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The Presence of Light

November 30, 2012

This week I flew away. I went to surprise my mother in law on her 86th birthday. It wasn’t until the third day of this four-day visit that a sudden awareness surprised and delighted me. I had not had a single thought about the list of requests and tasks fulminating on multiple smart devices. I had, for once, outsmarted them. I was fully present in the moment, as I sat with her, walked in the sunshine, looked for the waxing moon in the night sky, enjoyed a spa-ahh day with my sister in law Susan, or lay in my bed reading a good novel at night.

This peaceful presence brought a deep awareness of the shift from doing to being, which my brother John described as a “slow miracle” as he faced death. I was more mindful of my breath, my body in movement or stillness, the simple gift of companioning with a friend. I felt more purely aware of them and of myself.

Perhaps this gift appeared because I chose to check my tablet and phone only once each evening, and having put an away message on my gmail, I felt guilt-free about this respite. It occurred to me that I could make this choice any time. Here was another sign that once again I must renew my heart’s deep promise to keep a pace of grace in my life and to set boundaries around when and how I respond to messages from others.

Over a late breakfast of grits and strawberries with Susan before we entered the spa, I found myself looking deeply into her eyes. I had just shared the realization that after three years, I still have not completely and fully accepted John’s death. There is so much about him and our relationship of which I am deeply bereft.

Then Susan had what she calls an “epipha-me.” She said, “You know, nothing ever really disappears. That love, that humor, is still right here. We are in a universe of light that never goes away. EVERYTHING is always around us and available for us to illuminate or not.  Like John is glowing around you always--his humor, his smile, all of his essence ...and also your acceptance of his death.  Each "star" (we need to find a better name for our glowy things) can be illuminated by us and as it is, allllll kinds of things are revealed -- like "John" -- everything about him is attached to his glow,  like the virtue of Acceptance. Everything that is needed to "get there" is attached to it. We can choose to grab whatever star is illumined at any time.”

As she spoke, I imagined a bright constellation, moving and alive around us all the time – the stars are the virtues we can reach out and draw into our awareness whenever we choose – the gratitude, the joy, the friendship, the love. Tears of recognition came as Suzi voiced this illuminating truth. It has accompanied me home, and everything looks new and brighter, even with the rain and mist outside our windows. Once again, I remember. We get to design our own lives, every single day.


Author photo
Linda Kavelin-Popov

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