If we try and mandate Love,
We will create apathy.
When we demand kindness,
We will receive grievances.
Nothing holy comes from fear.
Love and kindness evolve from seeds:
Freely shared, happily planted
Joyously extended and reciprocated
One day; we will choose to create from love instead of reacting to fear.
One day; we will awaken in paradise.
You matter to me.
For you are me and I am you.
Our interaction no matter how short in time,
is a part of our learning journey.
We will depart changed in thought from when we met.
Even if just by one stitch.
When I look at you,
And you look at me.
We will note the colour of each other’s skin, the clothes we wear.
There is no good, bad or anything in our pigments or our garments:
Only in our judgments.
My life, my journey, my learnings.
Your life, your journey, your learnings.
Will we share or will we opine and discriminate.
Your smile and open heart, my smile and open heart.
This is the foundation of relationships.
Every meeting, every moment:
This is where change occurs.
If we put a wall between those hearts,
Then our fear will grow.
If we trust without barriers,
Then our love will expand.
Until we forgive the stories of our past:
We will carry the weight of our ancestral battles into tomorrow.
The heaviness of victimhood, guilt and shame.
Until we correct any negative narratives in our thoughts:
We will hold our differences in contempt.
We will find exactly what we went forward seeking.
Go forward seeking only love from every encounter;
And you will be rewarded with love.
Seek to do battle and do not be surprised when you find one.
Before you go out on your adventure into the world:
Choose wisely the treasures you are seeking.
Every once in a while I find myself compelled to throw some thoughts out to the world. This is one of those once in a while moments. It’s about Love, death and judgment.
A little over two weeks ago I was at work enjoying my lunch in the sunshine when I got the call. The call from someone that went through hoops to track me down. Someone who knew how close I was to Josh (not his real name). When he informed me of Joshes sudden passing the night before I was in shock to say the least. I was not expecting that, it was not the narrative I had created for Joshes life.
My relationship with Josh was complicated. Actually, that’s not true. I think when it comes to love in its purest form we had something special. We had no conditions, no judgments, no desires and for the most part no guilt. There was no history and no blame. It was all of 10 months and began with us meeting and having an instant connection. It ended, well, that is what this confused written piece is all about. How did it end?
I would describe Josh and I as close friend soul mates, step mother, step son- but not really. Josh was 19 years younger than me. He was mourning the loss of his Mother amongst other things when we met. His Mothers name was Wendy. That right there, even more than age will tell you it didn’t matter where the relationship might go, there was one place it would not go. God had placed us together for something else.
Initially he gave me the role of teacher and counsellor- At least that appeared to be the dynamics. – A little spiritual life coaching. He was reaching out for help. He was not only struggling with the loss of his Mother, Josh was also struggling with drug addiction and breaking up with the love of his life. Whilst you conjure up your own ideas of what a drug addict looks and behaves like, I promise you Josh will not fit the image in your head. He looked and behaved on the surface like the wholesome looking always smiling healthy, mischievous boy next door. The one you might want your daughter to marry. Regardless, he was struggling and wanted so desperately to be clean.
For the most part, Josh had all of the knowledge, tools and gifts needed to to carve out an amazing life. What he did not have was that connection from his heart to his mind. He either ran on ego, or he ran on an open heart. The open heart would get crushed or the ego would destroy him. He knew only two ways to live. Wide open and vulnerable – Or run, crash and burn.
Spending so much time with Josh, I was amazed by his lack of concern about the optics. I was this older woman he was seen with all over this small town. Walking, shopping, having coffees and going on drives. Movies, dinner. It didn’t matter, Josh never made me feel he wanted to be elsewhere. He had this amazing beautiful quality. I found myself wanting what Josh had. This unique ability to openly embrace the people in and around his life in the present moment. I wanted to learn how to remain present. To not be concerned what others around might think. What used to frighten me about societal judgment was losing its grip on me. Because of Josh I was learning to follow my heart and not my head in situations that used to make me uncomfortable. I told him my heart would say to hug someone but my ego told me not to. I saw in his actions that following the way of love was always the right response.
For the ten months that I knew him, Josh and I got together or spoke almost everyday. Oddly for me it was not suffocating. That was another unexpected gift of our relationship. We had a bond that was emotional, intellectual and spiritual. We talked about anything and everything without fear. No control, no judgment. I did not go home feeling energetically depleted. I began to wonder how much of my suffocation with people in the past had to do with unconsciously protecting, hiding and trying to be what I thought they wanted me to be. Josh was teaching me how to interact by just being me.
Which brings me back to the day May 6th when I had been told of Joshes passing. I was in shock and I cried like a baby. I left work and cried all afternoon. I spoke with the hornet flying around my living room and called him Josh. I was under the impression it was an overdose and I let that hornet know I was angry, lost and heartbroken. Until the next day when I heard different, when I was told it was a heart attack. And then I was done. I had no tears left. And for the most part, from that day on, I have not felt empty and sad. I have questioned how could I have loved him and not be feeling sad? I miss him, but I have kept busy. Not to avoid facing the void, but because I am feeling empowered. I feel a resurgence of me. A new life, new inspiration.
This is not about losing a close family member, for sure that is different. He may not have been in my life for very long. But as far as my life in Brockville is concerned, he was my best and only close friend. I chose that. So why don’t I cry anymore? Why do I not feel sadness? Josh had a huge impact on my life. Maybe if Josh had died from an overdose I would still be crying. But he didn’t. It was his heart, God took him. Which complicates my thoughts even more.
The last couple of months he was doing so well. I was watching the tides of change. He was handling life with a sense of purpose and confidence I had not seen from him before. His conversations were more often about joy and goals than they were about struggles. He was taking the lead in the direction of his life, no longer asking what he should do. Instead he was telling me what he was doing and why. He was becoming aware of his thought processes and avoiding the negativity that would send him spiralling towards using. He was feeling so much empathy towards others, aware of their needs. It was so promising and exciting to see the transition. Even more amazing was the clarity of his thoughts. He was connecting his heart and mind and challenging me when I was off balance. The answers he was providing me for complex choices had such wisdom.
I called it Agape, a Higher Love. I think our journey was spiritual in nature from the beginning. I thought I had a purpose in helping him find the strength and faith to overcome his dark shadows. I wanted to see him go on to do the great things I knew he had in him. If the journey however, is the evolution of our soul. Our lessons, our learning to love, our search for truth. Our connection to source and connection to others. Then I like to believe Josh found that connection to source. I like to believe he filled that giant hole in his stomach. I don’t weep because love wants connection, peace and joy. I think he finally found it.
Maybe deep down I knew we would eventually drift apart. There were no chains on our friendship. It was so beautiful in how free and balanced it was. We held immense gratitude in our hearts for each other, but I think somewhere, there was the knowledge it was for a season.
I believe every life, every connection is for a purpose. I couldn’t understand for all of the times Josh had almost died, why when it looked like he was getting it together he was taken from this world. I thought his life was going to be grand. We talked about all of the wonderful things available to him. His light was shining bright and his future was looking even brighter. Apparently the light he was seeing at the end of the tunnel, really was the brightest light of all.
Josh evolved beyond me and I love that. I am no longer sure of what purpose I served. But I do know what knowing Josh has done for me. He was in my life to teach me about love. Living in the present moment now has meaning to me. I don’t have to be anything for someone else. I don’t have to promise tomorrow for someone else. I just have to be present in love in the moment. Whatever choices and promises I make in that moment, if I pay attention to my highest self, those will be the right things to do. I need not offer more and I must not offer less. That is freedom. Josh is with me forever. The gifts he gave me in his presence that do not change. I think of Josh every day. I don’t cry: I feel peaceful, grateful, worthy and loved. In the GPS he provides me from above I hear him. Be present in love Wendy, be present in love. I love how the student became the master teacher. I love how love never ends.
Even as I write this I question whether or not it should be shared. Sometimes the greatest lessons come from the most humiliating or deepest of wounds. While I grew up learning to keep everything to myself, I now see the value in sharing. Soul truths are what I call my lessons that come from revelations. Huge, life changing revelations. These are lessons that leave me in awe and strengthen my faith. I am never able to accurately put them into words but I always feel a need to try. I am amazed at how a change in thinking and perception allows me to see the powerful truth on the other side of a burning bush.
40 Days ago I had a colonoscopy, yes the world does need to know this. It was not my first, it was actually my 4th in as many years- I am special that way. I had met with the Doctor on December 4th, we discussed scheduling my next one and whether it should be sooner or something we might delay for a bit. I voiced a concern, an unfounded fear I had based on a chance meeting with someone about 6 weeks prior. The woman I had met had just battled rectal cancer and was now living with a colostomy. I had felt a very strong connection with this woman and she had popped into my head the day before my appointment. I had a small concern, It was a little thing but the good Doctor agreed I could book for next available appointment.
Next available turned out to be February 5th, two months away. I asked the receptionist to call me if there were any cancellations. You must understand, I do not do such things, but my intuition dropped that thought in my head and I listened. Later that day I got a call from the Doctor’s office saying there was a cancellation for the following Monday, December 11th. I believe this is where writers use the term- As fate would have it. For no other reason than a feeling, I took it as a gift.
The day of the procedure I had decided I was going to try to quit smoking. Knowing I was going to have to go a few hours without a cigarette it just seemed right. As I stood outside the hospital puffing in the cold at 8:30 on a Monday morning, it hit me I had been smoking for 40 years. Logically there are a plethora of reasons not to smoke, but emotionally I just needed one to keep smoking. This was my best friend, the love I always ran to. Happy, sad, devastated or elated. Every emotion I ever encountered was shared with a cigarette, we ran away together and we were chained together. This day however, I felt there was a chance that with a little help from the universe, I might finally break free from my partner in crime. My partner who always kept me down, but was always there for me.
I was trying to tell them thank you and I love you. It was the only part of the dream I could remember. Everything else was evaporating. It was there on the tip of my brain and then it was gone. As I awakened from the anesthetic, the dream just prior, I thought I was screaming “Thank you, I love you.” They found it! How could I know “IT”was there, and under anesthetic how could I know to be grateful? Thank you and I love you. They don’t hear me, they keep talking. I say it again, I just want to tell you how grateful I am, thank you and I love you. Then I hear them say she is waking up.
I was feeling great joy. Although I only had a few words that I managed to retain from being under anesthetic, the feeling of joy was so intense. Was this an out of body experiance I had? Even if I was partially awake, why am I feeling so elated? Anesthetic usually makes me cry or groggy. A nurse came by and asked me if I was claustrophobic? Very, I replied, why? She said they may be booking a CT scan. I was not surprised or frightened, just curious.
The Doctor came to see me, they found something and it was not a good thing. She explained how it was in an awkward spot that was difficult to get to. How on some people she would never have been able to move the scope in such a way as to have seen it. What she found was a villus adenomous lesion that had to go. It was fairly large at 3.5 cm and she was only able to biopsy the outside edges. She had called in another Doctor to look and they had concerns about touching the middle and impacting someone’s ability to remove it. She added that even if it was not cancer at this stage, it was very likely to become cancer. It was so flat she was unable to remove it. Unlike my other ones in the past which were pre cancerous, this one was nastier and would possibly require surgery. This was my big unfounded fear. The surgery carried a strong possibility of a colostomy. Why had that beautiful woman I had met popped into my head and why was I so anxious to have this colonoscopy done early. Oddly, as the Doctor spoke of cancer, surgery and colostomy I was not feeling fearful. It was that dream I had awoken to in recovery. That joy and elation. Why was that subconscious me so incredibly happy? It’s like subconscious me knew that nasty had to be found early and then everything would be okay.
The next few weeks things proceeded quickly. The Doctor had mentioned Putting in a request for an MRI but they were backed up so she was not overly hopeful. I ended up being booked for December 27th which from what I have heard seemed lightening fast. She mentioned the biopsy would be a couple of weeks so with Christmas in there I would probably not know until the New Year. The results came early and due to a cancellation at her office I was able to meet the Doctor before Christmas to hear that the outside of the lesion was benign. She also mentioned a Doctor in Oakville that may have some ideas and possibly even be able to remove it endoscopicly. She said she would speak with him. The news just kept getting better.
January 2nd, the world just back from holidays I received a call first thing in the morning from a Doctors office in Oakville. I was being booked for a procedure January 12th. The paper work I received said I was having a flexible sigmoidoscopy. This procedure was used to examine, biopsy or remove a polyp. I asked the receptionist what the intent was and about the MRI results, she was unable to help and said I had to call my other Doctor. I did that, I called the other Doctor only to get a voice message stating they were closed until January 8th. I laughed a little that I had this thing booked and did not know what the plan was. I assumed it had to do with the MRI results, were there lymph nodes? Was there a reason to do another biopsy? How adhered was this lesion, were they going to look and see if they had any ideas on how to remove it without surgery? I graciously accepted I would just have to wait until the 8th to find out why this procedure was being booked. The fact that things were happening gave me peace. I knew this Doctor In Oakville, he was a like a colon specialist, he removed my previous ones that were outside of normal. This however was not a little Sunday drive precancerous polyp, it was a nasty little leech that had to go.
The next day, Tuesday I received another call from the Doctors office. They had a cancellation for Friday January 5th, they would like me to take it. I said yes but would somebody be able to tell me when I get there why I am having this done? What is the intent and do they have the results of my MRI. None of this is a complaint, it was curiousity. I was so grateful with how quickly things were moving, it was all so out of the ordinary and surreal.
So January 5th I am at the hospital and I meet with the Doctor. He does not know the results of the MRI but he assures me I am in the right hands and there will be no colostomy on his watch. I fall in love and call him my Angel. We discuss the procedure, he is going to look and possibly remove the lesion. Seriously? He might remove it? Today? We decide I will have it done without sedation as I am going to see The Killers in concert that night with my Daughter, nieces and nephew. This was a birthday gift I had been waiting 4 months to go to and the sedation would have placed a damper on it. This is all crazy.
They wheel me in. The nurses are surprised I am not being sedated and suggest an IV just in case. The Dr. says not to worry, I have met her before and she is tough. Well, I don’t want to disappoint my Angel Dr. who I am now elevating to ArchAngel, so I laugh and say I will be okay. I watch on a very clear tv screen as they begin. I know there are 3 people staring at my butt or at their own monitor showing the inside of my butt. I get a little worried about the no sedation when the DR says “Oh that is big”. My beautiful Archangel Dr. Was chatting away saying there will be no bag for you young lady. Did I tell you I fell in love with him?
Now I understand why people get sedated for this procedure. I think they told me there are no nerves in this area so I will not feel any pain from the scope. It can however, be very uncomfortable having your colon expanded by gas. Okay, yes that was quite uncomfortable but I think they should have told me I want the sedation to help with my loss of dignity. When they blow gas in, eventually it must come out and lord love a duck, it comes out sounding like a Harley Davidson on full throttle and lasting longer than an academy award speech. Thankfully I have a sense of humour because I believe I was orchestrating my own Killers concert in that tiny little room. But within 20-30 minutes it was over. Dr. Arch, Arch Angel had removed a lesion that was now 5 cm. It had grown 1.5 cm in 3 weeks.
My original colonoscopy date was February 5th. A gut feeling, some intuition and 3 cancellations later I walked out of the hospital on January 5th knowing I had just dodged a bullet or tip toed through land mines. Fate never looked so real to me. I carried that joy and gratitude from that dream on December 11th and believed that this was happening for me and not to me. I believed for the most part that everything was going to be okay, that somehow this would end up being a gift.
39 days ago ( the day after the discovery of the lesion) I found myself immersed in chaos at the office. Blindsided, completely off guard and out of the blue. It was ugly, it was frightening and bewildering. I am human so of course there was the immediate glare to the sky followed by the knee jerk WHY ME GOD! There was plenty of material at hand. Victimhood, anger, resentments. I was steadily making my way to the pity party of all pity parties, after all I have been through, I felt entitled. It was an everything moment, my ego was basking in the opportunity to get me back under its spell. Teetering on the brink, there you are my little precious, we will drop this crazy love, trust and surrender stuff and we will take you down the glorious path of vindication. We will get that sword back in your hand and ready you for battle.
I could have, I did start to suit up. I started to defend and hurl words back in anger, contempt and fear. It was the fear of course, even seeing it for what it was, I still could not control my emotions and my actions. Infinite Courage, do the next right thing, live from core not from ego. All the things I teach and know, all the tools were right in front of me yet as I picked them up it was like I had never held them before. My ego was being crushed and I was being dragged through the mud. I knew what doing the next right thing was, but I could not see ahead to the result that would satisfy me from any turn the other cheek forgiveness actions. I could see two people trying to punish each other when the reality was they had no control. Decisions from the past were blamed for creating this unforeseen and unsettling turn of events. He said and she said. Why do we humans always reach into the past for punishment. Why must all decisions that don’t turn out the way we want, require punishment. It was ugly and I had some moments I am not proud of. But also from this fire came some of the most powerful moments of grace I have ever witnessed.
Two people reliving a nightmare from their past. Two people who were previously so unfairly hurt and victimized now going into battle against each other. Both perceiving a different cause, a different view and a different solution. Neither one budging, neither one able to understand the other side. Perception! A difference in perception was all that stood between reconciliation and Armageddon. For me the AHA moment came. They say you will continue to live a lesson until you get it right. This extreme chaos is not something I wanted to live anymore. I had to find what doing the next right thing looked like. I had to put an end to this Groundhog Day movie. I shared this thought but it was not accepted. I put together a plan where I thought everybody won, but it was not accepted. I then spent two weeks trying to sell my plan or at least try and get my side of the story across. It was not accepted. There was only one answer, only one way this nightmare was going to proceed. The only option was non negotiable and already in play. It was his option and that was all.
I twisted and turned and meditated and yes I prayed. I asked every morning for strength to do the right thing and came home every night knowing I failed. We were both in the right and both in the wrong but neither was inherently bad. Until finally one day, in a moment of exasperation I sat still and surrendered. In the silence of my mind I asked for the words, what needed to be said? Forgiveness was all I heard. And as I told him I forgave him I knew I needed it too. Everything changed, the energy changed and all of the weight I did not even realize I was carrying left my body and soul instantly. I was free.
The right thing was not for me to force my will. I may have thought I had the perfect plan that was made with good intentions. But the right thing in this instance was for me to accept and walk away. The reason was not mine to know. The lesson however was acceptance, trust and surrender. I have no idea how many times I hit the brick wall before I got that lesson right. I was now free, and truly, for me, my happiness would only come with freedom.
So in 40 days and 40 nights I sailed through some pretty turbulent waters. I did not know where I was going but I always felt I would get through it. I had tremendous faith. My biggest fears never played out in the manner my mind preconceived. The what if’s never happened, and those nasty things I teach are happening for us and not to us. Hell yes they were! There is no amount of money that could have given me as much happiness as the freedom to live my own life again. I had not loved my business for over 8 years, maybe even a decade. The weight and responsibility was too much. I was a creator not a manager. An ideas person not an administrator. I could not love it and it was keeping me from being happy. My ego tried to keep me there, like I should be ashamed in saying this is not where my happiness lies.
After 40 years I quit smoking 40 days ago. I had every excuse in the world to put it off and pick one up. But I had one reason that kept me from doing so. I realized the most loving thing I could do in all the chaos was to love and do something for me . I was to learn to face life without running. I was to learn that faith can get you through anything. I don’t know what tomorrow brings, does anybody? I still have some results of the biopsy and MRI to hear about. I still have to go through some trying and difficult closures with the business. Whatever, neither of those issues own me anymore. Truly all we have is now and right now I want to live this New Year like I have never lived a year before. I want to be healthier than I have been in years. I want to go out more, write more and learn more. I want to laugh and dance without reservation. I want to build a new career that I love, hopefully healing and writing and workshops. Above all, I want to keep working on understanding this gift of life. This spiritual journey is so beautiful and abundant. Every time I operated from a place of acceptance, kindness, trust and faith, the results that followed were joy, awe and love. It does not get any better than that.
Seek beauty, always!