Navigating the Sacred and Mundane

Monday, October 06, 2008

A Great Life

This morning I'm running around, the list is long in my mind, and out of nowhere I think of an old client. She comes to mind so strongly that I feel a tingling in my limbs. In the basement twenty minutes later, folding laundry, miles away in gyrations of thought, a plastic tarp nailed up to divide rooms begins to sway. There's no wind, no gust, no movement of air nearby. The presence of my old client, dear woman, comes to me again - so clear, eerie - and I stand up, fully cognizant of the sensation of spirit.

I run upstairs and google her name. It's been a few years since we've spoken. Five links down and I see what I expect to see. Her obituary. I can't breathe for a second and then emotion overwhelms my airways.

The first time she came to see me she literally fell through the door, onto the ground. Without hesitation, I hit the floor, flat out, eye to eye, and that's where we started our journey together. From that first moment, from panic and terror and despair, we found our way, year by year, to profound depths of awe and wonder for life. Together we found a more suitable map for her life - left by the great poet-saints, wisdom teachers, and seekers - and with that new orientation, beholding her life as a journey - a full-on, full-out, spiritual journey - she went forth in her amazing way and touched so many others with an indomitable spirit.

We sat together through the dark night of terminal diagnosis, remission and return. We sat with the poems that delivered her to the liberation of spirit and love in the body. We allowed the sacred to enter our exchange - her courage to open anew was astounding to me. I've never met another human who so thoroughly and wholeheartedly embraced life. She changed me, and I waited long hours with her until she was changed from the great light within.

I challenged her with every stitch of faith in my bones. I challenged her to dig deeper than the pain....and she did. In turn, she took me where I had never been before.

I struggled silently with her, with myself, with life, with my own mortality. She never knew how much I cried on my drive home after our sessions. Such was the incredible nature of her journey. Now she knows, and I feel the spirit of compassion coming through these waves. I've often felt like I've lost all my teachers, but this morning I bow again, truly.

Please honor the life and passing of a most beautiful woman, Deb Mosley. May her life inspire us to choose the wise path instead of the small stage.

Please hear Deb, in her own words, describe her experience of climbing Half Dome.

Blessings on your journey, Deb. Wherever you are now, may the light open and open and open.

When I Have Gone

When you hear that I have gone,
honor me with a good death.

If I die alone,
marvel at my love of solitude;
if I die surrounded,
know that I loved good company.

If my brother comes,
know that we made peace;
if he is absent,
know that we respected our differences.

At 82,
celebrate my good long life;
at 37,
toast my wise old soul.

If you hear I took the pills,
accept that I was ready to surrender;
if there were no pills to take,
know that I considered taking the pills.

If I do not suffer,
let it be said, I longed for peace;
if you hear that I was weeping,
think not sorrow,
but Glory,
and Wonder.

If I have time for parting words,
let it be said,
"They were profound!"
And if I say nothing,
be patient;
it'll keep, until we meet again.

If my bones are ravaged, and the fire dances
in the marrow,
be comforted;
I was curious about the fire,
and say, "Damn! That girl could dance!"

If I am wide-eyed and wild, gasping for air,
imagine heaven is an ocean,
and I just became a fish.

If it is said that I was white-knuckled and
clinging to the bed sheets,
do not assume I wanted to take the bed
sheets with me...

Perhaps I just slid onto the seat of my new Harley,
and I wrapped my fingers around the throttle...
Vroom! Vroom!
My God! Marilyn sure feels good
with her arms wrapped around my waist,
and her breasts pressed up against my back.

© Deborah A. Mosley

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Refuge and Grace

Feels like all this time between me and this page - feels like clouds beneath a sheath of light, golden sun streaks across the surface like heaven. When you're on a plane above it all and you lift that plastic window shade and you wonder, with such gold brightness, if that kind of dimension of sky-road is heaven. You know that feeling and that question?

And you think, here I am insulated in this speeding capsule through time and through space. It's all so strange, this wild predicament of being in a body at all and then being in a world of green shimmering beauty, and then lifting above the mass, up into an atmosphere of wind and invisible forces. We look down, as if that's normal, as if careening through space is what we do.

But it is what we do. Birds lifting off, soaring, sky bound, earth ground. All around. This is our life.

Tired from the day, exhausted really, I flip to Oprah and am reminded that I might be the one in eight who discover a lump in my breast. That could be tomorrow or next week or never. I flip to CNN and one minute in, I'm wondering if the world is going to end in a day or two. That's the message behind all the derisive debate. Will we all make it? Will we make it one more day or a week?

I turn off the TV to screams down the hall. Small voice wrestles in the dream, and I just don't know how to help her navigate. All the openings and snake-like passages, and all the input from unknown sources. In the dark, I cannot add to the psychosis of thinking I am in control of anything in particular, except just the offering of my embrace in a single moment of the night.

She says, in delirium, I don't want to be alone, so I gather her up, legs around my hips, hand at the back of her head, walk down the hall, into my room, and lay her down in my bed. She grabs my arm, drapes it across her ribs, tucks it under the other side, and finds sleep in three seconds. Spooned. Safe.

When I finally turn to grace, this morning, it's just a few piano chords, repeating over and over and over and over and over -- I am reminded that there is refuge in these times. Momentary, and if I am blessed to remember, I will not drop that thread for long, but know that refuge is possible more than once in my day.

Looking down the river, knowing that I must step into the boat, I see....rapids. Rough waters. Turbulent current beneath. The sun has risen already and I wonder if that kind of gold on the surface is heaven. I wonder if this will be my last day, or if it will be one in ten thousand. Either way, I find my seat, find the posture of prayer and centered sitting. Flexible solidity. Fluid glide over parting elements, into the sun.

Blessings to all my friends, known and unknown, may you find that place that sustains you and take refuge.