When I was a child in the late 50’s I learned about carburetors in cars. My first car was a red convertible Volkswagen bug. I was told it would run smoother if I take it on the highway and hit the gas to clean out the carburetor.
Well, I cleaned my carburetor yesterday. I was running sluggishly, a pall of disinterest hanging over me, feeling sorry for myself and general malaise. It’s easy to get caught up in my story about losing my daughter to liver disease after a life-long battle. I can easily talk myself into depression and wallow in it for years. That’s not my choice.
Every day I choose to focus on living with the expectancy life has to offer if I am mindful, have awareness and commit to learning and experiencing life from every situation. I am more than my story. I am more than my ego. I am a spiritual being in a physical body.
I know life has to offer so much more than what I can see with my physical eyes. Every day is a path of opportunity beyond my physical experience and it is exciting and astounding. Every day teaches me that surrender and acceptance is the answer. Gentleness, kindness and respect are the key to my self-care.
So I blew out my carburetor. I started with my grief-stricken heart and pushed past exhaustion until I felt my deep loss. I kept going and came out the other side in a spirit of acceptance.
With cranked up music and my glorious headphones, I drummed and chanted to sacred Sanskrit music for an hour. Rhythmic drumming is like breathing. I became one with my drum, pushed past any pain and kept at it until I let go. It was marvelously freeing and I survived. The rhythm held me.
Anniversaries of loss are milestones. They represent another year of living beyond loss, and are rife with memories of those who have moved on. My spiritual teacher, Matt Kahn reminds me it is a privilege to live in a physical body.
Yes, we experience pain and loss. We also experience pain and loss witnessing others struggle in their physical bodies. Life is hard and always no matter the circumstance, we learn from our experience. We deepen. We grow.
We are a death-phobic society. Always focusing on the loss and forgetting the focus is in living.
“Grief is the midwife of your capacity to be immensely grateful for being born.” -- Stephen Jenkinson, Author of Die Wise
When it’s time for one to leave their physical body, that’s the only change -- they leave their physical body. They are still around. Their presence merges with our heart, and together we continue to live in our physical body on this earth until it’s our time to leave.
I am grateful every day I can see those I love whether in person or on Zoom. A day will come when scenarios change and adjustment is needed.
My ego continues to warn me I must hold on to what I see, nagging me about loss because it’s devastating to lose someone we love.
In reality, against everything we’ve been taught since childhood, there is no death. There’s a shift of physical perspective. I can’t physically see my daughter but I believe she exists. I feel her and I talk with her.
I learned truth and love exists in my heart energy. My physical heart beats and does its job. My heart energy is where the essence of every interaction resides. If I am honest with myself, I feel my truth through my heart essence.
It’s easy to believe only what we see. This is a time during the great dismantling of our earth and we can come to recognize there is more to our lives than just our minds, our egos. There’s our heart essence.
What powerful beings we are becoming as we merge our minds and our hearts. It’s the new world as we step forward in our duality all the while embracing our relationships from both sides of the spectrum. We are not alone. We are loved. Fear resides in the ego. We are truly surrounded by love, and we never say goodbye. We only say ‘see you again on the other side.’
Thank you for sharing your beautiful thoughts. They hit deeply for me. I appreciate the quote from Stephen Jenkinson. He is a great teacher for me. One of the illusions that I always have to be reminded of, an illusion like blowing out the carburetor, defrosting the icebox is more than a one-time event. And sometimes, depending on the situation, no matter how—even in our day-to-day walk and we stay focused, there will be another time when the ice is thick enough, we are going to have to do a major defrost. Thank you for that reminder.
It was a shock to me to find out that cars don’t have carburetors. Kids today won’t know what CDs, home phones, or carburetors are. Thank you for the reading. It was so powerful on so many levels. Not only do many of us here have our own personal grief or anniversaries of deaths, we are now in this national grief for Ruth Bader Ginsberg. She’s been in our lives for 27 years. And even though we didn’t know her personally, we knew of her and of her perseverance and it causes such pain. Your words tell us there is so much more beyond our pain, and if we just sit with our pain and drum through it, or whatever it takes, that we will be on the other side of it. And we will be able to focus on the celebration of the people in our lives and what they worked for and stood for and stand for.
We have to be careful of not living our lives on cruise control.
There was so much in your reading. Thank you so much. I am still grieving the loss of Ruth Bader Ginsberg. The last time our chorus met, we sang a song about her, and our director needed a judge’s gown. I gave her my graduation gown. There is something comforting to me that my director wore my gown to impersonate Ruth. It made me look at my gown. The song had a line, “you are my favorite justice on the Supreme Court.” It made me cry, tears came down my face. So when you said that rhythm holds me, there are lots of ways to look at rhythm. It is so true, that the music, drumbeating—it matches our breathing and the rhythm of our heartbeat.
I don’t like to think of the hymns from my childhood, but when you spoke of our leaving our physical bodies, I thought of this one about the soul. “Dear friends, there’ll be no sad farewells, there’ll be no tear-rimmed eyes, where all is peace in love and joy, and the soul of man never dies.” As a kid when I sang that, the setting was heaven and what I imagined it would be. This morning, in the meditation, I thought where the soul of man never dies is right where we are, right now in this universe, and we can be sure our soul never dies, and those that we love and all living and sentient beings. Those old songs I don’t welcome, and I try to look at them from a different angle.
Hearing about the death of Ruth Bader Ginsberg, my friends texted me messages about things being hopeless and it’s scary. I was thinking about the feeling of hopelessness and what more can happen. It’s one more thing, what’s going to happen next. And then I heard a bit about the background of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the youngest woman elected to Congress. If that wasn’t enough, the week before she won, she was still waiting tables and serving as a bartender. It’s like a passing of a torch. It’s not hopeless. There is death and there is birth.
Words are so powerful. When we say ‘this is hopeless’ and leave it at that, that’s all we see. So it’s better to always push on and see something else. Because things change. Life can be so bleak if we hold the words of hopelessness.
On the hopeful side, everything in the last 24 hours has been focused about her and what she did. For me, it has emphasized and created hope, because people who may not have known what they didn’t have, they are now seeing what she did. I didn’t have this? It reminds me of Obi-Wan Kenobi who said, “If you strike me down, I’ll come back stronger.” I think of her coming back even stronger.