Participate with your presence

Most people’s lives are a chain of small acts like eating, walking, working, laughing. What might happen, and how might our lives be different, if we carried out those small acts as if it was the only and last thing we might do in our life? What if every move we made and act we carried out was to find the sacred in all the mundane parts of life? What if we lived our life as though the sacred in all life mattered?

Being present to another person’s decline, illness, pain, and dying means that we persevere and hold still, rather than look away, deny, or dismiss another person’s suffering. Many will not try because they think that they can not make a difference. In their fear, they believe that the only difference worth making is to reverse disease or bring about a miracle that stops death. Love does not ask that we be God, but only that we be present.

To be present means that we need to pay attention, maintain patience, and let go of the security that we believe we know what is right for another person; we use the gifts of our intuition and heart-mind, quieting the chatter and fears of the brain.

Your presence does not have to be extraordinary…it just needs to come back when it has wandered and to stay the course. Your presence needs to continually feed the journey and respond to whatever arises, all the mundane and the beautiful.

3 thoughts on “Participate with your presence

  1. Cyndee Lockwood

    Children and loss………..I was 9 when my brother was killed in an accident, my dad was away as his father had just passed away, and I was home or rather across the street at a birthday party when another neighbor boy ran into the backyard and said: Butchie Vitanza was just killed! I think the world stopped at that moment. I remember a kind neighbor lady waiting at the curb for me and guiding me into the house where my mother was in hysterics (understandably). No one said anything else to me. I think I was just all eyes and ears taking it all in. My brother was my best friend (he was also retarded, 6 years old) and I was his champion.

    I waited to ask our parish priest (we are catholic) why? Why did this happen? Why did he have to die? He gave me a very unsatisfactory answer: it’s God’s will. This left me finding absolutely no meaning in his death and extremely fearful of the Almighty. Was he going to come and get me too? It was Bullbucky. But it took me years to figure it out.

    The following year I lost a cousin to drowning, then my father to illness, then my surrogate father………I could go on…………….I never got a satisfactory answer from any priest. But it wasn’t their fault, they were talking the party line.

    The point I’m getting at is a very strong yes, that children need to be educated about death. They need not be afraid of it. Those that I have seen pass into the next life (and I do believe there is a next life) have left with a smile on their face no matter how tortured their soul might have been in this life (like my own mother). That we will meet again….at least I hope I see my dogs that have gone on before me.

    At some point in a child’s life they are going to loose a grandparent, aunt, uncle, cousin, pet or even a parent, they need to be prepared.

    Lots of wonderful books on dogs going to heaven, get them one, read it, help them understand.

  2. Lani Leary

    Thank you, Cyndee, for sharing your long trail of losses, and the keen demonstration of the emptiness that pat answers leave us with. Adults have more ability to use their experience to sort and build an understanding of loss, but children are keenly in need of vocabulary, structure, and support. We must question “the party line” and find deeper connections and authentic responses that speak to the heart.
    Thank you, too, for the referral to the whole continuity of losses…and the ways that we can reach our children. Of particular interest, is the book “The Art of Racing in the Rain” that speaks to loss and bereavement, especially with beloved pets.

    1. Cyndee Lockwood

      Thanks Dr. Lani, I guess I was long winded when all I really wanted to say was “be honest”. Tell the child in an honest loving way what has transpired, there is no why of it most of the time. I think children just want a simple answer. The most astonishing element that never ceases to amaze me is that one moment you are alive, breathing and in this plane, and the next….not. Poof….gone. Amazing.

      Love, your fan, Cyndee


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