Hey there. Happy New Year! It has been almost a month since I last posted to my blog. My intention is to post something each week. However, this past month I have been a little stopped in this area. It has nothing to do with me not having anything to say or write. As you probably know, I am rarely at a loss for words, ideas, or expression.
It has been hard for me to find something that I felt was “appropriate” for my blog. As weird as it sounds and as much as I say I am all about honesty, openness, and authenticity, I realize that I have lots of “rules” in my head about what I am “supposed” to write about in this blog, in my e-zine, and what I am “allowed” to speak about when I talk publicly. My work is all about appreciation and gratitude, I should stick to that, right?!? Well, not really.
There is so much more on my mind and in my heart, in general, and especially these days. However, much of what I want to talk about doesn’t seem to fit into the appreciation/gratitude box and in all honesty, I worry that people will not want to hear me talk about some of the other things on my mind that I am passionate about. I want to talk and write about death, politics, God, peace, relationships, love, spirituality, our shadow, the nature of the universe, and much more. Somehow, many of these topics are ones I either feel I am not “qualified” to speak or write about, or more honestly, I am worried that people will not agree with me about them and somehow I will be alienated.
Richard’s death has rocked my world in so many ways. I miss him and am incredibly sad. I am also still in a state of shock that he is gone. And, it has been such a magical experience this past month as I have been moving through my grief and connecting with others who knew him, loved him, and still do. I am clearly still in the midst of it, but so many profound thoughts and feelings have been coming to me about Richard, about me, about family, about my work, about life, about death, and more.
Richard speaks to me all the time – in my thoughts, feelings, meditations, and dreams. I mean he literally shows up – I see him, feel him, and hear him. This is one thing that I am scared to share publicly, but it is true and I love it. His message to me is clear, “Focus on LOVE, that is the only thing that is real. Most of what we focus on in life is nonsense and it takes us away from what is true, what is real, and what we all want.” I am feeling so connected to Richard, but also to my father and others who have passed away and are on the “other side.”
There is a real magic in death. This is another thing I have been scared to say out loud, but I feel it so deeply within me. I actually love funerals and memorial services. My friend Theo was the first person I had ever heard say this. I was shocked when he said it…not because I thought it was weird or bad; I was just amazed by his honesty about it and I totally agreed. I was grateful for Theo’s honesty because it gave me permission to realize that this was true for me as well.
Memorials are often so real, raw, and human. I love the intensity of emotions and the authenticity that comes out. I love that so much of the stupid stuff we focus on in our daily lives seems meaningless in the face of death. I love being able to appreciate the person who has passed away, the other people in our lives, and our own life. I love how it wakes us up to precious nature of life that most of the time we forget about. I don’t wish death onto anyone, although we are all going to die someday. Sadly, we rarely live our lives on a daily basis with any awareness of our own death. If we did, I think we would live in a totally different, much more real, and passionately bold way.
I wish with all of my heart that there was some way for Richard to come back to life in body. I miss him, I want to see him, hug him, and connect with him in human form. However, I believe strongly that there is a plan for all of us and that we each get to choose when we die…we aren’t victims of accidents, health problems, or anything else. I think we each choose when it is time for us to return home, to the source of life…to God/Goddess/All That Is.
Maybe this is just a rationalization for the biggest mystery of humankind and something (death) that I struggle to make sense of, as most of us do. However, deep in my heart, this notion of choice regarding death feels so true to me.
Another gift of death is that it often gives us the courage to speak our truth – whatever that truth may be. For me, I feel a sense of liberation and passion about my own truth right now. I want to talk about life, death, love, appreciation, fear, shame, guilt, hope, dreams, and more on an even more REAL level. I want to talk about God, spirituality, the nature of the universe, and why we are here…in a more authentic way. It is time for me to stop apologizing for my beliefs, my opinions, my commitments, and my values. I do want to be aware of and sensitive to the fact that not everyone shares my point of view, but I don’t need to sell out on what is true for me in service of being “respectful” or “inclusive.” Being respectful and inclusive are both very important to me, but in all honesty, I often use these as a justification for not speaking my deep truth and my fear of upsetting people or having them not like me, agree with me, and think I am wonderful.
Richard’s death has been a true wake up call for me. I am not here to just say the “right” things, have people like me, make as much money as I can, impress others, look good or fit my message of love, spirit, connection, God, and life into some “corporate box” that will not not ruffle any feathers, and will be “appropriate” enough to allow me to get paid to deliver speeches and seminars in the corporate world. I am here to love myself, love others, teach about love, life, God, and truth in the very best way I can. I am here to step out and speak my truth, and in doing so I hope that I am able to inspire and empower others to do the same.
This blog post was easy for me to write, but is scary for me to post. I do so with my own commitment to truth and realness. I hope you hear and see things in what you have read here that speak to you. And, I realize that I have no idea what you will think or how this will impact you. At some deep level, that is not my job to figure out…it is yours. My challenge to you, to me, and to all of us is to speak what is true in our own hearts – now and always. Imagine what the world would be like if we all did that! Amazing! As I heard someone say in a seminar I took years ago, “We are all trying to survive life, and none of us ever will.” Let’s remember this and speak what is true for us!
With truth, courage, and vulnerability,
P.S. The photo below was just emailed to me and I am so grateful to have it. This picture was taken on 11/9/06 – the last time Michelle and I saw Richard. It was at Rich and Yvonne Dutra-St. John’s house (the co-founders of Challenge Day) the day that Challenge Day was featured on Oprah. It was a magical, beautiful day and we all shared in the pride, love, and appreciation of Challenge Day’s work and exposure. In this photo is my wife Michelle, our daughter Samantha, Richard, Richard’s wife Kris, and me. What a great memory!