A year ago today, the winds sang of spring. Rebirth toppled half a maple in my front yard and I woke to the lyrics of “Silent Night.” A soul had passed back into the realm of pure consciousness after a life well-lived as Sue.
I have yet to meet a more remarkable being. I doubt I will. Sue had a way of connecting to Truth that made you feel like you belonged, and everything around you did too. She was the embodiment of divine feminine energy in physical form. It is no surprise that Isis chose her as a vessel to tell her story.
The last time I saw Sue was the last time I traveled to England. She cleared space in her busy day to take Larissa and me to Uffington Castle and Wayland’s Smithy. I had tried to find the white horse during my first trip to England, but had landed in the other Uffington, miles away from my intended destination. Fate, it seems, had other plans for me.
I can say with assurance that my life would not have been the same without having had Sue’s presence in it, even though I knew her for less than a decade. Death, though, does not bring an end to the essence of life and Sue’s presence has not wholly departed. Today, on the anniversary of her passing out of physical form, the dogs drew me outside an hour before they usually do. It was with some reluctance and a fair bit of annoyance that I set down the writing of this post, gathered my coat, gloves, and hat, leashed the dogs and made my way outside into a blustery day much like the one I woke to one year ago.
Instead of turning right, down her favorite path filled with sticks to chew, Rosy pulled me to the left. There, above us, was a falcon dancing across the vast canvas of sky. I have no doubt Sue has managed to keep herself quite busy with her work on the other side, just as she did here on Earth, but somehow she still manages to make an appearance when it is most needed.
When my sister-in-law told me she was taking us to a trail with white rocks, I was expecting boulders maybe the size of a car alongside a mountain trail. The drive from the center of Ojai to Piedra Blanca trailhead is only about thirty minutes. It winds through and up the Lost Padres to more than 3000 feet of elevation, offering spectacular views along the way. The only time we were happy to have rented our red Jeep was when we left the paved roads and navigated the gullies of the dirt road the parking lot. By then I was crying.
Well not exactly, but the mist of joy covered my eyes as I took in the wonder before me. I immediately thought of Montserrat in Spain. Who knew I would find the magic of limestone beings rocks in California a mere three months after reluctantly departing from our brief stay on that magical mountain in Spain? I had a feeling, somehow, Sue must had her wing hand in this one too. I don’t think I was wrong…
Another too-dry landscape awaited us as we stepped onto the trail and began walking towards the limestone rocks that looked more and more like the bleached bones of giants the closer we got. I was, naturally, in heaven. And I was pretty sure I wasn’t the only one enjoying the magic of the land.
And then, suddenly, we had arrived at the playground of gods. An elephant loomed before us in the center. Genesha in white with folded ears and an impossibly long trunk sat above a resting camel in a valley of ghosts. Crevices beckoned eyes to peer; a perfect hideout from rattlesnakes, we kept away (with more than a bit of reluctance on my part) and continued our climb to towards the giants watching us.
Awe and wonder swirled with magic and joy that afternoon as we climbed and explored. We were all kids that day, ranged in age from 6 to 76 among the mountains of gods. Only time held us back from staying until the stars brought the secrets down from the sky. Oh, how I wished…
Still, I could imagine what once was and still could be again. I had no doubt it was once a place of ceremony, open to the sky, lifted from the body of Earth in seemingly impossible forms. Revered for the magic it held and opened to. A place that bore the tough of home. And there was one stone god, at the very least, I had to climb. Ganesha. And as I climbed, joined by my husband, Sue appeared.
It could only have been more perfect if there had been more time to explore, and perhaps a night to sleep under the opened sky. It was a feeling Sue would understand. A place she would have loved. A blessed day indeed.
It is unfair to say she has not visited because my mind had hoped for more. This stubborn mule of expectation impedes the magic of the offerings. If I allow myself to weave the threads she sends through the veil, the tapestry becomes a perfect gift. With each offering, I weave the continuation of our story. She doing the work there, and I here, yet somehow there is no here or there. Only everywhere. Creation ever unfolding its mysteries. This is just what I would expect of my teacher, so why want more?
What I seek becomes our tapestry, and I step back to look at the whole still forming. How beautiful is trust as one reaches for the offering, saying yes, I know the source. I accept the continued mystery. I accept not knowing when the thread will pull the veil apart and ask to be woven in connection. She knows I like puzzles, a fellow seeker of truth. She knows the senses can be wholly alert when allowed to open.
If I tell you it all? What will be left?
The joy is in the journey. Delight arrives when the light of knowing illuminates questions. Life, she reminds, need not be a burden of holding, but the beautiful wonder of stripping bare the wrap of that which is cumbersome.
You can be anything in any moment.
The embodiment of the free soul, allowing. Dropping the pretense of control and letting go. That is why we dream of flight. The soul grows heavy in a body of gravity, but it need not.
Each footstep can be magical.
She knows I have felt the magic of the land. She watched in recognition the homecoming. Knew how the Earth’s secrets whisper to those who open to hear them. Each footstep a chance to peek through the door of wonder. Yes, how could I doubt she would not walk again with me? I see her in the cloak of feathers, weightless when she wants to be. She is laughing with the rocks. She is home, ever-nudging me to find it again.
I have been missing Sue, I’m sure I always will. Some days the pull to feel her presence is stronger than others. The other day, a friend of mine asked if I had reached out to her across the veil. Deliberately parting the veil is not something I do often these days. I have grown weary of the numinous and perhaps a bit distrustful. So many conspiracies and lunacies are now attached to the spiritual communities, yet there are aspects of home that cannot be denied when one steps into the space of silence. I’d like to think I heard her voice, again, in these words who are not just for me, but for anyone who doubts who they are. I share them here with visuals from the wonderful photographers on Pexels, open to individual interpretation…
You are evergreen boughs seeking water
You are a child gliding on a silver kite into the wind, breathless in wonder
You are hope letting go of despair
The wild window of wonder beckoning us back to life
You are beautiful in the essence of self
You are one thousand moments waiting to occur
The slipstream in the current pulling into infinite possibilities
You are life. Precious and uniquely yours to define.
It should come as no surprise to me that Sue would find a way to weave her wisdom into the realm of my dreams. She knew me better than most, and what better place to seed the journey than through the map of the subconscious.
Sue also knew I loved to study dreams. In my weekly journal correspondence I could not help including a dream or two as they always, inevitably, related to waking life experiences. That’s the way dreams work, even though they may appear random and irrational at first glance. There is always a lesson (and usually many) to uncover when one takes the time to delve into their symbolism. Mostly Sue made me uncover them for myself. It seems nothing has changed 🙂
Thankfully, as Sue well knew, I love symbolism. My mind is ever-searching out the meaning hidden below the surface of life. And, to be quite honest, I was surprised and a little dismayed that she hadn’t appeared sooner in the land of my dreams.
It was, alas, a mere cameo… about two weeks ago. I nearly missed her. She came and went so fast from the dream I could have doubted it was Sue if I didn’t know her better. And she uttered just one word: “Jabberwocky.”
You’ve got to be kidding!
No doubt she was chuckling a bit. Fair enough. I do like a good puzzle, and certainly this one was intended to draw me down the rabbit hole…
And as I usually do when messages are cryptic, I asked a few intuitive friends for their thoughts. Each one gave a different answer, but each answer had relevance. I read the poem, more than once, and pondered each possible meaning. Days passed and then another dream came to me. This one per my request.
“Could you give me a message,” I asked her before I fell asleep, “Something, anything, to let me know what you think I should do.”
Instead of “Wonderland,” I was brought to Oz. You, as a reader, no doubt will already be drawing the parallels between the two. Sue is undoubtedly clever. But this was not exactly the Oz of Dorothy’s dream, this was an Oz designed for me. The journey, rich and filled with symbols at every turn I took, took me into a different aspect of something I either had overcome, needed to overcome, or was in the process of overcoming.
When I finally reached “Oz,” I found myself atop a magnificent waterfall. It was a straight down vertical dive from the height of at least the Eiffel tower. A wonderful source of power…then the dream shifted one more time.
Suddenly I was at the bottom of the fall and the water had been replaced by sand (note the parallels to “The Wizard of Oz” movie, as a friend pointed out, and the “sands of time.” Up a ladder I began to climb while the sand poured through the rungs. Using, somehow, only my left hand while my right clutched a stack of books. I hauled those books all the way to the top of that darn latter. Then, looking down far below, I released them. As they scattered into a circular on the ground, a woman appeared and laid in the bare space in the middle one book, The Wizard of Oz, smiled and left. After she left everything else disappeared and I found myself gazing into a sky so vast and beautiful it felt like heaven. Shapes formed out of the clouds, the first and more prominent of which was a lion.
Thank you, Sue. I get it, I think. Mostly. Now to find that courage within. 🙏
Outside my window a falcon calls out his hunt. A screech piercing the too dark morning. It doesn’t feel like summer today. It’s cool and the air is laden with moisture yet to be released. Just now I hear a few fat drops plucking the gutters. They have squished through the membrane of the clouds, which stubbornly wait to release their bounty. I have not felt much like blogging since Sue’s death. Sometimes I even ask myself what the point is to all of this writing about a life perceived through the lens of my eyes.
And some days I wait for the play of her light across my screen, scrolling the darkness to bright. I hover somewhere in the middle most days. The canvas of life fills with vibrancy and shadows. A play of sun and night. Such is the fate of our human existence. This strange world where disorder appears as order and chaos plays with truth.
Yesterday, while hiking together, I told my friend how Sue gave me the ending to my book. But I still haven’t finished it. When she fell ill, I let it sit, mostly, simmering on a back-burner fueled by hope, denial, and everything in between. Now she must know the dedication holds her name and that of the winged being who grasped both our hands and held tight.
She sends me birds and feathers. Signs from Horus and her beloved Raven clan. It couldn’t be more fitting. Three times she grew the light on my screen so that I would not miss the dragons and suddenly I knew where she was waiting for the ending. Of course she knows. How could she not?
Now I am blessed with an ending that feels like chaos and order. Is she laughing? I can see her face filled with the sun. Oh yes, she undoubtably is, but it is a good laughter. Full of mischief and knowing. I try to imagine what time must be like loosened from the confines of the body. Woven like the tapestry of the spider web. Her labyrinth, but also mine.
I follow the lines now, here. She knew that time would come, but how I resisted! It is not England, but it is New England. I don’t always like change. It is with a great deal of reluctance that I release the pull of the old home to find magic in the new. Yet the dragons stir beneath my feet when I walk new paths back to memories that must also be mine. Underneath, the labyrinth joins it all. Invisible, yet visible when the eye opens. The fire quickens the breath and life returns to the place of magic. In these moments the mundane slips into the dull corners of the canvas and sighs with release.
I still weep at least once a day. That is okay. I’d rather the body process and release than trap sorrow.
Each day I open my inbox to see her smiling face framed in a halo of red curls. I click the link to read a memory of her life. It is a gift I sometimes find heart-wrenching, but always soothing. Part of me dreads the day when these posts will disappear. I’m not ready to retrieve the words she wrote for me during our years of correspondence. I am trying not to need them. I am trying to let go of what once was and move into what is.
As my mentor through the Silent Eye School of Consciousness, she taught me about the mysteries of what we call “life.” All those illusions we hold onto that bind the larger truth called “union.” You’d think I’d know better. I stand before my own students and teach union. Together we practice yoga, which translates into “union.” On our individual mats, we move the energy of the body to release what binds, while focusing the breath on what unites. Together, and individually, we create union. Or should I say reunion. Sometimes it is more accessible as a concept than it is to practice.
Knowing that she is now in all things is not yet enough for me to find a steady state of solace. I search out the essence of her that lingers in the words she wrote, reading each post that appears in my inbox. It matters little that I’ve read most of them before. Each one brings a fresh wave of her magic.
This is what I am missing most these days. The magic that felt uniquely hers. We may be sparks of the same light, but through the process of our individuality, this light morphs into personalities that cannot be replicated or mimicked. I have convinced myself she is irreplaceable, and of course she is. It is now that she might remind me that I should not look for a replacement. That this is both futile and unnecessary. She would tell me that she has not disappeared, but everywhere.
It is true. When I walk outside she is the woodpecker calling me home. At night, her love pours out of the curl of the cat nestled into my legs. In all moments of stillness she is the soft dance inside each cell. I am familiar with this transfer of love. I have felt it in other losses. But it is not yet enough.
I imagine anyone who knew Sue is having a tough week. I am no exception. Forgive me for processing my grief so openly. Writing is how I come to terms with struggle and heartache. It is how I come back to myself. I am trying to get there again. Back to the center where peace resides.
Each morning, when I open my inbox, Sue’s name appears. Another post penned in her hand flows her essence onto the screen. For a few moments, she has returned and I find myself wrapped into her landscape. It is with reluctance that I leave the past and move into the day’s reality. Which, basically, has not been great this week.
“I hope you are finding time for self care,” a friend of mine messaged me yesterday.
Grief is a tangle that only the self can unravel. It shuts out the world and one must walk into its darkness alone to explore each knot that binds the path back to light. No one can know these knots, but you. The individual’s own pain body creates them, and thus must set them free.
I am not a master of self-care. I’ve spent the majority of the week caring for others. Tending to my family’s needs, teaching yoga, and covering classrooms in my local middle school. By yesterday afternoon I felt entirely drained. I have only myself to blame. I am not good at asking for help or admitting I need support. I have carried on as usual, and my family has allowed me to. I live with needy beings and balance is upset when “mom” is not okay.
So mostly I pretend that I am okay. I cry when no one is looking. I sink into memories when the house is silent.
It is cold today, as it was yesterday. The sharp bite of the return of winter’s wind reminds me of the Aprils that brought me to Peak District of England. Outside, my frozen fingers pinching laundry onto the line, I remember standing on a hillside exposed to the elements to welcome in the new dawn. I see Sue’s face smiling into mine, her hand pressing the day’s gift into my palm.
Had I known we would only have a brief time together in this lifetime, perhaps I would have altered my role as a caregiver to create more. But, life has a way of creating circumstances that, in hindsight, are more right than they are wrong, even if we would have preferred them to be different. I felt Sue’s hand softly pushing me out of the nest three years ago when I completed my studies with her through the Silent Eye School of Consciousness.
Sue was, as those who knew her are aware, both ready to leave her earthly form, and reluctant to do so. Sometimes, during her illness, I would cope with this impending loss by imagining how Sue would return to me, and others. I’d see her form in the shifting clouds. Her spirit drifting into my dreams. I’d hear her voice guiding me through obstacles. Feel her hand, nudging to find the magic in the wild places.
Now that she has passed, I find mostly doubt and emptiness. I found myself wondering if my fantasies had any value but to deny this inevitable cycle of life and death. Each journey, as Sue taught, must ultimately be walked alone. Teachers can enter our lives for a period of time, but we have no control over how long. They are there to guide, but not take over the journey. When we become too attached to the hand, we become dependent upon it. In turn, we neglect the inner light that persists inside of us. And we doubt that it is all we need to connect to the light that surrounds us.
Maybe by tomorrow, or many not until several tomorrows, I will find my way back to that place. It is here, I know, that she will be. In that soft, quiet place that weaves into unity.