Day 30: Passage

As I document the days since my brother’s passing, today I wake feeling a change. I examine the reasons.

First, there is something about Mother’s Day.  I see photos of the mothers of friends, comments, love offered and shared, and I feel how our mother and my brother are once again one.  I find comfort in that.

Second, I am reading an amazing book, In Love with the World: A Monk’s Journey Through the Bardos of Living and Dying by Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche.  At the age of 36, he leaves his identity, privilege and prestige, discards his roles and robes to explore as the Buddha did what “we” really are, the living and dying happening in each of us all of the time.  

Reading this book, I understand why I feel my brother so here, so nestled in my heart even as he invites me to look a little more widely and wisely at the wisdom he explored when he was here in a physical touchable form, and as he is now.  

As I’ve said, my brother comes to me as various birds.  Here he is as a Great Blue Heron crossing the road, a road we all share.  

Crossing the road – photo by Elaine Chan-Scherer

Day 29: Mother’s Day

Each of us is mother to ourselves, to each other, to the earth.  Four Sunday’s ago at 5 AM, I learned my brother passed away. I still struggle to understand.  I look into the hearts of orchid flowers – see images – see a bunny in this one. I see the world differently these days, more intimately, more expansively. I feel my brother showing me new horizons as he expands and I feel him here. Tears come like mist for waterfalls, ponds for flowers, frogs, and birds.

An orchid flower

I’m with these words of Albert Einstein that anchor my latest book and inspired my midlife search that I share in “Airing Out the Fairy Tale”.

“A human being is a part of the whole called by us universe, a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feeling as something separated from the rest, a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.”

And may his words, all words, bring forth a Mother’s Day that wraps the years in love and gives space to embrace “all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.”

I still carry the weight of grief, like a talisman in my heart and I honor the depth of the path as it opens and spreads.

Orchid as Bald Eagle and Nest

Day 28: From the Well

I wake and feel myself sifted in layers like cremated ash.

I look out at my Japanese garden.  Two crows rest there.

Today the grief for my brother’s passing is spread throughout me like mulch.  I receive the transformed elements of grief, joy, memories, peace.

Yesterday was a volatile day.  I’m on edge, quick to react with not the bliss I intend.  Frustration is a knife cutting my day into fragments, and maybe that’s okay.  My friend Elaine points out that the well is deep and complex. I consider that as I stand below and look up at stones and moss. Maybe some days I can’t climb up to the light because of the slipperiness of wet moss.

I also say to Elaine that my son Jeff has been my knight in shining armor. She points out that a knight needs a damsel in distress. Ah, yes, and so I have been.

I’m with the cover of my book Airing Out the Fairy Tale which I’m gratified to learn that people love.  I believe it took two months to come up with the image for that cover. I would talk to Patrick and explain what the trip to Nepal meant to me, what it is to go through menopause and midlife crisis.  He, a male, reached to understand and created image after image. We both related to the ones with fire, but when it came to the cover we wanted the mountain, Ama Dablam, mother and son, a sister to Everest, and a woman on a suspension bridge with the wings of birds.

You can check out Patrick at: http://www.jpliphotography.com

You can order Airing Out the Fairy Tale: Trekking through Nepal & Midlife on Amazon or ask your local book store to order it for you. It is an offering to the celebration that is life. It also honors those who’ve passed circling around Mount Everest as they travel on. Life is rich with blessings, balanced on the cultivation of peace, trust, request, reception and ease.

A section of my garden
The image for the cover of the book before the words
Stones from the garden offer stillness and lift

Day 27: Wabi-sabi

I wake this morning realizing I’ve felt nauseous ever since my brother passed.  I suppose it’s like that first three months of pregnancy, adjusting to a new way of being.  Of course, there we carry a little being, but maybe here we do too. I think we carry a part of their essence, carry and integrate all the ways we’ve been touched. We carry memories of ancestry.  My mother and father are here too. Somehow I feel them all gathered together as at a party looking down at me laughing as worry, anger, and fear must seem rather funny when one is released from the restrictions of a body, of emotion caught and shaken with intention to tame.  

My brother’s ashes are heavy.  We scattered half and I have half here, and I carry them around wondering at their weight, as he was so thin when he passed, though because of his height he was still 190 pounds, but I don’t think of ashes as having weight and yet these do.

No wonder all my cells feel as though they’re carrying little umbrellas to deal with the moistness pouring through.

On another note, the book, “Airing Out the Fairy Tale” is up on Amazon.  I haven’t yet seen a copy from that source, so now I’m wearing my worry hat, fearing it’s not quite right.  I already found one mistake I’d completely missed, and so it is. I believe in wabi-sabi, the philosophy that you sweep the walkway clean, and then shake the tree to drop some leaves.

It’s about the acceptance of transience and imperfection, and that acceptance is not one of my given traits, but I’m working with it, step by step, knowing there is no perfection, only how we meet what comes, and that coming is always changing as are we.  My intention for today is to be calm peace.

I’ll see how long that lasts.  

Blessings for all as I contemplate the frog, an amphibian. The word comes from the Greek and means “both lives”, as frogs are born in water and most live on land.  I’m feeling that now, feeling transition as I birth new legs and a deeper accommodation of voice which is the vibration we cultivate to share.

My mother gave me this frog years ago and still he greets all who enter our garden, says enter tranquillity and peace.

Day 26: Surrender

I balance my wings as wind comes my way strong enough to hold me aloft, and yet perceived movement is slow, if not, stalled.  

I pause, heavy and sad. The lids on my eyes struggle to lift. There is grief and disbelief that my brother has passed, and yet, I feel him here. When I’m asked how I am when I’m out and about, I tell some and not others.  I give myself time to pause as I decide whether I have the energy to share my grief.

I realize the impulse to share comes through the eyes.  I look to see if there is a place to connect, if the eyes I’m meeting lay down a path on which to step, stop, speak.

I’m with Rumi this morning, a 13th century Persian poet. His poem “Birdwings” translated by Coleman Barks speaks to me, though I’m still looking for the “joyful face”.  I trust that face is here.

Your grief for what you’ve lost lifts a mirror

up to where you’re bravely working.

Expecting the worst, you look, and instead,

here’s the joyful face you’ve been wanting to see.

Your hand opens and closes and opens and closes.

If it were always a fist or always stretched open,

you would be paralyzed.

Your deepest presence

is in every small contracting and expanding,

the two as beautifully balanced and coordinated

as birdwings.

Do you see the purple flower?

Day 25: Unwrapping the Cocoon

I wake feeling as though I’ve been wrapped and unwrapped in a series of skins. I molt and let go and wrap again but today I step back into tasks that anchor my life here.

It’s been twenty-five days since my brother passed.  I sit with that, with the melting ooze in my heart, syrup, as though I’m a Maple tree tapped for syrup in spring.  That’s what happens when you spend time in New England. You think of maple syrup and low walls of stone that have stood for hundreds of years.

My brother loved the manuscript of my book “Airing Out the Fairy Tale: Trekking through Nepal & Midlife” and was excited to help promote it.

I place some of his words here.

Finished. Loved it! Start to finish!  It is brilliant, Cath.

It is a book for everyone and my blurb will say that. Just the way you and the accountant connected there, so did I feel it worked for anyone searching for peace and answers.

It’s perfect.

I loved the descriptiveness of it, felt like I was there. And that’s actually all I’ve ever wanted to do with Everest and those other majestic mountains, is get close enough to see them with my own eyes. But I felt like I did. Loved the yetis. The people. The culture. Amazing.

You must be so proud of this great treasure. It is a gem. And, even though I hate writing blurbs, I assure you I will happily write one for this on Amazon or wherever.

And so on the twenty-fifth day of his passing I share some of his words, blessing his journey and my own.  

Buddha in his garden

Day 24: Integration

I’m home after driving back from a night spent at Jeff and Jan’s with the wonderful Senna Dog sleeping next to me.

It was a long flight home but again my son Jeff rescued me with meditation.  Sitting next to him is meditation. How often do we get that kind of time with our “child”?

As we flew west we enjoyed an hour and a half sunset.

I sit here feeling blessed as though a hummingbird has reached its beak into my heart and nectar is pumped and shared.  

Sunset guides the flight home