I was visiting yesterday when she told me someone had just given her new business cards. Really? My mind went to the book, Final Journeys, I just read in which the author explored the importance of denial and how, as a hospice professional, she is reluctant to remove this crutch from folks. But really? New business cards? My friend has two or three, maybe four, weeks to live. And then she showed me the card. Simple and white with the delicate image of a bamboo leaf and three words.
My friend was by now exhausted and it was time for me to leave. Our visits are never long enough. As she stood to hug me our eyes met, filled with tears. This moment. This merging of souls. This breath. This touch. Right here and right now. It is all we have. And it is enough.
There are many arguments on both sides of Scottish independence. In an hour-long video interview speaker, author, and visionary Hugh Gilbert argues for the reclamation of Scottish heritage. Especially the mystical spiritual traditions and divine feminine roots. There is much rich history shared in the video. Including the origins of the sword dance.
I always had the picture of young women dancing the swords. But in fact, according to Gilbert, it was only the men, only the warriors, and only in bare feet that the swords were danced. Some say they were danced only on the eve of battle, but when is less significant than why.
Dancing was a demonstration of a warrior’s alignment with the divine harmony. He had to be in sacred balance before he could pick up the sword at the end of the dance. He had to be in right relationship with the sacred before he could go into battle. On the eve of Scotland’s referendum for independence, may they find such balance and harmony.
The weather was generally sunny and warm for my month in Ireland this summer. But the second day it poured. Undaunted we continued with our plans to walk the lanes and stone walled fields of Inish Óirr, the smallest of the Aran Island. But by the time we were standing on the pier for our ferry back to Doolin my shoes were soaked. And they squished for days. I vowed to get dry footwear, water proof this time not water resistant.
I just ordered what I hope will suit the rains and bogs of Ireland travel and have been monitoring their arrival through the FedEx tracking system. Well, whether they prove to be the rain shoes I’m looking for they are certainly traveling shoes. They left Los Angeles and arrived in Kent, 30 miles north of here. They left Kent the next day and headed to Portland Oregon, 200 miles south of here only to return the next morning to DuPont, 20 miles south of here. They left DuPont two days ago at 6:44 am. It’s a half hour drive to our house. Who knows where they are. In the scheme of things it’s not a big deal and I have no doubt they will arrive although I do shudder at the carbon footprint these shoes are accumulating and they haven’t even flown to Ireland yet.
Reflecting on the notion of hurrying this just strikes me as so metaphoric. Rushing around as we do. Totally bypassing the destination as we do. Following some grand plan or schedule that may or may not make sense. But we zoom along….
She told the story of an encounter between an Irish fisherman and an American. And of a collision of pace. The Irish man slow and deliberate. The American all about places to go and things to do. When the American suggested that perhaps the fisherman could hurry up the man replied, “Oh now, I don’t have time to hurry.”
I don’t have time to hurry. A powerful statement made all the more so because the woman who told this story is dying. She has perhaps months and more likely weeks in this life. Her journey of transition has been one of acceptance, grace, and intention to appreciate and enjoy each day. We just took a walk through her neighborhood to a nearby café. As trite as it sounds we took our time to enjoy the gardens, to admire the flowers, to smell the bushes of lavender and thyme…and yes the roses. In living each day and each moment she doesn’t have time to hurry.
After cautious assessment I will occasionally pick up a hitchhiker. In our rural community there is no public transportation and walking to the nearest bus stop would take all day. However this morning I had Ema in the car with me and her policy is more absolute. Absolutely no one she doesn’t know is welcome within five feet of the car and even those she does know will get a warning growl. And she puts the full weight of her 113 pounds and guardian dog nature behind her assertion of this policy.
So, as we were driving slowly through a local village, when I saw a woman standing on the side of the road dancing with her thumb out I knew we wouldn’t be stopping. When she realized I wasn’t slowing down to pick her up the hitchhiker stepped into the road to spit on the car. I swerved to miss her and watched through the rear view mirror as she stood in the middle of the road her whole body engaged in a rage of gestures. If she was dancing, she was dancing with demons.
I believe, I know, that we are all born with a Divine Light. This encounter was a profound reminder that for some the Light is pretty dim if not extinguished altogether. And I thought of those who are enraged by pain and anger to a point of violence – to a point of war. So many people dancing in the dark.
When we pray for the Light of Peace, we pray that flame will burn within each of us.
Spirit of Peace To your cause I give my strength That love will reign and war will cease Aum Shanti Aum