as body prayer – has been my comfort and my source of strength.
My sister had cancer. Metastatic, it moved into the bones. In March, here in Washington State, my sister was admitted to hospice. On June 2nd, 2011 she died, peacefully and surrounded by love. You can read her last blog post here, and my own words in her honor here.
I won’t say that it has been easy. There has been incredible anger and pain and struggle. Yet even in the midst of all that, there have been moments of amazing grace and letting go and love and wonder and laughter. To face death daily means reckoning with everything – the pettiness and the depth, the silliness and the seriousness.
More than once, it occurred to me that yoga teaches us how to live, and meditation is preparation for death. And vice versa. Yoga teaches us to be present with what is, whatever it is, without judgement. Meditation teaches us to let go of the struggle, to surrender. When we allow what IS to be exactly what it is, we move into a deeper place of awareness. Some things we just can’t change, no matter how much “positive energy” we put into it, and so we do the best we can in the moment.
When we listen deeply and feel everything, when we keep our hearts open in spite of all the pain, when we allow IT ALL to be exactly what it is (good, bad, and ugly) and truly honor that journey… we move unexpectedly into some new dimension of understanding and love that we never knew we were capable of. Maybe, when we live each day with an awareness of death, we live more fully and completely, surrendering each moment as it passes and opening to the next with greater fullness.
I don’t even know yet what it is I have come to know. I do know this: I am changed. My sister gave me an incredible gift in asking me to share this journey with her. Her journey – whatever you want to make of it – had an impact on many people. There is purpose, and very likely most of us will not understand that purpose for a long time to come.
I don’t know what happens after death. I have many ideas that I find comforting. What I like to think is that somewhere my sister dances again, free from pain, and that maybe the light she tried to capture in her paintings surrounds her now. I like to think that maybe my Dad was there to meet her, to help her though the transition, or maybe she met her friend Elspeth, or Marc. I like to think that maybe she and I will meet again, in another lifetime, as I am certain we have before, so many times before.
I don’t know. It’s all conjecture. None of us know anything for sure. We’re all on this crazy journey called life. For all that I don’t know (and that’s a lot) I am certain of this: That every single journey is worthy. Tanza’s journey is to be honored. So is mine. So is Yours. The road you are on – whatever it is and wherever it leads – is a powerful and sacred path.
Life is sacred, life is beautiful. It is a gift to be here.
Honor your Gift, and the Gift of the Life that each of us leads. Share your love, share the beauty, stop and look around. Laugh, cry, take it all in stride. Get to know what really matters. Be Real, Be Love.
Love is the most powerful and the most creative force there is.
~om shanti~To open your heart to the fairies, you must nurture these feelings of wonder, reverence and love for every detail of your garden, for the airs which blow about it, the musical rain which falls gently upon it, the moon and the stars which silently look down on it, the great sun which is the source of its being and for the clouds and changing skies which provide it with a canopy. When you truly feel the sweetness of this magic, you will begin to discover the fairies, for they will make themselves known to you. ~ Claire Nahmad