One of my highest priorities these days is to live a peaceful life. From painful experience, I’ve learned what stress can do to my small family, and I do my best to keep our inner and outer worlds calm and simple. But sometimes life does not comply. You know how that goes.
For many of these past weeks, I’ve been with a dear friend of mine—on phone time and in real time—sharing with her the painful process of her husband’s dying. Anyone who has ever helped a loved one or friend on that journey knows how deeply such a crossing affects everyone it touches. The sheer physicality of nursing a person into death can take every bit of strength, will, and mind. And then there is the spiritual-emotional process of sitting so close to death. Death changes everything it touches.
I’ve been flying back and forth to be with my friend, while here at home, we still struggle with our house back in Indiana that remains vacant and unsold. All my memories of my enchanted forest in Indiana are becoming tinged with a creeping aura of fear as our financial wellbeing hangs in the balance.
And in both the arena of death, and the arena of financial fear, I know we are by no means alone. I read the papers, and I read most closely the prayers you all send to me for our monthly pipe ceremony. Death shows its face in so many of these prayers: Death of loved ones—animal and human—and death of dreams, peace, peace, security, belief, faith, and even hope.
Yes, yes, I know that death signals the blossoming of rebirth, but the process is just not fun. In the wake of this tension, I find that the larger my fear grows, the easier it is for me to be moved by the smallest of moments: the rustle of a bird wing as it flies off behind my sight; the female robin building her second nest of the season in our carport, gathering dead grasses and bits of dog hair near our front porch; a ladybug perched on a brilliant green leaf; the sound of our dog, plunging into the river after his beloved orange ball; a handful of small cherries picked from the mossy cherry tree in our pasture; the sound of my friend Leslie’s voice over the phone…
I hold on to the healing of these moments, struck once again by the fact that these sweetnesses are so much more tangible and real than the fears and sorrows swirling around in my big, confused, human brain.
My pipe and its work are more real, too. Holding the pipe in my hands, filling the bowl, smelling the tobacco and the smudge—at these times, the world is perfect and calm and at peace. Our ceremony last month took place in a room full of people and drums. After an enthusiastic drumming session that I’m sure woke up the deepest sleeping spirits, we passed the pipe around the room twice, while the smoke turned the room a foggy blue. Already, that strong ceremony is fading into the past as the next Clan Mother steps into the circle to begin her work. Her hame is She Who Heals. I’m waiting for her with breath held. I will not hold back from praying to her earnestly and often in the coming month. She seems so perfect a guide for this point in time.
So once again, I welcome you to send your prayers. Again, I’ll be sitting in our drumming circle, calling down the spirits with our lively sounds, and our humble words. We’ll be sending prayers off to spirit this Saturday night, near 7pm west coast time, if you want to pray with us.
This month, I ask that you might say a prayer for me, too. I would ask that—if it be to the highest good for all concerned—that our beautiful Indiana home find its way to someone who will love it, and who will buy it and make it their own. I ask this in the name of everything scared and holy. And I thank each and every one of you.