Standing in front of a mirror I ask myself who is observing? Is it my ego? How does my hair look? Do my eyes look puffy? How’s my scar look on my cheek?
Is it my heart speaking? How present am I in gazing into my eyes? Can you see my inside pain?
Is it my soul speaking? I am. I am truth. I am love. I am the totality of all my lessons. I am steady and true.
On this journey into myself, I shed; I mourn; I release; I redefine; I open; I become; I understand; I am.
A journey forgiving myself; a journey gentling myself; a journey of discovery; a journey of letting go; a journey of compassion; a journey finding wholeness.
The first time I experienced a letting go of me I thought I was dying. Thoughts of my demise kept surfacing. When I am gone … will they miss me… am I really ready to leave… how will my daughter survive? Unbidden thoughts planning my funeral, managing my estate papers, and above all else, a deep, mournful sadness that life is over.
I had to carefully figure out who I could share these thoughts with. Certainly not my daughter. Not my sisters. Not anyone who would react to my leaving. I was bursting with sadness that this is it. The countdown began. I don’t know how it will happen, but it’s time.
What a profound experience feeling my toes curl around the edge of my life, knowing a step off will be the end of me. I was surprised when I woke up. I landed on my feet in my same body with an awareness something just happened. Part of me died.
This year, I have had three different experiences of this type, the strongest one being just a few weeks ago. I think I wept on and off for a good week. This must really be it this time. I felt like the old depression I fought against for years returned. A mournful filter filled my being. As I spoke with people, I wept on the inside as I said my silent goodbyes. I clung to my spouse knowing we’re getting close to the end of our beautiful time together. She holds a purple heart for weathering my spiritual journey.
My spiritual teacher, Matt Kahn, had an evening event on Saturday. He shared his experience just a few days before of feeling the deep call to say goodbye. He paced around his house feeling the end of his life. He described his experience, started making plans to say goodbye to his family and then felt the urgency there is no time. The time is now. As he recited his experience, tears flowed down his cheeks as he described standing in front of his bathroom mirror facing his death. His mind listing all the things he still wanted to do and see in his life in his body and with acceptance and exhaustion, he went to bed and accepted his fate.
The wisdom of my soul witnesses the struggle of my humanness. I observe my personality from my soul’s point of view. I witness my memories. I witness my habits and tendencies all born from my experiences and lessons on earth. Through silence, I can discern my soul from my heart from my ego. As I practice the separateness grows into trust.
Parts of my personality no longer serve me. Some core beliefs have an expiration date. It is time for them to die. Parts of me died this week.
We live in a death phobic society where death is not openly talked about. Death is part of living. I lived through my experience of dying. I will do it again. The next time hopefully my ego will stay calmer and not freak out and jump to fear and panic. Next time maybe my ego will remember there is no death. There is only movement into more love. Maybe that’s really the mystery of life. Move into more love. What a profound thought.
I tell students the self is like the weather –
Sun then rain, there’s snow then fog then
clearing, or heat then cold, there’s sleet, there’s the vast
clean sheet of blue sky, there’s overcast
and hail, torrent and storm, there’s breeze, there’s gust, there’s sun
again – constant flux and we affix
a label to it, we call it weather. In such
a way do our thoughts, desires, perceptions,
sensations, angers, fears, boredoms, elations
go and come and go again, swirling like leaves
in a dust-devil, and to these we append the label
self. So sit, I instruct students, sit
and watch the leaves spin and disappear.
Sit as if on an open river plain
and watch the weather passing; notice there is no
one watching; only the weather passing.
and sometimes there is no weather. The night
silenced. Moonless. Not bestirring. Becalmed.
When you were reading, I felt naked. I felt I was seeing something I couldn’t share. Often times, your readings feel parallel to me, in things I am going through. When I first moved to the coast, I had this extreme fear that I would be swept away by a tidal wave. It was so real that I plotted how I could put scuba tanks in places. I felt like I was choosing death. Later, in the last month or so, it’s felt strong that I feel I’m coming to an end. I’ve tried to get away from it with the law of attraction, that I am calling it to me with the fear. I’m trying to reformat it, the way you did in your reading, that it’s a part of me and I just have to let go, and that feels like what’s happening. But you put it in words so well. Thank you. During the meditation, I felt that I could go beyond the fear into connection.
When we share our innermost thoughts and feelings, when I hear someone else share so close to what I believe, it lifts that shame. It reassures me in the messages that I belong to the Universe and the Universe belongs to me, and it grounds the words into a knowing.
There is so much comfort in hearing another person describe those things that are in our inner guts and the feelings we have that we don’t know where they are coming from. I appreciate your honesty in telling us about your journey because it does reveal our own journey. I was thinking about the intelligent trees (see Dec 6 blog), the connection between them and the fact that the trees will send out healing chemicals to the roots of trees in need. The interconnectedness. As we as people stand hearing news about people dying with Covid, I think that part of us that wants to send out healing and feel the grief, we sense it, we feel it, we even experience what others are going through as they are struggling for breath and life. So that interconnectedness is affecting all of us that make us perhaps think about dying in more significant ways. We are dying for and with each other sometimes.
Your words resonant, as always. As I was meditating, I had this flash of understanding of the yearning that people have for letting go. People are dying to let go and not hold on but they don’t know how. I would include myself. I’m thinking, is that why people abdicate their will to other people. We hear of cults, like the one where women let themselves be branded like a cow? I wonder if that’s some way they are trying to let go. How do we discern the ways we let go in a healthy way? How do we do that?
I think we weather it. We mourn it, we feel it. Resisting the emotions stops the feelings, because we don’t want to feel the feelings. We need to cry, and write our sadness to feel the depth of it.
Do we really know what we’re letting go of until after we let go? I can’t define what I let go of. I know I let go of something that I had believed was the real me, but it wasn’t. It was parts of my personality because I am still here. I’m dumbfounded. It’s happened a few times. Matt Kahn talked about it as well. It’s a process. It’s the mystery of life that no one ever talks about it. We ultimately let go of our bodies, but aren’t we doing a little bit of that all the time?
I wonder if people were willing to talk about death, it would ease up on the fear of death so that we could live life more openly, in our true selves. There are lots of books and writings about it. There is a Death Café, where death is discussed openly. To me, I have more courage in talking about it because I’m owning the fact that parts of me are dying. I did put together my estate papers because my time is coming. The thought was so real. I do believe there is a process to dying in little parts. Our personalities are our personalities which aren’t really who we are. They are avatars as we walk along this Earth.
Thank you very much for your writing and sharing. For me, it’s like the end part of death isn’t what is terrifying. It’s the disintegration or the changes that make me less able, parts of my body changing, all the changes. I’ve been facing buying a car, and I’m thinking, at my age, will I be driving in four years? This boundary around my life became really strong. It overpowered other thoughts about getting a new car. But I’m not going to get a new life in terms of what’s going to happen to me. At the same time, I’m becoming more of a caretaker for my husband as he ages, as long as I can do it. That’s what spoke to me in my meditation. The gradual death of my own abilities.
Every one of those thoughts takes us out of the present moment which puts us into the future trying to figure it out and we can’t. And therefore, we feel helpless which creates instability which creates fear. We all face it.
And you’re much worse off when you do that. It may be focused physically or focused on changes within you that you are wanting to let go of. It’s just hard to see it that way when it’s happening.
There is a video “The meaning of death” by Stephen Jenkinson. He was a hospice worker for over 40 years. I attended a workshop with him, many people have. He is brusque, a rough around the edges teacher. He doesn’t care what others think because he has seen the truth of life and the indignity caused by fear that causes such indignity with people in the dying process. He wrote a book Die Wise. It’s hard to read. With my daughter dying, I challenged him with things I experienced, and he challenged me right back. It’s a tough subject but he is a truth-talker, a change-agent. He speaks from his own experience working with truth.
I have also experienced times that I thought I wouldn’t wake up, wouldn’t live through the night. I have faced death, it’s a real challenge. We are built to survive at all costs. And to hear Matt Kahn went through the same thing was powerful to hear that. It’s about parts of us dying. I used to hang on to the emotional abuse I felt as a child. That part of me has died, I let it go. I didn’t think it possible, but it has gone away. This dying happens on so many different levels.
Thank you for sharing all that. I don’t think I fear the process of dying, I strongly believe that when we leave our bodies, we will be with those we love. What I fear is not being here for my family member that need so much help because there’s no one else to help. That’s the big thing for me. So I try to be as healthy as I can. Thank you.
I think when we try to figure out those things, it’s our brains trying to figure them out, and it limits the possibilities. When we were children and we tried to imagine how we would be as an adult. We couldn’t do it. It’s really the same thing. If a little kid was in front of us and we demanded from them what they are going to do with their lives, it’s like, what’s the nearest toy I can play with. That’s all they can do. I see similarities.
Thank you all for trusting this process. As I share my experiences, I truly believe the wisdom reaches us in ways that work for us, and what doesn’t work is left behind. But there is truth here, there is vulnerability in our sharing and there is bonding because we see our likenesses. I wish you all a gentle day.