The Flying Man by Peter Sís. A tapestry of Václav Havel. Prague Airport.
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. 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 wanting to stay. Dreading running and anticipating perky endorphins.
I’m grateful a friend shares this from an Anne Lamott story, “A writer is like the 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 to practice holding my lantern and being a kid.
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 an energy healer about a year ago: while with her, I rise up off the table and am next to white love. I sense a familiarity of being surrounded by those I know and those I do not yet know. I feel peace anew. 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 white love.
Leaving is glorious. 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’s tickle in my nose hairs. To break into tears in front of a Rothko painting. To trust, to love, to be. To do, ta da!
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.
I believe it's my hardest work to let go, 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 be FOR this being’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. You know what joys I’m talking about. Hugs. Eye contact. Holding hands. Laughter. Shared meals. Comforting words.
Luxurious gems like that.
But, as much as I want that being to stay, I say, “Soar, sweet-heart.”
(Thank you, Michael, for helping me practice. Thank you, kittycat Nesta, for helping me practice.)
Oh yes, 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? Visit me.
It’s okay, dear one. The love part isn't leaving. Just my tired body. I'm already inside of you, in your cells, and with you. Even now, when I'm in the other room, I'm in you. You carry me.
I choke a tear.
You know what? A quintessential ball of leaving (letting go) and staying (continued awakening) rounds out to a perfect sphere. A whole. The entire show. Oh yessirree, I want to live that.
So I’m grateful that this morning I’m letting go and living in a micro way (time to stop writing, this gratitude practice is finished for now) and a macro way (saying goodbye to Clare at the airport).
Thank you for reading my gratitudes and being here for me. I know you read what I’ve written and then let go of our encounter as you head off into your day. I get it! You let go. You let go and carry me in your cells, as I do you. We’re a brilliant exchange.