Sunday, September 30, 2007

Passionate Mondays

Whew! This is going to be one of my toughest posts yet. I'll jump right into it - my Mom has less than two weeks to live and I'm headed up to Santa Barbara to be with her and my Dad through these final days. What a genuine privilege for me. I've spoken or written to many people these last few weeks about death, and the saddest stories I've heard are about the people that could not be with their parents when they died. Again, I feel privileged, but also comforted, knowing that going through this experience, I am just like every other human being out there. So, my personal struggle is how to maintain my passion for life, my presence in the moment while going through this trying time? How can I inspire myself and others to lead passionate lives? (I will warn you now, given my fuzzy-state-of-mind, I'm not certain if I can express clearly enough what I am feeling, but will give it a try.)

Today, I am choosing doors as my way to find my passion. Right about now you are saying to yourself, "Doors! What the *(&%#$@ is she talking about?" Stay with me, okay? I have a friend, Christie, who is a beautiful writer and person. Like me, she is fascinated by doors and windows. I wish I had her exact words here, because they would be so much more profound than mine, but she describes doors and windows as portals or passages to...

the soul
incredible views
the future

At this moment in my life, I am poised on a doorway, about to leave this time period of summoning up courage and fearlessness as I help my mom and ready to enter another phase of life, sans mother. This doorway marks a specific passage in life and in time for me.

I also have another way of using doors as a metaphor to view this death and dying process. One of my favorite sayings is that whenever one door closes, another one opens. When one life passes through that portal where only the dying go, and the door closes leaving loved ones behind, I like to believe that they are leaving us another open door, or an opportunity. We have a chance to take the lessons learned through the dying process to help us live more fully - to walk through that new, open door. I know everyone feels this phenomenon when they experience the death of a loved one - those lessons that scream at us in the moment to make everyday count, to make life count, to live life to its fullest because we have no guarantee of time. Sadly, few hold onto those feelings permanently. I am praying that I will be one of those few.

Just the other day, my sister's spiritual teacher reminded her of a similar lesson about living fully, siting the example that we usually only greet dear friends and loved ones enthusiastically when we haven't seen them for a long while. Why don't we greet them enthusiastically, with passion, every time we see them? We never know when it may be our last chance to show them our love.

I feel comfort in knowing that I am not alone in either process - losing a parent or struggling with how to live more passionately. As human beings, we all share the same challenges. We all face the same doorway and have a choice whether or not to pass through it - the door marked "To a Passionate Life" or "Make Each Day Count". I hope I remember to always choose that door and to step through it everyday.

Which doorway are you poised to pass through? Which portal are you afraid to enter? Do you have an image of a window or doorway that inspires passion for life for you?

Have a passionate Monday (and life) and don't forget to make today and everyday count and let your loved ones know that you are happy to be sharing life's journey with them.


Wanderlust Scarlett said...

I like windows and doors... but I'm cautious and curious simultaneously.

Lots of fun and a little bit of trouble.

PS - I tagged you with a meme.
Please forgive me.

Scarlett & Viaggiatore

African Kelli said...

Beautifully written post! Ah, so many doors to consider.
For now, just know you are in my thoughts. And I am incredibly inspired by your attitude.

Anonymous said...

My prayers are with you as you go through this transition to another place. It's great that you can be with her. Thats the door I really fear..losing my mother. I pray everyday that God will keep her around for a long long time because she is my best friend.Stay strong and I'll be thinking of you and your family.
I always have believed that each family member's passing gives me more stregnth and help. They are still there leading me on, all gathered on the other side.Helping me still.

The Passionate Palate said...

S & V - Oh, but some have incredible views, and even a wind on the other side into which you can toss those cautions!

Kelli - It makes my day to think I in spire someone!

Maryann - I like your thoughts on passing family members. I will hold onto that and remember it.

katiez said...

I wish you strength and courage for these next few days!
And, yes, your outlook is inspiring - I have to stop letting the days slip away unacknowledged...
Bon Courage!

Joanna said...

What a great attitude - I hope very much that you can hang on to it in the difficult days and weeks ahead, when you will need some of the inspiration you have given us to live life passionately.

Thank you


rowena said...

I am glad for you that you'll be able to spend time with your mother in her final days. I suddenly lost my mom over a year and a half ago and deeply regret not having been able to "be there".

Healing takes time, and I believe given the right attitude towards life, your sadness will soon be replaced with happiness and passion!

The Passionate Palate said...

Katie - thank you for those wishes. I need them!

Joanna - I hope so too! Thank you.

Rowena - Wow, I feel for you not having been able to be with you mom. That is the main thing I am grateful for right now - that I CAN be here. Yes, time does heal, doesn't it?

sognatrice said...

Lovely words and thoughts, and I hope they bring you comfort during this most difficult of times.

Still thinking of you and your family....

diana said...

The fact that you can be with your mother gives you both strength. Doors slam, others fly open, we fear, we love, we contract, we expand. When your mother slips from your fragile hands to her next destiny, know it was all you could give her to hold the door open for her. You are doing the best, the very best that you can do. Godspeed.

Christina said...

May peace be with you through this transition.

african vanielje said...

Dear P, now I know why you have been so much on my mind. I have been computerless for a while so have not been in touch. I am so sorry about your mom and hope that you find some peace in the next two weeks. I love your analogy of doors but strangely have always had a bit of a phobia about closed doors and windows. I hate the cold but would rather sit in a draft than close the window completely. I have never feared death and have always thought of life, now and on the next level, as a pathway. Not necessarily to anywhere, just a pathway where the journey is important, not the destination. I wonder if my aversion to closing doors is trying to tell me something? A heartfelt and thought provoking post.

Jannis said...

PP I am sorry. My mother and I also prepared for her death. 3 nights before she died we watched the movie Ghost. It was profound watching a movie about death and waiting for it. No matter it is sad and it sucks. Thinking of you PP.

Ambra Celeste said...

Mun means door in Korean, and it is my oldest son's middle name. It is a name of power and special significance for just the reasons you stated.
You and your mom and family are in my thoughts and prayers.

Anonymous said...

Just checking in on you. How are you doing, sweety? In my prayers,

Dana said...

A wonderful post. My thoughts and prayers will be with you and your family.

Wanderlust Scarlett said...

Wanted to stop in and check on you... will send you an email.