Ace of Cups, Llewellyn Worldwide
There was a time when a traveller, if he had the will and knew only a few of the secrets, could send his barge out in the Summer Sea and arrive.. at the Holy Isle of Avalon; for at that time the gates between the world drifted within the mists, and were open, one to another, as the traveller thought and willed.
~Marion Zimmer Bradley, Mists of Avalon
The October of the 13 Epiphanies In late 2003, I experienced several months of a spiritual and emotional awakening that arrived without any sort of warning. I don't even recall how it began.. there was just a sudden shift around me of these Great Mysteries. A close friend was preparing for the birth of her first child, while my mother lay dying. The days were filled with raw emotion, intense experiences of full-on forgiveness, sleepless nights of writing down the things my soul suddenly needed to express. I wrote letters of forgiveness to everyone I felt had ever wounded me, and although I never mailed them, I know in my heart they were received.
The catalyst had been a brief encounter with a person whose existence was a beacon of light to me in that dark time. This was a man who was a living embodiment of all that he valued in life. He had perfectly aligned his relationships, his work, even the place he called home, with his love of people and for the planet. His kind, generous spirit was then, and still is, one of the greatest examples in my life of what we are here on earth to do. Though our connection was brief, the legacy of what I learned remains.
*** This post is part of a weekly series prompted by the new Next Chapter Book Club featuring the Happy Book. Each Friday Jamie will be asking us what makes us happy, and anyone can participate! ***
Death might seem a peculiar subject for a Happy Friday post, but the event expressed here is the event which divides my life into Before and After. I am a different person than I was before, changed in many deeply positive ways. I think it is that change that makes it possible for me to experience happiness in the now.
Six years ago today, on an altogether different Friday morning, I received word that my mother had passed away. My family and I were all aware that she was nearing the end, yet in our denial had hoped we could each get through our Fridays and gather later to be with her. So while it was not a surprise, it was a shock. It was a door that closed that would never re-open, and no amount of knowing beforehand changes the finality of that door slam. And then I was surprised by the immediate softening, as I sat there holding the phone in my hands, and looking around a busy graphics department on deadline day. Suddenly knowing the pain I had convinced myself I had already felt and grieved, and knowing it to be new. It was the realization that I was living still, breathing and speaking in a world in which my mother was no more. A strange grace followed that moment within minutes. I went from total shock to relief to feeling blessed by my mother. I felt her sudden return to wholeness. I felt held and lifted out of any regrets I had toward the times when I did not handle my mother or her illness well. Although the grace of that early peace has faded, the gifts of that grace were a complete and total healing of my relationship with my mother. I knew in those moments that she now had access to the bigger picture, and as such she knew where I was coming from when I made mistakes. There was forgiveness. I also felt that her awareness of her own earthly fallibility, and that I am not expected to hold her up as a saint, which is something we often do when our loved ones pass on.