Saturday, November 12, 2011

The opening paragraph of To Bless the Space Between Us, A Book of Blessings, by Irish poet and spiritual philosopher John O'Donohue goes as follows:

"There is a quiet light that shines in every heart. It draws no attention to itself, though it is always secretly there. It is what illuminates our minds to see beauty, our desire to seek possibility, and our hearts to love life. Without this subtle quickening our days would be empty and wearisome, and no horizon would ever awaken our longing. Our passion for life is quietly sustained from somewhere in us that is welded to the energy and excitement of life. This shy inner light is what enables us to recognize and receive our very presence here as blessing. We enter the world as strangers who all at once become heirs to a harvest of memory, spirit, and dream that has long preceded us and will now enfold, nourish, and sustain us. The gift of the world is our first blessing."
We blessed Erika, and we were blessed by Erika, today as we placed her in the earth in New Bedford.

She tricked us into coming together as a body of beings longing for blessing. We thought we'd gathered to bury her. Rather we were there to receive her blessing.

As we do whenever someone understands what is taking place between us and invites us into this middle presence, a heaven by no other name.

Festivities continue upstairs.

Solitude becomes me.

Friday, November 11, 2011

At a Course in Miracles gathering Thursday evening as Erika lay in repose in "The Mutti Room" in Camden, Maine, dressed in her Thanksgiving attire, surrounded by the handiwork reds of her stitchery threads, receiving visitors touched by loving presence, a woman named Rosie from another room in final circle spoke the phrase -- "Erika's passing."

It' a wonderful phrase describing what has happened this week, these eight weeks following diagnosis, and the 89 years following her birth -- Erika's passing!

She is now and has always been passing through.

As are we all -- passing through.

We sometimes think that we're here to stay, that we own the place, that change and transition are unfortunate occurrences we have to tolerate and endure.

I think there's another way to look at it.

Erika, Mutti, Omi, Urgroßmutter, has shown us and is showing us how it is, how to live on this earth, even now, as she takes whatever steps there are to take beyond the last step of Thursday morning around 2am when she passed through her body for the last time in this realm exiting what we call the limitations of 'time' and 'space' and gliding with gracious love into the mysterious openness of timeless presence where the One we call Love Itself celebrates wholeness with this ever-new creation of loving light we have known by the names "Erika," "Mrs. Huising," "Mutti," "Omi," and "Dear Treasure."

Some would say: "She's gone," and they'd be right -- she is. Some would say, "She's gone beyond," and they'd be right -- she has. And still others would say, "She's still with us, and will never leave us." And these, too, are right -- feel her in your heart and mind, see her in your cups of tea, hear her in clinking glasses raised with endearing joy and laughter whenever family gather anywhere.

She knows now and shows here. She knows now and shows here that each one is right, that each one is an appreciated contribution to the extraordinary embrace of smiling welcome this good woman practiced as her daily yoga.

Erika would want us, I believe, to know that she's all right, that we're all right, that it's all right -- that at the deepest, truest, lightest level it's all love, and light, and bliss, and kindness, and hospitality, and family, and the community of everyone who lives and dies, suffers and rejoices, eats and drinks, weeps and laughs.
Wir loben Gott und sagen Dank,
Fur alles, auch für Speis und Trank
In Jesus Namen, Amen!
Today I take liberties to translate this prayer as:
"We happily speak our praise with God --
For everything and everyone --
for this woman, this family member, this friend, this sister of God-With-Us (also named Emmanuel, Jesus, Mary's child, the Christ),
for the food and drink
Of love, and love, and, yes, love!"
And so, and so, and so -- In the name of all that is holy, we thank you, dear woman, for bringing us here today.

Here, with one another, being-with everything, passing through!

The words heard from her so often are the words that apply so intimately to her: Schatzilein, Liebchen, Hertzilein

Treasured one! Loved-one! Heart-felt one!

Danke sehr!

Bitte schon!

We are passing through this experience with Erika's love.

May this experience be of benefit to each of us as well as all people everywhere longing for such an experience with generous love and gracious presence!

Prosit! Let it be!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Then, nearing 2am, after a passion of final breaths, there were no more. Struggle of transition coming to quiet completion, Erika returns to origin. We sit in silent vigil for a while. Tears in her presence. The women prepare to wash and ready her body for journey.

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Harp music graced the room.

Kindness and compassion were the notes.

Monday, November 07, 2011

These will be known as her last days. In front room, hospital bed, she breathes asleep the rhythmic cadences of prolonging reverie.

Hospice officially began today.

This house becomes a holy place.

As life continues through it all. Hers and ours.

Sunday, November 06, 2011

Don't fear the facts. That's what the reading from tonight's practice included. We have nothing to fear with the truth. It's only the truth.
Far, faraway, steep mountain paths,
Treacherous and narrow, ten thousand feet up;
Over boulders and bridges, lichens of green,
White clouds are often seen soaring.
A cascade suspends in mid-air like a bolt of silk;
The moon's reflection falls on a deep pool, glittering.
I'll climb up the magnificent mountain peak,
To await the arrival of a solitary crane.
- Meng Hao-jan (689-740)
So, we vigil with Erika.

Saskia naps on pull-out chair. I sit in corner chair. The monk and the Sushi folks didn't make it to Camden. There were only a handful of us at the Mahabharata discussion at the library. And now it is night. What can go wrong has. No, that's not it. What can go on will.

Not the peace of a cease-fire,
not even the vision of the wolf and the lamb,
but rather
as in the heart when the excitement is over
and you can talk only about a great weariness.
I know that I know how to kill,
that makes me an adult.
And my son plays with a toy gun that knows
how to open and close its eyes and say Mama.
A peace
without the big noise of beating swords into ploughshares,
without words, without
the thud of the heavy rubber stamp: let it be
light, floating, like lazy white foam.
A little rest for the wounds—
who speaks of healing?
(And the howl of the orphans is passed from one generation
to the next, as in a relay race:
the baton never falls.)

Let it come
like wildflowers,
suddenly, because the field
must have it: wildpeace.

(Yehuda Amichai, “Wildpeace” from Selected Poetry. University of California Press.)
Mother and daughter sleep in hot room at midnight.

Wildflowers in autumn chill.

A new day