It’s been a while. For most of May, I was preoccupied with my best friend, who was in hospice care at home; I shared the  primary caregiver position with her daughter. For the last 2 weeks of May, I was at her side full time. She died just after midnight on June 4th. Being with her and her close friends and family during this time was an amazing journey. One detail of note: her granddaughter, who is 6, visited several times during her grandmother’s illness, and saw her decline. She was aware, to whatever degree a 6 year old can be, that her dearly loved grandmother was dying. This normalizing of death as a part of the continuum of life is something we’ve moved so far away from in this culture, and I was so glad that they chose to include her and not “shield” her by hiding the situation from her.

By the end of May, I was in such a spiritual zone that I found it hard to “return to earth” after it was over. my friend remained lucid until the very last day, and she gave beautiful descriptions of the “river of light” and the angels in the room with her.

After it was over, I went home and collapsed. Three hours after my friend exhaled her last breath, I developed severe chest congestion, which then went into my throat as well. Fortuitously, my daughter arrived from Hawaii that same day for a week’s visit, and took excellent care of me. Toward the end of the week we went to NY to see the Hokulea at Pier 26, right next to where we had built the Son of Town Hall. Being there with her was a big “full circle” experience.

Visiting NY also allowed my body to take in a different set of pollens and reset itself. I came home still congested, but not nearly as much. I went back to work and gardening and rehearsing for The Music Man, and stayed pretty numb. Then one evening on my way to rehearsal, the flood gates suddenly opened and I broke down hysterically sobbing for about 1/2 hour. Now I mostly feel just tired and a kind of deep, heavy sadness.

This grief is so different than the grief that came after my mother’s death (for whom I did hospice for 14 months) and my husband’s death (for which we had at least 5 “dress rehearsals”). It even seems to reside in a different place in my body. It seems so unfair for someone so young to die (56), leaving behind a daughter and granddaughter similar in age to my own. An opportunity for me to trust the unfolding of the universe. As the Dalai Lama says, Don’t bother looking for the causes of anything within the framework of a single lifetime; it’s way more complex than that. (paraphrased)

I am continually grateful for those times when I’ve shared in deep transformations, including the one from life in a body to what comes after.

Still feels like March

Yesterday was a real Maine spring day: sunny, warm, hinting of buds bursting and flowers blooming. But then again, you could just as easily say today is a real Maine spring day: gray, damp, threatening rain. Earlier, it felt so warm and sunny that I opened a bunch of windows and the back door to the patio. The the clouds set in.

As one of my current foci of practice is on accepting what is, I remind myself of what Gurdjieff said: “Never consider the weather.”

My inner default is more like fighting with what is, and resenting that it isn’t what it could be. This morning in my meditation I got to that sweet spot in which I truly understand that the process is proceeding on all levels and the ENTIRETY is perfect, as it is. That is a statement I feel is easily misinterpreted. Anyone who knows me knows that I use large amounts of energy working to improve conditions in many many ways, for myself and for others, inwardly and outwardly. This “sweet spot” I am referring to does not preclude seeing suffering, seeing pain, experiencing pain, making choices, undertaking actions – in fact it includes all of that, but also much more. The sensation is as if a container has opened, stretching the space within which I exist, including all, and giving presence to all.

Then, from that expanded space, whatever actions I decide to take can come from a perspective that is so much bigger, with so much more compassion.