The Lessons In Death

A couple of years ago, you may remember, my grandfather died. He was not my grandfather by blood, but the grandfather that was provided because my parents’ parents were in Finland and Germany. I never met them. My parents worked hard to create a surrogate family of grandparents and aunts and uncles for us.

Yesterday, my grandfather’s wife, my grandmother, died.

I pause and stare out at the incredible landscape before me as tears surface. The chimes that had been sounding stop, as if time stands still, but the birds do not. I hear them chirping and chattering throughout the many valleys in front of me. Two small rabbits bounce through the grasses, avoiding the watchful eye of the territorial magpie. The breeze picks up and the chimes cascade and wash over me.

Sigh.

I am sad. For unexpected reasons.

She had been ready to go weeks ago. Medications kept her breathing and kept her heart beating. I will miss the knowledge of her existence in this realm, with me. In the hospital, we laughed and shared. I was blessed enough to be able to tell her exactly what she had meant to me in this life. I could tell her I loved her.

Another pause. Another sigh.

Looking out across the mountains and the valleys, I realise how blessed I am. The breadth of this landscape enables perspective. We are all born. We will all die. Our times here are fleeting; the trees and the mountains will easily outlast us all.

And, that is okay.

Life, as the old cliche goes, is short. We can resist change or we can embrace it. We can create chaos or we can create peace. It is our choice. We can focus on the negativity of life or we can bring life to balance. We can be inspired, or we can be cynical. All choices. We can stand still, we can become stuck or we can strive to move forward, carrying with us all that we gain along the way.

Healing truly is a process. It requires a hell of a lot of hard work. It requires rests along the way; time to reflect on how far you have come and time to just be to let it all integrate. My work has garnered strengths and peace. I mark Aunty Val’s passing in my soul, but I choose to celebrate her existence in my life rather than hold on to her passing.

I am grateful for a very developed belief system and faith that enables me to know she isn’t far away from me, and within reach whenever we may need each other.

Thank you, Aunty Val, and to Uncle Ian, for being my grandparents and shielding me from pain, as best you could, as I grew up. Thank you for the wonderful memories and laughter and sense of family, But, most of all, thank you for loving me and reminding me I was enough. Just as I was.

Ritual

What I really loved about India, and then Cambodia, is the respect that ritual is given by almost every person. The people embody their beliefs in ritual, and practice these rituals devoutly. I think this is missing from our western culture. I think we could gain a lot from ritual and mindful practice.

I had a phenomenal 2017. From what I have been reading and hearing, I’m in a minority. It wasn’t a perfect year, but it was very balanced. The good enabled and empowered me to keep a fairly balanced perception throughout the year (for the most part – I am still human – mostly lol).

Something I wanted to enact upon my return from India was to establish some rituals. This did not happen during 2017. Well, I did perform some rituals, but not regularly enough.

As a result, at a minimum, I am going to conduct two rituals every month. I am going to set them in my calendar today so that I have made the commitment to remember. The way I perform them may alter depending on my context and whereabouts each time, but it’s a start to embodying ritual within my world.

They are simple rituals.

Each new moon, I will set intentions for the next month and I will plant them in some soil in my kitchen (in a pot obviously).

Each full moon, on individual small pieces of paper, I will write each thing I want to rid my life of. I will say each one out loud. Instruct it to leave, and carefully burn the piece of paper to release it from my life/being/world.

Simple. Mindful. Reflective.

I am hoping it will inspire spiritual dedication and manifest real change in my life.

I will call on my guides, and invoke Green Tara (for protection), and cleanse my space. I always do this now when I conduct any healing work, for myself and for others.

Simple. Mindful. Reflective.

I think this will be my intention for 2018.