STOP and LIVE

My dear friend Melinda who we recently held fundraisers for has been given days to weeks toDSC05013 live. While this is heartbreaking and feels tragic to me, it is balanced by our recent time together on a walk to a Redwood grove hidden in the midst of Orange County. After months of enduring chemo, she had a phase of respite where her energy had returned and as we walked we talked about facing death, about the importance of embracing this journey and all its privileges; being able to kiss a loved one, hold her grandbaby on her chest, express her passions.  She wasn’t ready to die, but she was not afraid, and knew that she would continue her wider journey in the afterlife.

It’s hard to write this. I don’t want to believe it. I want to cry for my friend, for the grand baby, daughter and loved ones she will leave, for the fire in her that will go unexpressed in this lifetime, for the part of her soul that wasn’t ready.  And I have and will.  But, in the midst of my sadness, I continue to see her radiant face smiling at me, celebrating the life she has lived and TRUSTING the limitless journey ahead of her.

Melinda has lived a full life, breaking free from limiting experiences, continually growing/learning and seeking to help others do the same. Though she is young, close to my age, she has been a tremendous light bringer and guide to many. She packed so much life into her life.

It is still heartbreaking, but as with all loss, the only thing that truly helps me and my children, is to focus on our loved one’s legacy and the reminder to FULLY LIVE our own lives in each sacred moment that we have.

As the holidays swirl us around in busyness, I have been overwhelmed and shocked at how busy I could still be. Even with all of my overt and sometimes obsessive intention to slow down, there seems to be so much to do.  But Melinda, and all the other shocking tragedies of the last few months, are powerfully reminding:

STOP.

NOTHING is more important than stopping and breathing into this moment of this life you are living right now.

This inspired me to have a spontaneous date with my husband tonight during which we talked about how we don’t like when life becomes so much cleaning, dishes, meal prep, house upkeep, blah blah blah, that we don’t get to just play and be with the kids and each other.  This reminded me of all the traditions that focus on light in the midst of darkness this season. There is a way that we just want the light, the fun, the happy, which becomes exploited by an entertainment based culture. (i.e It’s an idea we have more now than say during ‘Little House on the Prairie times when daily work was part of life)

But the truth is, it is ALL our sacred life.  Every moment is an opportunity to have an open heart and experience this life with wonder.  Even washing dishes, clipping toenails, arguing with a loved one, losing your patience with a child, and so on. I can imagine myself in spirit form looking back on these moments, grateful for the opportunity of earthly growth and wishing I had seen it for what it was at the time.

Step two of Inner Bonding reminds us to open our hearts and move into curiosity, opening to learning about ourself and the other.  In other words:  STOP, remember what a gift this journey is, embrace this sacred moment with wonder.  So many things change when we remember this. If I had few moments left and had to do chores, I would enjoy it and play with it; sings songs, put on music, throw dishes away haha! If I had only a few more times to put my child to bed, I would drop the less important things and snuggle to sleep.

While we are living life we do have responsibilities, but it is crucial to constantly ask ‘what is really important?’ in a world that seeks to pull us in every direction. The beautiful thing is that the answer to this question is within all of us.  No one has to think too hard about how they would live if they remembered their moments were limited.

As she prepares to leave this human experience, I feel this is what Melinda would say to us all right now.

I can see her grinning as we sat upon the earth, light rays gleaming in through the tall redwoods behind her, saying, “I am always inspired to teach what I am learning!”

What is one practical thing you can do differently with this reminder? Please share in the comments. Let’s inspire each other!

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