Each New Year's Day I can't help but think of Florence. Her and her family brought so much into my life, and into the lives of many. These flowers were scattered new year's day into the Gulf of Mexico in the same place Florence and her husband's ashes were tossed. It's a ritual her daughters and son-in-laws, and once myself, perform each year about this time. I feel so honored to have been included.
For 25 years, along with whatever else I was doing, I did end-of-life care for over 30 people in Seattle and on Vashon Island. Florence was my last hospice client. I almost didn't take the job. It seemed very short term and not many hours. At least at first. I ended up caring for Florence for 7 1/2 years. And she took care of me, too. She showered me with love. You never know when you take on a job what it will bring, and this job was one of those that at the beginning I could have had no idea what gifts would be opened up. And they keep opening.
Every day of ours lives is like that. Last night at a friend's for New Year's Eve, Kevin asked each one of us to share a decision we had made in the last year and what that decision meant for us. It was amazing to hear what people shared. And today as the new year begins I have been reflecting on some of the smallest decisions I have made and what results they have brought. They are like Russian dolls, but beginning with the smallest, the result of the decision gets bigger and bigger as the ramifications unfold.
Of course one of them was the decision to go to a Peruvian mysticism community outreach meeting on a day when I was sick and and at a time when I didn't travel off Vashon Island very much. That was where I met Bill. Two months later I realized I was in love, and three months after that we were married. As cliche as it sounds, the day we married was the happiest day of my life to date, though truly, I have had so many days with Bill that have been nearly as equal. This was three and a half years ago, and I think of it as the beginning of my life.
This reminds of a day in January in 1984, I was 23 years old. A friend asked me to take a tai chi class with her so she wouldn't have to go alone. I didn't know anything about tai chi, but decided I would go and try it. The teacher talked about her recent trip to China as part of a group tour. At the end of the first class I turned to my friend and told her I was going to China. To put this in perspective, I had never travelled outside the country, I didn't have a passport, and I didn't know China was "closed," though it opened to individual traveller's that year. I just felt compelled, like a force beyond myself was guiding me, and I had no choice at that point. A year and half later, I was there. I loved it! I spent 3 months travelling around with a woman friend, Connie, who asked to join me just before I was to leave.
We went to lots of wonderful places in China.
Saw amazing things.
We met wonderful people everywhere.
We were invited in for tea, a meal, a party, an english lesson. Rarely did anyone speak english, and we knew no Chinese.
We ate great food, all the time.
And we stayed in some charming places.
Because of Connie, we went to Tibet, and again, because of Connie (more adventurous than I) we went to Nepal. But there in Tibet I met Narayan, a Nepali mountain climber who would also change my life. Once in Kathmandu, he took charge of my sightseeing and even took me trekking.
Narayan died just a few years later in an avalanche on Mt. Everest. His death brought me closer to these good friends of his who would become family, bringing so much love and joy into my life.
My Nepali "sister" Lalita holding her son Bijay, me with their daughter Rashmi in front, and Lalita's husband Hom in 1985. They would go on to have two more children, twin boys.
Rashmi is grown and married with a little girl of her own, Aleya.
Her brother Bijay is married as well, and they have a son, Arush.
I would return to Asia soon to live in Japan, but that is another story for another time.
Only as I write these two "small decision events" right now am I realizing they both have a spiritual beginning.
And that leads me to one last realization about a small decision. It was the decision to take an astrology class that inspired me to finally sit down and read Julia Brayshaw's beautiful book: "Medicine of Place." I realized then that Julia, who was joining my astrology class, was an avid sacred geometer, as am I. We got together for soup and sharing and our Sacred Geometry Study Group was soon born, and grew fast! This has been such a gift for me. As well as pushing me to deepen my spiritual studies through geometry, it has brought me into circle with some of the most wonderful people in Olympia. They have become important friends that feed my heart.
The marriage of five and six. Inspired by John Michell's book: "How the World is Made: The Story of Creation According to Geometry.
I wonder what I am doing now, or have done recently, that will be one of these great unfoldings of wonder. I can tell you I called an old friend, Kim, from high school the other day. We don't talk or see each other often, sometimes years go by. Late in the conversation I told Kim I was reading the "Bagavad Gita" and really getting so much out of it. She told me she tried to take a class in that when we were freshmen in college, but it was too hard. She told be she was reading "Autobiography of a Yogi." Bill had traded for that book last summer and I have been wanting to read it. But there is always so much to read. Kim said she was a little bogged down in the book and I suggested I read it too so we could talk about it and help each other along. Well, in three days I am over half way through book. And I am already wondering, is this "small" decision to read this book going to change my life?
(One of Bill's drawings from a group geometry night.)