Death Comes

These days I am working as a spiritual companion to the residents of a nursing home in England. I accompany these elders in their day-to-day lives simply by being with them. Some of them are sick, many of them are dying. If they are able to speak we have a conversation. If they are not, we don’t. I hold their hands and feet. I read them books and newspapers. I tell stories and listen to theirs. I pray with them if they ask me or I pray in silence if there is nothing else to be done. It is an enormous privilege to share in and bear witness to a life in these quiet ways.

One of the residents died yesterday. I’ll call her Trinity. I had grown close to Trinity in the last three months since I began working in the home. She was an artist and we shared our love of visual art through conversations about painting and drawing. “My aim in life is to paint,” she told me when I asked her if she missed it. She was seriously ill and had lost the ability to use her hands in any real way and her mind was clouded by the drugs and by her poor condition.

Trinity told me that from her illness she had “learned about laughter, suffering and endurance.” I was speechless. It is not often that we hear people expressing this kind of unspoken gratitude for being sick and dying.

Yesterday, after one of the nurses told me Trinity had died, I went to her room to just sit for a while in the empty space and remember her and say good-bye. When I opened the door I saw that Trinity was still in the bed. I was shocked. I’d assumed the body had already been removed by the undertakers.

I have seen dead bodies before. It is the strangest sensation. The body is intact and yet the person is gone. At first Trinity seemed to be there still. It almost looked as though she was breathing. But then it was obvious: Trinity was no longer there. Where did she go? We do not know. The Great Mystery.

Now Trinity’s suffering has ended. And yet so has her life. A whole life that I know very little about. I only know that at the end of her life she had learned about laughter, suffering and endurance.

We did laugh together, Trinity and I. I did watch her suffer. And I did witness her enduring, day after day after day. There is meaning in this.

I am reminded of a piece of scripture that I have always liked. It helps me to remember that I am not the be-all and end-all of everything: “For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away.” (James 4:14)

Make the most of it.

Inspiring Message of the Day: Am I aware of the sensation of being alive today? I will do my best to bring myself into full awareness of my Being.



One For All

Dearest Readers,

Have you ever noticed that the word “community” ends in the word “unity”? You probably have because it’s rather obvious but I don’t think I actually became aware of it myself until last year. I was looking to name an Inspiring Workshop for an NGO and suddenly realized that one was embedded in the other.

Pun intended. The word “unity”, in fact, comes from the Latin unus, meaning “one”. I have a friend who used to say, “We’re all One,” all the time. Whenever a coincidence happened or when something arrived full circle and we all went, “Wow,” she would pipe in with, “We’re all One.” Well, we are!

Yesterday I was speaking with someone who said she’d been looking for a community in which to feel “a part of” for years. Last week I heard a woman say she never felt like she fit in anywhere. The experience of feeling “apart from” is more common than we think.

My whole life I felt like an alien. I was sure I’d been dropped on the wrong planet. You guys got it somehow and I didn’t. Or, the opposite: I got it and none of you did. I felt isolated, different, separate.

Even though the mind will tell us that the cure for this kind of profound loneliness is isolation, we must not buy in. The cure is Community. The cure is Oneness with our fellows.

How to find the fellows with whom we can truly connect? First, we have to know who we are. How can I join a community of like-minded people if I don’t know my Self? Self-discovery is a vital part of making that community connection.

For instance, I used to try to connect with the party crowd. It’s who I thought I was. Bar-hopping, shot slamming, wild and crazy guys and gals. But aside from some drug-induced conversations that felt really deep in the moment I mostly just felt more alone than ever.

Time for a new crowd! I had to come to terms with the Truth: This is not who I am.

So who am I really? I am a person who has a desire to live a clean life, a spiritual life, a life of service and connection and Love. I am a person who believes in Higher Guidance. Once I connected with my true Self I could begin to connect with others like me.

Finding our fellows is not necessarily an easy task. It takes time and energy and a large dose of willingness. But those whom we seek are out there. Whenever I lead Cultivate Your Courage there is inevitably someone in the group who will say, “I can’t believe I’m in a room full of people who live with fear the way I do.”

Believe it. We’re out here. Come and find us.

Inspiring Message of the Day: The cure for my loneliness is Community. I will continue on the path of Self-discovery so that I may begin to seek out like-minded people and find my place among them.

No Person is an Island

Dearest Readers,

I’d like to start off today’s blog by inviting you to become an official “follower.” I spoke to a woman yesterday who told me she’d been reading the blog but wanted make sure she’d informed me of this fact before she posted a comment. She didn’t want to be seen as “lurking”.

I wonder how many other people feel this way? If you are reading the blog on a regular basis, please don’t be embarrassed about posting a comment or becoming a follower. I would love to know who you are. It inspires me to see your little pictures up there, even if there is an empty frame.

Speaking of an empty frame, I have posted my picture on the blog today as a way of practicing what I preach. Anonymity is great, I’m a big fan of it. But sometimes we need to open the door to being a little bit more “public” about ourselves to create a deeper feeling of community.

Believe it or not, I’m an isolator. I always have been. I’d rather be by myself and hiding from the world. I know it doesn’t make a lot of sense for a person who lives much of her life in the public eye but there you go. Fear is not logical.

And my desire to isolate most certainly comes from fear. I don’t want to be vulnerable, hurt, or rejected. By putting myself out there as a writer/performer I’m doing the thing I think I cannot do. I’m walking through my fear. I’m refusing to give the fear the power to control my life.

When I look at the reasons behind the fear I discover an old belief system. “I’ll be safe if I protect myself from other people. If people find out who I am they won’t like me.”

Old belief system. Old BS.

So how do we squash the Old BS? We practice new behaviour. In my case, opening up to people, getting involved in community activities, inviting people to join me for events to which I’d normally go alone. Posting my photograph on the blog. Scary stuff!

But as a result of these changes I have expanded my experience to include so many wonderful things, this little blog being just one of them.

So if you’re afraid of being seen, you’re not alone. Click “Follow” and let us know who you are. Be a part of an Inspiring Community!

Inspiring Message of the Day: We need each other. When we support one another our lives grow richer and more complete.