When Love is Clothed in Grief... The Story of Jasmine my curandero
I am drafting this short post just hours before putting my two beautiful dogs, Jasmine and Charm to rest.
Like Rei and Ki before them, Jasmine and Charm have been with me and have been a significant part of the healing love for women and men who have been coming here to work with me for past decades.
But now, it is time to let them go. Maybe even a little past time as I've had to carry Jasmine into my office these last 2 days. They are both here at my feet as I write this. Tomorrow this time, they will be crossed over. Yes, I feel grief.
And in this grieving, I am reminded of the last women's grief healing retreat I offered here at my home in Ojai.
Lives with some BIG grief came to that retreat: The loss of a child to a terrible disease; the sudden exposure of a 10 year affair and possible disease as a result; the unfinished business with a mother who had just past over; the fear of the diagnosis of cancer (again). These are biggies. Makes you wonder how any of us dare get out of bed, get involved with people, open our hearts, carry on...
...And then as I am setting these words down, I can only imagine in other parts of the world where hundreds of thousands of people are at this moment starving, hopeless, without work, without clean water, or being tortured, raped, abused, discarded as nothing at all.
No one wants to think about these realities - they leave us too vulnerable and afraid.... But I'm here today to say: please! We must look; and deeply.
I look at humanity's grief, not to convince myself that it have compassion.... but to find the thread of love that can grant me the capacity to journey with grief ("eyes wide open") when it comes to sit in my lap... and to help others do the same....
I mean grief is hard to sit with, isn't it!? It's NOT pretty. It's not OK! Grief is almost always overwhelmingly uncomfortable. It is often so overpowering that most of us will do anything to get out of it. But there is another way to be with grief... and this way makes all the difference...
I have seen, over and over again, how the trail of grief - when rightly and deeply followed - ALWAYS opens the doorway to new clarity, inner peace and meaningful direction!
The life examples I have witnessed, called me to add the 3-Night Women's Retreats. In these retreats, I accept only 4-6 women into the retreat process so that it remains a highly personal journey. Here, each woman enters into her own personal healing process and soul following practice, by learning and applying the SoulArts Process (TM) - the unique teaching I have developed as the most powerful living meditation practice I know for effecting true healing, spiritual awakening, and a soul-driven life.
In one such 3-Night Women's Retreat Special last fall, I spontaneously wrote out this "formula" on the sauna blackboard as I took a little "me time" in the sauna. (More accurately: "Soul wrote out this formula through my hands about the true nature of grief.") It's not a formula to study or emulate. It is a realization to discover as an inner seeing realization by those who will learn and follow the ways of a soul-driven life.
THE STORY OF JASMINE ... and MY EVOLUTION INTO MY LIFE CALLING
Sixteen years ago, everything in my life had seemingly turned to ash: My marriage; my health; my business... and with all these - my income and the feasibility of keeping my home with a new double mortgage after the divorce. Everything on the property - but me - died, or was dying: My former 2 dogs Rei and Ki; the orchard and gardens; the chickens and ducks; my marriage partner, my business, my center - all dead and gone in a matter of months.
I remember sitting beside the fireplace in my living room watching the wood burn to ash as I tried to let all of this sink into my consciousness. I was forlorn and rendered pretty empty of all cause or course. And I remember looking out the window one of these mornings as I sat on the floor by the fire, and staring suddenly face-to-face with a wild bobcat drinking from my pond (the same one who had eaten all 16 chickens and two ducks.) ....Little did I know I'd be seeing him again up close and personal in a matter of months (....but that's another story)!
Sometime later after the bobcat visitation (possibly the very next day as his visitation served as some kind of a jolt, I found myself driving without thought into the Humane Shelter in Ojai, and then walking the cages and looking at the dogs. I sort of thought I was doing this as a kind of meditation on being caged up, rejected, left. But at one such cage a little pure white puppy with huge brown soulful eyes, who stood up on her hind end to greet me. It was LOVE.
... And so as she and I drove home together, there began a yet unrecognized journey of renewal and the entrance into my (yet un-realized) SoulArts lifework to come!
For the first several weeks, Jasmine and I used to sit down in the meditation hut - she on my lap because I knew now that the bobcat was nearby and likely hungry after taking down all the other creatures of our land. What better than a plump pup! And so she became my spirit dog. She had been saved from execution and brought with 100 puppies from Mexico to California. I named her Night Blooming Jasmine - both for the plant itself draping the entrance to my meditation hut, and for the symbol it represented to me of re-birth - of the bloom that can come out of the dark of night...
All these many years, Jasmine has been my "curandero" - Mexican shaman healer to the many women and men who have come her for healing and renewal. My guest books (now 4) are filled with songs to Jasmine and to Charm and the meaningful mystical ways one of them would arrive just the moment a person was in need here in his or her process with me.
Jasmine walked with me into a life work I had no idea I was called to create! Everything I teach and show to others about consciousness and awakening to the soul has come from the dark place of my deepest grieving - when everything in my life had seemingly dies or disappeared... and from which this new creative life-calling and true purpose has opened to become the light it offers to others.
This is what I want to say about grief. It is just LOVE coming through the way it can in the moment.
The feeling of grief is not possible without there being love underneath it. It's the love residing in grief that gives grief it's form. And what is LOVE? Love is not a sentiment or a feeling so much as an action, a behavior, a spontaneous honoring of.... And what is the act of honoring something? It's Love, yes. But what else is it? A truly honoring act (=love) is the expression of Living Meditation (of being consciously present to the moment; open to it; in LOVE) ..And what is Living Meditation but the moment-by-moment following and expression of True Self. And when one is in the expression of True Self, he or she IS her or his Life Purpose --- on the move, in action, beingness......!
Starting at the Doorway: GRIEF
Grief (approximates-nearly equals) Love.
Love (approximates-nearly equals) Soul-Honoring Acts
Soul Honoring Acts (approximates-nearly equals) Living Meditation
Living Meditation (approximates-nearly equals) Your True Nature
Your True Nature (approximates-nearly equals) Life Purpose
This spontaneous formula-looking notation is NOT something to memorize or try and decide if you agree with it or not. It is a healing inner realization that will prove itself true to you when you follow the trail of grief to the gift it holds on your life journey of awakening, in Love....
May your spirit shine and be seen within and without....
This post is dedicated to every woman and man who has taken this journey and found - within themselves - this powerful realization. And to my beautiful beloved dogs, Jasmine and Charm who remain here in spirit and in my heart.