Yes, yes they do, in ways we cannot imagine. Actions, in the shape of words or thoughts, are the creations and products, of a physical life. I think these are immortal, where our lives are not. The energy of our thought and word is jettisoned into the world, fueled by our intentions. Once created, their destination and timing is beyond our ken.
Can an act of expansiveness and gratitude operate above time and beyond your life? Can our interrelated connection to others invoke a response, a communication, a communion? This isn’t a casual existential query. I got this answer right between the eyes this week!
How does a note from my Mother written 10 years ago, to a person no longer earthbound, arrive in my mailbox carrying a response and remedy to my current and immediate inner angst? How does that work exactly?
Could be “The Dance…”
At the still point of the turning world (from The Four Quartets)
by T. S. Eliot
At the still point of the turning world. Neither flesh nor fleshless;
Neither from nor towards; at the still point, there the dance is,
But neither arrest nor movement. And do not call it fixity,
Where past and future are gathered. Neither movement from nor towards,
Neither ascent nor decline. Except for the point, the still point,
There would be no dance, and there is only the dance.
A few days ago, a pure agent of change was dropped through the center of the wheel of my life, It was a catalyst to remind and inspire,
“Think connection, think creation, remember there is only the dance!”
It was the last evening of our family gathering. The nostalgic joy of kids and grandkids in one place was intact, but the door was open. Time together was trickling out. I was feeling the loss of the children that had already headed home to the west coast, and anticipating two more “take offs” the next day. There were too many empty chairs, a sad dog, and lots of recycling.
I could have moved directly into gratitude for what had been shared, but I did not. It could have been the movement of planets, or the tenacious plaque of personal history. Whatever the cause, I needed to feel the sadness of not seeing their faces, or feeling their energies in our everyday life. But emotions are weather. Best not to deny a thunder storm, better to let water and wind have at you, and scrub you clean.
The force of “being Mom” is strong. Stepping in and out of that role can be treacherous, an emotional minefield that can render one’s heart into shreds without warning. It is a powerful living archetype that when not in use, should be wrapped gently in gossamer, and settled carefully onto a nearby shelf. To do anything else is to surrender to a past identity that will continually search for what, and who, is no longer in her care, or subject to her control. And the world has enough “hungry ghosts.”
On this, our last evening we reached for a “wee bit o’ the past.” Opening the Pandora’s box of “Home Movies,” we stumbled upon a magical video circa 1992. In this ancient time, personal movies had different sensibilities about “recording” an event. Instead of clipped soundbites reflecting our current attention spans, these recordings were meant to imitate the actual experience of being present. To slog through some of these videos requires perseverance, and snacks.
On the screen was a family gathering not unlike what we had just experienced, siblings, cousins, grandparents; some quiet, some rambunctious. We had assembled the day after Thanksgiving 1992 at my Mother’s home to celebrate a surprise baby shower for my youngest sister, and her “soon to be born” first child.
In keeping with the thoughtful tenor that is this family, particularly the elders, each blanket and tiny sock generated excitement. Each was examined and approved with a flavor of innocence and appreciation. I experienced a wave of familiarity with this tribe and recognized some unprocessed grief for my loss of physical proximity to our elders.
As we watched, a tiny ethereal crack opened and some essence of our family system bled into our 2020 room. From an over-sized TV screen, those “gone from our sight,” arrived in spirit, minus the corporeal baggage, to fill our Florida living room. There was Grammie on the sofa, Nan in the blue chair. My own Mother and Father moved in cordial avoidance, with their respective partners, my stepmother and stepfather looking mildly awkward in uncomfortable chairs. All the usual suspects, in all the usual scenarios except; I was seeing them through my eyes from their point of view for the first time.
It was delicious to see them again. They were reconstituted in my soul, their voices and demeanors activating memory, provoking recognition of their influence on my life. I did the Math to determine what my current position would be in this video and found myself as a hologram atop my parent’s age. This was a jolting realization. “Do they looked older than me?” Their actions were so serious and deliberate, “Do I move like that?” I wondered. “How skewed is my perception?” I decided to hug my own illusions more tightly.
To my chagrin, I realized that I had begun to morph into an unrealized manifestation of myself. I began to analyze and overthink. I moved my current self into the 1992 living room and wondered if I would measure up to these icons of grand parenting? They had been always available, always within reach. I began to question my choice to be “of service,” mostly to strangers. I held up my calendar for the week coming and found no family names. Appointments to do Reiki with Hospice patients, a painting to finish, and a TED talk group, a book to read and several podcasts, but no family for this entire expanse of days.
“Was I using my time here for the highest good?’
That was the question. I could feel the disturbance in my soul. It felt as if someone was moving furniture in my psyche, or as Grammie used to say with a shiver, “Someone is walking on my grave.”
My answer came the next day. As we pulled out of the driveway for a final trip to the airport, the mail arrived hours early. Had I not forgotten my phone, we would have missed him. It was a good moment to share, later would have been too late.
The return address said STILLPOINT, a place of respite and meditation for my Mother when she was alive, and for me when we lived close by. Opening the envelope, I found a card with a white owl and Southwestern background that looked familiar. It might have come from my Mother’s card box, gathered on a trip to New Mexico during our years there. And indeed inside was her unmistakable writing, dated April 10, 2010.
She had written to thank the co-creator of STILLPOINT for sharing Reiki with her… when she needed it most. Her words are private, but she shared that this session had opened doors of beautiful healing possibility for her. Possibilities that she had never imagined. She was very grateful. She wrote these words and sent them out. Years after she is gone the words still hold healing power.
“I want to become part of the DANCE because….There is only the Dance,”
Was her reference to the TS Elliot poem.
This miracle was facilitated by the thoughtfulness of the Reiki Master’s fellow sisters at STILLPOINT who found this note and sent it on. This much loved, sacred teacher went back into spirit in June of this year. She taught deep lessons about the unnecessary pain we cause ourselves by getting caught in our own web of illusions. Because it is all “illusion.” I read this note and in a moment I saw my ancestors big smiles and hearty waves and I got the message, “I am on the right path, because it is my path.”
How did this 9 year old letter came to arrive just when its message would carry maximum potency? Maybe this is how it always works and always has been, we just stopped listening. Take a look at Entangled time:
Note to the choir: (All of us living “on the fringe” may be vindicated soon!)
Your thoughts, riding on the wings of actions, can be whispered into a questioning ear at any moment. Seems paramount to me to be mindful about the quality of your thoughts. Read the “Entangled time” article a second time and you may wonder about what, or with whom you chose to resonate. Think of the potential, think of the responsibility. Einstein called it “spooky,” wonder how he feels about it now!
Ignore the politics, let’s imagine Peace!
Images by Carol Martell