From Death, Life: A Journey Inward

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Inside of every death, door closure, end, we find a beginning.

The paradoxical beauty of life is just that.

Standing at the threshold of yet another passage, I feel full of possibility and simultaneously unsteady as the solid ground crumbles.

Grieving death, I celebrate being reborn.

Losing love, I eagerly await its new form.

Knowing now, as I wise and ripen, that this loss is only the carving of my masterpiece, the falling away of the leaves that must happen to reveal new birth in the spring.

If only ever summer, we know not summer. It is in the cold death of winter that we come to appreciate warmth.

In the pain, we know love.

As Eckhart Tolle says, if there were only blue, there would be no blue.

Sweet death gives life. Sweet loss gives gain.

We must die, my loves, we must die, but only to be reborn.

I think of my Vipassana meditation retreat, where I sat, day, after day, for ten full days, with nothing to do but meditate and meet myself at the deepest point yet. The theme of Vipassana is Anicha, experiencing that everything arises to pass away.

When one sits, with no distraction, one meets sensation on the body. If one does not move or run from that sensation, but bears it, one learns that it goes away.

Thus, the point of meditation, to learn, for yourself, that everything changes. Life is change. Things arise, stay for sometime and pass away. It is one thing to know this intellectually. It is another to sit with it and experience it yourself.

Once we experience this universal truth, with cling less to life. Knowing that nothing is permanent, we suffer less, we flow with the river of life and cling to nothing or no one.

Thus, we are better prepared for life, understanding its nature, letting it guide us, instead of gripping hard with knuckles white.

Vipassana altered my life. I tapped in to a part of myself that once met, can’t be forgotten. Once the unconscious is made conscious, we shall never forget.

It was in that retreat, unable to make eye contact with another, under vow to not speak, not read nor write, that I sank into myself and uncovered my truth.

I remember how it arose in my awareness that day.

There I sat, on the cushion of the dark temple, attempting to decide whether I would go back to my current teaching job, or if I could land a new one in my home town, when the words, enough bubbled to the surface. Enough!

I don’t want to try to decide between two things, I want to let go and be free of it all. That’s my truth.

That’s the deepest truth I’ve met in this lifetime. We don’t need anything. We are sustained by spirit and everything will die, everything will fall away, pretending that I have to have a job isn’t the life I want. Then and there I knew I would walk away and no one would deter me, for I had gone down deep into the recesses of my mind. I had done the work to meet my truth, I was a warrior goddess who walked a noble path, and only I could decide what was right for me. Only I knew my truth.

So here I am, six weeks into my declared retreat from the demands of anyone else. I sit here today, watching the leaves yellow and fall to the earth and I tap into the cycle of this season. It is the letting go. The release of that which no longer serves, a simplification as we head into the womb of winter.

I will emerge renewed in the spring, after all this rest. I celebrate now what I’ve created.

I have resigned from my career after seven years.

I sat in Vipassana meditation for ten days under a noble vow of celibacy, silence and non-harm.

I traveled California, saw Napa Valley, San Francisco and mother ocean.

I moved in with my boyfriend, started couples counseling, got clear on what’s not working and have asked him to move out.

I have started a web-site, launched a blog, and am working on a novel.

I have seen my father for the first time in over ten years.

My sister is pregnant, I will be an aunt soon.

I’ve received regular massage, therapy, and acupuncture to support myself.

All this in only the last five months. Life changes, constantly, even when it seems to stand still.

Looking forward, I can only imagine what I will create in the coming months. By the time we reach mid-winter and the start of the new year, I expect life to look different.

I am moving faster now, claiming, creating and destroying at a faster level.

Whether it’s part of human evolution, the end of the Mayan Calendar, my deep dive into Vipassana, the wheels are turning, the spiral in spiraling, and we are on our way…

I am 3,000 or so words into a fantasy novel for young people. Pulled by the creative muse, I am experiencing deep fulfillment beyond what I have ever known.

To sit at my desk each day and not allow myself to get up until at least 1,000 words have appeared on the page is a thrilling inquiry into the nature of the creative self. I see how I distract myself via emotions. I see how thoughts come up, oh, I should do that laundry. Oh, I need to dust that shelf. It’s no different from meditation, I catch myself, my mind, and I return to the task at hand. I do not get distracted and I do not falter, not until the work is done.

I am a woman of a two degrees who ran a classroom full of kids and I have never worked so hard in my life. The true doing, the true turning toward ones creative self and cultivating discipline is the great love of my life thus far.

I don’t know how often I will blog this fall, I shall see what happens, but know that I am deep in the lonely land of authoring a novel. If I don’t call, I’m writing. If I don’t answer, I am writing. If I don’t write here, well, I am writing.

When I emerge, I shall have a story to share. One that I uncovered by digging in the deep.

Bare with me, my loves, I am dying to give birth,

Rachel, Creative, Claire


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