Updated: May 2, 2021
Nothing has taught me more about living in the moment than watching my mother die. Over the last three years, and especially this past year, I have watched her resurrect and teach me something new. As throughout her life, her process of dying was a masterful lesson of letting go. I am not a patient person by nature, and as harsh as this may sound the last 20 years of watching her make choices about her physical health that were in direct opposition to her spiritual discipline and health, and their subsequent repercussions were one of the greatest challenges of my life. My judgements were ever present, easier for me to be angry with her than own the fear of losing her or the truth of how sad it was that my time with her as an adult was not what I had ideally hoped for. I do not believe in deifying the dead. She taught me to embrace the light and the dark, for therein lies the beauty. She was difficult, nearly impossible to help, self- righteous, albeit most of the time she was right and that made me crazy. She challenged me in every possible way and I am grateful to her for it.
The gifts she had were many. She was a spiritual adept, a priestess, teacher, shaman, intuitive, and healer. Her extreme generosity of spirit, radical pursuit of the esoteric mysteries and relentless desire to live life on her own terms asked a lot of us all. Sometimes more than we ever dreamed we were capable of.
She asked me to love more, when I didn’t know how.
She asked me trust God when I couldn’t even trust myself.
She asked for the truth when it was hard to speak it.
She asked me to set boundaries, even if it meant saying “No” to her.
She asked me to take myself less seriously and laugh instead.
She asked me to look up, to surrender my heart. TO LISTEN to the still small voice and hear the Christ within.
She gave me the keys to the universe and gave me the courage to unlock the door.
She asked me to be wholly, and holy myself, even when I was unsure and finding my way.
She asked me to let go, even if it meant letting go of her.
In my line of work, there is a primary focus on the physical body. It is easier to measure strength and fitness with metrics of maximal exertions, ratios of composition, assessments to test metabolic performance. There is a concept in training called “time under tension” as a means to increase our strength and capacity for stress. Time under tension stimulates physiological adaptations for what the body can endure. With each interval of time under pressure of the load, and consequently the body learns how to rise up to the challenge in beautiful synchronicity of chemical, cellular, muscular and tissue adaptations to accommodate the demand, yielding something new.
With our bodies, we can see and measure theses gains physically and aesthetically.
We can measure it. Yet, emotionally, mentally and spiritually our health is a more elusive, esoteric intangible. Life will always offer varying degrees of time under tension. We cannot see the changes that happen internally. Our minds and spirits need inner space to grow and strengthen. The body needs movement to heal, the spirt needs stillness. For the inside, less is more. Less chatter, less struggle, more peace. The less resistance to what is, the more peace we embody. Unfortunately, time under tension is how we let go of what no longer serves us. The things we say yes to, when our hearts yearn to say no. The energy we spend on the good opinion of others. The soul wearies under such strain.
The power of prayer is what got me through the excruciating process of hospice. I could feel the energy of every word uttered to the heavens on my behalf buoy me. And believe me, I leaned into that with all of my soul. Through prayer, mediation and yoga I was able to cultivate present moment awareness and surrender like I never imagined I could.
Hospice is about waiting. Waiting for nature to take its course. Letting go of control and surrendering to divine timing. Remember, my nature is not a patient one and the cultivation of this virtue is a life-long practice for me. In all honesty, it was incredibly hard - the waiting… If I was feeling it, I could only imagine what it was like for mom, bed ridden and waiting. I often found myself holding onto the thought, “Is it going to be today?” So one day I asked her, “Is it hard for you? The waiting?” She answered me so matter of fact, “No. What am I going to do? Rush? Worry? It is what it is and I am not afraid.” Well, I thought to myself, if she’s not afraid, it’s time to let that weight go. So, from that moment on, every phone call, every visit, every cherished moment of healing all the wounds, saying all the things, celebrating the moments of joy we’ve shared, dreams we created, every laugh, tear and breath…60 Seconds At A Time.
By being in the moment, we created the beauty of treasured time holding hands, laughing till we cried, having time to say ‘thank you’ for all that she had given me in this life. Oddly enough, time stood still in this bittersweet space where life hung the balance of divine timing. Her inner strength and physical weakness, a stark contrast to one another. I am fortunate because we had this sacred time, where everything that wasn’t in the moment fell away leaving nothing between us but love and peace.