Thursday, July 29, 2010

Season Passing

Today marks three months - one season - since Amy was hit and killed by a truck as she crossed M Street in South East DC on her way to work. One quarter trip around Sun. Earth rotations continue. Ninety-two so far.

I'm obsessed with time. Or at least its passage. Got to get through this moment, this hour, day, month, season, year. Got to get through this birthday, anniversary, holiday.

My son attends summer camp at our nearby large university. Dropping him off yesterday, I started imagining 10 years in the future: Would he come to college here? That would be nice. But then I imagined graduation. Without his mother. That will be sad. I imagine the sadness will fade some from where it is today, but it will be there. Always there. Graduations are to be joyful and festive. And hopefully his will be. But not exclusively. With luck, there will be prom dates and weddings and births. And each will be joyful, I imagine, and sad. That sadness is part of us in this life.

Just got to get through this life.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Where are You, God?

Lost and confused, I walked a winding path.
"Show yourself!" I demanded in anger, "I need to know you are here!"
I turned the corner and saw a rainbow. A perfect double rainbow from horizon to horizon.

"Nice try, but that is too fuckin' cliche. Is that all you got? You're nothin' but a one trick pony."

"Fuck you!"

And I continued, lost and scared, along the path.

I prayed. To whom? I wasn't sure.
"Courage, strength, guidance," I started. That was what I needed. Courage, strength, guidance. Over and over I spoke those words. It became my prayer. It became my mantra.

And then he appeared and took me firmly by the hand.
"Don't worry. I'll be around," he gently said.
Then turned to walk away. I squeezed his hand harder.
"Wait! You can't leave!" I said.
"Don't worry," he repeated, "I'll be around."

I reluctantly let go his hand. He turned, walked away and disappeared. My pulse quickened. I continued down the path, but now with increasing confidence and determination. Somewhere I missed a turn and lost my way. I fell to the ground in despair and cried. I looked up, wiped my tears away, and saw in front of me a great rainbow as beautiful as the first. I cried again, this time in joy.

"Is that you lord?" I cried out. Though I heard no response, I got up and raced forward. I passed through the rainbow to a beautiful land of meadows with wildflowers, groves of tall, strong oak, and cool, mountain spring fed streams. I lay down on my back with my arms out as if to embrace the heavens. I fell asleep and dreamed beautiful dreams of floating above the land, looking down and surveying its wonder. But when I awoke the wildflowers and trees and streams had vanished. In their place was a barren wasteland from horizon to horizon.

"Oh, Lord! Why have you forsaken me!" I screamed to the heavens and for all to hear. "You tricked me, you sonnofabitch. How dare you!" I collapsed to the parched earth. The sun beat down on me. My eyes burned and lips cracked.

"Where are you God," I whispered. "Where did you go? Why did you leave me?"

First one drop, then another. Then another. Then a steady rain. Then a downpour. The heavens opened quenching the thirsty, cracked earth. The coolness of the water stung my eyes. I rolled over and gulped down muddy water from a newly formed puddle. I looked up and saw a rainbow. A perfect horizon to horizon double rainbow.

I wept.
DeSales University - iPhone photo and AutoStitch

Monday, July 12, 2010


In Sogyal Rinpoche's "Tibetan Book of the Living and Dying" he writes about the transitional states in life and death called "bardo."

The word "bardo" is commonly used to denote the intermediate state between death and rebirth, but in reality bardos are occurring continuously throughout both life and death, and are junctures when the possibility of liberation, or enlightenment, is heightened. The bardos are particularly powerful opportunities for liberation because they are, the teachings show us, certain moments that are much more powerful than others and much more charged with potential, when whatever you do has a crucial and far-reaching effect. I think of a bardo as being like a moment when you step toward the edge of a precipice.

Intermediate states are not a place for comfort, generally. We tend to avoid them. Afraid of what may be revealed about life, our loves, and ourselves. That are painful. In physics, for matter, we talk of phase transitions. The phase transition of matter from one state to another. From solid to liquid or liquid to gas.

If I am liquid water and I am 150 degrees Fahrenheit and add one more degree, I am still water. If I am 211 degrees Fahrenheit and add one more degree, I change to gaseous water - steam. I imagine being liquid water. I like being liquid water. The thought of converting to steam unnerves.

What Rinpoche teaches us is these transitions are opportunities. What illuminations await remain unseen until we sit in the bardo and open up to the inevitable revelations, uncomfortable though they are.

A major life event places us at the precipice of a phase change, like being 211 degree Fahrenheit liquid water. Do you experience boiling and expanding into steam, or dial down the heat and stay familiar water?

Sunday, July 11, 2010


A low frequency resonates. Too low for our human ears, but if you allow your soul to listen, you will know it. When low to the earth you can feel its constant rumble. This base frequency, this drone, is set against the other frequencies we can hear, when we take the time to listen. Too often we deny the low frequency. To acknowledge it, we fear, gives it power over us. But it is only through intimacy with the low frequency that we can ever hope to incorporate it and render it, not powerful, but part of our melody. Which is the best we can do with the low frequency.

When we prevent the low frequency, the drone, from vibrating through us, it vibrates against us causing pain and sickness. I have felt that pain and been sick. As we distance ourselves from death we distance ourselves from life. To acknowledge death we give fullness to life. Why are we so scared to give fullness to life?

Listen for the full harmony, all the frequencies, especially that lowest tone, and let it vibrate through you. Feel the rhythm your soul sets; embrace it; dance.

Will you listen to the low frequency with me? Together we can remove it's power and experience the full harmony of our short lives.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

In the Moment

I'm moving into existential evaluation mode from full out, balls to the wall, no holds barred grief mode. Grief is exhausting. Existential evaluation causes its own fatigue but I can get on with day-to-day activities, maybe even enjoy myself. Full out grief? Maybe later.

Here are some observations:

The age of the universe, as far as we know, is about 14 billion years and expected to continue on about as long; a total of about 28 billion years, give or take. We are therefore near the center of time. Amy lived for 42 years. If I stay healthy and avoid accidents I could make it to my late 80's. If I divide 42 by 28,000,000,000 it is 1.5E-09, or approximately zero . If I divide 89 by 28,000,000,000 it is 3.18E-09, or approximately zero. So by one measure 42 and 89 are about the same.

Of course if the universe keeps on expanding infinitely then the number is even more approximately zero.Either way, we are small numerators. Mostly it seems we spend most of our time not existing - at least in this present form.

I am made of atoms created in stars. The fusion reaction in stars and their destruction when they explode, create higher level elements above hydrogen and helium. Thus "I" am the specific collection of those particles, at least for the moment.

Since the atoms and atomic particles that are me (and you) are together for a fleeting time before being cast back to the stars, it seems a shame not to make the most of them while assembled as me (and you).

With the time I have, being approximately zero, waiting for the "right" time for anything seems absurd.

The construction of atoms we call a human, seems to create an amazing capacity for great emotions. Is this unique in the universe?

We fear loss, and fear it so greatly, that we deny love to govern, or avoid, a perceived, future pain.

But without love, we still feel pain. We at least feel the absence of love. At least I have in the past felt that absence.

Have you?