Sunday, May 21, 2006

On Living and Dying and Living Again

Two weeks ago, I was again on the other side of the mirror, for the third time in as many months. When I was talking with my daughter and told her I was sick and tired of crossing back and forth through the mirror, she reminded me of a conversation we recently had about processes and events. I believe we are born (an event), then we live our lives (a process) until we die (an event). It is certainly possible to look at it in the opposite way, that dying is a process, but if we choose to see it that way, we spend our whole lives from birth in the process of dying instead of the glorious process of living.

The first time I crossed over to the other side, I was 21 years old, in hospital and very, very ill. During a particularly difficult surgery, I found myself watching the procedure from a corner of the operating theatre in a very detached manner. After some time, it dawned on me that I had obligations, including a daughter under 6 months old. I also realized that I had a choice as to whether to stay on the other side of the mirror or return here and live out the life I had planned before this birth. If I chose not to return, I would be both avoiding my responsibilities and setting myself up to have to learn the lessons meant for this life, in another down the road. Since that did not appeal to me, I decided to come back and finish what I had started. Once the decision was made, I found myself back in that pain wracked body, coming out of the aesthetic too soon.

Each time I have had the choice, I have ultimately chosen to return and complete the tasks set for this life. This most recent time, someone very close to me reached through the mirror and walked back with me every step of the way. You know who you are and I thank you from the bottom of my heart. It is one of the most selfless acts one can perform, to lend their strength to another.

Death is simply a rebirth on the other side, which ultimately leads to rebirth here once we have reviewed the life just lived and set the course for the next one. Nothing in my experience changes that belief. It would also seem that I still have some unfinished business here in this life. Perhaps it is to share what I know, what I have learned, what I believe and what I suspect.

When we rediscover a truth, the feeling inside is so strong that it leaves no doubt in one's mind, even if there is no obvious proof to offer. For this reason, if for no other, we must look, listen, read, explore, search, think, whatever we can do to open ourselves to new experiences, new ideas, new thoughts. All truth is within us, just waiting to be rediscovered. We simply need the tools to be able to remember and recognize it.

We each have our own path to follow, our own truths to rediscover, our own Journey and no one can do it for us. We can help each other by holding a mirror and a light, a mirror so others may see their truths reflected in it and a light to illuminate the path at our feet so me may not stumble on small unseen obstacles.

The greatest obstacle is fear. Even though there is nothing to fear, we have been taught to treat the unknown with fear and suspicion. Often, fear of unknown feelings or feelings of not being in control even prevent us from even learning the basic techniques of meditation. In meditation, we stop deliberately generating thought processes or listening to them. This frees the mind, but causes such trepidation in many people that they are unable to allow it to happen. I wish I had a magic bullet that would remove all ungrounded fears, particularly where meditation is concerned. It is the single most useful tool in finding and following our own individual path, finding our center, that calm in the eye of the storm that allows us to reconnect with our spiritual selves and relearn our truths.


Sitting in the ICU watching my heart try to flutter like a butterfly while beating like a drum, thinking of the meaning of Life, The Universe and Everything. In A Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy, the answer is 42.... which is probably as good an answer as any of us will be able to articulate.For me, a successful life is one that has made the part of the world it touches even a wee bit better. Today, all three of my daughters came to see me, the two by choice and the one by blood. I cannot say how proud I am of all three. When I look at them, I know the magic will continue for all of the children whose lives are touched by these three wonderful women. If I am responsible for even a little of this legacy, then my life has been a success.No, it's not time yet! Only time to contemplate both past and future on this Journey. I can not provide a path, a destiny for anyone other than myself, but perhaps I can provide some light on the questions that start a search for one's path.What is life? Why are we here? Is there life after death? Do we have a purpose beyond being born, growing up, reproducing, growing old and dying? I know that we do. I have found that once we start asking questions, we start being steered in the direction of answers. We see things, hear things, read things that we had not previously noticed, that sometimes resonate with a place deep inside of us that simply says "This is true!", and we have found our first answer. Our answers are all within us but we must seek them out. After the first one, they start to come faster and faster. We get better at asking our questions and recognizing the answers.There is a saying that when the student is ready, the teacher will appear. While that is very true, it does not always happen the way we expect. Often we are led to situations, circumstances, evens, or people which give us only one answer or even just a hint at where to look next. We may well not recognize these fleeting teachers.As we progress, the corollary of that saying may well be "When the teacher is ready, the student will appear. On this path to Awareness, we are all teachers and we are all students. We must walk our path with one hand stretched out in front to receive help when we need it. There will always be someone there to guide and give us confidence when faced with a new threshold. We must also remember to keep a lookout behind to help those who follow when they need it most.We all experience times when we feel that life is progressing as it should, then suddenly life will turn upside down on us. Like any up hill path to the summit, there will be easy times and hard times. When it is hard, we need someone to remind us that it is always darkest before the dawn and that a new dawn is coming in all it's glory for us too.After surviving a few of these dark nights, we develop faith in our Selves and our Path. I suppose that one way of putting it is that we become Survivors simply by learning that we do survive..............and suddenly we begin to take responsibility for our selves. No longer is life happening to us, We realize that we can choose many of the events in our lives, and even when we can not choose the event, we are in control of our reactions to it.More and more, we chart our own path, make our own decisions, own our own lives. What a wonderful adventure we begin when we find our volition.Everything changes, we have found our Self. The great Journey begins in earnest. Each day becomes an adventure. We stop running from and start running to. We have truly begun our Journey Into Being. Each new truth leads to another. We are Awakening. We seek out and find others who are Awakening. We become seekers after light. We begin to carry an inner light and a mirror in which we reflect others truths back to them as ours are being reflected to us.Like the ripples on a pond, our knowledge grows wider and wider. Like the stillness beneath the surface, our conviction grows deeper and surer. What has been set in motion can not be stopped., We are Awakening. We are part of All That Is. We are part of the One. We ARE!

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Begin Again

It seems that I wrote my own War Chant a number of years ago.
A dear friend sent it back to me from my book.

Begin Again

Begin again, said the inner voice.
Just as the seasons change,
And life begins anew each spring.
Put the endings of autumn behind you,
Take the rest that winter affords,
And burst forth anew in spring,
More glorious still with each new day.
Wear your scars proudly as a badge
Of growth and wisdom, earned honestly.
Stand fast, as the tree stands fast.
Bend with the willow, accept your fate.
Provide shelter to the passers by.
Keep your roots in the earth,
And your head in the sky.
Count the new beginnings on the rings
Of growth within your soul.
Trust the Force that gives you life,
To sustain you in your hour of need,
And aim to be the best damned tree
That the Force and fate will let you be.

Friday, May 05, 2006

Thank You

Thank you is so totally inadequate to express what is in my heart when I think of all love and prayers and strength that have been directed to me and my recovery, but it is all I have.

Thank you from the bottom of my heart.