View your life with kindsight.
Instead of asking “What was I thinking?”
pause and ask the kinder question:
“What was I learning?”
I love this. Kindsight.
Maybe like me, you’ve had a bunch of occasions in life when you made decisions that perhaps didn’t turn out so well.
I’m lucky (ahem) enough to have had a few trusted friends who haven’t been afraid to ask “What were you thinking?” Ok maybe more like “WTF were you thinking?” And there’s a purpose to that. I want friends like that.
But it’s not useful to berate ourselves for actions of the past. Looking at our actions with love and asking the kinder question, “What was I learning?” is brilliant.
This works also for grief and illness.
Remember our beautiful candles & healing gifts right here. Just go to the home page and the tab you’re interested in up top.
Oh, how I love this man, this soul! Teaching in Maui, Dec. 2018
As if my season of loss wasn’t enough, (four death anniversaries between Thanksgiving and New Year’s), my beloved Baba Ram Dass transitioned on Dec. 22 and my beloved cousin, Sandy, on Dec. 24.
It’s a lot. So many chapters in this life closed as I age. Year after and sometimes day after day.. And so, as usual, I turn to the infinite wisdom of Ram Dass for comfort. He may be gone, but his wisdom lives on:
“How you relate to death is the key spiritual work of aging. And how you see death is a function of how much you identify with that which dies. Egos die. Souls don’t die.
I encourage you to make peace with death, to see it as the culminating event of this adventure called life. Death is not an error; it is not a failure.”
As Baba Ram Dass so aptly pointed out: If we live fully in the present, death is just another moment.
How is it that I feel closer to him in death than I did in life?
The glass votive in the grief gift is now replaced with an Apache Tear obsidian grief stone.
Ram Dass actively worked with the dying–he often told us how much he loved it. If you’d like to support someone in grief or healing I hope you’ll consider one of these gentle gifts, found right here.
Photo Credit: Carol Cassara / Maui / Dec. 2018
He is as close to a guru as I will ever have, a guiding figure, a sage, an angel on earth and a generational influence we will never see again. Guru: one who removes the darkness. A gateway to God.
Ram Dass has joined the other angels and is now spreading his love and joy from the afterlife and for that I am both happy and sad.
I was lucky enough to meet him in Dec. 2018 at his Maui retreat and to have several loving interactions with him there. It was my first time at one of his retreats. I was called to go because I knew his time here was limited. It was a miracle that I got in–the event sold out in six minutes, but I was there lurking when registration opened and quickly got a place.
It was a magical five days. Many exuberant highs and also deep introspection. I came away with a love of chanting and renewed dedication to loving kindness.
Above is a signed photo taken for the cover of one of his books. I bid on it at the retreat in a silent auction held to raise funds for his ongoing care. It now sits on my dresser and is one of the first things I see every morning. His eyes are beautiful, mesmerizing, so on fire at that time, with all of the intellectual excitement involved in bringing his experience in India to the rest of the world in ways we could digest. His many books. His lectures.
And then, some 20 years ago, a debilitating stroke. He lived a very long time with those disabilities. The brain was fully intact but expression was another matter. How frustrating for such a major intellect and yet, he saw it as a lesson. As he saw everything. As I try to see everything. I try.
And he lived with joy and love.
I am grateful that I got to be in his company, that I met him, looked into his eyes and he in mine, and both sent and received unconditional love.
Ram Ram Ram Ram Ram Ram Ram Ram Ram Ram
The most startling thing about heartbreak is
…noticing that the world didn’t actually end. *
After my dear friend died I’d sit and look at the mountains and wonder why they were still standing. Why the sun came up and went down without her. Why the world’s still there. She died Dec.27, 2015 and I last saw her that Christmas Eve.
It was snowing like crazy that Christmas Eve in 1999 we buried my mother, so cold I wished my grief would freeze and I could break it apart like ice. But I couldn’t. It stuck with me a long time. It’s still there, really. Holidays are difficult.
This is the hard truth about life: it’s full of loss and loss means heartbreak. Parents who have lost children. Children who have lost parents. Widows and widowers. Everything with a beginning also has an ending, says Jack Kornfeld, and our peace of mind comes from being ok with that.
Easier said than done. Grief holds on tight, sometimes for a very long time. Our feelings remain long after our living loved ones want to hear about them.
Holidays are hard for many who grieve even if they didn’t lose loved ones at that time.
And that’s exactly why I wrote the Guided Journal Through Grief: to provide a safe place to share all the feelings that remain. Our grief, our guilt (if any), our regrets and also our happy times together.
Each page has a prompt that you can respond to by writing, drawing, painting or even do a mini collage. Or it has a simple activity or a meditation.
For years I searched for a condolence gift that was supportive but not complicated. That didn’t have a shelf life, like flowers. Or didn’t seem celebratory like a fruit basket. I couldn’t find one, so I created it.
Our large condolence gift includes the guided journal, a deck of 50 gentle grief “affirmations” meant to help transform grief (because it never goes away), a pretty heart shaped mini-candle and an Apache tear grief stone, which has helped me tremendously in my own grief. $34.99
Our small condolence gift includes the 50-card deck and the heart-shaped candle. $19.99
Both are gentle, supportive, affordable and those who get them say they really do help.
This Christmas it’s my mission to get these helpful tools in the hands of those who really need them. So if you know someone who is grieving, why not send them this gentle support? We ship and provide your short message on a gift tag.
Find them and more at our gift tab.
Quote from Bloom for Yourself by April Green and this is an affiliate link.
I love soul food and consume it as much as possible—which is to say when I see a chance to reach out and support someone, I will. Always.
And I know many of you do the same thing.
Guided journal: in large condolence gift.
Someone you know is brought low by grief or fighting a battle for life, itself.
When you’re looking for a sensitive way to support someone who’s grieving or facing a health challenge our beautiful, gentle gift packages do just that.
They’re helpful, thoughtful and affordable: Four gift options, starting at $19.99.
Large healing gift. Not sure you can see the heart shaped rose quartz stone included.
They are pretty special.
And you can add a stunning healing candle with crystals to make them even more special.
So look around. Which of your loved ones could use some extra support?
I hope you will consider these gifts as soul food for them-and the act of giving as soul food for you.
No one has grieved harder than me.
Those are the words that just came off my keyboard. And then, a second later, I thought about grieving parents. And that grief isn’t a contest. It just isn’t. We all grieve as hard as we need to and as long as we need to. That’s truth.
Mom’s been gone 20 years now. 20 years! An eternity, I was going to write, and a second later I thought, “We’re all living in eternity.”
Yeah, there’s no winning when you 1) work in grief and 2) work in afterlife stuff.
My mother’s death was huge for me. The biggest thing that had ever happened to me, and the most mysterious.
So in that last year of her life I traveled thousands of miles every month to spend a week or two at her hospital bedside and as I walked into the hospital every day of every visit, an essay was writing itself in my head. I took everything around me in. And then finally, after she died, this piece came out of me.
It sat around for month, years even, and then, a few years later, was accepted for publication in a literary magazine affiliated with a medical school.
Mom’s death catapulted me into a search for the answer to this question: “Where did she go?” and that led me on a spiritual journey that hasn’t stopped. A story for another day.
I read once that the death of the mother is the first sorry wept without her. How true that is.
For today, though, the day before what would’ve been her 94th birthday, I’m sharing this piece in her memory.