Day 41: Less is More

Today I rise visualizing myself as an orchid flower, intricate within my petal spread.  

I open the Buddhist magazine Lion’s Roar to its advertisements for books, one of my favorite things, and what comes is “less is more”.  I look at the list of Democrats who are running for president, and I find myself leaning toward Marianne Williamson who has added herself to the flock, covey, herd, swarm, and bringing in fragrance, bouquet, of candidates running, and it does feel like running as we’re bombarded with who is best able to handle a tragic, complex, and tangled mess.  

This quote is often attributed to Nelson Mandela but it’s hers.

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our Light, not our Darkness, that most frightens us.

What if we listened to a candidate who presents a vision of love, as we honor our gifts, knowing there’s more than enough for all?

It’s been forty-one days since my brother passed.  My head is beginning to clear and I’m moving into readiness to step back into this world I love and share.

Look Within

Day 40: Balance

It’s day forty since my brother’s passing and I wake feeling refreshed.  I notice I’m breathing fully. Perhaps it’s the nap I gave myself yesterday which was followed by bed at 8:30.  I woke dreaming of my mother who passed away in February 2005 but she was alive and well in the dream. We were looking for a place where all of us could live.

Forty days is a spiritual number that comes up in many religions and practices.  Our skin cells take, on average, forty days to renew.

I am with the words of Jelaluddin Rumi:

What nine months does for the embryo

Forty early mornings

Will do for your growing awareness

This morning when I woke I felt the reins of the horse loosening as though I didn’t need to hold on. I felt a new awareness of the consciousness we all share.  I felt my cells expanding out, but that is for me, sister, not wife.

At 6:40 my brother’s wife calls.  They were married thirty-three years and together longer than that.  They were/are soul-mates. I can’t imagine what this is for her. Grief. How do we make it through? How do we offer support?

When my father died in an accident in 1969, I was 19 and my brother 15.  My mother was 42. She said if it weren’t for us, she wouldn’t get out of bed.  We all slept in the same room for a time, but the daughter of my brother and his wife is 24 with a life of her own, and, she, too, is grieving.  

I sit with that now as the fog brings wisps of white to the blue sky.  The coming of fog shimmers the trees, offers change – fog, saliva for air.  

The moon and fog

Who calls to whom?

Recently I learned of the work of Professor Kathryn Geurts with the Anlo-Ewe speaking people in southeastern Ghana.  She discovered that balance is a sense there, the primary sense, and is physical and psychological, literal and metaphorical.

They have a word seselelame which means “feel-feel-at-flesh-inside”.  They are connected to the wisdom of intuition. In that, I touch into what another might need.  I offer support, relationship, leaves to tree.

Maple before the touch of morning sun

Day 39: There’s No Place like Home

I feel like Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz.  It rained the whole time we were gone and I look out on vibrancy, growth, and green.

I return to a sympathy card that brings tears.  I feel like today is the first day since my brother passed that I have a whole day to sit and cry.  Yes, there is laundry and grocery procurement, and checking plants, but kitties are cuddled, and as I respond to emails, I look up and my feathered friend sits on a branch outside the window.  She waits for me to get my camera and take a photo through the slats of the blind and another through the glass door. She sits with me, a comfort in the weight of grief.

I feel molted, tender before new growth and skin form.  I feel fragile and tears continue to pour forth, harbingers seasoning what comes.  

Outside my window – comfort through the slats
Honoring a Cosanti bell of celebration

Day 38: Up and Down

I’m honoring the passing of my brother and what comes as I move up and down in space as NYC definitely requires stair, elevator, and escalator transport, and I’m up and down in mood. Showered and after coffee and a blueberry muffin, I invite myself more thoroughly into a new day.

I didn’t take a picture of the “bubbles” I saw the first night we were here, and when I went back yesterday, they were gone. Maybe I imagined them, or maybe they were an exhibit meant to show impermanence. My plan has been to post on grief for 49 days in honor of my brother’s passing/passage. 49 days is the time Buddhists believe it takes for one who has passed to more thoroughly move on. Today I wonder if 49 days will be enough for me to move on, and today is today.

Here is a poem by David Whyte.

The Well of Grief
David Whyte

Those who will not slip beneath
the still surface on the well of grief,

turning down through its black water
to the place we cannot breathe,

will never know the source from which we drink,
the secret water, cold and clear,

nor find in the darkness glimmering,

the small round coins,
thrown by those who wished for something else.

Artwork outside Rockefeller Center
Listen; receive!

After I interpreted the above sculpture as hand to heart and listening, I read about the artwork currently displayed at Rockefeller Center. It is a
“raised fist that morphs into a gramophone”. Perhaps it says something about what I need to believe. Read about what’s represented in the sculptures here.

Day 38: Down and Up

As Steve and I walk the streets of NYC, he points out the buildings my brother worked on.  My brother is here as he is everywhere of course, and today is the first day to settle more deeply into my grief at his passing.

Yesterday we went to Top of the Rock to see the sunset.  We, and a capacity load of people though I learn from Steve they are trying to figure out how to cram more people up there, had the same idea.  We realize we are of a different generation as to our need for quiet and space. People in NYC are friendly as can be and yet I am on overload. I’m ready to go home, and we leave today.

On the other hand, the view from Top of the Rock is spectacular, and the energy of the people enjoying a warm evening outside is lovely and I’m missing home.

My friend Stefan is leading Sensory Awareness at a Zen retreat center in the Black Forest.  He posts photos, one of a snail, another of of a flower, another of a bell and there is a gate.  I settle there.

Yesterday was graduation day in NYC.  We passed one group of women in purple graduation gowns and hats, and another group in blue.  We saw huge bouquets of flowers carried in the hands of gratitude and joy. Picture taking was essential of course.  It’s all beautiful and excitement fills the air, and we return to our room grateful for quiet and ease, knowing that wherever we go, there we are. Presence is a gift and there is no reason or need to escape from grateful beings living in interdependence and reciprocity. Joy is captured and spread in a multitude of forms. Creativity reigns and rains. Paused now on the island of Manhattan, I revel in the gift.

Perhaps enough as we wait to rise to the top of Rockefeller Center
15,000 crystals shimmering with light
A waterfall crystallized
One of many views from Top of the Rock

Day 37: Balance

I’m balancing the green calm and New England beauty of CT with the noise and high rise buildings of NYC.

I’m balancing grief at my brother’s passing and joy at sharing hugs and connection with family and friends.  

I’m balancing inner and outer as I trust in renewal and resilience.  The month of May has been filled with tears and laughter, and warm hugs of love.  I honor grace as I pause in a busy place, grateful to know all of this is part of me, is me.  I embrace, embraced.

On walking around in the early evening last night, we passed some hanging clear beach balls that from a distance looked like bubbles.  On closer inspection, they contained tiny lights. I sit with symbolism as moments pop passing the light.