Tag Archive | presence

Reflections on Absence

IMG_3755The Day After Death is always strange with its aura of absence, of wondering whether I did the right thing, made the best choice. I’m never one hundred percent sure. Was it too soon or too late? Was it for them or me? Was our life together as mutually rewarding as it could be? I experience a lot of second-guessing and anxiety along with the simple, deep awareness of absence.

Responsibility and Resilience — to accept the former and trust that the latter will find its way into the cracks of a well-worn heart.

The Day Of Death is spent inside the process of being present for another soul’s transition, and after she has gone, there is this pause of emptiness and feeling lost, as if the world has stopped spinning and we are all suspended like a dream on a slender thread that could snap at any moment. But then the turning starts up again and I’m dizzy with the new unfamiliar absence.

I eat. I always do in times of stress, whether grief or joy, the extremes seem to require ingestion of the present experience which is mirrored by food and eating. When grieving, though, I often eat until I’m sick, until my body screams in protest and I slump in defeat, until the pain in my stomach challenges the pain in my heart, and I feel a sort of vacancy of breath. A form of suspension of belief.

But the Day After Death is different than the Day Of. For me, it’s not heavier but lighter, as if I am not tethered very securely and I am witness to all the emptyIMG_3754 space around me, as if the distance between objects has been magnified and what once took me three strides to reach appears to be a three-day journey. Sounds seem to come from far away and yet when they arrive are as claps of thunder, shattering.

The absence creates expanded space yet I don’t feel alone — it has the effect of bringing me closer to the infinite Oneness that is all of us, our entire Universe that is uncrowded and possibility stretches into Ever After until we begin again.

Within the space that is holding the absence of body, there is a stronger presence of Spirit. I inhale the curious blend of absence and presence, and peace envelopes me in a pink cloud of cotton candy. Time becomes irrelevant, and, when I button both ears closed, silence descends.

Silence doesn’t bother me nor does it make me feel alone, whether in the woods, on a mountain, or out walking in the desert. The absence of human construct and noise is a balm to my mind and senses.

IMG_3753Proposal. A brief venture into the desert today, to be away from the cover of home, car, or buildings — exposure. To walk away, into the desert of revealment and the withdrawal of protection or ability to hide. To, just for a few minutes, be in the absence of cover instead of the absence being inside me.


Yesterday, Guinevere, a sweetheart of a cat, died (with the kind assistance of a vet who makes home visits). Two months ago, Pooka the amazing Corgi died (also with assistance). Guinevere was the 14th cat I’ve lost, and Pooka was the 7th dog. It never gets easier, and can be especially hard when more than one loss occurs within a short period of time, but I wouldn’t change a thing — I’m deeply grateful for every single one of the precious creatures who has graced my life. I’m truly blessed.

“We who choose to surround ourselves with liveseven more temporary than our own live within a fragile circle; easily and often breached. Yet, still we would live no other way.”  – Irving Townsend


DarlaAtPiskopianoGarden“The feminine mystery lives in the Now. Its energies are concentrated on what is happening in this moment—a forget-me-not sparkling with dew, the scent of wet pine, a hesitant hand—all uniquely coming together Now. It relaxes into total concentration and *is*. The feminine does not save itself for some glorious moment in the future, nor grieve over some lost moment in the past. It holds nothing back. Now is all there is.” ~ Marion Woodman

It is so very easy to remember the resonance of this feminine mystery when I recall my time on the Island of Crete…


{ You can listen to my recitation of this piece at Podbean – Falling }

Writing flow from down below that rises to the top like cream from the heart of life as dream, and into the flow we tend to go yet try to swim instead of float, allow ourselves to be the boat that is the bobbing star of splendor on the gentle waters and we wonder: here we go, up like a geyser then fall like rain, up and out, then down again.

BougainvilleaClose032814The sleep of heavy tired lids on a pot that’s full and overcooked—skim the burn off the top and let the cream of sweetness dream into the moment stillness calling, then we are once more falling into the space of a moment’s grace that holds us all … to pause. Read the tea leaves of the morning and their message is a warning to go among the rocks and breathe their ancient calm … receive.

Hear the sighs of plants around, from high above us into the ground telling of their wisdom reaching far into the heart of what we’re seeking. The listening is what comes mysterious unto the pause. Gifts of healing from the plants and stones and all the energetic tomes unwritten in the human hand but held like dreams within the land as closing our eyes we hear and see the healing of our own mystery that we mistook for penitence is really the whole gift of innocence strung along with beads and feathers, a shaman’s touch, a priestess calls, a heart no more alone … falls.

Among my vision without sight is balance of the dark and light into the chants of ancient voice I hear the gift of truth and choice. We think so much we drown the sound of whispered magic earth caves lush along the squishy forest path where roots abound and fairies laugh.

We think they’re false because we’re blind when all we have to do is find the strength to pull the cloth from off our eyes and there! See! A great surprise! Within the space is twinkling light vibrating on the sacred night, entwined like lovers ever true, the gift of you! Play the flute and call the wind, for here we are upon a land that blesses us with heaven’s gate and all we are is in our own fated ways of journey, travel, hear and see the beauty, love and majesty of all diversity.

Falling off the edge of sleeping where the hawk soars and the bear snores and the cougar stealthy creeps along the very edge of the shores and woods at timberline between reality and the world divine unseen except by those who fly between so easily with their colored skins of rainbow trout and acorn hats that dance about and bring the rain and tumbled stones that soothe the pain of those alone who cannot see or hear.

Rivers flow all around and we can see them, where they’re bound to send us dancing to and fro, a journey where we cannot know. Upon the land is my heart beating, thumping, pause and pound, here is where I’m happily bound, not to go some other place, or transcend away from Gaia’s Grace.

Here, now, present, free, the land is you and me … Unity.

soul vignettes

toes orange tree skyUnder the orange tree … globes … worlds unknown in sweet juicy center …. thorns to keep distractions at bay … open sky to inspire and hold all possibility … upside down … swim in the calm without wave or wake … bare foot upon smooth flow of bark … fruit doesn’t fall on its own … must reach … but not far and the reward is within my grasp.

A house without memory is my childhood … its wallpaper is a patchwork of photos I view into someone else’s life … no emotion swells … no connection dwells in those scattered prints … the past disappears … leaving me settled peacefully in the present moment … writing bits of flotsam to attach to images … re-vision.

Sitting in circle among women who speak … swallowing my words … unable to talk because within my pauses someone else has already spoken … my words become obsolete … rejoicing in their comments, listening … resonating with their measure … yet my voice is out of tempo … at home once more, I write.

The Pause

agaveyellowflowersThe Pause is where I am most at home. This is where we dream our lives into existence, where we gather the tails of all those monkeys that have escaped and swing wildly from jungle vines, chattering incessantly. Breathe. This is where we bring to union the protocols of driving forces and the winsome willows of eternity that don’t fit into a golden egg coveted by society. The Pause comes in many forms and at different times and though seems to be a waste to some is also the bravest embrace we will ever offer to Self and others. Presence. Courage. Gratitude. Truth. Compassion. All are born within the Pause that all life inhales and exhales … the ether that is the background of joy and was never meant to be restricted to the examination of rules and chains and leashes that prohibit freedom of flow from liquid implement that holds the heart in union with mind. Set aside rigidity and control in some areas; set free the ability to read and write without precise form and the flowers will transform, will become more than we can imagine as new creations emerge in a continual cascade of Soul.