“All powerlessness stems from failure to understand this point: The key to empowerment, personal and collective, is the understanding that, although darkness stalks light, the light will always reassert itself. No matter what is happening, the universe is invested in healing. Night is followed by morning. Crucifixion is followed by Resurrection. God always has the final say.”Marianne Williamson
I begin my day sitting at my desk looking out the window, facing east to the lake. There is a bird feeder next to the remains of a large tree in front of my window and I watch the birds come to eat. Depending on the weather, the lake changes. When the sun is coming up, there is a stream of golden white, like a funnel, and it ripples, shimmering with the suns reflection. When it is stormy, the lake turns wild – grey green and angry. These things, the natural world, greet me; every day, faithfully.
Start at the beginning. Write what you know.
I was asked to write about my experience as a hospice volunteer the same week I began this newsletter. These are not random events but fall into that wide divine opportunity Carl Jung called synchronicity. I planned to write about The Mystical Laws that Govern the Universe and, in keeping with the wise advice above I had decided to start not with the Laws, but the Mystery.
There is no greater mystery than dying. Death is a holy truth. A truth, because it is universal and impersonal; holy, because it is a portal for the divine to reach us. What a tragedy that death has become so taboo – exiled to whispers and shudders, banished to the back hall. Death is the moment when we meet the Mystery and being with the dying is one of life’s graces – a place where time stands still and breath reaches it’s final destination.
Death has been a quiet companion most of my life, and I have known for decades this work was part of my vocation. I sat vigil for my father the last week of his life and held him, along with my sister, when he died. This prepared me for what would be my true initiation, as all sacred callings seem to require and the following is a brief description of the profound gift I have been given and which I bring now, to all the work that I do.
Last summer, I flew to Hawaii to help my sister care for her husband who was dying of cancer. When I booked my trip, he was in hospice and had just been admitted to the hospital. We expected him to die in a few days. A last-minute Hail Mary from his former oncologist gave us hope and so when I flew out it was with the fervent prayer that this was not the end. Against all expectation, we took him out of the hospital after four days, off all narcotics and other pain medication and home with his love (my sister), his brother, his brother’s girlfriend, and me – the 3 of us flying from Pennsylvania and California with one-way tickets prepared to stay indefinitely. The first ten days were hopeful. The next ten were devastating. It was not the miracle we were hoping for; it was the miracle we were dreading. For all the heartbreak and sorrow though, there was immeasurable and transcendent joy, laughter, tenderness, love. He was in-between worlds, sometimes in ours and quite lucid, other times fascinated by visions of holy light and vivid people. Wherever he was going was beautiful.
I had always known that the invisible realm was real and now knew it was never closer than at death. The veil between the worlds is thin, and I have felt this transparency, and its warm invitation at the bedside of all my hospice clients.
I have come to know a presence that waits for the dying. It cannot be seen although sometimes there are plays of light which suggest something ephemeral is present. It cannot be heard although the exaltation of awe from those who glimpse what is waiting is ineffable. It is a kindness that assures us that nobody dies alone and all who cross do so peacefully having already been touched by the shelter of God. As for me, I have come to see my work as shepherding: to stand watch over – to hold a sacred space on the altar of my own heart where God is generous, and a wise person knows that we are all just walking each other home.
Body, Energy & Soul Care is the product of twenty-five years working in mental health and healing. The foundation of all my work is spiritual, the goal transcendent the medium a combination of energy and bodywork and sacred teaching. Interwoven is my relationship with the natural and invisible world which I see as a physical manifestation of God’s presence and a live and interactive force available for support, guidance, and wisdom. In between my mental health years and massage therapy, I spent a decade working with horses and know what it means to work to the bone, in all weather, to live in-tune and necessity with the seasons, and to embrace the natural circle of life which includes death both accidental and devastating and ultimately miraculous and healing.
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