I am doing a daily exercise (Melodie Beattie) where I give thanks for things I might normally resist. I wake, self-reflect as a way to see what is meaningful, and within thirty minutes, begin writing. Then I exchange my list of gratitudes by email with a partner who also writes a list. After reading my list, a partner writes back something like, “I’m here. I’m listening,” as a witness rather than someone with an opinion, solution, or suggestion.
I'm grateful for feeling both sad and happy because I believe life is not all sad or happy. It's happy and disappointing. I can feel simultaneously tired and ready. Open (bring it on) and closed (oh no, oh no, I don’t want to hear, say, or do that). Eager to travel and want to stay. Dreading running and anticipating perky endorphins.
I’m grateful a friend shares this from an Anne Lamott story, “A writer is like a person holding the lantern while the kid is digging for treasure.” I’m the lantern holder. If I just hold my lantern (stay present), I’ll recognize the treasure.
I’m also the kid. I don't know what the treasure is going to be, but I’ll know gold when I see it. It's kind of like something coming into my mind as insight or an unexpected encounter.
I’m grateful that physically-compromised Clare, again, raises curiosity about crossing over. I believe it's easy to cross over. I believe this from an experience I had with a masseuse about a year ago. While with her, I imagine myself rise up off the table. I sense a familiarity of being surrounded by those I know and those I do not yet know. It’s like peace + love – fear or apprehension + openness, a vulnerability that wants to blossom more. In this experience, I have a feeling of wanting to cross over. Now. Like adios, hello sunset.
The feeling is alluring, beyond words beautiful. Nothing matters but being that love.
Leaving is a big adventure. Tell the world!
I don’t cross.
I don’t know why because I would go. Rather, I’m left with an unshakeable knowing that leaving is nothing to fear.
I stay. Staying is living. To feel air tickle in my nose hairs. To break into tears in front of a Rothko painting. To trust, to love, to be.
Staying is glorious. Tell the world!
So I’m equally grateful for the opposite of leaving: staying.
I’m grateful for a connection to the dual situation of someone leaving and someone staying. I’m grateful for a memory from Passionate Marriage. That part at the end of the book when finally I have enough knowledge about love as intimacy that I’m ready for the last lesson: letting go of the loved one’s physical presence. Yes, letting go with friendliness rather than, “No, I will not think about death or dying.” Because, to me, friendliness with dying means then I’ll have to live with presence. Wakefulness. Like, I’ll really have to live with wakefulness.
Letting go is hard, and especially the BIG LET GO—to accept a loved one’s leaving. I’m grateful for the message in Passionate: that letting go is a GIFT, and my work is to accept and support another's transformation and path to continue when dying comes. I get it. Letting go is more important than my need for the joy of that being’s physical presence.
As much as I want that being to stay, I say, “Soar, sweetheart.”
(Thank you, Michael, for helping me practice. Thank you, kittycat Nesta, for helping me practice.)
I’m grateful to practice.
Hey wait, don't go.
I’m going, dear one.
Oh you're going? Come back, come back.
You're really leaving? Then take me, take me.
No, dear one, you will stay.
Oh, it's not my time? Damn.
I hear you, dear one.
Oh, accept this? How? I will know how in time?
It’s okay, dear one. Love isn't leaving. Just my tired body. By gross body is dissolving. Through interaction and interdependence, we are part of each other.
I choke a tear.
You know what? A quintessential ball of leaving (letting go) and staying (continued awakening) rounds out to a sphere. A whole. The entire show. I want to live that.