There is this really cool thing that seems to happen with some level of consistency. The Universe delivers exactly what I need or who I need at just the right moment, to ensure that I do not have to suffer a crisis of faith. Doesn’t this happen to you? Don’t you love it when it does?
For many years, for more than a couple of decades in fact, I was in a position of clarity. I knew with a sense of certainty that I was in the right place doing the right thing. I loved my work and I felt an overwhelming sense of being loved at work. It sounds strange, I know, but if you believe that what goes around comes around, well… that was my truth. I loved what I did for a living and I adored and respected the people with whom I served. Over time, things changed and the joy and the love were not as clear… and the Universe delivered a message which I could no longer ignore. It said to me, “Melissa, now that you’ve got this whole self-love thing in the bag… you don’t need to keep a job that no longer serves your spirit for the purpose of validating your self-worth. It is time to seek and fulfill your life’s purpose.” And then the Universe, which can sometimes be an asshole, left me hanging with no immediate clue as to what the purpose might be. But I’ve learned a thing or two over the years about being patient, paying attention, and that purpose was slowly revealed to me… one miraculous clue at a time.
What I can tell you about this discovery is that even when it seems obvious that the correct path has been revealed, one can still have moments when clarity is lost and the struggle of insecurity and self-doubt creeps back in. Self-doubt is an old nemesis from my days of self-loathing, and though it has been cast out it continues to lurk on the outskirts of my existence, threatening to return with all of its darkness to try once again to snuff out my light. But alas, the Universe, not always an asshole, tends to step in just in the nick of time to deliver a booster shot of confidence to bolster the new paradigm that supersedes that former false belief of limited potential.
Today I received a text message from a dear friend I’ve not seen in several months. “Hello. You up for a couple visitors tonight?” And so it was that our months of unintentional separation were ended, and the three of us were reunited with a warm embrace. I hadn’t realized how much of my personal evolution was missing from my friends’ awareness. I’m pretty much an open book in the world of facebook, so even my mother’s friends know what I’ve been up to, but I guess I can’t expect everyone to be checking in on my shared revelations through the world of social media. Reflecting on more than 20 years of friendship, with most of that time seeing me in the same job with not much to report, I have probably been more of an inquirer and a listener for most of our acquaintance. I love to know how friends have been faring and receive updates on the growth and progress of their children, and if they still love or hate their jobs, or how they are overcoming obstacles. If I ever perceived myself having obstacles, it wasn’t very likely that I would want to ‘burden’ others with the details, and more than likely, I was in denial about having any obstacles in the first place. Our friendship dove to new depths several years ago when he went through divorce. Oddly, we both experienced a sense of betrayal and our friendship grew stronger through sharing the darkness through which we each struggled, and celebrating our individual journeys back into the light. This experience, I believe, created a sense of kinship which invites deep connection, even when our time together is sparse.
When he and his girlfriend arrived, I was delighted to see them both, and we began discussing a topic about which I had inquired through text message about a week ago. He is a branding genius, and I have found myself in the uncomfortable position of self promotion. If you were to scroll down to my very first blog post, you would understand that I wrote a book earlier this year, and that a publisher had replied with intrigue, but required that I create a following and inquire again. I’ve only been doing this writing thing since November, so the fact that I sat down and wrote a book from start to finish, with a complete table of contents that wrote itself and then allowed the systematic completion of each chapter within two months was pretty astonishing on its own… but now you want me to write a blog… and create a following? Craziness! And now, I’ve become a recording artist, having professionally produced my first guided meditation and published it through cdbaby, which released last week… and now that needs to be advertised through social media, too? Until a few weeks ago, I had nothing more than a single page on facebook. Now I have a whole host of sites that require titles, user ids and passwords… but now what do I do with them?! Sigh…
So, that was how our conversation began. What I found as I was explaining my needs and concerns was that somewhere in the fray of daily overwhelm, which comes with scrapping your entire former identity and seeking, developing, and solidifying a new one, I felt kind of unsure of where I was going. The gift from the Universe arrived as our conversation continued. He wanted to know what else I had been doing, you know… besides the blog… and I told him about the book I wrote about my journey from self-loathing to self-loving, and I told him about the meditation released last week, and how I had designed a series of meditations to correspond with the chakras, and oh, yeah… I’ve started writing another book based on my studies to become an end of life doula, and how it is a sister to the previous book. Now, the recordings interested him, because he is also a musician – a collaboration, perhaps, and because he has ‘maximizer’ in his top five strengths, he was able to rattle off a list of ideas, each met with my already written plans for such endeavors. Each time another piece of my story was ready to unfold, I would pull out something I had written which could explain where I’ve been and how I’ve gotten this far with great detail and eloquence.
All of these pieces coming together were affirming. Perhaps I haven’t been wasting my time, after all. Maybe I am on a path toward future success and happiness. But it was in the conversation about end of life studies that we deeply connected, tonight. His thoughts mirrored my own, about the way that the end of life is a natural part of living, and it seems a shame that it is feared rather than revered. It was funny how he would make a statement about his wishes, and how mine were similar and already written down within the early pages of this new book. All three of us want to be cremated rather than buried, and no open caskets. He and I both, if we are given a deadline, wish to have a living wake before we go… because neither of us would want to miss a great party. I talked about what I had learned from my studies about finding peace before departure. The five things required for relationship completion, as listed in the book Dying Well by Ira Byock, M.D. are this: I forgive you. Forgive me. Thank you. I love you. Good bye.
For my departure, if there is time to plan, I would want a gathering place with comfy seating and dim lighting, with the magick jukebox set for random play, to ensure a lovely mix of Fleetwood Mac, Loreena McKennitt, and KIVA (just to name a few of my favorites). He and I would both want to have enough time to connect with each person in our lives… and I affirmed his request with a plan for each discussion. Aside from the ‘five things’, we would each tell each other what we recall about our first meeting and about a moment in our shared history when we made a difference in each others’ lives. It was not difficult for me to pull up these moments, and since we never really know how many days we have remaining, I leaned over and took his hand and told him, “When I first met you, your hair was down to your shoulders, and I thought you were absolutely amazing.” And, “One of the times you made a real difference in my life was on that one terrible, horrible no good day, when the rug was yanked from beneath me, and I felt as if my world was tumbling down.” As I cried on the phone to my Mom, her response was to have me hang up so she could call my Tribe. The call she made was to his wife (at the time), and though she was tied up with a work commitment, she reported that HE was on his way, and would be there soon. And he was… he arrived within the hour bearing cone cake from the local Chinese bakery. I can’t recall exactly what he said to me, as we consumed our sponge cake made with rice flour, but whatever it was… it was exactly what I needed to hear. Of everyone who had offered support that day, it was his presence and his words that brought me peace. I could name a hundred other moments when his friendship and devotion really wowed me, but I think I’ll save that for couch time when one of us is preparing for departure, forty years from now.
I shared with my friends the alternative plan for my departure, which will be executed should I not have time to plan, and read to them the words that I plan to record to be played at my parting ritual. And as they prepared to head home, we hugged a little bit tighter, a little bit longer, and once more for good measure. And as I’m sitting here, committing this memory to the ether, I am taken aback by the realization that should I die tomorrow, I will have made manifest one of my dying wishes… to be able to share with someone who made a difference in my life the glorious reflection of his divine being. If he didn’t recall that awful day on which he brought me such comfort, I hope that he will remember THIS day, and what a blessing we are to each other. His enthusiasm for my writing and my work elevated my confidence level, and enabled me to sit down and share words that may inspire, or at least help someone fall asleep.
I’d love to hear about your end of life wishes, if you’d like to share. And in case you’d like to travel with me through meditation, you can acquire a copy of “Release the Warrior Within” at cdbaby or iTunes (see links below). I’ll figure out this self-promotion thing, eventually. Love, love, love…
(a manifestation candle made with my friends’ wishes for my 49th year)